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State Accounting Manual - Policies

Effective Date - 02/03/14
Section
Title
General Policies
1 State Agency Sponsored Conferences
2 Entertainment Expenses
3 Job-applicant Expenses
4 Prepayments
5 Purchase Limitations
6 Authorized Agent
7 Prior Period Adjustment
8 Third Party Reimbursements
9 Refunds
10 Moving Expenses
11 Encumbrances
12 Withholding on Nonresident Personal Services
13 Uncollectable Amounts
14 Nebraska Sales Tax Exemption
15 Volunteer/Provider Expenses
16 Pre-audit
17 Lease/Purchase Agreements
18 Personal Cellular Telephone Expenses
19 Temporary Work Site Expenses
20 Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)
21 Bank Accounts
22 State Employee Expenses While Not In Travel Status
23 Agency Head/Agency Director
24 Petty Cash
25 Warrant Cancellations
26 Duplicate Warrants or Stop Payments
27 Certification of Payroll
28 Capital Outlay
29 Wage Attachments
30 Payroll Adjustments to Leave Balances
31 Termination Payoff for Employees Working on Federal Grants
32 Terminated Employee Payroll and Financial Center ID's
33 Processing Payments to Employees of Other Agencies
34 Unused Leave Recorded in Payroll and Financial Center
35 Deposit Processing
36 Collection of Sales Tax
37 Pre-Audit Certification
38 Employee Awards
39 Internal Control Plan
40 Payments for State Employee Wages
41 Payments for State Employee Expense Reimbursements
42 Charitable Contributions to Governmental Units
43 Recording Utility Expenses
Travel Policies
1 Air Travel
2 Commuting
3 Conference
4 Lodging
5 Substatiation of Expenses
6 Meals
7 Personal Automobiles
8 Receipts
9 Reimbursements to One Employee for Twore Employee's Expenses
10 Long Distance Telephone Calls
11 Employee Signatures

Introduction

The statewide policies contained in this section are the result of our review of applicable State Statutes, Attorney General's opinions, federal rules and regulations, and common business and accounting practices of the State. These policies supersede all past policy statements issued by the Department of Administrative Services, State Accounting Division. Some of these policies are a clarification of general State Statutes affecting all agencies. A listing of general Statutes which are the most widely used in the State Accounting System follows. These Statutes should be read in their entirety.

  • 81-118
  • 81-145
  • 81-161.03
  • 81-8,211
  • 81-1014
  • 81-1107
  • 81-1111
  • 81-1117.02
  • 81-1121
  • 81-1174 through 81-1182

Agencies are encouraged to review their specific agency Statutees in addition to general Statutes and develop in-house policies in those areas not covered by the general statewide policis in this section to ensure good internal control and compliance with law.

These statewide policies are the only policies in force other than procedural policies included in this manual. These policies will be used (along with state and federal laws, rules and regulations) in determining the propriety of accounting transactions. As laws, business and accounting practices, federal rules and regulations, etc. are developed and/or changed, these policies will be reviewed and altered, if necessary. Claims which violate these policies will be returned to the agency unprocessed.

These policy statements have been divided into two sections. General Policies which pertain to general accounting related transactions of the State of Nebraska and Travel Expense Policies which specifically apply to the reimbursement of employees for expenses incurred by them on behalf of the State.

Travel Expense Policies are intended to be a clarification of State Statutes, Attorney General's opinions and Internal Revenue Service rulings concerning reimbursement for expenses incurred by employees on behalf of a state agency.

General Policies

Section 81-1174 through 81-1182, R.R.S., 1943 and the Internal Revenue Code should be consulted before authorizing travel by State employees so that reimbursement for travel expenses are within the guidelines prescribed in State and federal law. In cases of conflict, the Internal Revenue Code or State Statutes will prevail over the policies stated here.

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1. State Agency Sponsored Conferences

State Agency Sponsored Conferences - Agencies, boards, and commissions may sponsor conferences and pay conference expenses of anyone who is NOT an employee of the state, if sufficient money is collected from such person, or other non-State sources, to cover personal maintenance expenses, including meals and nonalcoholic beverages. State employee expenses may be paid as state in the Travel Expense Policies Section.

All transactions relating to the conference should identify the conference name, purpose, and date. Records should be maintained in the Nebraska Information System to identify that the revenues related to the conference were sufficient to pay personal maintenance expenses for anyone who is NOT an employee of the state. Revenues and expenditure should be recorded in the same fund and program. Revenues should be coded to "Sale of Services." Expenditures should be coded using "item" orientation. For example, handouts or pamphlets should be coded to Publications and Printing expense.

No adjustment will be made to an agency's appropriation (without the approval of AS Budget), nor will netting of receipts against disbursements be allowed in sponsoring a conference. Any disbursements must be included in the agency's budget.

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2. Entertainment Expenses

Entertainment Expenses - In a letter to the Director of Administrative Services, the Attorney General's Office stated that entertainment expenses are unallowable costs not authorized by Statute to be reimbursed.

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3. Job-applicant Expenses

Job-applicant Expenses - The State Personnel Rules and Regulations permit agencies to reimburse up to three applicants per position/opening for travel, meals and lodging expenses incurred in traveling to and from the prospective job site/interview site. Agencies should follow the same policies established for employee travel when determining the amounts to be reimbursed and require the same documentation.
Items to consider are:

  • Meals are reimbursable, if the applicant is on overnight travel. Receipts are required.
  • Agencies should arrange lodging to ensure the most cost effective lodging (governmental rates) with consideration given to the proximity of the lodging to the interview site.
  • Agencies should either arrange or grant prior approval of airline reservations or other transportation in order to obtain the most efficient and cost effective travel.

All expenses should be coded to Job Applicant Expense regardless of whether payment is to the applicant or a vendor that provided the services on behalf of the applicant. All transactions should include the applicant's name and the position for which application is being made.
NOTE: the University of Nebraska and the State Colleges have specific statutory authorization to pay expenses for the recruitment of academic, administrative, professional, and managerial personnel.

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4. Prepayments

Prepayments - Occasionally, there are situations that arise where prepayment is necessitated due to federal requirements, State Statutes, contracts or, normal business practices. Though prepayments are not illegal, per se, they are in conflict with the normal claims process since the State has given up assets in anticipation of goods or services being rendered at a later date. (There is no enforceable claim against the State until goods or services are received.) Since the potential for loss to the State is greater under prepayment situations, extreme care should be exercised and a conscious effort should be undertaken to minimize prepayments at the agency level. State Accounting reserves the right to review all prepayment requests. Three prepayment requests are discussed below.

  • Conference Registration - State policy permits the prepayment of training session and conference registration fees by the agency on behalf of State employees.
  • Federal Government and Affiliates - The Superintendent of Documents and the Postmaster require prepayment for publications and postage, respectively. In these two cases, warrants will be drawn for payment in advance. All other transactions with the federal government should be reviewed to determine if prepayment is mandatory and can be made.
  • Routinely Recurring Expenses - Normal business practice necessitates the prepayment of expenses such as magazine subscriptions, local telephone service, rent expense, etc.

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5. Purchase Limitations

Purchase Limitations - Agencies shall complete a detailed requisition for all articles or property to be purchased or leased which exceed the purchasing limitation as established by the Materiel Administrator and, in addition, shall have the purchase approved by DAS Materiel. the Materiel Administrator has established $1,500 as the minimum for capitalization of articles or property. Agencies have the option to capitalize items under $1,500 on their inventories in they so desire.
NOTE: The University of Nebraska is not subject to the purchasing controls of DAS Materiel.

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6. Authorized Agent

Authorized Agent - The person or persons authorized at each agency that has the authority to determine user access to Payroll & Financial Center functional responsibilities. This responsibility is granted by the agency head or their designee.
Additional information can be found here.

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7. Prior Period Adjustment

Prior Period Adjustment - Adjustments to prior fiscal year periods are limited to corrections of errors. Normally, only material adjustments should be accounted for as prior period adjustments unless there is a legal or budgetary requirement to make a nonmaterial adjustment.

An error results from mathematical mistakes, mistake in the application of accounting principles, or oversight or misuse of facts that existed at the time the accounting transaction occurred.

Prior period adjustments should only be made when there is an error that results in either an erroneous prior year-end fund quity balance or an erroneous legally mandated budget control balance. Errors (even material errors) that have no effect on the prior period's ending fund equity or legally mandated budget control should not be corrected in a following fiscal year since this will only cause both years' accounting recorder to be in error.

The proper treatment for correcting errors detected in a following fiscal year is as follows:

  • Material Adjustments:
    • If the net revenue or expenditure, which was erroneously recorded in a prior accounting period, is material, contact State Accounting for the proper steps to correct fund equity. Such adjustments to fund equity should be rare.
  • Nonmaterial or Legally Mandated Adjustments:
    • Correct an expenditure account in the period the error is detected by using the Miscellaneous Adjustments account. The Miscellaneous Adjustments account is included in the Chart of Accounts as a revenue account. (Reference Journal Entry Instructions)
    • Correct a revenue account in the period the error is detected by also using the Miscellaneous Adjustments account.

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8. Third Party Reimbursements

Third Party Reimbursements - For funds received as repayments of amounts previously disbursed. Record the reimbursement using:

  • Third Party Reimbursements expenditure account, if the expenditure was
    • Recorded in the current fiscal year, and
    • An appropriated or legally authorized expense of the agency's program, and
    • The reimbursement was nonroutine and not a result of normal agency operations.
  • Miscellaneous Adjustments account, if the expenditure was
    • Recorded in a prior fiscal year, and
    • And appropriated or legally authorized expense of the agency's program, and
    • The reimbursement was nonroutine and not a result of normal agency operations.
  • Miscellaneous Adjustments account if the expenditure was not an appropriated or legally authorized expenditure of the agency's program, regardless of fiscal year.
  • Appropriate revenue account if the expenditure and reimbursement is a recurring item that has been included in the budget as both an expenditure and revenue, regardless of fiscal year.
  • Fund equity if the expenditure was
    • Recorded in a prior fiscal year, and
    • An erroneous transaction, and
    • The amount of the reimbursement is material.
      NOTE: See General Policy No. 7: Prior Period Adjustment if this item applies.

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9. Refunds

Refunds - an amount paid back to the State or a credit allowed because of an over collection or because of the return of an item to a vendor. Record the transaction using

  • Original expenditure account if the refund is received in the same fiscal year as the original payment.
  • Miscellaneous Adjustments account if the original expenditure was
    • Recorded in a prior fiscal year, and
    • Not an erroneous transaction, and
    • The refund or credit resulted from an overpayment other than an item described under current liability below.
  • A current liability account if the original expenditure was
    • Recorded in a prior fiscal year, and
    • A refund or credit resulting from a faulty or defective item that will be repurchased.
      NOTE: The balance in the liability account will be offset against the repurchase price when the item is repurchased. If the repurchase price is different from the refund, the difference will be
      • Transferred to a miscellaneous revenue account if the repurchase price is less than the refund, or
      • Charged to an appropriate expenditure account if the repurchase price is more than the refund.
  • Fund equity if the expenditure was
    • Recorded in a prior fiscal year, and
    • An erroneous transaction, and
    • the amount of the refund is material.
      NOTE: See General Policy No. 7: Prior Period Adjustment if this item applies.

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10. Moving Expenses

Moving Expenses - Employees who are relocated to another geographical location for the benefit of the employing agency shall be reimbursed for moving expenses. Employees relocating to another geographical area at their own request or for their personal benefit, need not be reimbursed for expenses incurred.

Whether or not relocation is for the benefit of the employing agency shall be determined on an individual basis by the agency head. Promotions may be considered as a benefit to the employing agency.

Payment of moving expenses shall be made only with the prior written approval of the agency head. The written agreement shall include a listing of the items that will be reimbursed.

  • New Employee - The state may reimburse a newly appointed employee, excluding temporary employees, for moving expenses or a portion of these expenses, at the agency head's discretion, provided the employee agrees in writing to remain in the employment of the State for a period of one year.
  • Resignation - If an employee, whose moving expenses (all or part) have been paid, resign within 1 year of the move, the agency head may require the employee to reimburse the agency for a portion of the moving expenses, based on the length of time the employee worked for the agency after the move.
  • Personnel Record - Agencies should reimburse the employee using an employee Expense Reimbursement Document. Then the agency's Payroll staff should do a one-time override using DBA code 5700 for qualified (non-taxable) expenses and/or DBA code 5800 for non-qualified (taxable) expenses. Using these DBA codes does not create additional pay for the employee, but correctly records these amounts for inclusion on the employee's W-2. A memo(s) signed by both the agency and the employee, agreeing to the amount of moving expenses to be paid and the portion of which is taxable, shall be placed in the employee's personnel file.
  • Receipts - Original receipts are required in order to be reimbursed; including closing statement and invoices from vendors.
  • Eligibility For Reimbursement - The employee's new job location must be 50 miles farther from the employee's old residence than the old residence was from the old job location. If deemed necessary, the agency head may make a request to the Direct of Administrative Services for a waiver of this requirement. If this waiver is granted, all related moving expenses will be taxable. In order to be reimbursed for any expenses under this policy, the expenses must be incurred by the employee no later than one year from the date the employee is officially transferred to the new duty station.
  • Taxability of Reimbursement - Certain reimbursements for Qualified moving expenses are excluded from income as Qualified fringe benefits under IRS Section 217. Non-Qualified reimbursed expenses are wages subject to withholding and payroll taxes. Expenses listed under "Expenses Qualifying for Reimbursement" (below) have been classified as Qualified moving expenses (not reportable) or as Non-Qualified (reportable and subject to withholding) expenses. Although Qualified moving expenses that are reimbursed to the employee are not reportable as income on the employee's W-2, they must be reported in box 12 on the employee's W-2. Qualified movingn expenses paid directly to a third party (mover) no longer need to be reported on the employee's W-2.
  • Expenses Qualifying for Reimbursement
    • Qualified Moving Expenses (not reportable as taxable wages)
      • Transportation of Household and Personal Goods
        • Actual, reasonable costs shall be reimbursed for the costs of a commercial mover (including packing and transit insurance). The payment for the type of items moved will be at the agency head's discretion. NOTE: When a commercial carrier is to be used in this instance, the employee is to obtain firm bids from a minimum of two (2) commercial carriers. Acceptance of a bid will be at the agency head's discretion. Charges incurred for obtaining bids are reimbursable.
        • Actual, reasonable costs may be paid for a self-move at the agency head's discretion including rental of personal property (van, trailers, two-wheel carts, etc.)
      • Travel to the New Location. Transportation costs (by the most direct route) and reasonable lodging (excluding meals) as approved by the agency head shall be reimbursed for the employee and all family members living with the employee at the time of the move. The transportation reimbursement may be the actual cost or $.565 per mile [January 1, 2013] and becomes $.56 per mile January 1, 2014. The first $.24 ($.235 effective January 1, 2014) per mile is considered non-taxable income; any amount over $.24 ($.235 effective January 1, 2014) per mile should be treated as a Non-Qualified moving expense and is considered taxable income.
      • Costs to disconnect and reconnect utilities.
      • Costs of shipping your car and your household pets to your new home.
      • Costs of storing and insuring household goods and personal effects within any period of 30 consecutive days after the day your things are moved from your former home and before they are delivered to your new home.
    • Non-Qualified Moving Expenses (reportable and subject to withholding).
      NOTE: At the agency head's discretion, reimbursement may be made for reasonable taxable expenses as listed below.
      • Travel to the New location. Meal expenses may be reimbursed for the employee and all family members living with the employee at the time of the move.
      • Pre-move House-Hunting Trips. Transportation costs (actual cost or $.565 per mile effect [July 1, 2013] and becomes $.56 per mile January 1, 2014), reasonable lodging and meal expenses may be reimbursed for the employee and spouse for a maximum of two pre-move house-hunting trips.
      • Temporary Lodging. Reasonable expenses of occupying temporary lodging (excluding meals) in the new job location may be reimbursed for up to 30 consecutive calendar days or until permanent lodging is established, whichever is earlier. Under special circumstances, the 30 consecutive calendar days may be waived. Agencies should submit a written request to the State Accounting Administrator explaining the reason for the waiver.
      • Cost of storing and insuring household goods and personal effects over 30 days after the day your things are moved from your former home and before they are delivered to your new home.
      • Miscellaneous Expenses of Principle Residence Sale/purchase. Usual and customary expenses may be reimbursed, which may include:
        • Actual realtor's commission for the sale of the employee's principle residence in the old job location
        • Recording Fees
        • Title/Abstract Fees
        • Documentary Stamp Tax
        • Appraisal Fee
        • Credit Bureau Fee
        • Survey Fee
        • Inspections

NOTE: No reimbursement shall be made for home improvements, points, loan fees, interest, taxes, liens, etc.

Agencies should reimburse the employee using an Expense Reimbursement Document and code the expenses to object code 516100 [employee relocation]. Payment made directly to a vendor should be coded to object code 522500 [employee moving expense]. then the agency's Payroll staff should do a one-time override using DBA code 5700 for qualified (non-taxable) expenses and/or DBA code 5800 for non-qualified (taxable) expenses. Using these DBA codes does not create additional pay for the employee, but correctly records these amounts for inclusion on the employee's W-2.

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11. Encumbrances

Encumbrances - Financial obligations which are chargeable to a specific biennium's appropriation and for which a part of the appropriation is reserved. State Accounting policies on encumbrances are based upon Statutes 81-138.01 through 81-138.04.

  • Valid encumbrances include:
    • A purchase order is issued, but the goods and accompanying invoice were not received and paid during the same biennium;
    • Goods or services were received, but an invoice has not been received and paid;
    • Goods or services and an invoice were received, but payment could not be made during the same biennium;
    • Salaries earned and payable to employees, but have not been paid (this can occur at mid-biennium and at the end of a biennium); and
    • A written agreement for a grant or award to distribute aid was signed but was not paid during the same biennium.
  • Contracts, other than a purchse order, for goods or services to be provided in a subsequent biennium do not represent valid encumbrances of current biennium appropriations and will require specific re-appropriation by the Legislature. Only that portion of a contract which meets the criteria established in subdivision (2) of section 81.138.01 may be encumbered.
  • Encumbrances for claims, whether settled in court or out of court, for carryover purposes will be valid if a court decision or a signed out of court settlement has been made by June 30 of any biennium. If the court decision is appealed, the encumbrance will still be valid as long as payment is amde in the next biennium.
  • Agencies with bi-weekly payroll should encumber the portion of the July payroll related to June working dates. This encumbrance should include salaries as well as the state contributions for FICA and retirement. Health and Life & Accident insurance should not be encumbered since these amounts are considered July expenses.
  • An encumbrance established in one biennium may only be carried over into the subsequent biennium. Any encumbrance shall be paid during the first biennium following the biennium in which such encumbrance is established.

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12. Withholding on Nonresident Personal Services

Withholding on Nonresident Personal Services - State Statutes Section 77-2753, R.R.S., 1943 requires that payments to nonresident individuals for personal services be subject to Nebraska income tax withholding even though the individuals are not State employees. Personal services include, but are not limited to, payments made to nonresident: consultant, public speakers, entertainers, individual athletes, jockeys, performers, etc. payments for personal services made to a partnership or corporation which is controlled by individual(s) performing the service will also require withholding, since the payment is deemed to be made directly to the individual(s) involved. control is defined as having greater than 80% ownership of the partnerhsip or corporation by the individuals performing the service within the State. Tax Guide.

Withholding is required whenever a payment or payments to the same individual, partnerhsip or corporation is in excess of $600. If total payments are less thann $28,000, withholdig is 4.00% of the payment. If total payments are $28,000 or more, withholding is 6.00% of the payment.

  • Enter the gross amount currently due to the payee as a debit using the appropriate agency business unit and expenditure object.
  • Enter the income tax withholding amount as a credit using the following account number - 76550.2114xx, where xx represents the remitting agency number.
    Reference Accounts Payable Procedures for the proper procedures in payment of these individual(s).
    Nebraska Withholding Certificate for Nonresident Individuals (Nebraska Department of Revenue Form W-4NA) will need to be completed by the payee if:
    • A portion of the fee is for expenses directly attributable to the service being performed in Nebraska, or
    • The payment is to a nonresident partnership or corporation that is controlled by the person(s) performing the service in the State.

Penalities may be imposed on any payor who uses the withholding information on Form W-4NA if they know it to be false or who maintains records that show the withholding to be false. The penalty may equal the total tax evaded and an additional amount up to $1,000. The general rule is that any penalties that the government levies must be assumed by the State agency initially responsible for obtaining the correct Form W-4NA.

Form 1099-MISC's will be prepared by State Accounting. the original Form W-4NA should be on file at the agency.

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13. Uncollectable Amounts

Uncollectable Amounts - State Statute Section 81-8,297, R.R.S., 1943, requires that all requests for waiver or cancellation of charges on behalf of State agencies, boards or commissions be reviewed by the Department of Administrative Services - Risk Management Division.

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14. Nebraska Sales Tax Exemption

Nebraska Sales Tax Exemption - Sales to the State of Nebraska and its agencies are exempt from Nebraska sales tax. A Nebraska Exempt Sale Certificate, Form 13, with section B completed must be given to the seller at the time of the purchase and must be retained with the seller's records for audit purposes. Since the exemption category is "1", section B does not require an identification numer. Agencies may wish to check the Blanket certificate type which continues in force for until revoked in writing by the Agency. the "Authorized Signature of Purchaser" on the Certificate is the agency's authorized representative.

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15. Volunteer/Provider Expenses

Volunteer/Provider Expenses - State Statute 81-1182.01 allows AGencies, boards and commissions to pay for th reasonable and necessary expenses for the recreuitment, training, utilitzation and recognition of volunteers providing services to the State under a State recognized program. Approval for a Volunteer Program is given for one year form the date of the approval letter and must be renewed on an annual basis.

Volunteers shall mean those persons providing services to the State who are not being compensated for their time. In addition to volunteers, certain "providers" of service to the State are also eligible for expenses, Providers eligible are those individuals/organizations providing services associated with a state aid program in which the provider receives nominal compensation for their services. Foster care parents are an example of an eligible provider.

Example of allowable expenses are:

  • Travel expenses incurred when performing services for the STate. Such travel shall have the prior approval of the agency and be reimbursed under the same policies as established for State employees.
  • Food and non-alcoholic beverages provided at training and recognition events.
  • Providing tokens of appreciation such as certificates, plaques, pins, flowers or similar items of nominal value.

To establish a recognized volunteer/provider program, the agency shall complete the form "Request to Approve or Renew a Volunteer Program".

Upon receipt of the completed form, State Accounting will review the request and make recommendations to the Administrative Services Director. The agency will receive a letter indicating if the program has been approved or denied.

When paying expenses for an approved volunteer program, the agency shall include with the disbursemtn document the name of the program, name(s) of the volunteer(s)/provider(s) for which the expenses were incurred, and a description of the activity. It is the intent of this policy that the value of service provided by the volunteers/providers to the State shall exceed the expenses incurred. Agencies using federal funds to pay for expenses under this policy should review the grant award and federal cost guidelines.

Any requested exception to this policy shall be made in writing to the Director of Administrative Services.

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16. Pre-audit

Pre-audit - State Statute Section 81-1111, R.R.S., now allows the DAS Director to authorize agencies to perform their own pre-audits, subject to monitoring by State Accounting. A separate Pre-Audit Agreement between State Accounting and the agency, laying out the terms of the performance of the pre-audit and control all payment vouchers equal to or exceeding $1,500. Appropriate charges to agencies will be made by State Accounting to perform these services. The State Accounting Administrator has the authority to waive pre-audit on those vouchers totaling less than $1,500 with the followng exceptions:

  • Employee-related expenses such as:
    • Employee expense vouchers
    • Direct-bill lodging and airfare
    • Moving expenses
    • Tuition assistance
    • Employee recognition programs
  • Expenses pertaining to conferences including:
    • Food
    • Lodging
    • Honorariums
  • Encumbrance liquidations between bienniums
  • The legislation also provides that the State Accounting Administrator may determine other audit-sensitive areas. Currently none have been identified. Sensitive object codes.

To fulfill the Statutory requirement that State Accounting ensure adequate internal controls exist and agencies are following proper accounting methods, each month a sampling of vouchers from selected agencies may be requested for review by State Acounting. Copies of the supporting documentation for these vouchers will be required from the agencies on an as needed basis. The review may be conducted at State accounting or at the agency's accounting offices. If conducted at State Accounting, the agency must forward copies of the voucher, invoice or other supporting documentation. Agencies found abusing either aobject codes or good accounting practices may be required to submit all payment vouchers to State Accounting for pre-audit. Potential problems could include: purchasing impermissible items, splitting invoices to keep them under the $1,500 level, using improper account codes for purchases required to be 100% pre-audited, etc. If such problems exist, the agency head will be notified in writing, summarizing the problems and requesting a response. The response will be considered and if any changes in the Pre-Audit Agreement process are deemed necessary, such action will be taken by the State Accounting Administrator.

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17. Lease/Purchase Agreements

Lease/Purchase Agreements - Section 81-1107, R.R.S., 1943, requires the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to review and approve all financing agreements of the state. DAS has set a policy that if the amount to be financed is greater than $50,000 and payment is over a term that exceeds one year, State Accounting must review the financing terms. Refer to Contact List for the State Accounting contact for "Review and Approval of Financing Agreements".

State Accounting has developed a Master Lease Purchase Program (MLPP) to provide a low cost method of financing certain essential equipment purchases. This program is available to all state agencies and may be utilized to lease/purchase data processing, telecommunications, laboratory, motor vehicles and other esential equipment. the MLPP utilizes the state's tax exempt status to provide a low cost alternative to vendor financing. Refer to Contact List for the State Accounting contact for "Master Lease Purchase Program".

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18. Personal Cellular Telephone Expenses

Personal Cellular Telephone Expenses - the State of Nebraska provides cellular telephones to agency personnel to utilize in the performance of their official State duties when deemed necesary. Occasionally, an employee will make work related cellular calls on their personal cellular telephone, and request reimbursement.

The State of Nebraska will reimburse employees for any cellular calls that are billed to the employee when the following criteria are met:

  • The employee provides their cellular company detail billing for the call(s) for which they wish to be reimbursed. Detail billing will show the date, time, length of calls), number called and/or calling number, and cost of the call for each call submitted for reimbursement. A log shall be provided if the cellular company billing does not provide the above detail.
  • the call(s) are billed on a per minute basis, above and beyond the monthly fee charged for the service the employee has elected as their base plan. The State will reimburse State work related calls regardless of when in the month the State work related calls are made if the employee exceeds the base minutes. For example, Employee A has a plan which allows 25 minutes of calls for the base rate each month.
    • Employee A has 30 minutes of personal calls and 5 minutes of state work related calls during the month. The State will reimburse 5 minutes of calls regarless of when in the month the State work related calls are made.
    • Employee A only has 15 minutes of personal calls and 5 minutes of state work related calls in the month. The State will not reimburse the employee since the cellular company made no additional billing.
    • Employee A has 22 minutes of personal calls and 5 minutes of state work related calls in the month. The State will reimburse 2 minutes of calls since the cellular telephone service provider will charge an additional billing for the 2 minutes exceeding the base plan minutes.
  • The agency monitors all personal cellular telephone reimbursements for accuracy.
  • Agencies will determine if the usage indicates the need to issue a State owned cellular telephone to employees.

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19. Temporary Work Site Expenses

Temporary Work Site Expenses - Employees are sometimes assigned temporary assignments away from their primary work sites. In those instances, commuting or travel expenses may be reimbursed provided that the work site is temprary and not a permanent change in work location. Agencies shall make that determination based on the facts and circumstances or each individual case. However, in no case shall the length of time of the temporary work site exceed or be expected to exceed one year. Periods greater than one year are not considered temporary in nature and expenses will not be reimbursed. the agency must determine that the employee has not made a permanent move and is truly in a temporary work loation. If the employee is expected to work at a single location for more than one year, the asignment will be treated as indefinite and and related expenses will not be reimbused, regardless of the actual time spent at the temproary work site. At the agency's discretion, shorter lengths of time may be used to define what is considered temporary.

If the temporary asignemtn requires the employee to be away from home over night, expenses for meals, loding and transportation will be reimbursed in accordance with the Travel Expense Policies.

If the temproary assignment doe not require the employee to be away from home over night, expenses for meals, and lodging will not be reimbursed except for those meals which fall under the One Day Meals policies. The employee may be reimbursed for mileage to and from the temporary work site. Mileage will be reimbursed at the rate specified in the Travel Policies - Personal Automobiles or, at July the agency's descretion, an automobile may be provided from the Department of Administrative Services - Transportation Services Bureau.

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20. Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)

Electronic Funds Transfer - Effective January 1, 2008, all vendors receiving disbursement document payments of $50,000 or more should be paid electronically. Effective June 1, 2008 the amount was lowered to payments at $25,000 or more. Effective December 1, 2010 vendors receiving multiple payments a year are required to sign up for direct deposit (ACH payments). It is essential that agencies use the correct address book number when making payments to electronic vendors. It is also essential that all agencies include sufficient information in the remark field to allow the vendor to post the payment. Only the invoice number, amount field, and the remarks field will be transmitted with the payment to the bank and then to the vendor. The State of Nebraska ACH Enrollment Form is available from State Accounting. Agencies must utilize the updated form marked Version 10.14.2010. Agencies may contact nst.tmstaff@nebraska.gov to request exceptions to this policy. Exceptions being granted are for payments going to entities that maintain bank accounts outside the territorial jurisdiction of the United States and Federal Government payments. Other exception requests will be handles on a case-by-case basis.

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21. Bank Accounts

Bank Accounts - No agency shall establish any bank account for any purpose without the prior approval of the State Treasurer and the State Accounting Administrator.

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22. State Employee Expenses While Not In Travel Status

State Employee Expenses While Not In Travel Status - these payments are only allowable under State Statute 81-1174 for attendance at official functions, conferences or hearing, not to include normal day to day operations of the agency, and employee reimbursements shall be accounted for using ovject code 571600.

If meals, snacks or beverages are included in the payments by the agency, a list of State employees attending the conference, official function or heading that were provided meals, snacks or beverages must be attached to the payment document. The agency must identify for each employee their headquearter city. The disbursement document description must state whether this is an official function, conference or hearing and the disbursement document shall be signed or approved online by the agency director. If the agency director preauthorized (signed) the meal, snack or beverage; the original preauthorization may be submitted in place of their signature, and the payment may be approved by an individual other than the director. the director's approval or preauthorization is only required for meals, beverages or snacks for employees who are not in travel status. Other employee expense reimbursements may be handled normally.

Reimbursements to employees for meals, snacks or beverages for conferenes, official functions or public hearing shall provide the same information and shall also be approved or preauthorized by the agency director.

It is the policy of State Accounting to allow agency directors to determine the definition or conference, official function and hearings, unless otherwise defined by Statute.

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23. Agency Head/Agency Director

Agency Head/Agency Director - The Agency Head or Agency Director is the individual responsible for the management of the Agency. For accounting purposes, the Agency Head may designate an individual to act on his or her behalf during the Agency Head's absence and all approvals of the designee are considered to be the approval of the Agency Head.

If the Agency Head wishes to delegate, on a permanent basis, responsibility for any accounting policy that requires the Agency Head approval, the Agency Head shal notify the Accounting Administrator of such delegation in writing and include the name(s) of the designee(s).

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24. Petty Cash

Petty Cash - State Statutory 81-104.01 allows the executive head of any agency to make application to the Department of Administrative Services and the Auditor of Public Accounts to establish and maintain a petty cash fund. Apart from a few statutory exceptions, these petty cash funds cannot be less than $25.00 or more than $300.00 at a specified location in this state. Petty cash funds can be established by agencies which need to make change; when receipting cash; or when it is more economical to make payments for minor items. Petty cash funds should NOT be placed in checking accounts without specific approval from State Accounting and State Treasurer.

To request a petty cash fund be established or to request a changed to your current authorization, complete the Petty Cash Fund Application. The petty cash address book record will be updated by State Accounting.

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25. Warrant Cancellations

Warrant Cancellations - All warrant cancellations shall first be processed through the proper agency. Agency staff is responsible for obtaining the warrant and completing the Warrant Cancellation Form. The completed form and warrant shall then be sent to State Accounting for further processing. Returned warrants will be physically sotred with the State Treasurer.

If a warrant is not available, the agency shall also complete the Warrant Cancellation Form and submit both forms to State Accounting. Reasonable efforts to obtain the warrant should be made before submitting a Warrant Cancellation Certification.

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26. Duplicate Warrants or Stop Payments

Duplicate Warrants or Stop Payments - Agencies shall complete the Request for Stop Pay/Duplicate Warrant Form or a Request for Emergency Stop Pay/Duplicate Warrant when a duplicate warrant is needed. Agencies must clearly state a definitive reason for the request of a duplicate warrant (examples: went through washer, destroyed, etc.) or the request will be returned to the agency. Warrants cannot be issued immediately upon receiving the form as the reason for a request of a duplicate warrant will be researched by State Accounting before a new warrant is issued. See Procedures for Requesting a Duplicate Warrant.

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27. Certification of Payroll

Certification of Payroll - Agencies shall certify each payroll to State Accounting. The Agency Director (or designee) shall provide State Accounting with the name(s) of employees who have authority to certify the agency payrolls on an annual basis. The certification form shall be completed for each pay period and forwarded by an authorized person via email using the email link provided on the bottom of the form. The email address is as.stateaccounting@nebraska.gov with subject line of Payroll Certification.

The person certifying the payroll must review their Agency payroll to ensure:

  • Payroll messages have been reviewed and all changes made;
  • Employees listed are empoyees of the agency;
  • The total number of hours and gross pay for the Agency is reasonable;
  • Journal entry is in balance;

Reports that may assist you with this review are the Payroll Register (R073012), the Payroll Journal Proof/Edit Report (R05229) and the Payroll Exception Report (R053191). Review the Payroll Certification Mini Manual for recommendations on procedures for certifying the payroll.

Each agency should document their procedures for certifying payroll. This documentation is subject to review and approval by State Accounting.

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28. Capital Outlay

Capital Outlay - The DAS Materiel Administrator has established $1,500 as the minimum for capitalization of articles or property. Agencies have the option to capitalize items under $1,500 on their inventories if they so desire. (View Information)

To determine if an item should be a capital outlay, the item should have an expected useful life of two or more years and the total costs for the item should be $1,500 or greater. Capitalized items must be coded to object codes 580000 - 586900. These costs should include the cost for freight and any costs incurred in preparing the item for service. Fixed assets should be recorded to the appropriate object code and item code to ensure appropriate depreciation lives are utilized.

Each agency should run the Unposted Fixed Asset Report to review costs assigned to a specific tag number. When it has been determined that costs on the report are properly capitalized, the agency should post the costs to the tag number. Costs on the report that are not appropriate to be capitalized should be passed on. (Processing a fixed asset)

When an event occurs which causes additional costs to an existing fixed asset, these new costs should be capitalized only when the useful life of the existing asset has been extended. Never add additional costs to an existing asset number in NIS; instead, a new tag number should be used to create a child-parent relationship between the new costs and the existing fixed asset.  THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT FOR DEPRECIATION PURPOSES. If the new costs do not increase the life of the existing asset, the costs should be expensed to the appropriate expense object code. 

Building Additions and Building Improvements:
Building additions are capitalized when the project adds square footage to an existing building and the accumulated costs are $100,000 or greater. For large projects with multiple progress payments, the payments should be coded to 587500 – Construction In Progress (see Construction In Progress below).

Building improvements are capitalized when the project enhances the functionally of the building either by effectiveness or efficiency, or extends the life of the building and the accumulated costs are $100,000 or greater.  These improvements do not add square footage to the existing building.  For large projects with multiple progress payments, the payments should be coded to 587500 – Construction In Progress (see Construction In Progress below).

For building additions and building improvements under $100,000, costs should generally be expensed to the appropriate expense object code.  If an agency is unsure if their project should be capitalized, they should contact State Accounting for guidance.

Construction In Progress:  (use when there are multiple progress payments)
For large projects (new construction, building additions, or building improvements), with multiple progress payments, the payments should be coded to 587500 – Construction In Progress. 

  • When a new construction project is complete and all cost have been accumulated, the agency should complete the Building Inventory Form and send it to DAS Building Division. Building Division staff will create an asset tag number and enter the asset into EnterpriseOne using Item Code 12.  The agency will create a Journal Entry to attach the costs to the new tag number by debiting 581200 and crediting 587500 and entering the tag number in the appropriate column on the Journal Entry.
  • When a building addition or building improvement project is complete and all costs have been accumulated, the agency should complete the Building Inventory Form and send it to DAS Building Division. DAS Building Division will establish a child-parent relationship with the original asset tag number for the building and notify the agency of the new tag number.  The agency will create a Journal Entry to attach the costs to the new tag number by debiting 581500 and crediting 587500 and entering the tag number in the appropriate column on the Journal Entry.

Donated Fixed Assets:
Donated fixed assets should be entered into EnterpriseOne at fair market value at the time of donation.

Combined purchase of land with building(s):

Purchase price should be split between land and building(s) based on an acceptable method (i.e. appraisal, estimated fair market value, etc.)

Software Capitalization:
Application software - computer software that is internally developed or substantively modified, shall be capitalized as a separate asset if the acquisition value is One Hundred Thousand Dollars ($100,000) or more and has a life greater than one year.  During the application development stage (as defined below) of software development the costs should be accumulated in object account 587500 – Projects in Progress.  Once the project is complete the costs are moved to 583300 – Computer Equip & Software.
Note: Operating software - such as Microsoft Windows that is purchased with a computer package will be capitalized as part of the initial cost of the computer.

  • Application softeware Costs to Capitalize:
    • Application software acquisition and/or development costs
    • Costs directly related to software development, includes:
      • Material costs
      • Developer salary & benefit costs
      • Outside Consultant Costs (including tie and realted expenses)
      • Project Team testing
      • Data conversion software
      • Manager salary & benefit costs for project oversight if directly related to software development.
  • Application Software Costs not to Capitalize:
    • Discovery Costs - those costs incurred before the project scope is broadly defined and before management approval
    • Costs to develop and offer end user training of new or upgraded software
    • Costs to implement, after development is complete
    • All other testing - not done by the project team
    • Staff training
    • Costs incurred after imipletmentation has begun (defined as the point at which the software is in use, in a production environemtn, by the users for whom the software was designed). For example, maintenance agreements may not be capitalized.
  • Phases of an Application Software Project
    • Phases: General treatment of costs:
      • Preliminary Project Stage - Expensed
        • “Preliminary Project Stage” means the earliest stage of a software development or selection project, during which the alternatives are being evaluated but no decision has been made as to which strategy or vendor to use. Typical activities during this phase include assembling the evaluation team, evaluating proposals from vendors and the final selection of alternatives.
      • Application Development Stage - Capitalized
        • “Application Development Stage” means the stage of a software development or selection project during which the design, coding, installation and testing of new software occurs. The stage begins once management has authorized and committed to funding the project, and it is considered probable that the project will be completed and put to its intended use. The application development stage concludes when the software is complete and ready for use.
      • Post Implementation/Operation Stage - Expensed
        • “Post-Implementation/Operation Stage” means the stage that begins once the software is put into use. It includes training and subsequent maintenance of the software.

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29. Wage Attachments

Wage Attachments - Agencies shall immediately forward to State Accounting the original copies of any paperwork received requiring a wage attchment for any employee. These documents would include Summons & Order of Garnishemnt, continuing liens, extension notices, Order for Withholding on Debt Owed for Defaulted Student Loans, Order to withhold income for Child Support (both Mandatory Court Orders & Voluntary Orders from the employee), Garnishment Orders from the Social Security Administration, Bankruptcy Orders to employer, and State and Federal Tax Levies. These documents require a timed response and if not processed by State Accounting in a timely manner, the agency may be placed in a financial risk or responsibility position. 

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30. Payroll Adjustments to Leave Balances

Payroll Adjustments to Leave Balances - Agencies are responsible for updating their employee payroll records. When an agency determines an adjustment needs to be made to an employee's leave history record, the correction should be made in the Payroll and Financial Center payroll system. (Leave Adjustments)

An audit trail should be documented indicating why the change was made and showing the status before and after the change. It is recommended that this documentation be placed in the employee’s personnel file.

Adjustments to current year leave payments should be made with an adjustment to the appropriate pay type on the user’s time card.

Adjustments for current year accruals should be made using One Time Overrides and the pay types identified below. These pay types should ONLY be used when the adjustment is for a change to an employee’s hours and there is no financial impact. Please note that a double entry is required as stated in the leave adjustment instructions.

  • Sick leave Adjustments - agencies should use pay type 892 when making adjustments to prior year (beginning balances) for sick leave. This pay type should also be used to reduce a retiree's sick leave balance to zero (after the proper sick leave balance for a retiree has been paid out).
  • Vacation leave adjustments - agencies should use pay type 894 when making adjustments to prior year (beginning balances) for vacation leave.
  • Compensated time adjustment - agencies should use pay type 895 when making adjustments to prior year (beginning balances) for compensated time.

Additional Information: Agency & State Accounting

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31. Termination Payoff for Employees Working on Federal Grants

Termination Payoff for Employees Working on Federal Grants - To ensure agencies are in compliance with OMB Circular A-87, agencies shall code sick leave payoffs or vacation leave payoffs for employees who are working on a Federal grant, either part-time or full-time, to an account number under their agency's general administrative activity. Agencies should use the correct pay Type for coding leave payouts found in Lesson 5, Pay Type Descriptions.

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32. Terminated Employee Payroll and Financial Center ID's

Terminated Employee Payroll and Financial Center ID's - Each agency shall have a documented procedure to immediately disable the Payroll and Financial Center ID of an employee who has terminated employement with the agency. It is the responsibility of the agency's authorized agent to request termination of the User ID from the computer system within five working days from the termination date by following the work instructions found at: Request Termination of Existing User ID.

When a terminated User ID is in batch management, the authorized agent is responsible for requesting termination of the ID by notifying Payroll and Financial Center Security using the speadsheet located at: Batch Management

This request should be completed within two weeks of the user termination date by which time the agency should have verified that all batches created withthe User ID have been approved and posted.

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33. Processing Payments to Employees of Other Agencies

Processing Payments to Employees of Other Agencies - When one agency needs to reimburse travel or other miscellaneous expenses to a current employee of another agency: Link to Procedure

  • The agency needing to pay the employee will process a journal entry to record their expense.  The debit side of the entry should be to the appropriate account number (business unit.object code) for the expense.  The credit side of the entry should be to a balance sheet business unit (equal to a fund number of the employee’s home agency) with an object code of 132200 (Due from Government).  The appropriate balance sheet business unit/fund will need to be obtained through contact with the accounting department of the employee’s home agency. 
  • The employee’s home agency will then be responsible for processing a disbursement document for the employee (using Search Type E), by debiting (charging) the same balance sheet business unit and object code 132200 as was previously credited by the paying agency. The invoice number field of the disbursement document should be used as a means to cross-reference the payment to the JE number.

The journal entry and the disbursement document are independent transactions.  The JE should be processed and then the home agency should be notified to make the disbursement.

This policy does not apply to situations where an agency is paying another agency’s employee for true contractual services.  In this situation, that relationship needs to be clearly communicated to the State Accounting-Address Book section so that a separate vendor/payable Address Book record can be created.  

Agencies should not utilize the IBT process as a substitute for this policy procedure.  

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34. Unused Leave Recorded in Payroll and Financial Center

Unused Leave Recorded in Payroll and Financial Center - State Accounting has adopted the Nebraska Information System (Payroll and Financial Center) to record all earned but not used sick and vacation leave and compensatory time. State Accounting needs this data in the system to be able to verify the dollar amount of the earned but unpaid days when the employee leaves State employment and to annually compute a liability for the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

If an agency does not input such leave data into the Payroll and Financial Center, it is State policy to consider such liability NOT to exist.  Therefore, when any employee of such agency leaves State government, NO payment will be allowed for any claimed unused vacation or sick leave or compensatory time until proper accounting for such leave or time is provided.

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35. Deposit Processing

Deposit Processing - All State agencies depositing State funds directly into a State Treasury bank account are required to remit a State Treasurer Payroll and Financial Center Deposit Document and required documentation (deposit ticket or bank receipt) to the State Treasurer’s Office. These documents should generally be submitted within two business days after the funds have been deposited in the State Treasury bank account. Faxed copies may be submitted to the State Treasurer with the original copies kept on file at the agency location. The timing of deposits is covered by State Statute 84-710.

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36. Collection of Sales Tax

Collection of Sales Tax - Agencies should review the Department of Revenue Sales and Use Tax Regulation 1-006 and Regulation 1-080 to determine if they are required to collect sales tax when items are sold to a purchaser for "use or consumption and not for resale". Before an agency can collect sales tax, they must receive a Sales & Use Tax Identification Number by filing application Form 20 with the Department of Revenue (see Tax Regulation 1-004).

When revenues for sales of items are deposited by an agency, the sales tax portion of the deposit should be placed into a liability account, using AgencyFund.215100. Payment of the sales tax should be made to the Department of Revenue through the Payroll and Fianancial Center using the journal entry process on either a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis as per State Statute 77-21708(1)(b)(i). The agency will debit the Agency Fun.215100 and credit 10000.2159xx with xx being the two digit agency number. Agencies have the option of filing Form 10 through the mail or as an attachment to the journal entry. Please follow one of these option as described on the Department of Revenue's website.

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37. Pre-Audit Certification

Pre-Audit Certification - All employees who conduct pre-audit must be knowledgeable in regard to State Statutes, Administrative Services Policies, and their Agency policies to ensure transactions comply with such laws and policies. (Reference: Memorandum of Understanding, Section 2c)

Agencies that are authorized to perform their own pre-audit must have their pre-audit staff trained and certified by State Accounting.  Certification is required for the pre-audit employee to have approval/posting authority in the Nebraska Information System.  Pre-Audit Certification is subject to suspension or revocation by State Accounting.

Further information on the certification process can be found at Pre-Audit Certification Procedure.

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38. Employee Awards

Employee Award - Awards may be given to State Employees based on a Recognition Program implemented with the approval of the Director of Personnel, AS State Personnel Division. The following defined the federal tax reporting requirements of such awards.

There are two classes of awards - tangible and non-tangible.

  • Non-tangible awards (include such things as cash, cash equivalents, gift certificates or cards, stocks, bonds or other forms of securities, vacations, meals, tickets to theatre or sporting events) are subject to taxation without limit in the amount of the award. These awards must be included on the employee’s payroll and wage history for tax and W2 purposes. Agencies utilizing the ENTERPRISEONE System – use One Time Override DBA Code 5600 instructing the system to include the cash value of the awards in taxable income, subject also to social security and Medicare taxation.  [University and Colleges won’t be doing the adjustment after July 1, 2009 as they will utilize SAP.]
  • Tangible awards are considered to be those items of personal property (including such items as watches, clocks, coffee cups etc.) given to an employee as an award for length of service or safety achievement, awarded as part of a meaningful presentation and awarded under circumstances that do not indicate that the payment is disguised compensation. Such low value tangible awards are excludable from federal income, social security or Medicare taxation.

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39. Internal Control Plan

Internal Control Plan - Agency management (Boards Commissions, Directors) for each State agency bears full responsibility for establishing and maintaining a proper system of internal control within the agency. State Statute 81-1111(4) places accountability with State Accounting to systematically conduct reviews of internal controls and accounting methods for all agencies. In order for State Accounting to effectively evaluate these controls and accounting methods, agencies shall have a documented internal control plan which will address the five components of an internal control structure: Control Environment, Risk Assessment, Control Activities, Information and Communication, and Monitoring. The effective date for all agencies to have such a plan in place is March 1, 2010.

Each principal executive officer and each principal fiscal officer shall annually certify, in a manner prescribed by the State Accounting Administrator, that the agency has in place a proper system of internal control.

Agencies shall assign a qualified employee to be responsible for ensuring the internal control plan is implemented correctly and updated as necessary, training agency staff, monitoring the plan, and reporting to State Accounting.

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40. Payments for State Employee Wages

Payments for State Employee Wages - In accordance with Statute 81-1117.05, payments for wages for all state employees will be by electronic funds transfer (EFT/Direct Deposit). Such EFT payments may be made to any financial institution of the employee's choosing or to a state authorized debit card. State employees include all officers or employees of the state or any state agency and pursuant to Section 81-1178 shall include duly appointed members of committees, boards and commissions.

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41. Payments for State Employee Expense Reimbursements

Payments for State Employee Expense Reimbursements - In accordance with Statute 81-1117.05, payments for expense reimbursements for all state employees will be by electronic funds transfer (EFT/Direct Deposit). Such EFT payments may be made to any financial institution of the employee’s choosing or to a state authorized debit card. State employees include all officers or employees of the state or any state agency and pursuant to Section 81-1178 shall include duly appointed members of committees, boards and commissions. See Employee Payroll Update Quick Reference Guide (EWC section) to verify that employee is properly setup in PFC.

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42. Charitable Contributions to Governmental Units

Charitable Contributions to Governmental Units - Governmental units, such as States and their political subdivisions, are not generally subject to federal income tax. Political subdivisions of a State are entities with one or more of the sovereign powers of the State such as the power to tax. Typically they include counties or municipalities and their agencies or departments. charitable contributions to governmental units are tax-deductible under section 170 (c) (1) of the Internal Revenue code if made for a public purpose.

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43. Recording Utility Expenses

Recording Utility Expenses -

  • Utility Expenses shall be recorded by using the following object code/unit of measure combinations. The Object Code, Unit of Measure (UM), and Number of Units must be entered on each voucher.
  • The Facility Code of the Facility for which the utility expense applies must be entered on the voucher. Unit, UM, and Facility are adjacent to each other on the voucher screen. The facility Code must be a search type of "F" from the Address Book contained in the Payroll and Financial Center. Determine the appropriate facility address book number and use it consistently for utility invoices for each facility. The vouches must be entered into the Payroll and Financial Center as a Voucher Without Purchase Order (unless the Purchase Card is utilized). Training Guides are available to guide you through the entry for these utility bills.
  • Utility Expenses paid by Purchase Card shall be recorded using the following object code/unit of measure comobinations. The Object Code, Unit of Measure (UM), and Number of Units must be entered on each journal entry and the Facility code of the Facility must be entered in the Address Book field. Training Guides are available to guide you through the entry for these utility bills.

Utility Expense Table

Object Code
Description
Unit of Measurement (UM)
Description
523201 Natural Gas TR* Therm - (100 Cubic Feet) *amended
523202 Electricity KH KWH - Kilowatt-Hours
523203 Water CF CCF - Hundred Cubic Feet
523204 Sewer CF CCF - Hundred Cubic Feet
523205 Chilled Water TH Ton - Hours
523206 Coal TN Ton
523207 Propane GA Gallon
523208 Steam MB MMBTU - Million BTU
523219 Other Utility   No common measure

 

Travel Expense Policies

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1. Air Travel

Air Travel - Air travel shall only be authorized when it is more economical than surface transportation. Reimbursement for commercial air travel will be limited to "coach" fare, if such seating is available at the time of ticket purchase. If an agency chooses to calculate productive time saved, the employee's actual salary shall be used. For board members, or others who do not receive a salary, the State average annual salary, as published in the Personnel Almanac, shall be used. Whenever reimbursement of air travel is made separate from the employee expense reimbursement document, a cross reference shall be made from the employee expense reimbusement document to the air travel reimbursement document.

Travel by privately-owned airplane or personally-rented airplane, shall have the prior approval of the agency director. Such approval shall be provided with the payment documents.

  • Privately-owned - An employee will be reimbursed at the prvailing standard rate as established by the Internal Revenue Service through its Revenue Procedures. As of April 1, 2013 the rate is one dollar and thirty three cents per mile ($1.33) Statute air mile. (Previously one dollar and twenty nine cents per mile ($1.29) 1-1-2010. DAS will not differentiate between "travel at the convenience of the agency or employee". this mileage rate is effective for all employees not covered under a collective bargaining agreement, or in which the bargaining agreement doe snot specify a mileage rate.
  • Personally-rented - Employees shall be reimbursed for the actuall expense of personally renting an airplane unless the expense is paid directly by the agency involved.
  • Charter flight - Agencies should contact the Department of Aeronautics to make arrangements for charter flights.

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2. Commuting

Commuting - the IRS defines commuting as the use of a vehicle for travel in any of the following situations. From the employee's:

    • Regular place of employment to the employee's residence.
    • Residence to regular place of employment.
  • Commuting expenses are defined by the Internal Revenue Service as those expenses incurred in traveling form one's regular place of employment and one's regular place of employment to one's residence, no matter how often this occurs during a day. These are considered personal expenses and are, therefore, unallowable expenses when using a non-state vehicle.
  • Expenses incurred in traveling from one's residence to a temporary work location are not considered commuting expenses and are reimburseable when using a non-state vehicle.
  • According to regulations issued by the Internal Revenue Service, certain resposibilities are required of employers who have employees that use State vehicles for commuting purposes.

The regulation provides that a value of $1.50 for one way commute ($3.00 for round trip commute) be added to the employee's income. Social Security taxes must be withheld on this income at least once a year. Federal and State income taxes need not be withhel, although the income will be included on the employee's W-2.

Each agency is responsible for maintaining the necessary supporting documentation and correctly entering the withholding into the Nebraska Information System (Payroll and Financial Center). State Accounting may ask to review such supporting documentation at any time. Use of a State Vehicle for commuting is recorded in the payroll system by using Pay Type 530. A "one-way" commute would be entered as .50 hours, a round trip commute would be entered as one hour. Two round trip commutes in one day would be recorded as two hours. Commuting adjustments must be processed during the calendar year payroll and can be entered as they occur or on a quarterly, semi-annual or annual basis. The entry is subject to Social Security and the employee's social security deduction will increase on their payroll when the entry is processed.

A de minimis exception, (which means we do not have to report usage), is allowed when an employee does not use an employer provided vehicle in a commuting capacity more than once a month.

the regulations also provide that where more than one employe commutes in the same employer provided vehicle, each employee is subjet to the $1.50/$3.00 income value.

IRS regulations provide that an employer may use a cutoff date prior to the calendar year end to ease the processing of current year’s W-2’s.  State Accounting has established a November 30th cutoff date which allows sufficient time to collect the necessary data and process the required paperwork in December. 

Generally, a state employee whose home is their official office would not incur any commuting income. 

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3. Conference (Attendance by State Employees)

Conference - State employee expenses - Expense incurred by a State officer, employee, or member of any commission, council, committe or board of the State while attending a non-State agency sponsored conference may be paid. Payment may be made directly to a vendor or as reimbursement to an empoyee for expenses incurred on behalf of the agency. Original invoices/receipts and a document, or statement, showing the date, purpose and agenda of the conference must be attached to the payment document. Expenses should be coded using "item" orientation. For example, travel expenses should be coded to the appropriate travel expenditure account and the registration fee to Conference Registraton Expense.

The payment of meals and nonalcoholic beverages for State employees atending a non-State agency sponsored conference is allowable if the employee is in travel status or the meal is included in the overall conference pricing.

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4. Lodging

Lodging - Employees shall report only actual expenses paid for lodging. Business telephone calls (Reference 10. Long Distance Telephone Calls) and parking charges incurred at the lodging site may be included on the lodging bill. Lodging expenses may either be directly billed to the agency or claimed on an expense reimbursement. If claimed on an expense reimbursement, detailed receipts for lodging are required to be filed with the claim. Lodging may be reimbursed when an employee is "away from home overnight". The Internal Revenue Service states: "You are away from home overnight if your duties require you to be away from the general area of employment for a period substantially longer than an ordinary day's work and, during released time while away, it is reasonable for you to need and to get sleep or rest to meet the demands of your employment or business. The absence must be of such duration that you cannot reasonable leave and return to that location before and after each day's work."

Sales to the State of Nebraska and its agencies are exempt from Nebraska sales, use and lodging tax. Therefore, if in-state lodging expenses are directly billed to the agency, the agency should present a completed copy of Form 13 (Nebraska Resale or Exempt Sale Certificate) to the lodging establishment.

It is State Accounting policy that a person generally be more than 60 miles from his or her workplace in order to be eligible for lodging. We realize there may be reasons to pay for lodging for distances less than 60 miles. Such reasons include, but are not limited to work requirements, medical conditions or weather; in those instances the reason must be clearly stated on the disbursement document.

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5. Substantiation of Expenses

Substantiation of Expenses - Under our accountable plan, the Internal Revenue Service requires employees employees to substantiate the cost for travel, lodging, meals, and other expenses. To be reimbursed, the expense must be a nocessary expense, incurred in the line of duty, reason/purpose fo the expense must be clearly stated, all start/stop dates and times must be recorded, and the amount of the expense must be substantiated.

Adequate accounting generally requires the use of a documentation record such as an account book, expense diary or log, or similar record near the time of incurrence of the expense. Such log should list the date, amount, place (e.g. city) or description, and purpose for each expense or meal/food cost. A combination of receipts and detailed itemization is permitted. To satisfy the requirement of our accountable plan, the employee should complete the Expense Reimbursement Document correctly (see instruction) or utilize a documentation record to transfer cost information to the expense reimbursement form so reimbursement can be made.

A request for reimbursement (on an approved expense reimbursement document) for the incurred expense must be submitted by the employee to the appropriate agency office (business office, accounting office). To document that this requirement is met, the agency office will need to have an effective method of recording when the expense document was received.

Such request must be made not later than sixty days after the final day on which the expenses were incurred for which reimbursement is sought. This means that if travel occurs June 15 - June 18 and again on June 22 - June 25, the request for reimbursement may include both trips, but the request for reimbursement for the first travel period must be submitted no later than 60 days after June 18.

If an employee typically requests reimbursement for non-travel expenses and accumulates the receipts for which reimbursement is sought, each expense will have its own 60 day limit for reimbursement. (Travel is defined as being away from headquarter city longer than one day.)

When a receipt does not provide the essential character of the expense, such as rate or period of use, the agency may require a copy of the rental contract or other billing as supporting documentation to substantiate the expense. For instance, vehicle rental receipts with only an amount would require addtional documentation. Screen prints or other support of online purchases should be provided, if possible, to document purchases being made via the internet.

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6. Meals
  • Overnight Travel - Pursuant to Section 81-1174, employees traveling on State business shall claim only actual amounts paid for food/meals. Employees should not submit claims based on any per diem amount. (The Federal maximum per diem rates are only a guideline and should NOT be claimed). When requesting or approving food/meal costs, compare the average cost per day for the entire trip with the appropriate daily GSA rate. Exceeding the GSA daily rate by a small amount fits the State definition of reasonableness. Reasonableness in very limited cases may exceed such rates by larger amounts; however, the reasons must be fully documented. No reimbursement may be made for alcoholic beverages. (GSA meal guidelines)
    Agencies are responsible to see that all submitted claims for food/meals are adequately substantiated. Unsubstantiated food/meals should not be reimbursed. Receipts are required unless the cost of the food/meal is under $5.00. Per diem type claims should always be questioned. (Reference Section 5 - Substantiation of Expenses)
    • Breakfast - When an employee leaves for overnight travel at or before 0630, breakfast may be reimbursed.
    • Lunch - When an employee leaves for overnight travel at or before 1100 or returns from overnight travel at or after 1400, the noon meal may be reimbursed.
    • Supper - When an employee leaves for overnight travel at or before 1700 or returns from overnight travel at or after 1900, the evening meal may be reimbursed.
  • One-Day Travel - At the agency head's discretion, one-day travel meal expenses (breakfast and supper only) may be reimbursed when it is deemed necessary for the working conditions of the employee. Only actual amounts paid for meals may be claimed. No reimbursement may be made for alcoholic beverages.
    NOTE: Meal expenses incurred in the city or town in which the residence or primary work location of such employee is located, are not reimbursable, except as discussed in General Policy, Section 22 and Travel Expense Policy, Section 3.

The IRS has taken the position that reimbursement for meal expenses incurred on one-day travel is taxable income to the employee unless such reimbursements are deemed "occasional". In order to monitor this provision, all such reimbursements for one-day travel shall be coded to account 571900. When reimbursements for meals for one-day travel exceed $200 per employee in any one year (December 1 through November 30), the entire amount of such reimbursements will be considered taxable income. If reimbursements for an employee are $200 or more for any one year, the agency will enter a payroll one-time override using DBA 1005 for the total amount coded to object code 571900. This should be processed during the calendar year payroll. The reimbursements will be added to the employee's gross wages and payroll taxes will be withheld accordingly. Reimbursement to one employee for two or more employee's expenses will not be allowed for one-day food/meals because of this provision. (Reference Travel Expense Policy, Section 9)

  • Breakfast - When an employee leaves for one-day travel at or before 0630 or 1 1/2 hours before the employee's shift begins, whichever is earlier, breakfast may be reimbursed.
  • Lunch - Noon meals for one-day travel are not reimbursable.
  • Supper - When an employee returns from one-day travel at or after 1900 or 2 hours after the employee's shift ends, whichever is later, the evening meal may be reimbursed. 
    NOTE:  The time limitations set forth in this policy do not include the time taken for the meal.

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7. Personal Automobiles

Personal Automobiles - An employee will be reimbursed for use of a personal vehicle while on State business (this does not include commuting miles) at the prevailing standard rate as established by the Internal Revenue Service through its Revenue Procedures. As of January 1, 2013 the rate was fifty six and one half cents ($.565) per mile. As of January 1, 2014 the rate is fifty six cents ($.56) per mile. This mileage rate is effective for all employees not covered under a collective bargaining agreement, or in which the bargaining agreement does not specify a mileage rate. All contract employees currently use the IRS rate. However, agencies may, at their determination, require employees to utilize state-owned vehicles (as opposed to personal vehicles) if the use of the state-owned vehicle would be more economical from both an auto rental rate and the time involved in renting the state-owned vehicle. If after such agency determination, an employee still wants to drive their personal vehicle, the agency is not required to reimburse the employee any more than it would have cost the agency to rent the state-owned vehicle.

Motocycles - An employee will be reimbursed for the use of a motorcycle while on State business (this does not include commuting miles) at the prevailing standard rate. As of April 1, 2013 the rate is fifty three and one half center ($.535) per mile. (Previously forty seven cents ($.47) 1-1-2010)

Rental Cars - Insurance - An employee should decline rental agency insurance coverages. Please refer to your agency's annual letter from Risk Management. There is a section on rental cars. Under Section III B, it states that you should NOT accept the coverages because the car rental is covered by the State's insurance.

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8. Receipts

Receipts - Detailed receipts are required as support for all expenditures except immaterial items identified by the Director of Administrative Services in section b., below. (However, you are required to substantiate meals and immaterial items, including meals under $5.00, in a log, as described under Reference 5. Substantiation of Expense). The requirement to provide detailed receipts includes, but is not limited to, food/meals lodging, car rental, commercial travel, and registration fees. The requirement is an internal control feature to guard against duplicate payment of claims. 
Detailed receipt is defined as a receipt that shows a listing of each item purchased and the related cost. Detailed receipt does not include the receipt copy that only identifies an amount is being charged to the employee’s credit card.

Immaterial items, as referenced above, are vending machine food purchases, parking, tolls, intra-city bus fares, business telephone calls (Reference 10. Long Distance Telephone Calls), baggage handling, tips and taxi fares. Tips need not be itemized separately.

In the absence of detailed receipts supporting an employee's claim, State Accounting will require a written acknowledgment that after-the-fact documentation will be provided.  This documentation may be a copy of:

  • Cancelled check;
  • Charge card slip and signed written explanation; or
  • subsequently acquired receipt and signed written explanation.
  • If receipts have been lost, or where a receipt was not provided (such as when only one meal receipt is provided per table), the employee should create and present an affidavit.

This policy is for the convenience of the agency and the employee. The absence of after-the-fact documentation may necessitate the discontinuation of this process and the subsequent inability to reimburse employees when receipts are not available.

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9. Reimbursement to One Employee for Two or More Employee's Expenses

Reimbursement to one Employee for Two or More Employee's Expenses - One employee may be reimbursed for actual expenses incurred on behalf of another State employee, such as when two employees sharing a motel room are billed jointly and one employee pays the bill. The employee to be reimbursed must provide the same etailed information that would have been required of each State employee had they been billed individually. In all cases when one employee is requesting reimbursement for expenses fo more than one State employee, detailed receipt policies must be adhered to, employees' names listed and documents cross-referenced, when applicable. If two employees are billed jointly, but each pays half and each requests reimbursement separately, the documents must be cross-referenced, since one employee usually may not have a detailed receipt.

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10. Long Distance Telephone Calls

Long Distance Telephone Calls - Charges for long distance telephone calls are an allowable state expenditure if:

  • The are related to State business or
  • The employee is in a travel status on State business and the calls are in accordance with an approved agency policy.

To establish an approved agency policy, the State agency shall submit their proposed policy to State Accounting for approval. The policy shall describe the circumstances in which long distance calls will be reimbursed, to include:

  • the reason(s) for which calls will be reimbursed,
  • the number of calls an employee will be allowed within a certain time period,
  • the duration of allowable calls or cost per call,
  • the relationship to the employee of the person being called.

State Accounting shall notify the State agency in writing of approval or disapproval.

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11. Employee Signatures
  • The employee claiming reimbursement of expenses must provide an original signature on the expense document or submit the document with an electronic signature. Supporting the documentation must be maintined by the agency for those documents submitted with an electronic signature.
  • An employee not able to provide original signatures due to physical disabilities may request a waiver of the original signature requirement. The employee must request such a waiver in writing from the State Accounting Administrator of DAS. This request must be:
    • Approved by the employee's supervisor,
    • Include the reason for the inability to provide the orginal signature,
    • Include the anticipated length of time of the physical condition, and
    • Include a sample of the intended signature to be used.

The State Accouting Administrator may request the employee to give additional supporting documentation, which could include a description of the physical condition and limitations from the employee's physician.

If the request is approved, the employee and agency will be notified in writing.