4. General Procedures

See also:

4.6 Supplier invoice payments

(a) Purchasing to payment process

Departments are bound by the Purchasing Procedures and Purchase to Pay Process when making arrangements to buy goods or services from third party suppliers. These are separately defined.

Purchasing and receipting, and the maintenance of supplier records (apart from bank details) in the Financials system are the responsibility of the Purchasing Department.

Invoice input and payment, and the maintenance of supplier bank details in the Financials system are the responsibility of the Payments Team.

(b) Supplier invoice processing

Supplier invoices may be input to the Financials system either within departments or, on behalf of departments, by the Finance Payments Team. Heads of Department or Departmental Administrators are responsible for determining which.

The following features must be checked for all invoices received:

Features of a valid supplier invoice

Address details

Invoices must be addressed either to the University of Oxford or to the department. The name of an individual may appear in addition as long as this is an authorised signatory.

Status of document

The document must be an invoice rather than a delivery note, order acknowledgement or statement. Some invoices from smaller suppliers may not contain all of the details for VAT purposes. If the word ‘invoice’ appears on the document then it should be treated as an invoice.


The document is arithmetically correct.

VAT invoice

Invoices that charge VAT must contain all of the following details in addition to those given above:

  • Supplier VAT number;
  • Supplier's trading name and address;
  • Description of goods or services;
  • Invoice number;*
  • Invoice date;*
  • Time of supply (‘tax point’) if different from the invoice date;
  • Analysis of VAT charged, including value and rate used.

* Essential for invoices of £250 or more, desirable in other instances.

Any invoices that do not meet the criteria should not be input to the Financials system but, if necessary, queried with the supplier. Any uncertainty over the treatment of invoices that include VAT should be resolved by contacting the University Tax Team prior to processing the invoice. This may include any guidance on using the correct VAT attribution codes.

The majority of invoices over £100 require a purchase order to have been raised unless they appear on the purchase order exception list, maintained by the Purchasing Team.

All invoices over £20,000 value will be included in the payments spot-check process, irrespective of where the document is input to the Financials system. A copy should be sent or faxed to the Payments Team as soon as the document is input or processed to avoid delay.

(c) For Departments who input invoices to the Financials system

In addition to the rules provided at section (b) above, departments who key their own invoices into the Financials system must comply with the following:

Additional requirements for invoices input in Departments

Supplier Bank details

  • For new suppliers or suppliers who change their bank accounts, details of sort code, account number, bank name and address must be provided on headed paper to the Finance Payments Team who will verify the details prior to updating them on the Financials system.
  • If a warning message relating to missing bank details appears whilst an invoice is being input to Financials it should be investigated and resolved rather than ignored, otherwise the payment may become ‘stuck’ in the system.
  • In case of doubt, contact the Finance Payments Team.

Supplier Site

  • When keying invoices into the Financials system the correct site address should be selected (if there is more than one). If the address is not available then use the supplier set-up form on the Purchasing web-pages to request that the new site be added.

Pro Forma Invoices

  • After pro forma invoices have been processed, ensure that any copy or confirmation invoice subsequently issued by the supplier is not also input, leading to duplicate payment.

All invoices relating to payments to individuals for services rather than goods (e.g. consultancies, stipends, etc.) must be sent to the Finance Payments Team and not input within departments - see section 5 on Employment and Payments to Individuals.

(d) For departments who pass invoices to the Payments Team for input

In addition to the rules provided at section (b) above, departments who pass their own invoices to the Payments Team for input must comply with the following:

Additional requirements for invoices passed to Payments

Purchase Orders

  • All purchase orders should be receipted prior to the associated invoices being forwarded to the Payments Team.
  • If the order number is not already quoted on the invoice then it should be written on the invoice prior to sending.

Coding and authorization

  • All invoices not matched with purchase orders should have the General Ledger or Grants code to be charged written onto the invoice together with an authorizing signature. A Payment Request Form is not required.


(e) Payment cycles

Payments of both UK and overseas suppliers normally take place on a weekly cycle. There are also facilities for urgent cheque payment and same-day electronic payment (for which there is a charge). Further details on the types of payment, deadlines and payment dates are provided on the Payments website.