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Resolving Problem Invoices

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Procedures for Resolving Problem Invoices

When Accounts Payable invoice processors are unable to match invoices to a properly approved Purchase Order, the following actions take place:

  • The problem invoices that cannot be matched to Purchase Orders are entered into Oracle with invoice holds.
  • Procurement Services determines ownership of the invoices as accurately as possible based on available information using the Purchasing Unit Code believed to be responsible.

See How Ownership is Determined on this page to find out how we determine what Purchasing Unit to associate with an invoice, and how you can contribute to the accuracy of this process.

  • Departments are expected to review their Held Invoices Reports frequently and resolve all payment holds within 8 calendar days of the date the hold was placed. Be aware that most corrective actions will require Oracle PO Purchaser or PO Requester responsibility.
  • Problem invoices not resolved within 8 days are subject to the Suspense PTAEO process.

Why It's Important

These invoices are on hold and cannot be paid, and until they are resolved they place the University in danger of failure to comply with the state's Prompt Pay Law. The delay in making payments also compromises the University's relationships with its vendors.

How Ownership Is Determined

From the Ship-To Location on the PO item line, we derive the Purchasing Unit Code (PUC) from the first two characters of that field.

If there is no Ship-To Location in the PO item line, we must then search the University's WHOIS database for the Buyer name from the PO Header, and attempt to match that person's department with a department in our Purchasing Unit database.

An important note about the Purchasing Unit database

Purchasing Unit contact information is not maintained in Oracle, so Procurement Services continues to maintain its Purchasing Unit database with contact names and addresses for each PUC. We are dependent on our users to keep us informed so that our contact information will be current. Business managers should use our Purchasing Units Search page to determine if the information for their Purchasing Unit is correct, and use our Purchasing Unit Request form to change it if it is not. Any Purchasing Unit contact who believes that they are not receiving email notifications regarding their invoices should also search this database to be sure that they are correctly listed as the contact.

Suspense PTAEO Process

  • Held invoices on the Held Invoices With No Valid PO report must be corrected by the process described in detail below. Any such invoice which has been on hold for 8 or more calendar days will be processed and charged to the Suspense PTAEO of the PO Buyer's department.
  • All Suspense PTAEOs must be cleared each month. Reports on Suspense PTAEOs are made to all vice presidents so they may follow up directly with those managers whose units have transactions that fall into this category.
  • When a change is required to correct a held invoice, users must notify Procurement Services via the Invoice Correction Form.


These invoices will be processed and charged to the Buyer's Suspense PTAEO if not corrected within 8 calendar days of the date the hold was created. Invoices in this category are identified on the Held Invoices With No Valid Purchase Order report, with the following holds:

  • "PO NOT APPROVED" indicates that the PO Number on the invoice is not a complete and currently approved PO. The most common reasons for this hold are that the PO was not properly approved before the order was placed, the PO is currently closed or rejected, or that the PO Number on the invoice is incorrect.
  • "New PO Required" indicates that the PO associated with the invoice is in Oracle, but the current invoice would push the PO over the Department Purchase Order limit, or the status of the Department Purchase Order is "Finally Closed". In either case the invoice cannot be processed against the existing Department Purchase Order.
  • “OSP Closed Award” indicates that the Award on the PO associated with the invoice is closed or has passed the award close date.

All  of these holds indicate that the PO Number on the invoice does exist in the system, but is not a complete and currently approved PO that is valid for this particular invoice, or the Award does not allow matching of the invoice and consequently the invoice cannot be paid.

To correct the above holds:

Immediately confirm that any invoice that is associated with you as the PO Buyer actually belongs to you and your Purchasing Unit. If it does not, simply submit an Invoice Correction Form indicating that the invoice does not belong to you. No further action is necessary.

For "PO NOT APPROVED" holds, if the PO Number on the invoice is correct, simply take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the PO is approved. After correcting the issue,  submit an Invoice Correction Form so AP knows to re-enter your invoice.  The invoice hold will be removed within three business days of the date the PO was approved. Recheck your reports at that time to confirm that the hold has been removed.

If the PO Number on the invoice is incorrect, or if the Department Purchase Order cannot be approved, or for "New PO Required" holds:

  • Create and approve a Department Purchase Order with the vendor and site indicated on the invoice.
  • Submit a Invoice Correction Form with the new PO Number. You will receive an e-mail confirmation of the form submission, and the invoice hold will be removed within three business days.
  • Correct any information necessary for the invoice as needed, and keep in departmental invoice records.
  • If you expect more invoices to be received against the original incorrect PO (e.g. blanket orders, incomplete orders), contact the vendor to be sure that the PO Number is changed on the order, to prevent the recurrence of the problem with future invoices.
  • If the original incorrect PO belongs to your department, clean it up appropriately, cancelling it unless it is valid for some other invoice. Always exercise care that you never inadvertently cancel a PO that belongs to someone else.
  • For “OSP Closed Award” holds, you must contact Sponsored Programs by emailing to reopen the award and/or extend the award close date or enter a new valid PTA on your PO.  Failure to act will charge the transaction to your departmental suspense account and you must alert OSP if a sponsored research award is involved.  After correcting the issue, submit an Invoice Correction Form so AP knows to re-enter your invoice.  You should contact Sponsored Programs with questions. 


Other Problems

If you have problem invoices in some other category and are unsure how to resolve them, please let us know. We are eager to work with you on these problems.

Clearing Suspense PTAEOs

The procedure for clearing Suspense PTAEOs, identified as "Other Than Personal Services (OTPS)", is part of Grants Management. Please reference the Expenditure Batches in GM page on the Integrated System Deployment & Support's (ISDS) website for information on this procedure.

Reference Financial Policy Internal Controls -- Responsibility to Review Projects and Reconcile Accounts Periodically for general policy on management of Suspense accounts.

If you do not know your Suspense PTAEO, it can be found on the ISDS website's Document Repository page under "Organization Document."

You may find it useful in reconciling your Suspense Accounts to refer to the report PS-AP POs Charged to Suspense PTAEO under the prefix "IS.PS" in the ODS database. This report shows PO detail that may not appear on reconciliation reports.