Accounts Payable Voucher Workflow at NDSU

The NDSU Accounting Office has been in the process of working with departments to implement a new feature in PeopleSoft Finance: Accounts Payable Voucher Workflow.   Our intent is to work with departments and colleges to implement the system over the next year.  So far, NDSU Plant Sciences, ND Forest Service, College of Science and Math, and the College of Arts, Humanities, Social Sciences have started using the system.

Currently, departments have the ability to enter accounts payable invoices online into PeopleSoft and the paper invoice is stored in the department.  Once the PeopleSoft online voucher entry passes the budget check step the transaction is available to get picked up in the next day’s check or direct deposit run.   This is an efficient system – but there are weaknesses with internal control and transparency. 

With the AP Voucher Workflow approval process, departments enter their accounts payable invoices directly online into the same PeopleSoft screen as before.    With the workflow process in use, the invoice needs to be scanned and attached to each online voucher entry.   (Some departments are already attaching scanned invoices to their PeopleSoft online voucher entries, so for those departments this step will not be a change.)   

With the PeopleSoft AP Voucher information entered online, invoice attached, the voucher is budget checked in PeopleSoft every 30 minutes (at the top and bottom of the hour).    After the budget check step is valid, the online vouchers will automatically be launched into workflow three times a day (this will likely be more frequent as we proceed with implementation).    Once the online vouchers are launched into workflow they will be available for a department expense manager to approve in PeopleSoft.  The approver will receive an email as an alert that a voucher is awaiting approval.   The approver can go into a Mass Voucher Approval screen and review the online vouchers and approve them so they go to the next workflow step.  The next workflow step depends on the details of the voucher.  They could go to the Purchasing department, Grant & Contract Accounting, Asset Management, Accounting, or go directly to the next day’s check run.  

This workflow system is intended to: 1) improve internal control - by having PeopleSoft ensure appropriate departmental approval of the vouchers entered online, and 2) improve transparency and record retention by having the supporting invoice attached to the transaction.

Departments will do fewer paper AP Vouchers with this workflow change, because the online vouchers can be audited and approved electronically by other central offices.   However, there will still be some transactions that need to go on paper for now.  For example, receiving reports will continue to use the current process.

Departments that are interested in implementing this workflow process for AP Vouchers can contact the NDSU Accounting Office.

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