Cost Object Approval - FAQs

The new cost object approval model for expense reports and statement reports will mirror the way your Prime Financials transactions route for approval today—by dollar amount and the department ChartField(s) being charged. Individuals often incur expenses on behalf of more than one department (e.g. faculty members with cross-disciplinary responsibilities or students who participate in activities for multiple organizations). The cost object approval model ensures that transactions are routed to an authorized approver for the department incurring the expenses. It means that no charges will post to your department’s financial statements without review by authorized individuals in your department.

Below you'll find answers to some of your frequently asked questions about cost object approval.

  1. How does cost object approval work for expense reports and statement reports?
  2. What if I am charging more than one department on a single report? 
  3. What if I need to have multiple approvers for the same threshold and department?
  4. Will users still have to assign manager/default approvers in their own profiles?
  5. In some cases I may be a user’s manager/default approver and the cost object approver for his/her report. Do I have to approve the report twice?
  6. If I am the only cost object approver for my department but I also have a University credit card, will Concur allow me to approve my own reports?
  7. What is the difference between manager/default approvers and cost object approvers?
  8. The cost object approver(s) for our department may have a reporting relationship to one or more University credit cardholders. How do we ensure the activity of our senior administrators and faculty receives the appropriate level of review and avoids a conflict of interest?
  9. Can I still approve & forward?
  10. When will these changes take effect?
  11. What do I need to do to assign the cost object approvers for my department?
  12. What are the dollar thresholds for approval in Concur?

 

How does cost object approval work for expense reports and statement reports?

  • Expense reports for Travel and Expense Card activity or out-of-pocket reimbursements will continue to route to the user’s manager/default approver first. Once approved by the user’s manager/default approver, the expense report will route for cost object approval based on the departments and dollar amounts charged on the report.
  • Departmental Purchasing Card statement reports will no longer have a manager/default approver. Statement reports will route for cost object approval based on the departments and dollar amounts charged on the report.

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What if I am charging more than one department on a single report?

The report will route to multiple cost object approvers based on which departments are being charged. Cost object approvers will see only the expense lines for which they are responsible; they will not see the lines that have been allocated to a different cost object approver’s department.

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What if I need to have multiple approvers for the same threshold and department?

Although Concur requires that you have only one primary approver for each threshold and department, approval delegates can be assigned through the primary approver’s Concur profile. View step-by-step instructions for setting up approval delegates. 

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Will users still have to assign manager/default approvers in their own profiles?

Manager/default approvers for expense reports will continue to be assigned by the user from the profile settings area of Concur. Users’ existing manager/default approver assignments will remain intact after cost object approval launches on January 5. Users will no longer assign a manager/default approver for statement reports.

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In some cases I may be a user’s manager/default approver and the cost object approver for his/her report. Do I have to approve the report twice?

No. If you are both the manager/default approver and the cost object approver for a particular expense report, Concur will register your approval once and advance the report for processing.

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If I am the only cost object approver for my department but I also have a University credit card, will Concur allow me to approve my own reports?

If you have a Travel and Expense Card or if you are submitting a request for reimbursement, your expense reports will always require supervisory review and approval by your manager/default approver before they are processed.

If you hold a Departmental Purchasing Card and you are the only available cost object approver for your own report, the report will route directly to Accounts Payable for additional review.

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What is the difference between manager/default approvers and cost object approvers?

Manager/default approvers ensure that an individual’s activity is compliant, reasonable, appropriate in the context of his/her business purpose, and allowable by University policy. The manager/default approver is typically the individual’s supervisor and performs a managerial review of the expense activity. Cost object approvers review transactional activity from a financial perspective to ensure the accuracy of assigned ChartFields and availability of budgeted funds.

In order to avoid any potential conflicts of interest, manager/default approvers should not have a reporting relationship to a cardholder/report submitter. Cost object approvers should be familiar with chart string information and have an understanding of the budgetary requirements of the departments under their purview.

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The cost object approver(s) for our department may have a reporting relationship to one or more University credit cardholders. How do we ensure the activity of our senior administrators and faculty receives the appropriate level of review and avoids a conflict of interest?

Most senior administrators and faculty members are best served by the Travel and Expense Card. The new workflow for travel and expense activity ensures that expenses are submitted first to a manager/default approver—an individual who should not report directly or indirectly to the cardholder—and subsequently to the cost object approver, with whom a reporting relationship may or may not exist. The manager/default approver should give the expense activity a managerial review, acting in a supervisory capacity and ensuring that the transactions are reasonable and appropriate. The cost object approver should review the activity from a budgeting and accounting perspective.

Department Chairs should assign Kuete Gayibor (kgayibor@princeton.edu) from the Office of the Dean of the Faculty as their manager/default approver for expense reports. Contact the Financial Service Center for guidance on specific cases.

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Can I still approve & forward?

Manager/default approvers can approve & forward to another approver before the expense report routes for cost object approval. The approve and forward functionality does not exist for cost object approvers.

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When will these changes take effect?

Expense reports and statement reports submitted for approval on and after January 5, 2015 will follow the new cost object approval model.

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What do I need to do to assign the cost object approvers for my department?

A spreadsheet containing a list of departments in your organization and the four approval thresholds was sent to a financial manager in your department in November with a December 12 deadline for completion. Adjustments or new approval assignments requested after December 12 will require completion of a separate form.

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What are the dollar thresholds for approval in Concur?

The approval thresholds in Concur are the same as the approval thresholds in Prime Financials.

Approval Threshold

Dollar Amount

Threshold 1

Up to $2,499.99

Threshold 2

$2,500.00 - $4,999.99

Threshold 3

$5,000.00 - $24,999.99

Threshold 4

$25,000.00 and greater

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