Letter from the president: How student club budgets work

Tony+Chen

Courtesy of USG

Tony Chen

The payment process is a long and dreary procedure that every student organization at Baruch College has to go through.

Many student leaders may wonder why paying a vendor or getting a reimbursement takes so long, and the reason is simple.

Baruch is a public institution. The CUNY Central office strictly monitors each club’s and organization’s budget. Therefore, one payment must be verified by the different offices at Baruch and passed on to be verified by the CUNY Central offices.

Not only does it take time for the paperwork to be verified, but the paperwork itself is also tedious.

Every student leader working on submitting paperwork must strictly follow the checklist distributed by the Office of Student Life. There are three kinds of occasions when student leaders submit paperwork depending on the vendor’s request. All the templates are available on the Undergraduate Student Government website. Explanations are on each document and the informer guide.

Reimbursement is the most common paperwork that student leaders often have to file. Many vendors would like to ensure their transactions are completed before they deliver, ship or contract their service, so student leaders often pay out of pocket to vendors.

The paperwork student leaders have to submit are a payment request voucher, purchase requisition if a single purchase made was over $250, receipt or invoice, bid form if it’s over $250, signed memo to explain the purpose of the purchase, event flyer and wire transfer form.

Additional information required include a credit or debit card statement that includes full name, last four digits of the card and the charge and a copy of the credit or debit card only showing the last four digits.

To avoid waiting to acquire some of the necessary documents, student leaders will often pay in cash, but the current environment can only allow card payments.

The paperwork necessary for invoices and prebills are the same. The only difference between the two is when to be submitted.

Invoices are also a common type of payment next to reimbursement, which pays a vendor after the product or service is delivered. Baruch does not get invoices as commonly as reimbursement because vendors who have accepted the payment method usually decline the payment method on future occasions.

The time it takes for them to receive payment can extend as long as months. Prebills are a method for students to not pay out of pocket, but all necessary paperwork has to be submitted six weeks in advance, which means the event needs to be marked as prepared six weeks in advance.

CUNY is still working on reforming the payment system, so it is recommended that every student leader check with their adviser to note every change.