Section Overview and Policies:
The purpose of this section is to provide guidance to agencies about record retention requirements to ensure documentation supporting payments for Accounts Payable and Land Claims processed in the Statewide Financial System (SFS) is readily available to the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC).
OSC’s Bureau of State Expenditures audits and processes agencies’ payment vouchers. As such, OSC’s auditors will require access to documentation from agencies to support payments processed in the SFS. OSC may contact agency employees to either request documentation be sent to OSC or to facilitate OSC’s on-site review. In either case, supporting documentation must be readily available to OSC’s auditors to facilitate timely payment approval. The auditors’ requests may be limited depending on the extent to which scanned documentation attached to an Accounts Payable Voucher meets the auditors’ needs.
OSC’s request for payment documentation is in support of its constitutional and statutory authority and responsibility to audit State payments. Agencies should not anticipate an engagement letter or opening conference in conjunction with these requests.
For information related to records retention for Expense Reports, please see Chapter XIII, Section 3 - Record Retention – Travel and Expense.
Accounts Payable Vouchers
Each agency must ensure the required documentation to support vouchers is available to satisfy the State Archive record retention policy, oversight agencies’ auditing requirements and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) policies. These documents may be in paper or electronic format. Unless otherwise specified, agencies must retain this documentation for a minimum of six years, according to the General Retention and Disposition Schedule for New York State Government Records.
The SFS Accounts Payable module allows agencies to attach scanned documents to vouchers. These scanned images may be used for supervisory review and approval and for OSC audit. The scanned images may also be used as the sole documents of record only when the Business Unit has complied with the State’s record retention policies and the SFS Imaging and Attachment Guidance.
If an agency decides to attach supporting documents to accounts payable vouchers, it must establish a well–developed, documented procedure to ensure the attachments (i) retain the integrity of the original documents, (ii) support legitimate payments, and (iii) comply with relevant records retention requirements. For more information regarding the requirements for attaching images in support of payments, please see Chapter XIV, Section 9 - Statewide Financial System Imaging and Attachment Guidance.
There are a variety of documents that can support an accounts payable voucher. Agencies that use the attachment feature in the SFS should evaluate which documents to attach as support for the payment. The following list contains examples of the types of documents agencies may consider attaching in the SFS in support of the payment. For more information on documentation to support accounts payable vouchers and how to verify the payment is appropriate, please see Chapter XII, Section 4.B.1 – Certification of Vouchers – Supporting Information.
Personnel Services (Note: Salary and Fringe rates must be substantiated.)
Due to the nature of payments for the purchase of land, agencies must submit all original documentation supporting the request for payment to OSC in order to initiate payment. Subsequent to OSC’s processing of the payments, OSC will maintain all documentation related to these payments. Agencies should note that they should also maintain a copy. See Section 6.B – Paying for the Purchase of Land of this Chapter for detailed information regarding agency submittals for payment of land purchases.
|Office of the State Comptroller – Guide to Financial Operations||Chapter XIV, Section 9 - Statewide Financial System Imaging and Attachment Guidance||Information on attaching images in support of payments and how to handle potential exceptions.|
|New York State Archives||http://www.archives.nysed.gov/a/records/index.shtml||New York State Archives and Record Administration (SARA) requirements for managing records.|
|New York State Archives||http://www.archives.nysed.gov/records/mr_laws_reg188.shtml||New York Codes, Rules and Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, Title 8, Part 188: Framework of policies and procedures for the creation, maintenance, disposition, and selective preservation of State government records.|
|New York State Archives||http://www.archives.nysed.gov/publications/general-retention-and-disposition-schedule-new-york-state-government-records-effective||General Retention and Disposition Schedule for New York State Government Records.|
|New York State Office for Information Technology Services||https://its.ny.gov/electronic-signatures-and-records-act-esra||Guidance on how to ensure electronic documents are authentic, secure, and accessible.|
|Department of State – Committee on Open Government||http://www.dos.ny.gov/coog/foil2.html||Public Officers Law, Article 6, Sections 84-90: Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requirements pertaining to the public’s right to gain access to government records.|
State record retention periods vary depending on the function of the document. Each agency should work with its Records Management Officer and SARA officials to ensure its record retention program is conducive to its internal needs as well as laws and regulations.
All documentation in support of the payment must be retained by the agency and must be available to OSC upon request throughout the life of the record retention schedule. In addition, certain agencies have programs that are subject to oversight by other agencies or Federal government auditors. Record retention for those programs must meet those requirements as well.
If you have questions regarding OSC’s access to records, please contact the Bureau of State Expenditures’ Customer Service Help Desk at (518) 474-4868, or by email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.