Guidelines & Procedures
Accountable Professional Expense Fund (APEF) Guidelines
(The related board of governors approved policy can be found under "Policies & Reports" at http://www.usask.ca/university_secretary/policies/operations/index.php
To provide administrative assistance to employees and their supervisors in determining which expenditures are allowable to be claimed from, or charged to, an Accountable Professional Expense Fund (APEF) and to set forth the guidelines regarding fund utilization, unused balances and the related procedures and approval processes.
Within this guideline, the use of terminology such as department head, dean and college are considered to also refer to director, head of administrative unit and administrative unit/division.
Accountable Professional Expense Fund (APEF) are an annual allocation provided to employees as a result of their membership in a collective bargaining unit or because of their employment contract.
For eligibility, annual allocation amounts, and carry forward limits, please refer to the appropriate collective agreement:
As part of their financial management responsibilities, department heads, deans and vice-presidents should meet with their employees annually to discuss the employee's spending plans regarding the balance in the employee's fund.
The amount that may be reimbursed from or charged to an APEF is limited to the available balance in the fund.
Key Points regarding APEF funds:
Expenditures may be reimbursed from or charged to an APEF if the following conditions are met:
- Expenditures must be incurred in performance of professional, teaching, or research activities.
- Expenditures must be for valid university business purposes and are to benefit the university.
- Title of ownership to any goods purchased (e.g. books, equipment, furniture, etc.) remains with the university and the goods will be identified as such.
- Any personal benefit must be incidental. If some personal benefit is deemed to have been received by the employee, the whole expenditure will be viewed as a personal benefit and not considered an allowable expenditure. In certain circumstances, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will accept no assessment of a taxable benefit to the employee where the personal portion is incidental (generally means it is less than 10%). If the actual use is different from that certified on the Cheque Requisition/Reimbursement Claim form, any resulting personal benefit for income tax purposes will be a matter between the employee and CRA.
- Expenditures must be approved by the appropriate department head, dean, or vice-president.
Unused Fund Balances and Carry Forward Limits
- Unused balances may be carried forward to future years, as long as the individual remains an employee of the University.
- Unused balance carry-forward limits, and the disposition of the amounts in excess of those limits, are set forth in the various collective agreements.
Termination of Employment or Retirement
- Effective December 31, 2014, charges to Accountable Professional Expense Funds (APEF) from individuals who have terminated their employment with the university or retired will no longer be accepted, including individuals granted with a Professor Emeritus/Emerita status with the university. Any pending claims for allowable expenses and all completed travel will be accepted for reimbursement up to December 31, 2014.
- Effective January 1. 2015, unused APEF balances from employees who have terminated their employment, retired from the university, or hold a Professor Emeritus/Emerita status will be returned to the original funding source.
- Claims for reimbursement of expenditures incurred while an employee of the university must be made within two (2) months of termination of employment.
- Goods purchased on behalf of the university are university property and must be returned to the dean or department head prior to leaving. This includes any equipment that was located off-campus.
Procedure Summary and Approvals
Note: Refer to the Travel Expense Guidelines for per diems, kilometric rates, etc.
- Claims must be submitted within six (6) months of incurring the expenditure (except for travel claims which must be submitted within two months of incurring the travel expenditure).
- The claim must be accompanied by original receipts or paid invoices. Photocopies of invoices and cancelled cheques will not be accepted. Credit card slips alone are not acceptable, as they do not provide sufficient detail about the items being claimed or the applicable taxes.
- If the fund balance is not sufficient to cover the total cost of the expenditure, the claim will be processed in the amount of the available balance. A separate claim for the remainder of the expenditure, or a portion of the remainder, can be submitted after the next allocation has been credited to the fund.
Direct Charges / Transfers
- Normally, expenditures against APEF's are paid by the individual and then claimed as a reimbursement. Charges may also be made directly against an APEF via an interdepartmental billing, by using a PCard, by issuing a cheque requisition /reimbursement claim form to pay a supplier, or as an expenditure transfer (Journal Voucher) from another fund.
- All APEF reimbursement claims must be approved by the employee's supervisor (e.g. department head, dean or vice-president). The approval rule is "one-up". Approval of the applicable form indicates that the expenditures are considered to be appropriate and reasonable. In no instance can individuals approve their own reimbursement.
- All APEF direct charges/transfers will be approved by the employee's supervisor as follows:
- As part of their annual performance review process, employees are required to print out, via the Admin Services channel in PAWS, their APEF fund statement for the period/year being reviewed. This statement will include all activity, including direct charges/transfers, which have been posted to their APEF. It will also display the net change for the period being reviewed and the current fund balance.
- These statements will be provided to the employee’s supervisor for review and approval of expenditures (approval is indicated by the supervisor signing the statement at the bottom) and for filing in the departmental file for the employee for subsequent compliance audit verification.
- This is also when the supervisor would, as per the APEF policy, “…discuss the employee’s spending plans regarding the balance in the employee’s fund.”
Note: Even though there is not a requirement to have direct charges/transfers pre-approved, the employee's supervisor may, if they so desire, require that all APEF direct charges/transfers be pre-approved to satisfy their internal financial management processes.
Also, to ensure that the approval of direct charges/transfers can be managed as efficiently and effectively as possible, supervisor's should consider asking individual's to provide them with copies of relevant documentation supporting any direct charges/transfers as they are incurred. These can then be matched with the semi-annual report when it is received.
If, during this review and approval, it is determined that the claim/direct charge, or a portion of the claim/direct charge, is not an acceptable charge against the APEF, then the declined amount will become the responsibility of the college to resolve. Resolution may include recovering, from the employee, the amount inappropriately charged to the APEF fund.
- After the original receipts have been attached to the Cheque Requisition/ Reimbursement Claim form, and the form has been signed by the employee and approved, forward the form to Payment Services, room E80 Administration Building for processing.
- Payment Services will only process claim forms that are complete. Incomplete claim forms will be returned to the claimant.
- Please allow ten (10) working days, from receipt of the claim form in Payment Services, for processing.
- Reimbursement will only be made to the individual who incurred the expenditures.
- Reimbursement cheques will be mailed to a campus address.
Direct Charges / Transfers
- Direct Charges / Transfers will be processed along with other direct charges / transfers as part of normal processing procedures for interdepartmental billings, PCard purchases, cheque requisition/reimbursement claim forms, or expenditure transfers (Journal Voucher)..
BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS
- Books, manuscripts, magazines and subscriptions relating to an individual's discipline are an allowable expenditure.
- The supporting receipt or invoice must show the titles of the publications.
- All books, manuscripts, etc., purchased are property of the University.
CONFERENCES, SEMINARS, TRAINING
- The registration fee and travel and other expenses of attending conferences, seminars, training courses, etc., that relate to teaching, research or professional activities, are allowable expenditures.
- Travel costs must be in accordance with approved university policy and must be submitted on a Travel Expense Claim form. Refer to the Travel Expense Guidelines.
- Where the primary use of aclub can be adequately explained as relating to university business purposes, club dues are allowable.
- In normal consideration of the use of clubs, including the Faculty Club, it would not be appropriate to deduct more than 2/3 of the annual dues.
- Annual dues or membership fees for recreational or sports facilities and clubs, including golf courses, gyms, etc. are not allowable expenditures.
- Tuition fees and related mandatory fees for courses leading to a degree, diploma or certificate, in a field related to the employee's current or potential responsibilities at the university, are allowable expenditures.
- Personal interest training is not an allowable expenditure.
- For additional consideration of allowable education costs refer to the guideline regarding Reimbursement of Educational Costs.
- Equipment required for professional, teaching or research activities is an allowable expenditure.
- In certain circumstances, CRA will accept no assessment of a taxable benefit where the personal portion associated with the use of the equipment is considered to be incidental (generally means that there is no benefit, if any, if the personal portion is less than 10%).
- In the majority of cases, the equipment purchased is located on campus.
- Where the equipment will be located off-campus, the individual must sign a Declaration of Property Used Off-Campus. This declaration indicates that the equipment is used for professional, teaching and research activities of the University of Saskatchewan.
- Invoices supporting purchases must show the make, model, serial number and location of the equipment. All purchases of equipment, whether fully funded or not, are the property of the university and will be tagged as property of the University of Saskatchewan.
- If the individual leaves the employment of the University, for any reason, or there is a change in use of the equipment, the equipment purchased, whether fully funded or not, must be returned to the dean or department head.
- If it is determined that the equipment charged to the APEF is to be disposed of, the disposal would need to follow the process outlined by the Disposal of Surplus Asset Policy.
- The actual cost of repairs and maintenance, or the cost of a maintenance agreement, for equipment reimbursed under this policy, are also allowable expenditures.
- Components of equipment are allowable if the university owns the overall equipment (e.g. a modem or hard drive upgrade component is an allowable expenditure if the component is installed in a computer owned by the university). In these cases, the equipment number of the equipment being upgraded needs to be provided with the claim/charge.
FINANCIAL COUNSELING FOR RETIREMENT
- Financial counseling for retirement is an allowable expenditure.
- For financial counseling for retirement to be an allowable expenditure, it is important to note that Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) distinguishes between financial counseling for retirement and other financial counseling. The following is an excerpt from CRA's opinion letter (reference #911811):
"Financial counseling is usually a recurring service with no particular emphasis on retirement. Retirement counseling, on the other hand, is usually a non-recurring service for employees who are clearly at or near retirement (i.e. - within 15 years of the individual's normal retirement date) where the primary emphasis is on retirement issues. Advice relating to the purchase of specific investments or the promotion of a particular investment strategy is not considered to be retirement counseling."
- The invoice must clearly indicate that the services provided were in respect of your retirement planning.
- In the event that employees obtain both financial counseling for retirement and other financial counseling and the primary emphasis is not on retirement issues, the fee is not allowable. Where both components are significant, the provider must be advised to disclose each component of the service separately on the invoice.
- Where CRA deems the expenditure to be for financial counseling, other than in respect of retirement, any resulting personal benefit for income tax purposes will be a matter between the employee and CRA.
- Furniture and other reasonable office enhancements for an individual's office at the university are an allowable expenditure.
- Furniture must meet the requirements of university policy "Furniture":http://www.usask.ca/university_secretary/policies/health/index.php
- All purchases of equipment and furniture are property of the university and will be tagged as property of the University of Saskatchewan.
- Any item of furniture for a home office is not an allowable expenditure.
INTERNET CONNECTIONS & SIMILAR SERVICES
- As there are university faculty and staff who are required to maintain contact with members of the university community, and systems, outside of normal office hours, related to professional, teaching, or research duties, home internet service and other similar services are allowable expenses provided any personal use (which includes family members) is incidental.
- With regard to cell phones plans , the plan expense would be allowable if the university requires the employee to carry a cell phone and provided any personal use is incidental.
Note: Normally, if an employee is required to carry a cell phone, the cost of the plan would be a departmental expense.
- In certain circumstances, CRA will accept no assessment of a taxable benefit where the personal portion (which includes family use) associated with the use of the equipment is considered to be incidental (generally means that there is no benefit, if any, if the personal portion is less than 10%).
OFFICE MATERIALS & SUPPLIES
- Office materials and supplies that are used or remain at the university are allowable expenditures.
- Expenses related to a home office are not allowable expenditures.
PAYMENTS TO INDIVIDUALS
- Payment of salaries, honorariums or other forms of remuneration to individuals related to one's professional, teaching or research activities are allowable expenditures.
PROFESSIONAL DUES & MEMBERSHIPS
- The expenses of maintaining memberships in professional associations that are related to one's discipline are allowable expenditures.
- Union initiation fees, dues, assessments, etc. are not allowable expenditures.
- Articles 26 and 27 of the 2007-2009 Collective Agreement between the University of Saskatchewan Faculty Association and the university determine if the University of Saskatchewan shares in the rights of any patents or royalty payments where research expenditures are reimbursed from/charged to the APEF.
- These articles determine the consequences of reimbursement/direct charges/transfers of the related expenditures.
- Travel expenses that relate to professional, teaching or research activities are allowable.
- Travel costs must be in accordance with the approved university policy and guidelines.
- Costs to attend university functions, such as college graduation banquets, where the attendance of the employee is expected and encouraged, are allowable expenditures. However, the cost for a guest is not an allowable expenditure.
- Donations to organizations (e.g. United Way, Red Cross, etc.) other than the University of Saskatchewan are not allowable expenditures.
- Donations to the University of Saskatchewan are not allowable expenditures.
- Employment, honorariums or other forms of remuneration to family members are not allowable expenditures.
- Expenditures related to furniture, materials and supplies for a home office are not allowable expenditures.
- Expenditures related to hospitality, (entertainment, public relations /fundraising, recruitment, staff functions and working lunches) are not allowable expenditures.
- Purchases of tickets or admissions to University of Saskatchewan athletic or social events are not allowable expenditures.
- Expenditures for which a university business purpose is not established, and items that are for the personal benefit of the claimant, are not allowable expenditures.
- Fund transfers between APEF funds, or into APEF funds from other sources, other than the annual allocations, are not allowed.
For additional assistance please email email@example.com or contact:
Manager, Payment Services
|Cheque Requisition/Reimbursement Claim form|
|Travel Claim form|
|Declaration of Property Used Off-Campus||