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Frequently Asked Questions

Travel | Purchase Card | SmartData OnLine | Miscellaneous

Travel Questions

Can an employee rent a car for short-term transportation?
Although we prefer employees use their own vehicles for local transportation, Oakland University will reimburse for car rental when needed for university business purposes and it is the most economic alternative. A rental vehicle should not be used when the business trip is combined with personal side-trips. Gas related to the rental will also be reimbursable, mileage will not be reimbursable while using a rental vehicle.

Does Oakland University have any corporate rates for renting vehicles?
Yes, the Accounts Payable Department has specific charge cards for Avis, Budget and Hertz. These cards may be signed out from the A/P office for business travel only, and the university will be billed directly for the particular rental contract.

How do I obtain a cash advance for travel?
Cash advances may only be obtained for athletic team travel, student group travel and foreign travel.  To obtain a cash advance for any of these scenarios, an e-mail must be sent to by the employee’s supervisor authorizing the travel advance. The e-mail must include the traveler’s name in the header and have the dates, destination, purpose and fund number to be charged. Please see OU AP&P #1200 for more information.

If you have two or more pages of a TES for one trip, does it require signatures on each form?
No, the authorizing signatures must be on the first page that shows the total cost of the trip.

Purchase Card Questions

Who determines if I should have a Purchasing Card (P-Card)?
The need for a card is based on a person’s job function. Deans, Assistant Deans, Managers and Unit Business Managers determine who has the need for a Card within their organizations and the number of cards that can be effectively managed.  Not everyone who travels or purchases will receive a card.

How do I get a Card?
Complete the Purchasing Card Application found on the Accounts Payable website (choose Forms, then choose Purchasing Card Forms).  Have your supervisor sign the completed application and then forward to Accounts Payable.  Allow two weeks for processing by OU Accounts Payable and Comerica.

What purchases are to be made with the card?
The PCard is used to make purchases of goods, repairs and maintenance, overnight shipping services, conference registrations and travel related expenses (excluding food). Please see OU AP&P #1020 for more information.

What purchases are excluded and/or prohibited?
Preferred Vendors:  The PCard cannot be utilized for preferred vendor purchases such as office supplies.  Purchases must be made using the system provided by the vendor (as identified by Purchasing) rather than utilizing the PCard. Review the Purchasing website to determine the preferred vendors for your type of purchase.

Prohibited Purchases:  

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Bus transportation for groups (see Preferred Vendors section of Purchasing website)
  • Cash advances (If a Cardholder receives a PIN (personal identification number) from the financial institution, he/she must notify the Accounts Payable department immediately)
  • Firearms
  • Flowers and plants (Exception: Purchases for Special Events decorating and campus landscaping may be purchased using the P-Card)
  • Payments to individuals (any payment on a P-Card must be to a company)
  • Insurance (Exception: freight or trip cancellation insurance)
  • Gift Cards or Gift Certificates
  • Food, meals and entertainment including travel related meals
  • Non-faculty employment advertising (Exception: Academic and University Human Resource departments)
  • Printing and Photocopying (Except as authorized by University Printing Services)
  • Controlled Substances such as radioactive materials and narcotics
  • Tickets for entertainment-type events
  • Sponsorships and donations
  • Leases and rental agreements > $1,000 Per Annum or if Board of Trustees approval is required
  • Lab Animals (Except through Biomedical Research Support Facility)
  • Purchases authorized by a PO or SOP

What are the card limits?
Individual purchases (each transaction) must not exceed $5,000.  Card monthly limits will not exceed $10,000.

How does my bill get paid?
Our card is administered by Comerica Bank.  On the fourth business day of each month, Comerica automatically withdraws the total amount due from the prior month. Cardholders never process a payment request for the purchasing card charges.

When will I get a statement?
You will receive a statement from Comerica Bank about the seventh day of the month if you have made purchases in the prior month.  For example, if you make any purchases in June, you will receive a statement in the mail about July 7th.  If you do not receive a statement, please contact Accounts Payable to determine if the correct address is in the Comerica system.

What are the cardholder responsibilities?
Cardholders must keep the card in a secure location, never share the card and monitor all charge activity on the card.  The cardholder must never use the card to make personal purchases.  Additionally, purchases must support the mission of the department and comply with all OU policies, state and federal laws.  If the cardholder notices fraudulent activity, the cardholder must call the 800 number on the back of the card and work with Comerica’s fraud department to clear the charges. Each month when the statement arrives to the department address, the cardholder must review the charges on the statement and attach all original invoices, receipts, packing slips, etc. to the statement.  The cardholder then signs the last page of the statement and forwards the complete package to the supervisor for approval.

What are the cardholder supervisor’s responsibilities?
The supervisor must review the statement and receipts, then sign the last page of the statement to verify that the purchases are in compliance with OU policy.  The completed package is forwarded to Accounts Payable no later than one month past the statement date.

What happens when a cardholder changes departments?
When a cardholder transfers between departments at the University, he/she must notify the Accounts Payable Department before the transfer occurs. If the transfer occurs mid-way through a calendar month, the transactions that post for that month must be reviewed and properly redistributed.

What is the difference between the statement address, the billing address and the shipping address?
Statement Address:
  The statement address for the PCard should be the user department, and must include the user department’s name and address including the building and room number, city and zip code. The financial institution will mail the PCard statement to the cardholder on the last day of each month. If the cardholder does not receive a monthly Card statement from the financial institution, he/she should contact the Accounts Payable Department. It is the responsibility of the cardholder to notify Accounts Payable Department of any changes in address. 

Billing Address:  The address and phone number used for address verification when completing a transaction is:  121 Vandenberg Hall West, Rochester, MI 48309 (248) 370-4395.Using a different billing address may cause the card to decline.

Shipping Address: Use the department address and contact person for the shipping address.  The Receiving Department cannot deliver the packages addressed to Oakland University, Receiving Department or Accounts Payable Department.

SmartData Generation 2 ("SDG2") Questions

How do I get set up with access to SDG2 for my P-Card?
Contact Lisa Petersen at petersen and request access.

I allocate the transactions for several cardholders each month, how can I do this through SDG2?
When requesting access, indicate the cardholders in which you need access.  Advise the Accounts Payable Manager whenever you need to remove or add cardholders from your access.  

How does my supervisor approve the transactions I process in SDG2?
Your supervisor can request access to your account in SDG2 but their approval is not required.  Their approval is only required on the actual statement itself each month.  A best practice we suggest is to allocate your transactions in SDG2, then print out the Expense Report through SDG2 and attach it to your statement each month for your supervisor's review.  

What if I need to modify any of the allocations I previously entered in SDG2?
If it is BEFORE the 15th of the month following the statement end date, you can modify as much as necessary.  AFTER the 15th, you will need to submit a Journal Voucher to the Accounting department to process the change.  Please note that SDG2 will allow you to make changes after the 15th, however, they will NOT be processed.

What if I do not want to use SDG2?
While the use of SDG2 to allocate your P-Card transactions is strongly encouraged due to the general efficiency of the process for all departments involved, it is not required.  If you do not use SDG2 to allocate your transactions, you must submit an Interdepartmental Journal Voucher form to the Accounting department by the 30th of the month following the statement end date.

Miscellaneous Questions 
Can I purchase non-Pepsi brand beverages?  Does it matter if I buy it myself and request reimbursement? And can you tell me what beverage brands are owned by Pepsi?

Pepsi is the exclusive beverage supplier for Oakland University.

According to OU's agreement with Pepsi, products manufactured by Pepsi are to be the only beverage products of their respective types sold, distributed, advertised, displayed, sampled, or otherwise made available on OU's campus. This means that even when it comes to reimbursements, you must purchase Pepsi products either directly from Pepsi or from a vendor who sells Pepsi products.

Aquafina is Pepsi's bottled water brand. For a comprehensive look at all of Pepsi's beverage brands, please visit their website here.

How do I get set up for direct deposit for my business expense reimbursements?
Login to SAIL. Click on Employee Services, then click on Direct Deposit - Non-Payroll.  You should see your Grizzly ID and your name followed by a note telling you that you are not currently set up for direct deposit for non-payroll reimbursements. Click on the link directly below that to enter your bank information. Follow the instructions on the next page (you will only need your routing and account numbers) and you will be set up in minutes.

How do I change the bank I have set up for my business expense reimbursements?
Login to SAIL. Click on Employee Services, then click on Direct Deposit - Non-Payroll. The screen should indicate your current bank information on file and ask you to verify it or if you want to update it.  Click on update and your information will be updated in minutes.

Does a student have to be set up for non-payroll direct deposit to receive a reimbursement?
No. The direct deposit initiative is currently limited to employees.

I want to recognize my staff with gift cards as a special reward. How do I pay for that from my university budget?
You don't. The Internal Revenue Service considers gift cards the same as cash and any cash award would have to be added to an employee's  payroll records for FICA withholding and reported as income.

I am the receipient of an REU stipend/scholarship - is this taxable and will I receive a 1099-MISC at year-end?

REU – Research Experiences for Undergraduates program is designed to promote and advance scientific and engineering progress in the United States and is federally funded by the National Science Foundation.  This program provides awards to thousands of undergraduate students who participate in the research experience.

REU stipends, or scholarships, received by participants who are degree seeking students are NOT reportable to the IRS by Oakland University based on the following;

·         1099-MISC - The instructions and corresponding regulations allow for these type of items to be classified as scholarships which are NOT required to be reported on 1099-MISC.

·         IRS Notice 87-31 – All amounts paid to U.S. Citizens and Resident Aliens in the form of scholarships, fellowships, grants, and financial aid are NOT required to be reported to the IRS by the payors.

That does not mean the award is non-taxable, some may have to pay taxes on a portion of their stipends, however, the recipient is responsible for reporting.

The IRS Publication 970 has more information

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