Accounts Payable processes payments for all purchases of goods and services at the university. State rules require payments to be made within 30 days of receiving the goods/services or invoice, whichever is later (CAPP Manual Topic 20315, Section 20300). Departments are responsible for forwarding all documents required for payment to Accounts Payable in a timely manner. Vendors should always send invoices directly to email@example.com. Accounts Payable technicians are assigned alphabetical groups to process payments.
For information regarding Vendor G# creation, Banner Updates, and Invoice Submission, please review the “Do Business with Mason” page.
State Rules and Limitations
The Commonwealth Accounting Policies and Procedures (CAPP) Manual dictates that all expenditures of State funds be considered essential to the operation of the University. Under the general rule set forth in Section 2.2-1822 of the Code of Virginia, the Department of Accounts may question any State-funded expenditure. As a result, all State-funded expenditures (including grants and contracts) are subject to public scrutiny. Any Mason employee authorizing a purchase should not only determine that the benefit to the university justifies the use of State funds, but should consider the appearance of unusual purchases on the university and on State government in general.
George Mason University’s Purchasing Department has developed detailed guidance in the Mason Purchasing Made Easy Manual. Since individual circumstances vary widely, adequate documentation for unusual purchases should always be included.
Improper Expenditure Examples
The following list contains examples of expenditures determined by George Mason University to be improper uses of State funds. This list is intended to provide general guidance in judging the appropriate use of State funds. However, any State-funded expenditure may be questioned, including those that are not included on the following list.
- Single-use plastic bottles, cutlery, and others.
- Flowers (exception for commencement ceremonies and specific Admissions events).
- Charitable contributions.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Snacks for employees.
- Coffee service, machines or supplies for personal use. Coffee machines only may be purchased using State funds provided the machine services community use. The coffee machine becomes and remains the property of the university.
- Retirement parties, employee going-away parties.
- Group luncheons for employees.
- Holiday cards or decorations.
- Subscriptions, except for bona fide business purposes, not to exceed one year.
- Non-business related newspapers or magazines.
- Books for classes (unless they remain the property of George Mason University).
- Picture framing (unless the item remains the property of George Mason University).
- Framing of award certificates.
- Replacement of stolen or lost employee personal articles.
- Personal items, such as fans or heaters, for employees.
- Employee clothing (non-uniform).
- Tuxedos or formal wear.
- Cash advances.
- Digital books or other digital materials downloaded to personal devices.
Communal vs. Personal Use
The following items may be purchased for communal use and not personal/private use. The purchases must be approved in advance by the approving official for the fund/org.
Communal use is defined as being available for use by an entire department and visitors to that department.
Personal/private use is defined as being used exclusively by a single individual (as in a private office).
A statement citing the reason for the purchase and that the items are for communal, not personal use, must be prepared and signed by the approving official for the fund/org prior to the purchase. This approval statement should be submitted with the monthly P-Card statement or retained with the receiving documents for other payment methods.
- Band aides, First aid kits.
- Hand sanitizer.
- Coffee makers (household quality). The coffee maker becomes and remains the property of George Mason University.
- Paper plates and paper napkins (only for student groups in support of a particular event, reimbursed with food and beverage items through the Food and Beverage process.)
- Please note that in accordance with Executive Order #77, departments and organizations are not allowed to purchase or supply any single-use plastics including straws, bottles, utensils, and others. Additional information can be found on the Sustainability Council website.
Student Clubs and Organizations
The following additional purchase/payments, which enhance student life, are permitted for student clubs and organizations:
- Balloons for events.
- Sound equipment.
- Food for events that directly support the club’s mission.
- Flowers for events.
- Refreshments (non-alcoholic) for club meetings.
Vendor Set-Up/Update (G number)
To create a G number or update a vendor address, please scan the Substitute W-9 form in a PDF format and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org. To check if a vendor already exists in Banner, you may look up the vendor name by using the following application, Banner Vendor G Number Lookup.
Vendor Invoice Submission
To ensure prompt and accurate payment vendors should send invoices directly to email@example.com for processing.
Invoices may also be mailed to:
George Mason University
4400 University Drive MS 3C1
Fairfax, VA 22030
Goods or services must have been received AND the invoice (printed on company letterhead) must list:
- The purchase order number (starts with EP or E)
- Bill to “George Mason University”.
- The vendor supplies the invoice number
- The date of service and/or shipment
- Total amount billed
- Vendor remittance address
- If purchase orders are $5,000 or less and items have been received or services have been performed, the order initiator may log in to eVA and complete the electronic receiving process. Completing this step will ensure that the payment process begins and the vendor will be paid timely.
- If purchase orders are more than $5,000, Accounts Payable staff will email a request that the department/unit representative approve the invoice for payment.
- Note: Invoices should not be mailed directly to ordering departments.
Review Paid Invoices
Accounts Payable maintains a shared drive with paid Invoices in PDF format. To review completed invoice payments for reconciliation purposes, individuals may be granted access to the shared file (fsvc.invoices). Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you require access to the shared invoice file. Users may search the shared file by Banner Invoice number (I number) to locate the correct vendor invoice and payment details.
Vendor Payment Methods
The university has adopted three electronic methods of issuing payment to vendors and suppliers. The electronic methods replace the traditional paper check process and will provide the vendor with quicker access to payments for goods and services. Additional information is available at Electronic Disbursements.
Cancel or Reissue a Check
- Complete the Stop Payment Authorization form.
- If the check has been cashed, Accounts Payable notifies the unit and provides a copy of the endorsed check if required.
- If the check has not been cashed, the Department must submit a Stop Payment form to Accounts Payable or the vendor must contact Accounts Payable directly. Only after receiving the Stop Payment form is Accounts Payable able to request the original check be cancelled and then reissue the payment.
Confirm a Payment
To confirm that a check has been issued, employees and vendors may access the Payment Inquiry Portal. Click on Mason Vendor or Employee/Student (depending on payment type) and enter the required information.
Mason employees may also access Banner Finance Self Service to verify the check payment status in Banner. Select the Financial Information Tab, click on View Document, and then enter the Banner Invoice number (I number).