Finance Policy

Summary

This Policy sets out the requirements and principles governing financial transactions, contracting, commercial activities, travel, procurement and insurance.

Objectives

This policy provides controls in relation to agreements, financial arrangements, expenditure and income-earning activities and sets out the University’s expectations of staff members engaged in those activities.

Scope

This policy applies to all Swinburne staff in respect of all University activities. The requirements set out in this policy and University delegation limits also apply to University controlled entities. The activities and legal documents of controlled entities are also to be handled in accordance with the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and any protocols adopted by the boards of those entities, provided those protocols are within the restraints set by this policy and University delegation limits.


1. Financial, Contracting and Commercial Authorities

1.1. Approvals

Depending on the type of expenditure or income-earning activity and the monetary value, activities require the approval of either:

  1. Council
  2. the VC
  3. an authorised staff member.

An authorised staff member must only approve activities within his or her area of responsibility.

1.2. Limitations

Expenditure is to be within resources allocated to units, as defined by expenditure budgets, approved forecasts and approvals granted by Council, the VC or the responsible University senior executive.

All activities must comply with University legislation and the University’s applicable policies and guidelines and must be for university purposes.

There is a distinction between: (i) the authority to spend and (ii) the authority to sign legal documents and commit to performance obligations and assume rights and liabilities. Only an authorised signatory (as set out in the table of Financial and Document Signing Delegations approved by the Vice-Chancellor) can sign a University legal document.

Guidelines and systems specified for use by the University must be used.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Specification of financial requirements, guidelines and systems for entering 
into agreements and arrangements 
and committing the University to 
expenditure and income-earning activities
CFO
Adhering to the requirements of the
Finance Procedures Manual when 
entering into agreements and arrangements and committing
the University to expenditure 
and income-earning activities
All staff  

*(Staff holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)

1.3. Two levels of authority required

Two staff members must be involved in any transaction.

Expenditure relating to an individual staff member, expenditure reimbursement or credit card expenditure statements cannot be authorised for payment by either:

  1. the payee or the person who incurred the expense
  2. a member of staff of equivalent or lower rank.

Note 1
In normal circumstances authorisation should be by the staff member's direct manager.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Other staff member required to be involved in an activity if the VC is the staff member directly responsible for the activity CFO
VP
 
Approving expenditure reimbursement or credit card expenditure statements of the VC Chancellor
  • Must be in accordance with the requirements of the Finance Procedures Manual.
Processing expenditure reimbursement or credit card expenditure statements of the VC CFO
  • Must have been approved by the Chancellor
  • Must be in accordance with the requirements of the Finance Manual.

*(Staff holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)

1.4. Delegations

The Governance Framework adopted by the University's Council describes the powers and requirements for University delegations. The power to delegate rests with Council and the Vice-Chancellor.

Current delegations are documented in the University's delegation instrument which is under review, contact Kornel Koffsovitz Associate Director-Legal, Regulatory and Secretariat.

The Financial and Document Signing Delegations do not apply to a Commercial Activity decision or a Significant Impact Activity decision. Those must be approved by Council.

If a legal document is to be signed, the University’s Contract Management Framework should be followed.

Please see the Finance Wiki for current expenditure and Council delegations.

1.5. Guidelines concerning commercial activities

If a proposal involves either a Commercial Activity or a Significant Impact Activity, then the responsible staff member must apply the Minister’s "Guidelines concerning commercial activities" and obtain Council approval.

1.6. Contract Management Framework

The Finance Procedures Manual will include a Contract Management Framework that establishes consistent practices to guide University staff through the contract life-cycle from:

  1. contract planning and establishment,
  2. managing and monitoring contract performance; and
  3. ending and reviewing contracts.

2. Travel

2.1. Interstate and overseas travel for work purposes

The University aims to provide safe, reasonable and economical travel arrangements for staff travelling interstate or overseas on University business, taking into account the purpose and nature of the business, the destination and extent of the travel and the amount of travel that an individual is required to undertake as part of his or her normal duties.
The University only pays and is only responsible for work related travel.

2.2. Travel services

Primary travel services (air travel) must be booked through the travel management company(ies) mandated by the University. 
Secondary travel services (such as accommodation, car hire, international rail and visa application processing) may be booked through the travel management company(ies) mandated by the University, or alternative service providers, or directly.

2.3 Staff travelling on the same flight

The number of staff travelling on the same flight should be kept to a reasonable minimum. 
If possible, no more than three members of the senior executive group should travel on the same flight.

2.4. Personal travel component

Personal travel arrangements that coincide with business travel must be arranged separately and the cost and arrangements for the personal component are the responsibility of the travelling staff member. At the time of booking, the travelling staff member must advise the service provider that the trip includes a personal component and that a split invoice is required with separate costs for the personal and business segments of the trip.

2.5. Spouses

In exceptional circumstances the Vice-Chancellor and staff expressly approved in advance by the Vice-Chancellor may be accompanied by his or her spouse at the University's expense.

2.6. Security concerns

Travel by University staff to destinations with serious security concerns is prohibited unless deemed essential for the University's purposes.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Final determination of any issues relating to the application of paragraphs 2.1, 2.2 and 2.4 and payment for travel CFO, Staff members of Finance 
nominated by the CFO
Must be consistent with requirements and guidelines set out in the Finance Procedures Manual
Mandating primary travel services and travel management company(ies) CFO  
Prohibition on travel to a destination due to serious security concern Director, HR
Waiver of prohibition on travel to a destination due serious security concern VC
Adhering to travel requirements set in Finance Procedures Manual All staff  

*(Staff holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)


3. Procurement

3.1. Goods and services

The procurement processes prescribed by the University cover the acquisition of goods and services.
The procurement processes prescribed by the University do not cover the provision or securing of grants, statutory appointments or the engagement of employees.

3.2. Guiding principles for procurement

Procurement should:

  1. be operationally and commercially sound, with prescribed processes allowing for the approval by the University of exceptions
  2. provide value for money through seeking to obtain the quality that meets criteria at a price that meets cost constraints (it does not mean that the University is obliged to accept the lowest price)
  3. allow open and fair competition between prospective suppliers by treating them fairly and equally to provide the same basis for the submission of competing proposals
  4. make the lines of responsibility and accountability clear
  5. manage risk in a manner consistent with the University’s risk management framework
  6. promote probity and transparency and demonstrate that the University conducts its business in a fair, honest and open manner, with the highest levels of integrity consistent with the public interest.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Prescribing procurement processes CFO
Authorising an exception to prescribed procurement processes CFO
VP (CS)
Adhering to requirements set for procurement in Finance Procedures Manual All staff  

*(Staff holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)


4. Insurance

The University will publish an Insurance Manual setting out the types and level of insurance cover held by the University and general information to assist staff with insurance queries.

Roles and Responsibilities (VC delegation)

Role/Decision/ActionResponsibility*Conditions and limitations
Publication of Insurance manual CFO  

*(Staff holding, acting in or performing the responsible position or office)

Delegation

This policy includes, where indicated in the tables of roles and responsibilities, delegation of power by the Vice-Chancellor under section 26(7) of the Swinburne University of Technology Act 2010.

Approvals

VersionDateApproverContact
V 1 9 December 2013 to commence 1 January 2014 Council CFO