Experts Corner | Accounts Payable

Welcome to the Expert’s Corner, a regular series providing valuable insight and knowledge from professionals within Financial Services.

This month’s expert is Senior Accountant Jadee Hill who has worked in Accounts Payable for 10 years.


Can you explain your job in terms that someone who isn’t familiar with Financial Services would understand?

Do you remember being a kid and doing those matching puzzles to spot the differences? I do that, but with numbers and policy. I’ll be looking at two different records of accounts against the general ledger or a credit card statement and I’m looking for any differences between them and fixing them where they pop up.

I do the same thing for policy. I review most of the payments that go through Accounts Payable – which are most of the payments that go through the university as a whole. I make sure that we are compliant with university policy, state law and federal law.


What are some common mistakes members of campus make when working with Accounts Payable? 

People on campus often confuse Accounts Payable with Purchasing, Travel or PCard. It’s a totally reasonable mistake. There’s a common sentiment that if a payment has gone out, Accounts Payable is the group to call.

There are so many nuances within the university and across the different departments on campus and Accounts Payable handles a very specific sub-section of actual payments. We are primarily responsible for working with purchase orders, ePayment Requests (ePR) and wire transfers. If it comes from a credit card or if it originates in the Concur system, Accounts Payable doesn’t touch it.

Accounts Payable also deals with a lot of calls from individuals who are trying to explain the problem they are facing, but they don’t provide a purchase order number, ePR number or wire number. That number is important! It allows us to help us help you solve the problem quicker. Having the appropriate documentation let’s our team see what the customer is seeing and that can help us solve the problem quicker. If you are calling us with questions, be sure to have that number ready or be prepared to send it to us in an email.

The last common mistake that people make has to do with checks. Accounts Payable issues checks, but we don’t receive them. We have the Income Accounting department on campus, as well as the Treasurer’s Office and that’s really where any incoming payment should go. People tend to assume that checks go with checks. While our team can direct them to the right place, we aren’t the final destination for any incoming payments.


What’s something you wish the campus community understood about working with your department? 

I think it’s important for campus to know that the Accounts Payable team can’t dictate how things are paid in terms of the funding source that they are coming from. What I mean by that is that we can’t inform them on whether or not it’s allowed by their department.

We often get calls and people will ask us if they are allowed to make a payment for a specific reason. While we are more than happy to provide the tools they need or the contacts they can reach out to, we can’t dictate whether or not your specific dean or vice president wants you spending money for that reason. Even if you have sign off from your approver, our team can’t advice which activity or Chartfield to use.

We receive a lot of questions of that nature and we have to turn it back to the person asking and tell them that they will need to contact the authority in their specific department for those approvals.

Accounts Payable is all about the tools. We can tell you the buttons to click to generate a payment but we can’t tell you if that payment is allowed by the supervisors in your area.


If someone is a new employee working with Accounts Payable, what is something that they should know?

I would say that they need to get ready to hear a lot of acronyms. That’s something true for all of campus but especially within the financial departments. We’re throwing around terms like “ePR” (ePayment Requests) and “PO” (purchase orders) and “ACH” (automated clearing house). It’s just the language that we speak within the department.

Please don’t be afraid to ask us questions! Stop us in the middle of a meeting or a conversation and say, “Wait, hold on. I don’t understand what RFP (request for proposal) means – can you explain it to me?” Our team is so used to it but it can definitely throw people off in the beginning.

I think there’s also this sense – from a personnel side – that when you’re working with accountants, they are all really boring people who keep their heads down in spreadsheets all day. Our department isn’t like that at all! Our group has a great sense of humor and we all like to chat with each other. We’re very social with one another. I think it throws off new people who come to work with Accounts Payable.


Are there any new updates that the campus should be aware of with Accounts Payable?

Accounts Payable is exploring some new technology opportunities that will help speed up the invoicing process, from procurement to payment. That includes some new technology in the artificial intelligence space, as well as digital learning. We plan to implement this in the 2025 fiscal year and believe that campus will appreciate the benefits that a new system would offer.

Throughout the process, we’ll be providing updates through the Financial Services Partners Forum. We would really like to utilize the avenues to reach out to campus to provide tips and tricks. Accounts Payable also appreciates any and all feedback from campus about things they would like to see and learn about in the future.


Is there anything else campus should know about Accounts Payable? 

I think there are two things campus should know and they are both about our awesome team.

The first one is that if anyone is ever in the Financial Services office, Accounts Payable is the loud group who sits in the corner area by the break room. If you are around and hear a bunch of people laughing, that’s us and you should come say hi!

I also want to give a shout out to our group of processors. It’s a team of real people behind the keyboards and they do all of the entry for invoices and we receive over 10,000 invoices per month. If there are delays or questions, it’s always helpful to pick up the phone and give us a call to figure out what’s going on, because chances are that our hardworking team will have an answer. Speaking of invoices, the best way to submit invoices for payment on a UShop purchase order is through the online submissions form on the Accounts Payable website.


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