University of Minnesota  Procedure

Guidelines for Approvals and Routing of Financial Transactions for Departmental Approvers


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Please use the contact section in the governing policy.


Approvers are a key internal control to ensure financial transactions are correctly recorded. Approvers must review the transaction for accuracy and deny transactions that are incorrect. By approving a transaction, the approver is certifying that they have reviewed the transaction for accuracy, completeness, and compliance with external requirements and University policies. Reviews must include:

  • the purpose of the transaction is in compliance with University policy
  • the expense is allowable and appropriate
  • if applicable, the recipient of the payment is correct
  • all chartfield string values being used are correct
  • the amount is correct
  • the correct accounting period is used

Approval must be documented if it is not within the PeopleSoft Enterprise System.

Approval documentation for financial transactions that are obtained outside of EFS may include any or all of the following:

  • Email approval from approver
  • Written signature from approver
  • Written instructions from approver with signature
  • Electronic signature stamp

Note: Approvals should not be a shareable electronic signature that has been copied and pasted into a document. 

Sponsored Transactions

Sponsored transactions require different levels of approval depending on the type or level of risk. See the current Cost Transfer Approval matrix (PDF) to determine the appropriate approval requirements. This grid identifies those documents requiring certified approval and/or SPA review and approval. 

Different types of approvals are required by people involved in the financial transaction process.  Principal investigators (PI) and other research personnel are responsible for the scientific need and allocability of transactions. Administrative approvers are responsible for assuring the transaction is in compliance with University, agency, and governmental regulations regarding the management of the project. 

The following grid provides detailed descriptions of what the principal investigator and financial/administrative approvals signify for sponsored transactions.

Sponsored Transaction Approvals
Type PI Approval Financial/Administrative Approval

Directly benefits the project scientifically.

Travel expenses should relate to employee contributing effort to the project

Allowable as a direct charge based on the University’s direct/indirect policy.

Allowable based on sponsor’s project terms. Justifications are adequate and compliant with University policy.

Allocable The good or service will be used for the project within the budget period. If applicable, allocation is based on use on the project. Cost can be allocated easily with a high degree of accuracy.
Reasonable The purchase is appropriate based on project need. Appropriate purchasing procedures are followed.
Funding is available The purchase fits within the planned spending for the project. Spending rate is not excessive. The purchase will not overspend the available budget for the project.
Accurate Assign cost to proper project. Review has ensured:
  • All chartfield string values being used are correct.
  • the amount is correct.
  • the correct accounting period is used.