Click here to generate a text only version of this page
Click here to go to the Birkbeck, University of London home page
Click here for help with using the Birkbeck web site
The Finance Department

Authorised signatories & List of authorised signatories

Form required: Authorised Signatories to College Accounts xls format

Link to: List of authorised signatories

Contact details: Payments Section

Contents of this page:

Authorised Signatories

Responsibilities of authorised signatories

Certifying invoices - ensuring value for money

How can I be set up as an authorised signatory?

 

Authorised Signatories

The Head of Professional Services Department (HD), Executive Dean (ED) or School Manager decides who has the authority to make purchases. The HD/ED/SM decides on financial limits that individuals can place orders up to, and also restricts the type of goods and services that an individual can purchase.  A member of staff ordering goods/services cannot also sign off invoices in relation to the order – this must be done by separate parties.  In addition to this there are also College Financial Regulations that have to be adhered to.

The identified budget holders, authorised signatories, their responsibilities and the limits of their authority should be documented together with the account codes relevant and this should all be communicated to the Finance department, to other relevant Professional Service departments and to school/professional services department staff on at least an annual basis. Any in year changes (e.g. for new research grants, new and leaving staff members, when staff change roles) should be communicated in a timely manner.

The authority to sign off contracts (e.g. copier, maintenance, leasing etc) should also be clearly defined, documented and communicated. Any agreements with third parties (e.g. academic collaborations, memoranda of understanding or formal contracts) must only be signed according to the provisions of the Financial Regulations.

back to top

Responsibilities of authorised signatories

Authorised signatories are authorised to approve expenditure, ensuring:

  • the goods and/or services are essential to the operation of the college and the expenditure which will be incurred can be contained within that part of the budget for which they are responsible;
  • LUPC suppliers are utilised wherever possible;
  • where alternatives are available, the purchase represents economy and operational efficiency;
  • action is taken on incorrect or poor quality deliveries and/or services, and that the Purchasing Office is advised of such instances;
  •  financial regulations have been adhered to

 Some of these tasks may be delegated to other staff members by the authorised signatory. 

back to top

Certifying Invoices – ensuring value for money

The responsibility for checking transactions charged against account codes, investigating and amending any anomalies (e.g. transactions charged to incorrect accounts), recoding and monitoring spend against budgets and reporting on variances from budgets (income as well as expenditure) should all be documented and communicated and the responsibility for ensuring that these tasks are being undertaken as required should also be clear in the same way.

The authorised signatory will delegate the following to other members of the administrative team; they should check when certifying an invoice that:

  • the goods or services were officially ordered and that the goods have been received in full and are of acceptable quality.
  • the goods comply with the details on the College order form
  • the invoice details (quantity, price, discount) are correct
  • the invoice is arithmetically correct and that the VAT has been correctly calculated;
  • the invoice has not previously been passed for payment (i.e. that it is not a duplicate request for payment)
  • the invoice has a unique number for identification and control purposes
  • an approved account code is on the invoice. This must be one of the cost centre codes within the budget holder's responsibility and must correspond with the type of goods, service etc detailed on the invoice.

Normally no payment should be made, except on receipt of an original invoice. Where an original invoice is not provided payment must be authorised by an authorised officer with a written statement detailing why an original invoice has not been provided.

back to top

How can I be set up as an authorised signatory?

For you to be set up as an authorised signatory the Authorised Signatories to College Accounts form needs to be completed and authorised by the School Manager/Head of Professional Services.

Any restrictions on account codes within the School/Professional Service and any limits on the value of invoices that you can authorise can be specified on the form. Once completed the form is sent to the Payments Section.

School Mangers/Head of Professional Services are responsible for giving the Payments Officer a list of staff authorised to sign for expenditure on invoices, expense claims etc. No member of staff may authorise his or her own expenses.

Executive Deans and other senior managers should ensure that the list of authorised signatories is kept up-to-date.

Please complete the Authorised Signatories to College Accounts form if you wish to make any changes to authorised signatories within your School/Department, and forward this to the Payments Section.

To remove authorised users, complete the same form as above and write ‘remove’ in the authorisation type column.

back to top

List of Authorised Signatories

Birkbeck staff only - Click here to access the lists of authorised signatories

back to top

back to top

Finance Department, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HX. Departmental Office tel.:  020 7380 3145, fax.: 020 7380 3221