3401 PR.05 Accounts Payable Holds & Bounces

Revision Date: 
April 19, 2016

1 – Overview of Account Payable (AP) Holds

AP Holds
Reasons for Holds

2 – How to Correct Holds

Payment Holds
Invalid PTAEOs

3 – How to Prevent Future Holds

Where Possible create a Purchase Order
Don’t Add to Purchase Orders
Make Sure PTAEOs Are Valid

1 – Overview of Account Payable (AP) Holds

AP Holds

If invoices are missing required departmental approval, the invoice or payment request is placed on “hold”.  The invoice or payment request is either placed on hold systematically or Accounts Payable follows the steps below to process an invoice or payment request and places it on hold:

  1. AP researches the invoice to identify the department to which it belongs.
  2. AP enters the problem invoice in the University-wide unpaid hold project, 1007242 linked to a GA award, charged to the department’s code as an expense.  Example:  Project 1007242-Invoice Hold: Task 00: Award 0001DA; Expenditure Type Code: (appropriate value for transaction) and departmental organization code.
  3. The department is notified, according to their profile setup on Invoice Worklist, of the invoice on hold and the action required to release the hold.


Reasons for Holds

The most common reasons for invoice holds are shown below:

Type of Invoice

Invoices Resulting in Holds or Bounces

OK to Pay Invoice

  • An invoice did not identify a Purchase Order.
  • Department submitted an OK to Pay invoice to AP with an invalid PTAEO.

Standard Purchase Order Invoice (N Type PO), Oracle or SciQuest Purchase Orders

  • Invoice differs from purchase order with respect to any of the following:
    • Specific items ordered
    • Quantity of items
    • Unit price of items.

Department approval is required before AP can pay such invoices.

(a HOLD occurs)

Standard Purchase Order (K type PO): if the department requested invoice approval or receiving acknowledgment

  • Department requested they approve invoice before payment.
  • Department is required to acknowledge receiving,  with invoices matched to Purchase Orders, that are greater than $5000.

(a HOLD occurs)

All Invoices

  • All invoices, greater than $5,000 match to a purchase order, require departmental receiving (approval) before AP can pay such invoices.  (a HOLD occurs)

All Invoices

  • All invoices that do not have an associated Purchase Order and is greater than $25,000 require “AP Director” approval before AP can pay such invoices.  (a HOLD occurs)

2 – How to Correct Holds

Payment Holds

When an invoice is placed on a departmental hold, it will appear on your worklist.

The department business manager or designee (authorized disbursement approver) is asked to approve/reject the invoice on the worklist  within 3 business days.

Approval of invoices on hold must adhere to either the SciQuest or Disbursement Approver limits as appropriate.

When approval is approved, the approval will release the  hold, be removed from your worklist and be paid, according to terms. 

The Controller’s Office monitors the unpaid hold project to ensure that departments are submitting approvals in a timely fashion.

To ensure timely payment processing, the following tips are offered as best practices: 

We recommend prioritizing which invoices you release first:

  • Invoices with discount payment terms
  • Those invoices which are high dollar amount
  • Those invoices which will be charged to a grant or Award
  • Older invoice dates
  • Immediately communicate to the vendor any shipping errors, unsatisfactory or returned merchandise and/or any necessary credit.
  • Approval of invoices on hold should adhere to ether the SciQuest or Disbursements Approver limits as appropriate.


Invalid PTAEOs

Check department copies of transaction documentation and use PTAEO validation tools to determine why a PTAEO is not valid.

If PTAEO is invalid because…


PTAEO is transposed, incorrect or illegible

  • If invoice date is within the award date, reject the invoice on the invoice worklist and indicate the date of service.  If goods or services were provided outside of award date, provide alternate charging (non-Federal).
  • Always verify the PTAEO before submitting invoices to A/P by using the PTAEO Validator.

Project is not set up or linked to the award

  • Prepare a new project request or an award linkage request. Refer to project and award procedures (Link 1) for detailed instructions.
  • The “needed by” date should be within the 5-day reply period specified by the AP error notification.
  • Submit the new project or linkage request to the appropriate processing office with a notation that it is related to a pending AP transaction.
  • As soon as notification is received from either ga.ogm@yale.edu or ysmam@yale.edu that the linkage has been created to validate the PTAEOfor the transaction, notify AP by e-mail.

3 – How to Prevent Future Holds

Make Sure Vendors Route Invoices to the Correct Location

To ensure prompt payment, when placing orders with vendors, departments should clearly inform the vendor of the correct invoice mailing address.

Type of Invoice

Where Vendor Should Send Invoice

Standard Purchase Order Invoice

·   Accounts Payable PO Box 208228, New Haven, CT 06520

SciQuest Order (e.g., Corporate Express, FedEx)

·   Accounts Payable PO Box 208228, New Haven, CT 06520

Ok to Pay Invoice

·   Accounts Payable PO Box 208228, New Haven, CT 06520

Standard Purchase Order if department approval is specified (i.e. “K” type PO’s)

·   Accounts Payable PO Box 208228, New Haven, CT 06520


Whenever possible, create a Purchase Order

The University Purchasing Policy states that

Don’t Add to Purchase Orders

Invoices that are related to purchase orders must match the purchase order with regard to the number of items, quantities and unit prices. If the invoice shows additional amounts or items, the invoice will go on hold until the department provides approval on the invoice worklist..

To prevent such holds, initiate a separate purchase order if additional items need to be purchased after a purchase order has been issued. Do not add items to the existing PO. For SciQuest vendors, a new order will need to be created in the SciQuest application. Call the vendor directly to cancel the original PO then, log onto SciQuest and fill out and submit a “Close Purchase Order”.

To prevent PO/Invoice price holds, please obtain accurate pricing for non-catalog orders in SciQuest.

Make Sure PTAEOs Are Valid

The business manager is responsible for ensuring that the PTAEO on a request for payment is correct and valid for the transaction. It may be helpful to maintain a list of the department’s valid organizations and projects, and the tasks and awards associated with each, with end dates if applicable.

  • Valid PTAEOs: A PTAEO is not valid unless the project, task, award, and organization are all open at the time of the transaction, and the project and award have been linked by General Accounting.
  • Make sure the Expenditure Item Date (EID) (required date used to validate and process transactions) falls within the project, task and award start and end dates. For specific EID definitions for various types of transactions, see Procedure 3101 PR.01 Expenditure Item Date.
  • Make sure confirmation of a project/award linkage has been received before using it in a PTAEO.
  • Use the PTAEO Validator as needed to confirm the validity of a PTAEO.
  • Make sure PTAEOs included on requests for payment are correctly recorded and legible.

Note: Preprinted labels may be produced for each PTAEO so they can be affixed to invoices and payment request.

4 – Record Retention

Retain copies of all invoices, CRs, and supporting documents for, for 90 days.

For invoices entered via Web Invoice Payments (WIP), retain the original invoice in the department files.