Frequently-asked questions from Informatics staff regarding financial procedures
How quickly are Expense Claims / Advance of expenses paid?
The target turnaround for payment under the eExpenses system is five working days from the point at which the claim is approved, to the payment arriving in the claimant's bank account.
If requesting an advance of expenses, this should be received by the Finance Department between 2-4 weeks before travel. They will arrange with Accounts Payable to get this paid into the necessary bank account. Please submit your request to your financial administrator in advance of the 2 weeks submission requirement and include the date of the expense on the form.
Sometimes in difficult situations where an urgent request is required the cash office will issue a cash advance, but this is only done in exceptional circumstances and an explanation needs to accompany all such requests.
How long does it take to pay a Foreign Currency Invoice?
We suggest a timescale of 5 - 10 working days as an indicator (many will receive their funds sooner), although this depends on whether the funds are, for any reason, bounced back by the beneficiary to Santander, our FC payment facilitator. If necessary, Finance Office can provide copies of the payment instruction to give beneficiary confidence that funds have been expedited by our provider.
What are the University's payment deadlines / schedules?
- Casual/temporary staff payments: Deadline for submitting forms at Payroll to pay temporary/casual staff is 5th of the month (they need to be sent down before then) and they will not get paid until 28th the month after that unless this falls on a Saturday, Sunday or Bank Holiday, in which case payment will be made on the last working day prior to the 28th.
- Purchase invoices are paid through Accounts Payable payment runs which take place weekly on Wednesdays. BACS payments take 2-3 working days to reach bank accounts.
What is the University's (school) support for staff immigration fees (including settlements)?
In accordance with the University's immigration support policy, the School can reimburse visa and visa extension costs. In terms of settlement/residency costs, the University provides support for settlement applications in the form of an interest free loan, but not a reimbursement.
The Interest Free Loan
You can apply for the loan if you are already employed by the University of Edinburgh or have received a formal offer of employment from the University
- you are applying for a Tier 1/Global Talent visa.
- you have submitted the first stage of your application and received endorsement.
- you are sponsored by the University under Tier 2 of the UK’s immigration system.
- you are applying for UK residency or citizenship.
PhD Viva costs (visiting examiners)
- Costs for examining activities and the associated travel and subsistence incurred by external examiners are covered by the Graduate School (approver is the Informatics Graduate School Manager; only reasonable expenditure within the UoE expenses regulations will be covered)
- Multi-purpose visits where examining activities are combined with other institute business such as seminars or research visits can be shared between the Graduate School and the host Research Institute, by a mutual agreement. Agreement is expected before expenses/payments actually take place.
How to book courier on Informatics account
- Book with CitySprint, the contracted courier used by the School (account details are with institute-admin);
-Check with your Finance Administrator that funds are available, and once the booking is made, send the destination, date, cost and budget codes of booking by email to firstname.lastname@example.org;
- School finance team will then match CitySprint invoices to your purchase information (note, all CitySprint invoices in the School, independent of the budget source, are issued by the supplier to School Finance, FAO Dyane Harvey).
How to raise sales invoices to Informatics
- Contact your Finance Administrator to raise a sales invoice if you need to recover funds into the School/grant;
- Sales Invoices are raised electronically on eFinancials;
- If you are invoicing a brand new company/individual, they will need to be added as a 'new customer' of the University, for which a New customer account form is used (existing registered parties can be searched on eFinancials). Use New customer account guidance notes for guidance.
Purchasing in the School of Informatics
Due to the University's No-Purchase-Order-no-pay policy, most purchasing takes place by raising a Purchase Order to the supplier, with the exception of purchasing by credit card where the PO route is not feasible. Contact the School's procurement team to procure goods and services, and in case of queries regarding the most appropriate way of procuring what you need.
How to raise purchase orders
Purchase Orders are raised by using the University Finance system eFinancials. Guidance for colleagues who raise POs:
- Purchase Ordering instructions on Finance WIKI - UoE and e-financials
- Before entering a PO on eFinancials, obtain approval from the relevant School's authorised signatory
- Note, in all University purchasing, the originator, authoriser and the one good-receipting should be different people (Finance Administrators usually good-receipt orders)
- Problematic goods or any returned goods need to be reported to the Finance Administrator in a timely manner, to ensure POs are dealt with accordingly on eFinancials, and payments to suppliers are not delayed.
How to make a purchase using the Informatics credit card
For credit card purchases, please use the form and instructions which are available here. This form must be submitted for all credit card purchases along with prior approval from the relevant budget holder.
For purchases over £1000 on the credit card, these steps MUST precede requests for School authorisation:
- Procurement to provide a completed 3 quotes form as described here under option 2
- If less than 3 quotes are available or if a sole supplier, procurement team is to provide a record of their attempts or justification for having fewer than 3 at the bottom of the form.
What do I do if I receive a student fees invoice from registry?
These invoices may arrive with you in paper or electronic .pdf form. They should be forwarded to the appropriate student finance administrator, either for Informatics CDT students or for Informatics Student Services.
The financial administrators will then code the fees invoices and obtain authorisation from the budget holder/delegate (usually one of the Portfolio Managers of the Head of Student Services). The invoices are then send to the finance.helpline for payment.
How to claim relocation expenses
Any query regarding the process for claiming relocation expenses should be directed to UofE HR, either raise a Service Request on People and Money or email HRHelpline@ed.ac.uk. HR would encourage users to use the Service Request portal on People and Money as it allows users to attach documents etc.
How to pay an off-payroll worker (e.g. consultant, guest speaker, industry specialist)
- Through purchase ledger (via an IR135 assessment) if self-employed /personal company (the individiual supplies an invoice for work completed)
- One-off tax free payment under £500 - via Accounts Payable, use AP form - if the payment is one-off that tax year, usually ad-hoc work.
[All other types of casual work / services are paid via Payroll: casual contract (form 100), TAP (temporary additional payment) if already a member of UoE staff, or via a GH assignment, if already on a guaranteed hours contract.]
Note, work can only be contracted if the individual has the right to work in the UK, therefore all payments are subject to the 'right to work in the UK' checks.