Expenditure and accounts payable procedure

Intent and objectives

To ensure all staff and students across RMIT University group are consistent in implementing operating expenditure procedures to achieve compliance with RMIT’s financial controls and financial delegation objectives.


1. Staff expenditure reimbursements

2. Staff travel reimbursements

3. Petty cash reimbursements

4. Other operating expenditure (purchases with/without purchase order)

5. Accounts payable procedures

6. Cash cheques


Capital expenditure payments

Procedure steps and actions:

1. Staff expense reimbursements

1.1. Staff will be reimbursed for all approved business expenses incurred in the course of their employment.

Approved expenses:

  • Purchases of $2000 or less (limit does not apply to travel and entertainment expenditure)
  • Travel and entertainment expenses
  • Purchase of fuel for rental cars only.

All claims are to be made on the Staff reimbursement form (DOCX).

All claims must be signed by the claimant and be authorised by the head of the department/cost centre manager.

Non-approved expenses:

  • Purchases greater than $2000 with the exception of travel and entertainment
  • Purchase of fuel for departmental or salary sacrifice vehicle (a fleet card is provided for this purpose). For private vehicles on RMIT business, a mileage claim is to be submitted to People and Culture.

1.2. Small-value transactions should be paid by departmental Pcard where possible.

2. Staff travel reimbursements

2.1. Staff travel expenditure as a general rule is paid on per diem basis (see Per Diem Travel Reimbursement Procedure).

2.2. In instances where travelling expenses are paid on the basis of the actual expenses incurred, authorisation of the claim must be in accordance with the University’s Delegations policy and schedules.

2.3. Accounts Payable Financial Services processes the reimbursement form and enters the details into SAP. A claim reimbursement form must be accompanied by the original receipts/invoices and include a description of the expense, the internal order and cost element to which each expense is to be coded. A receipt showing payment must be attached for any amounts not acquitted.

2.4. For countries where use of credit cards is limited or only cash is accepted, separate cash exception guidelines apply. A cash advance facility might be issued at the request of the head of school.

2.5. Receipts and other supporting documents must be provided within one month of receiving a cash advance for acquittal.

2.6. If expenditure is incurred without supporting documentation, an agreement between the staff member and Financial Services will be signed to authorise deduction of such expenditure from the staff member’s pay. No further advance will be paid to the staff member until outstanding amounts are fully acquitted.

2.7. The travel allowance account will be reconciled on a monthly basis. It is the staff member’s responsibility to ensure that all allowances are acquitted within 14 days of the original receipt. Where amounts are not acquitted within 14 days, follow-up will take place with both the staff member and the staff member’s authorising officer and the staff member will be advised of the requirement to either acquit the amount or repay it to the University. Outstanding advances will be referred to the appropriate head of school.

2.8. Reimbursement for use of personal vehicles on RMIT business may be made on a Claim for car allowance form (PDF). The policy and applicable kilometre rates are available on the Travel policies and procedures webpage. The completed forms are to be forwarded to People and Culture for processing through payroll.

2.9. Other staff travel–related information is available in the RMIT Travel policy.

3. Petty cash reimbursements

3.1. Petty cash is not provided for reimbursement except when floats are approved by the Executive Director Financial Services, on request from the school/portfolio. The head of school must submit a case for approval and the floats issued must not exceed $1000. University is working towards a cashless environment, so floats are only available as an exception.

3.2. All claims are to be made on a Petty cash form (XLS).

3.3. Claims for reimbursement of payments up to $100 made personally by a staff member for goods and services for RMIT should be made on a RAMA SAP claim form (DOC).

3.4. The Petty cash form (XLS) should:

  • be completed in ink
  • show full details of the goods or services for which reimbursement is claimed
  • be supported by original invoice/s or docket/s, receipt/s or similar documents. A tax invoice is required for purchases over $82.50.
  • show the amount claimed
  • show the cost centre involved
  • be signed by the claimant
  • be approved by the cost centre manager or authorised delegate (please note: a claimant cannot authorise their own form)

The form and supporting documents should be presented to Financial Services, Building 88 (City campus) or at the Revenue Officer (Bundoora West campus) for reimbursement.

3.5. A list of authorising officers must be kept in Central Finance department and referred to when processing claims. A Delegation of Authority Procedure is available on the Financial Services website.

3.6. Petty cash is not available for hospitality, allowances (including meals, car or subsistence), cash advances (personal IOUs), cashing of personal cheques, or parking infringements.

4. Other operating expenditure with/without purchase order

Purchase with purchase order

4.1. A purchase requisition is raised manually by staff requiring goods or services. Guidelines in relation to the purchase of goods and services can be found under Purchasing and Accounts Payable on the Financial Services website. The objective of the purchase requisition is to enable authorisation of the purchase and to provide the information necessary for Central Finance staff to raise a purchase order.

4.2. Delegation of Authority provides a list of staff members with the authority to approve the purchase of goods and services. Delegation level is based on the position and the value of the purchase.

4.3. Once the requisition is approved a purchase order is created.

4.4. Purchase orders are created for all purchases excluding petty cash, corporate card and staff reimbursements.

4.5. A blanket purchase order is similar to the standard purchase order; however, several invoices can be raised from one purchase order. It is used for regular ongoing supplies of goods or services.

4.6. Goods Receipt is a formal acceptance that goods and services were received from a supplier.

Purchase without purchase order

4.7. Direct invoices are for non–purchase order items such as utilities and are entered in SAP by Accounts Payable staff on receipt of correctly coded and authorised documents.

4.8. Purchases can be made without purchase orders for the following:

  • physical goods less than $20,000
  • procurement of emergency replacement items
  • recurring services up to the total value of $20,000
  • travel arrangements facilitated by the travel approval process

Exceptions to this rule are for the Library, where all purchase orders and invoicing for books, periodicals and subscriptions are made via the ILMS system and then uploaded to SAP.

If the total value of goods or services is higher than $20,000 a purchase order must be issued.

5. Accounts Payable procedures

5.1. Accounts Payable is responsible for accurate and timely processing of all invoices to ensure payment within trading terms (normally 30 days from date of invoice).

5.2. The following should be checked prior to forwarding invoices to Accounts Payable for processing in SAP:

  • inclusion of the term ‘Tax Invoice’
  • the supplier’s name or trading name
  • the supplier’s address
  • the supplier’s ABN
  • the date of issue and the amount of GST payable
  • purchase order number is quoted (if applicable)
  • evidence of goods having been received according to specification, i.e. Goods Received Note

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