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California State University, Long BeachCalifornia State University, Long Beach

ADMINISTRATIVE GUIDELINE

Signature Authority Guideline

Guideline Contents

  • Responsible University Officer:
    Vice President, Administration and Finance

PURPOSE AND SCOPE

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. 

GUIDELINE STATEMENT

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 648. 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.

Definitions

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.

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).

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 and fund.  Departmental signature authority refers to General Fund and Lottery Funds. 

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 Level 4
  Establish funds and departments Level 3
  Establish Account, Project, Class, or Program Level 4
  Establish Petty Cash/Change Fund Level 3
  Journal entry request Level 5
  Petty cash reimbursement Level 5
  Request reimbursed activities program Level 4
Employment Appointment letters Level 3
  CSULB volunteer identification Level 4
  Employee planning and performance review Level 4
  Fee waiver application Level 4
  Fee waiver registration for class time Level 4
  Immediate pay voucher Level 4
  In range progression Level 2
  MPP and Confidential reconsideration Level 3
  MPP evaluations Level 3
  Permanent position recruitments (inc.  Exceptions)* Level 4
  Personnel transactions (PTF) Level 4
  Position action form Level 4
  Position description Level 4
  Position pool id Level 4
  Professional learning and development plan Level 4
  Relocation expense authorization (no form) Level 2
  Staff leave of absence Level 3
  Unit 4 Merit bonus pay recommendation Level 3
Facilities Use Facilities workorder requests  Level 5
  Auth to use private vehicles on state business Level 4
Hospitality and Gifts Gifts to non-employees Level 3
  Employee non-cash award Level 3
  Employee non-cash award exceptions Level 2
  Gifts to non-employees exceptions Level 2
  Hospitality expense and gift exceptions Level 2
  Hospitality expense and gift expenditures Level 3
Payroll Absence and additional time worked * (paper or system) Level 4
  Absence without pay* Level 4
  Additional pay Level 4
  Fringe benefit certification Level 4
  Hourly employee time voucher* Level 4
  Overtime authorization* Level 4
  Salaried/Hourly adjustment Level 4
  Student payment adjustments Level 5
  Student payment transaction form Level 5
  Student timesheet approval Level 5
  Student performance report Level 4
Purchasing/Property Affiliation agreements See purchasing
  Confirmation of Inventory Certification Level 4
  Contracts/MOUs See purchasing
  Delegated purchases <$5000* Level 5
  Delegated purchases >$5000* (Dept buyer only) Level 4
  Emergency purchase authorization (<$250k) Level 3
  Emergency purchase authorization (>$250k) Level 2
  Lease Agreements See purchasing
  Off-Campus Loan Form Level 3
  OfficeMax new/modify/delete user setup Level 4
  P-card application and account maintenance Level 4
  P-card lost itemized receipt Level 4
  Property Survey/Transfer Request Level 4
  Purchasing change request form Level 4
  Service Agreements See purchasing
System Access Peoplesoft Fin system access form without access to Level 1 data Level 4
  Peoplesoft HR system access form without access to Level 1 data Level 4
  PeopleSoft HR report authorization Level 4
  Peoplesoft HR system access form - central users without access to Level 1 data Level 4
  Peoplesoft HR system access form - timekeepers without access to Level 1 data Level 4
  Peoplesoft HR or Finance with access to Level 1 data Level 3
Travel Authorization for international travel to any country on the State Department Watch List Level 1
  Authorization for Level 3 domestic and international travel for State Department on-watch list countries Level 2
  Authorization for domestic travel Level 3
  Authorization for international travel for State Department non-watch list countries Level 3
  Exceptions for expenditures that are typically non-reimbursable and arise because of special or unusual circumstances Level 3
  Travel card application Level 4
  Appropriate authorized travel claim Level 4
Other Administrative guidelines Level 3
  Application for Payment of (Credit/Debit) Card Account - Acquisition or Change Level 4
  DCP copy machine request Level 5
  DCP password request form Level 5
  Employee list request Level 4
  Live scan requests Level 4
  Print shop request Level 5
  Service Request form (parking and events) Level 5

* May require system access form completion

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 Signature Authority form must be completed and submitted to the Controller’s Office, including the signature of the applicant.

If an employee transfers to another department or division, or other changes occur that affects their signature authority responsibilities, an updated Signature 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 project(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.

PROCEDURES

N/A

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS

Subject Contact Phone Email
Guideline Contact Mishelle Laws 562-985-8356 mishelle.laws@csulb.edu
Subject Matter Expert Beth Ryan 562-985-1741 beth.ryan@csulb.edu
Subject Matter Expert Christine Welch 562-985-8307 christine.welch@csulb.edu

APPENDICES AND RELATED INFORMATION

Appendices (if any):N/A

Related Chancellor’s Office Policies:

http://www.calstate.edu/EO/EO-688.html

http://www.calstate.edu/EO/EO-812.pdf

http://www.calstate.edu/EO/EO-761.pdf

http://www.calstate.edu/EO/EO-760.PDF

FAQ

N/A

HISTORY

Issue Date: September 1, 2010

Last Review Date: N/A

Amended Date:

December 2, 2010 – Added transaction types: Live Scan, Fee Waiver Application, and P-Card Application.  Modified level for Establising 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.

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

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

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.

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