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California State University, Long BeachCalifornia State University, Long Beach


Signature Authority Guideline

Guideline Contents

  • Responsible University Officer:
    Vice President, Administration and Finance


The purpose of this guideline is to ensure the efficient operation of California State University, Long Beach, (“University”) by providing guidelines for the appropriate signature authority and delegation of authority required for various transactions and activities at the University.


In order to promote greater economy and efficiency, the legislature has delegated authority concerning certain activities, such as purchasing and contracting, motor vehicle inspections, and real and personal property to the California State University (CSU). The CSU Board of Trustees further delegates such authority to campus presidents and/or designee pursuant to Executive Order 1000. Accountability for the management of the property, assets, financial and human resources of the University ultimately rests with the President who expects those with signature authority under the terms of this guideline to safeguard University resources by establishing and maintaining sound business controls that deter and detect any potential misuse of resources. The procedures outlined below identify those situations in which it is appropriate to use delegations of authority and the procedures that should be followed to make such delegations. The procedures also outline the signature authority for various University transactions.


Delegation of authority: As used in this guideline, a “delegation of authority” is the formal recorded conveyance of authority from the Board of Trustees to the campus presidents and/or designees. Any such transfers of powers and duties are therefore significant actions requiring great care and scrutiny.

Delegator: The employee who has authority to take action on behalf of the university, college or department who transfers (“delegates”) his/her authority to another University employee (“Delegate”).

Delegate: The employee who is officially transferred the authority to act on behalf of the delegator.

Signature authority: As used in this policy, “signature authority” is the permission to execute transactions up to limits established by relevant University policies and permission to approve transactions for execution. This approval attests to the appropriateness of the transaction within the University’s program objectives and budgetary authorizations.

Appropriate Administrator: Manager or academic equivalent who have been granted authority through delegation and/or this signature authority policy.

Approval: An authorization given for a purchase transaction; all purchase transactions are subject to approval at the appropriate level (reference the Signature Authority Guidelines matrix).

Approver: Individual authorized to expense funds from appropriate expenditure lines in both State and/or Foundation who have been granted authority through this signature authority policy. Typically non-management personnel. Definition refers to signature authority matrix (appendices). Employee granted fiscal responsibility in Delegation of Authority to sign for the chartfields utelized ( see Signature Authority Guidelines matrix )

Requestor: Any employee who initiates the request for purchase.

Guideline for Proper Delegation of Authority

General Scope of Delegation:

Delegations of authority should be limited both in scope, number and time frame to those which are necessary to achieve efficiency while maintaining accountability. Delegations of authority are appropriate where the delegation will enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the operation without risking the integrity of the internal control necessary for accountability. A delegation of authority shall commensurate with the employee's role within the organization. No delegation shall be made of all or substantially all of the powers held by any persons making a delegation, or where checks and balances would be minimized. Delegation of authority letters must not conflict with any CSU and/or CSULB policy. Individuals who receive delegated authority shall have active involvement with the activity being conducted; and have sufficient knowledge of the University policies, rules, laws, regulations and procedures to ensure compliance.

Delegator will provide for training to the Delegate to ensure compliance with legislation and the policies referred to above.

Delegation Management and Effective Dates:

The Office of the Vice President of Administration and Finance will maintain a centralized file of all delegation of authority letters related to this policy. Each delegation letter shall be created by the issuing department, in the format determined by the Vice President of Administration. Each letter shall be numbered and follow basic formatting, and not contain individual names but levels commiserate with this policy.

A delegation of authority shall become effective on the date the delegation is fully executed. Delegations shall continue until revoked or modified. The departments are responsible for maintaining active and up to date delegations of authority and should review all delegations annually to assure that the delegations on file are current. The delegation must be fully executed before any documents are signed by the Delegate.

Guideline for Signature Authority

General Scope of Signature Authority:

The University has provided signature authority to certain individuals based on their level in the organization to approve various transactions. Signature authority is granted by department or fund.

Level Definitions

  • Level 1 = President
  • Level 2 = Direct reports to the Level 1, typically (but not limited to) Provost, Vice President, Athletic Director
  • Level 3 = Direct reports to Level 2, typically (but not limited to) Deans, Associate Vice Presidents, Assistant Vice Presidents
  • Level 4 = Management Personnel or Academic Equivalent, typically (but not limited to) Associate Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, ASMs, Division Fiscal Officers, Managers
  • Level 5 = Non management personnel, typically (but not limited to) Assistant ASMs

Anyone granted authority in Level 1 to Level 4 through delegation and/or signature authority in this policy will be deemed “Appropriate Administrator” on related forms and procedures. Level 1 through Level 4 must be Management Personnel or Equivalent. Individuals with subdivision responsibility and direct Management Personnel reports can receive delegated authority by an authorized Level 2 to act as a Level 3 through written request.

Anyone granted authority in Level 5 through this signature authority policy will be deemed “Approver” on related forms and procedures.

The following responsibilities may NOT be delegated further, but must be approved by the level indicated in the matrix or a level higher:

Type of Agreement Type of Transactions Authority to Execute
Accounting Budget transfer requests (EXCEL) Level 4
Accounting Delegation of Authority Request (PDF) Level 3
Accounting Establish funds, projects (all except grant related funding sources), accounts and departments. Chartfield Request Form Level 3
Accounting Establish funds and projects (for grant related funding) Level 4 (ORSP)
Accounting Establish Class, or Program Codes Level 4
Accounting Establish Petty Cash/Change Fund (EXCEL) Level 3
Accounting Journal Entry Upload Request (EXCEL) Level 4
Accounting Petty cash reimbursement Level 4
Employment Appointment letters Level 3
Employment CSULB volunteer identification Level 4
Employment Campus and Foundation Employee planning and performance review Level 4
Employment Fee waiver application (Docusign) Level 4
Employment Immediate pay voucher (EXCEL) Level 4
Employment In range progression (PDF) Level 2
Employment MPP and Confidential reconsideration Level 3
Employment MPP evaluations (PDF) Level 3
Employment Permanent position recruitments (inc. Exceptions) Request Hiring Exception Form (PDF) Level 4
Employment Personnel transactions (PTF) Level 4
Employment Position Action and Pool ID Request (PDF) Level 4
Employment Position description (PDF) Level 4
Employment Position pool id Level 4
Employment Professional learning and development plan (PDF) Level 4
Employment Relocation expense authorization Level 2
Employment Staff leave of absence (PDF) Level 3
Employment Unit 4 Merit bonus pay recommendation (EXCEL) Level 3
Facilities Use Facilities workorder requests Level 5
Facilities Use Auth to use private vehicles on state business Level 4
Gifts Non-cash gifts to employee's or non-employee's Level 3
Gifts Gift / Award Exceptions Level 2
Hospitality Hospitality expenses Level 4
Hospitality Hospitality Exceptions Level 3
ITS/Telecom Telecommunications Work Order Level 5
Payroll Absence without pay Level 4
Payroll Additional pay Level 4
Payroll Faculty Overload Level 4
Payroll Fringe benefit certification Level 4
Payroll Hourly Non-Exempt Level 4
Payroll Overtime authorization Level 4
Payroll Salaried Exempt/Salaried Non-Exempt Level 4
Payroll Salaried/Hourly adjustment Level 4
Payroll Student payment adjustments Level 5
Payroll Student payment transaction form Level 5
Payroll Student timesheet approval Level 5
Payroll Student performance report Level 4
Purchasing Emergency purchase authorization <$250,000 (Docusign) Level 3
Purchasing Emergency purchase authorization >$250,000 (Docusign) Level 2
Purchasing Sole Source/Brand Approval Less than $100K (Docusign) Level 4
Purchasing Sole Source/Brand Approval Greater than $100K Less than $250K (Docusign) Level 3
Purchasing Sole Source/Brand Approval Greater than $250K (Docusign) Chancellor's Office
Purchasing P-card application and account maintenance (Docusign) Level 4
Purchasing Purchases <$10,000 Level 5
Purchasing Purchases over >$10,000 Level 4
Purchasing Approval of P Card reconciliation statement Level 4
Purchasing Staples Advantage new/modify/delete user setupService Provider Activation Request (PDF) Level 4
Purchasing Agreements (Affiliation, International, Lease, Service, etc) Procurement & Contractual Services
Purchasing Contracts/MOUs Procurement & Contractual Services
Property Confirmation of Inventory Certification Level 4
Property Off-Campus Loan Form Level 3
Property Property Survey/Transfer Request Level 4
System Access Peoplesoft Fin system access form without access to Level 1 data (PDF) Level 4
System Access Peoplesoft HR system access form without access to Level 1 data Level 4
System Access PeopleSoft HR report authorization Level 4
System Access Peoplesoft HR system access form - central users without access to Level 1 data Level 4
System Access Peoplesoft HR system access form - timekeepers without access to Level 1 data Level 4
System Access Peoplesoft HR (PDF) or Finance (PDF) with access to Level 1 data Level 3
Travel Authorization to travel to AB 1887 prohibited state - Legislative exceptions are NOT met. President
Travel Authorization to travel to AB 1887 prohibited state - Legislative exceptions ARE met Level 2

Authorization for international travel to destinations that are:

  1. Risk Advisory Level 2 or above
  2. Appear of CSURMA High Hazard or War Risk Country List
President/Designee, Provost
Travel Authorization for delegation of authority Level 3 travelers Level 2
Travel Authorization for Domestic travel (States not banned by California DOJ) Level 4

Authorization for:

  1. International travel, destinations with Risk Advisory Level 1 and does NOT appear on CSURMA High Hazard list
  2. Exceptions for expenses that are not typically reimbursed but arise out of special circumstances
Level 3
Travel Travel Expense claim for appropriately approved travel Level 4
Other Administrative Guidelines Level 3
Other Application for Payment of (Credit/Debit) Card Account - Acquisition or Change Level 4
Other DCP Request for Copy Machine Password (PDF) Level 5
Other DCP Quarterly Copier Report Level 5
Other DCP Non-Program Paper Order (PDF) Level 5
Other Employee list request (EXCEL) Level 4
Other Live scan requests Level 4
Other Service Request form (parking and events) Level 5

Signature Authority Guidelines:

Within each department, the dean or department head is responsible for the overall operations of the department and may assign signature authority to certain employees in compliance with this policy. The signature authority matrix will be updated for specific transactions.

To assign, change or cancel signature authority, a Delegation of Authority form must be completed and submitted to the CMS Finance Department (

If an employee transfers to another department or division, or other changes occur that affects their signature authority responsibilities, an updated Delegation of Authority form must be submitted.

Employees with signature authority are responsible for assuring the following:

  • An understanding of what is being approved
  • The information and supporting documentation is accurate and complete
  • The transaction is allowable, reasonable and justified
  • The transaction is charged to the correct chartfield(s)
  • There are adequate funds to cover the expense
  • The funding source is appropriate for the expenditure

Authority to sign for expense related service agreements will be verified at the time of agreement and if chartfields change. Repeated expenses can be charged in accordance with the terms and conditions of the agreement. For example, telephone, postage, copy, credit card, and EO1000 charges.

Authority for accounting activities required to reconcile, such as corrective reversals and deposits, will be completed by the appropriate functional area with timely notification to the affected parties.

Internal Controls for Delegation of Authority:

It is the responsibility of the Delegator to maintain proper control and management of his/her area; the Delegator remains accountable for all actions taken by the Delegate. The Delegator shall take into account and maintain appropriate internal controls including separation of duties, reviewing reports, sampling completed transactions and monitoring the effectiveness of the controls established.

Delegates may not approve transactions for themselves, their relatives or approve transactions that directly benefit themselves or their relatives or, in any way, create a conflict of interest with the Delegate’s responsibilities to the University. Such transactions must be countersigned by another authorized person, usually the person of next higher authority.

Documents signed by anyone other than those employees who have a delegation of authority on file with the Office of the Vice President of Administration and Finance may be declared null and void unless formally ratified by the President. Persons who improperly delegate or misuse delegated authority may be subject to an investigation, disciplinary action or termination of employment.

Internal Controls for Signature Authority:

All transactions shall be authorized according to sound management practices. Subordinates cannot approve transactions for their superiors, regardless of the authority level. Another important principle of sound management is that of segregation of duties. Segregation of duties is critical because it ensures separation of different functions and defines authority and responsibility over transactions. Segregation of duties is critical to effective internal control; it reduces the risk of both erroneous and inappropriate actions.

The fundamental premise of segregated duties is that an individual should not be in a position to initiate, approve, and review the same action. Also, the accounting/reconciling function, and the asset (e.g., money, inventory) custody function should be separated among employees. These are called incompatible duties when performed by the same individual. There must be a separation of duties between the approval of expenditures and the reconciliation of departmental financial accounts.

Responsible administrators must consider the principle of segregation of duties when designing and defining job duties. They must implement processes and control procedures that, to the extent feasible, segregate duties among employees and that include effective oversight of activities and transactions. Departments with very few staff that are unable to segregate duties require the department head to attest to the implementation of alternate compensatory internal controls.





Subject Contact Phone Email
Guideline Contact Mishelle Laws (562) 985-8356
Subject Matter Expert Tracey Richardson (562) 985-4162


Appendices (if any):N/A

Related Chancellor’s Office Policies:




Issue Date: September 1, 2010

Last Review Date: N/A

Amended Date:

February 22, 2018 - Added Approval and Requestor definitions, clarify Approver definition in guideline statement.

January 31, 2018 - Updated Executive Order 648, superseded by Executive Order 1000.

September 16, 2016 - Remove E&IT; checklist for P-Card Purchases amount increased from <$10k; add Approval of P-card Reconciliation Statement / Level 4

June 9 ,2016 - Item deleted: "Approval of P-card Reconciliation Report / Level 4 "

May 16, 2016 - E&IT; checklist for P-Card Purchases amount increased from <$5k to <$10k.
Approval of P-card Reconciliation Report changed from Level 3 or 4 to Level 4.
Level 5 Purchases changed from <$5,000 to <$10,000.
Level 4 Purchases changed from <$5,000 to <$10,000.

March 29, 2016 – Added Telecom workorder agreement <5k, type and level of authority to execute

March 18, 2016 - Line item added : "Faculty Release Time Requests | See purchasing" under the Purchasing.

November 24, 2015 – Updated General Scope of Delegation of Authority to state “authority is granted by department or fund.” Updated Signature Authority Guidelines section to reflect Delegation of Authority form. Updated forms and instructions links.

July 14, 2015 - Deleted from Purchasing/ Property Affiliation agreement: Confirmation of Inventory Certification Level 4, Delegated purchases >$5000, Off-Campus Loan Form, Property Survey/Transfer Request Level 4, Purchasing Change Request Form Level 4. Added: E&IT; checklist for P Card Purchases Only <$5k, P-Card Reconciliation Report Appropriate Approver of Cardholder, Sole Source Purchase Approvals Level 4.

March 12, 2015 – Removal of Travel card application Level 4. Changed “Controller’s Office” to “CMS Finance Department (” Changed Additional Contacts Subject Matter Expert information to Elaine Kist.

February 11, 2015 – Delegation for authorization for international travel to any country on the State Department Watch List from Level 1 to Provost

November 26, 2013 – Added Application for Payment Card Account.

Oct 30, 2013 – Changed delegations for Travel (all except travel card and travel claim authorizations) and PeopleSoft Access forms moved to level 4 for those without access to Level 1 data.

May 23, 2013 – Added Exception for lodging per night maximum – Level 2, under travel

March 24, 2011 – Added Service Request Form and changed travel levels (domestic and international). Added language regarding service agreement authorization.

December 2, 2010 – Added transaction types: Live Scan, Fee Waiver Application, and P-Card Application. Modified level for Establishing Account, Project, Class, or Program to Level 4. Updated scope to specify lottery funds and updated internal control language to guard against subordinate approvals for superiors.