It is the policy of Adelphi University that appropriate internal controls and accepted best practices be utilized in the approval of all financial transactions.

Policy Statement

It is the policy of Adelphi University that appropriate internal controls and accepted best practices be utilized in the approval of all financial transactions.

Reason for Policy

The purpose of this policy is to promote the University’s internal control environment through specifying the persons who are authorized to approve transactions on behalf of their department, the criteria for delegating Approval Authority and the limitations on Approval Authority.


Who is Governed by This Policy

This policy applies to all members of the University Community who seek to approve a transaction on behalf of their department. This policy pertains to approvals for Check Requisitions (vendor payments), Purchase Order Requisitions, and Travel Expense Reimbursements only.

The following transactions require specific approvals, and considered to be outside the scope of this policy. Users should consult with other sources as appropriate:

  • Employment Matters, including Payroll Transaction Forms: Consult with representatives from the Office of Human Resources for guidance with approval authority of employment matters
  • Financing/Debt Agreements: Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration
  • Contracts and Agreements: All contracts and agreements must be approved by the Contract Office and signed by either the Controller and Associate Vice President and/or the Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration
  • Capital Projects: All expenditures for approved capital projects may be processed and approved only by the Offices of Facilities Management or Project Management, depending on the nature of the project
  • Gift Agreements: All gift agreements must be approved by the Advancement Office and other areas depending on the nature of the gift.


Authorized Persons and Approval Levels
All transactions must be approved by an Authorized person in accordance with this policy. Each Authorized person is designated as Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 or Level 4, as follows:

  • Level 1:
    • Executive Leadership
  • Level 2:
    • Chief Officers not included in Level 1
    • Associate Provosts
    • Assistant Vice Presidents
    • Deans
  • Level 3:
    • Department Heads and Directors
    • Other persons delegated Approval Authority by Level 1 or Level 2 persons
  • Level 4:
    • Persons delegated Approval Authority by Level 1, 2, or 3 persons

Approval Authorization Levels
Approval Authority established for each level based on maximum dollar amount thresholds (per transaction) are as follows:

  • Level 1: Up to and including $250,000 (*)
  • Level 2: Up to and including $100,000
  • Level 3: Up to and including $25,000 (**)
  • Level 4: Up to and including $5,000

(*) Amounts greater than $250,000 are limited to the contract or agreement value upon appropriate Board of Trustee approval. See Contract Approval Matrix for details.

(**) Interim positions (Deans, Vice Presidents) should be assigned an Authorization Limit not to exceed $25,000. Requests for limits above this level must be approved by the President for Interim Executive Leadership positions, or by the applicable Executive Leadership member for all other Interim positions.


This policy does not have definitions associated with it at this time. Upon periodic policy review, this area will be evaluated to determine if additional information is needed to supplement the policy.


Approval Processes
Each Authorized person is responsible for ensuring that he or she has the appropriate Approval Authority to approve a transaction, and that such approval and the transaction itself complies with other policies of the University. If an individual is unsure whether they have Approval Authority, or what their approval limit is, they should contact the Office of the Controller before approving any transactions.

All purchase order requisitions, vendor payments, and travel expense reimbursements must adhere to the policies and procedures of the Purchasing and Finance departments, as available in the Finance & Administrative Reference Guide at In addition, the Authorized person is ensuring that adequate budget funds are available in the department’s approved operating budget.

Each Authorized person approving a transaction must affix his or her own signature to any documents that are required to be signed. Use of stamps, signing or affixing someone else’s name, and using someone else’s login to affix an electronic signature or approval, are strictly prohibited.

Delegation of Approvals
Individuals approving transactions during the absence of a primary approver (vacation, sick or personal leave) must have the appropriate level of signing authority for the transaction being approved. Employees may not delegate approval down if the person being delegated to does not have the appropriate level of authority. Additionally, anyone approving during a time of absence, even temporarily, must have an approved Authorized Signature Form on file with the Office of the Controller.

Maintenance of Authorized Signature Forms
Each school, college, or department of the University is responsible for advising the Office of the Controller of each person under its auspices with Approval Authority by completing an Authorized Signature Form.

The Office of the Controller will maintain a master list for each school, department, or operating unit. At least annually, the Officer of the Controller will require certification that its master list of Approval Authority is complete and accurate


Authorized Signatures Form (General Expenditures):

Related Information

Contract Review Policy

Document History

  • Last Reviewed Date: N/A
  • Last Revised Date: N/A
  • Policy Origination Date: February 28, 2020

Who Approved this Policy

This policy was approved by the members of Executive Leadership in 2020.


Why do we need a formal policy placing dollar limits on the transactions we approve?
Adelphi University, like most large organizations, conducts its business through authorized individuals. Establishing dollar limits based on positions and responsibilities is a best practice for internal control purposes. Implementing a formal policy allows for transparency and consistency across the University, and offers a guideline for employees to follow when they are granted the important responsibility of authorizing payments.

How did Executive Leadership decide what the limits should be for each level?
The dollar limits established in the policy are reasonable levels based on the University’s transaction amounts, and in accordance with our internal controls and best practices, to ensure that payments are approved by employees with appropriate authority.

How do I become an authorized signer?
The Authorized Signature Form is available in the forms section of the Financial and Administrative Reference Guide (FARG). It must be signed by the individual who is being granted signing authority and the individual ultimately responsible for the department’s operating budget. This would typically be the department’s Dean, Provost, or Vice President, or the President. The form should include the requested level of authority. If a level is not provided, or the requested level does not follow policy, the Office of the Controller will impose a level as outlined by the policy. Please note that individuals may not approve their own signing authority.

How long does my signing authority last?
In some cases, signing authority may be granted for a temporary or finite period of time. This expiration date must be listed on the Authorized Signature Form. If there is no defined expiration date, the Authority expires at the next renewal of the form, which currently occurs every two years. The employee’s signing authority will remain in effect unless the employee leaves the University, or if there is a change in job

What responsibilities do I have as an authorized signer?
Authorized signers are responsible for ensuring that all requests for payment are accurate and legitimate, are supported by appropriate documentation, and are forwarded to Accounts Payable in a timely manner. Individuals are also responsible for knowing their own signing limits, and for ensuring that all requests comply with the policies of Adelphi University (as stipulated in the Policy Library and the FARG), contractual stipulations if payment relates to grants and other restricted funds, and pertinent legal statutes or regulations.

I am sick or will be on vacation / personal leave / extended leave. Can my direct report just sign in my absence?
All transactions must always be approved by an individual who has been granted the appropriate level of signing authority. A direct report may approve a transaction in the absence of their supervisor only if the direct report has been granted signing authority through an Authorized Signature Form, and if the transaction is within the limit they have been assigned. Otherwise, the Dean or Vice President responsible for the area should authorize the transaction.

Levels 1 and 2 have specific roles or titles assigned to them, but Levels 3 and 4 do not. Why?
Policies are intended to apply uniformly across the whole University, but the needs and staffing of individual departments or schools can vary widely. Therefore, the policy needs to accommodate situations where different roles or individuals may need to be granted authority to facilitate daily financial operations of the department.

Does this policy apply to all financial transactions, or are special approvals required for transactions that charge certain funds?
This policy applies to all financial transactions. All account numbers (“Departments” in the University’s General Ledger) must have signers who are authorized to approve transactions. This includes Operating Fund 1 accounts, Restricted Fund 2 accounts, Capital Fund 5 accounts, and designated Fund 7 accounts (including Faculty Research awards). Additional approvals, specifically to ensure budget availability, may be required by the Office of the Controller as needed.

What about Payroll Transaction Forms (PTFs)/new position requests/timecards/time off requests?
These are considered employment matters and therefore are considered to be outside the scope of this policy. Please consult with your area’s Human Resources Partner for guidance with approval authority of employment matters.

Where can I go for additional information or guidance?
If an individual is unsure whether they have Approval Authority, or what their approval limit is, they should contact the Finance Office before approving any transactions. Individuals granted signing authority should regularly review the FARG, with specific attention to the What’s New section for changes that may impact their approvals. Any questions about this policy should be directed to Melanie Herschkowitz, Assistant Controller.

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