Payments Disbursed By Wire Transfer

Wire Transfer is a disbursement method and, therefore, can be used for many different types of vouchers; however, wire transfer payments is a separate process from payments by check or direct deposit so there are a few different procedural steps. It is also important to note that payments by wire transfer are restricted to a limited set of circumstances and the ability for a vendor/payee to receive payments via wire transfer must be approved by Vendor Management in Procurement Services.

 

There are three types of wire transfer transactions:

  • Domestic payments via wire transfer
  • Foreign payments via wire transfer
  • Fund transfers from one University managed bank account to another via wire transfer
Domestic Payments Via Wire Transfer
  1. Department receives invoice or other payment request.
  2. Department has vendor/payee complete and sign the wire transfer template
  3. Department completes Wire Request Form, prints out, attaches supporting documentation and wire transfer template (completed by vendor)
  4. ARC Voucher Initiator logs into ARC AP Module and goes to Voucher creation page and determines whether a PO or Non-PO Voucher is the appropriate voucher, along with the appropriate Voucher Type (eg) and Voucher Style (e.g).
  5. ARC Voucher Initiator selects the appropriate vendor and should confirm that the payment method for the vendor (called “Location” in ARC) is defaulted to wire transfer
  6. ARC Voucher Initiator scans and uploads the wire request form, supporting documentation, wire template through the EDM system
  7. ARC Voucher Initiator submits voucher, which then receives all required system checks (e.g. Matching for PO Vouchers, Budget Checking, Comb Edit checking)  If the system checks result in any exceptions, the ARC Voucher Process is required to resolve them
  8. Once the voucher has passed all system checks, the voucher will route to the ARC Voucher Approver(s) based on workflow rules.  If voucher meets approval criteria, ARC Voucher Approver will approve.
  1. Upon receiving departmental approval, vouchers will route to central Accounts Payable Payment Operations (APPO) team.  APPO staff will review banking information and if new banking information has been submitted, validation of newly submitted information will be conducted.  The second review will be the regular voucher audit and review.  If there is any item that needs clarification or correction, the voucher will be placed On Hold and the ARC Voucher Initiator will receive an email notification.  Once any Hold items have been resolved, the APPO staff member will approve the voucher.
  2. Approved vouchers are then sent to the Cash Management team in Treasury to complete the wire transfer through one of the University’s banking partners.
  3. During the next daily pay cycle, approved vouchers that have been disbursed via wire transfer will have the “wire advice” approved, which will post the expense to the General Ledger.
Foreign Payment Via Wire Transfer
  1. Department receives invoice or other payment request.
  2. Department has vendor/payee complete and sign wire transfer template
  3. Department completes Wire Request Form, prints, attaches supporting documentation and wire transfer template (completed by vendor)
  4. ARC Voucher Initiator logs into ARC AP Module and goes to Voucher creation page and determines whether a PO or Non-PO Voucher is the appropriate voucher, along with the appropriate Voucher Type (eg) and Voucher Style (e.g).
  5. ARC Voucher Initiator selects the appropriate vendor and should confirm that the payment method for the vendor (called “Location” in ARC) is defaulted to wire transfer
  6. ARC Voucher Initiator scans and uploads the wire request form, supporting documentation, wire template through the EDM system
  7. ARC Voucher Initiator submits voucher, which then receives all required system checks (e.g. Matching for PO Vouchers, Budget Checking, Comb Edit checking)  If the system checks result in any exceptions, the ARC Voucher Process is required to resolve them
  8. Once the voucher has passed all system checks, the voucher will route to the ARC Voucher Approver(s) based on workflow rules.  If voucher meets approval criteria, ARC Voucher Approver will approve.
  9. Upon receiving departmental approval, vouchers will route to central Accounts Payable Payment Operations (APPO) team.  APPO staff will review banking information and if new banking information has been submitted, validation of newly submitted information will be conducted.  The second review will be to determine if tax withholding is required.   If tax withholding is required, AP staff will be in contact with ARC Voucher Initiator to alert the Initiator to the withholding, and adjustment that will be made to the voucher.  The third review will be the regular voucher audit and review.  If there is any item that needs clarification or correction, the voucher will be placed On Hold and the ARC Voucher Initiator will receive an email notification.  Once any Hold items have been resolved, the APPO staff member will approve the voucher.
  10. Approved vouchers are then sent to the Cash Management team in Treasury to complete the wire transfer through the University’s foreign wire transfer partner, Custom House.
  11. Once the wire transfer is complete, any currency conversion discrepancy is calculated.  APPO will initiate an Adjustment Voucher to provide the necessary debit/credit to the original voucher amount.  The Adjustment Voucher will route to the ARC Voucher Approver in the department for approval and, once approved, route back to APPO to be finalized.
  12. During the next daily pay cycle, approved vouchers that have been disbursed via wire transfer will have the “wire advice” approved, which will post the expense to the General Ledger.

 

Global Support

See our Global Support site for helpful information on administrative matters related to Columbia University’s work outside the U.S.

 

Global Support Link

 

Bank-to-Bank Transfers

Some wire transfer activity is for transfer of funds from one University bank account to another. Most commonly these transfers are to bank accounts set up in support of University programs (e.g. ICAP, Earth Institute, Global Centers, etc.)NOTE:these wire transfers are not processed by Accounts Payable, but will go directly to Treasury.  Learn more about requesting funds for overseas Columbia accounts.

  1. Department downloads and completes the International Bank Account Funding Request form.
  2. Department confirms the bank account information for the account that is to be funded.
  3. Department calculates the funds to be transferred.
  4. Department confirms local bank accounts are current with their bank reconciliations and expense reconciliations.
  5. Department emails Funds Transfer Request Form, with approval from authorized requestor, to Treasury (cashteam@columbia.edu).
  6. Treasury Cash Management Team will review the request and, if the request meets approval criteria, will approve the funds transfer and complete the wire transfer process.
  7. Department will need to reconcile the wire transfer through the Journal Entry process in the General Ledger.
  8. Accounts Payable Audit & Review staff will review those Journal Entries, once approved by the Department.  Once the Journal Entries are approved by AP, the transaction will post to the General Ledger.
Foreign Payment via Western Union (WU/CH)

Our internal process for sending foreign payment via Western Union/Custom House (WU/CH) is as follows:

 

  1. Make sure that the receipent is set up in ARC as a vendor with wire location (contact Vendor Management for the set up).
  2. Contact the Treasury Department cashteam@columbia.edu to review amount, currency, country to confirm cash advance is possible.
  3. In ARC, create a Prepaid Voucher for Cash Advance or complete a wire transfer request form with the requisite approvals.
  4. Contact the Treasury Department and provide the required WU/CH documents:
    1. Template with amount, currency, test questions, money transaction control number, name and identifying information of person picking up the cash advance
    2. Copies of ID (approved ID varies by country)
    3. Identify the in country cash pick-up location from WU website: http://locations.westernunion.com  (WU/CH can verify the location has funds available)
    4. Documents with personal/sensitive information need to be password protected
  5. WU/CH will send the payment.
  6. To pick up the funds, the receipient needs to present: ID document such as passport; Answer to the security question; The MTCN number from Western Union's wire confirmation.

Notes:

  • It is possible to reverse a transaction, but depending on the country, it is not an easy process.
  • There is a maximum daily limit of the equivalent of US$5000*.
  • WU/CH cost can range from $20-$50* per transaction depending on the country. 
  • The foreign exchange rate is set when the transaction is booked, but how much is actually delivered by the agent in local currency could vary depending if the local agent fee – could be up to 5%*.
  • It is not possible to designate a back up person to pick up funds for the same transaction.
  • Once the transfer is released by WU/CH, the recipient should be able to pick up the funds in approximately one hour*.
  • If the person receiving the foreign currency cash advance has funds leftover, they should convert back to USD before returning to the US.

*Subject to change by WU/CH upon future notice.