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Signing Authorities

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To:         Faculty and staff

From:    Ian Orchard, Vice-President, Academic & Provost

                 Dennis Huber, Vice-President, Administration & Finance

Date:      Monday, March 13, 2017

Subject: Signing Authorities Designated in the New Financial System’s Electronic Workflow


What is happening?

As a publicly-assisted institution, the University of Waterloo is accountable for its expenditures and for ensuring that appropriate individuals are approving all types of expense transactions.

Procedure 1 and Procedure 1a outline the signing authorities of the University for amounts greater than $200,000. With the May 1, 2017 implementation of our new financial system (Unit4), the University is able to make use of an electronic workflow that will allow us to efficiently and effectively manage our approvals for expenses below $200,000.

What does this mean to me?

University departments are responsible for understanding and approving departmental expenses.  This reflects the commitment of the University to the proper management of and accountability for the resources of the University. 

Non-Research purchases

For requisition and purchase invoice transactions outside of Fund 105, those permitted to approve on behalf of the University are:

  • The Dean, Chair, Director (for academic units) or Department Head (for academic support units) responsible for the account, for amounts greater than or equal to $50,000; and,
  • Approved delegated responsibility to those individuals in the department with senior financial oversight, authority and decision-making responsibilities for amounts less than $50,000.

Research purchases

For requisition and purchase invoice transactions in Fund 105, those permitted to approve on behalf of the University are:

  • The Principal Investigator (“PI”), for amounts greater than or equal to $20,000; and,
  • The PI or a designated Signing Authority Delegate (whose delegation is approved in writing by the PI and in accordance with Signing Authority Guidelines for Research Grants), for amounts less than $20,000.

Please note that Purchasing Card (P-Card) and travel/other expense reimbursement transactions have their own published approval requirements separate from those noted above which may require lower dollar thresholds and/or one-over-one approval.