A policy answers the overarching questions as to why we do things. It should be short – one to two pages max – and speak to the purpose of why the individual departments exist. We should strive to have only as many policies as necessary. If you find yourself explaining how something is done, it is a procedure, not a policy.
External procedures are the procedures that we set for others to follow, for example, travel reimbursement procedures or charge card log sheets. They tell how we wish for someone else to do things. If you care how you get information from someone else, you need to establish an external procedure. The procedure should outline step by step what needs to be done. For example, don’t just say, “You must submit a travel reimbursement form.” The external procedure instead should say: “A travel reimbursement form must be submitted, within 30 days of travel, to the Accounts Payable office.” A new employee should be able to pick up an external procedure and successfully follow the steps without the need for documents to be returned to them for correction. These procedures should be in support of a policy, however, remember the policies can and should be broad. For example, the procedures to surplus property are in support of the fixed asset policy that says the University records and maintains all capital assets of the University. There shouldn’t be a separate surplus property policy. If forms are needed to support the procedures, they should be attached to or within the procedures.
Internal procedures (or desk procedures) are the procedures that we internally do to get our jobs done. For example, there should be a desk procedure in Accounts Payable that says what to do when someone turns in a travel reimbursement form or one in the Storeroom that says what to do when someone submits a surplus property form. These should be detailed enough that someone else could walk in and follow the steps to successfully complete the action. These should include Banner/Cars/eVA screen prints as appropriate and include the specific people responsible for tasks (not just the job title). Desk procedures will need to be revised frequently to account for changes in Banner upgrades, changes in personnel and changes in responsibilities. If Excel or Word documents are a part of the desk procedures, a sample should be included. At a minimum, the file name and the location (on whose computer) should be noted in the desk procedures.
Thorough documentation of Policy and Procedures supports UMW’s internal control environment. Below are templates for Finance:
Financial Management Policies
Policies on the following topics can be viewed by clicking here.
Identity Theft Prevention Program
Student Domicile Status Process for Tuition Purposes
Handling of Incoming Payments