Finance Division

Authorising Expenditure

All expenditure must be authorised in accordance with the Purchasing Policy.

Unit4 Tasks App

You can use the Unit4 Tasks App to authorise purchase requisitions quicker and more efficiently.

Download the app

If you installed the app prior to 13 January 2020, you will need to change the URL that is used.

Follow the below instructions to change the URL on the app.

  1. Click on your Unit4 Tasks app
  2. Click on 'Settings' (the cog wheel in the header bar)
  3. Click on 'Log out'
  4. Confirm you want to log out
  5. Replace the URL field displayed with
  6. Click 'Continue'

You should have successfully changed the URL. If you need any further assistance with changing the URL, please contact the Finance Service Desk.

Useful forms and guidance


Financial Delegations Policy [PDF 534.25KB]

Procurement and Purchasing Policy [PDF 835.61KB] and Procurement and Purchasing Policy - Summary of Changes [PDF 65.32KB]


Delegated Authority Set-Up


Authorising Expenditure Guide [PDF 4.88MB]

Finance Systems Facilitated Delegation Framework with Responsibilities [PDF 197.97KB]

Staff Delegations Framework - HoS and DoPS Financial Control Responsibilities and Delegations [PDF 272.84KB]

Finance systems access and financial literacy training


What to consider before authorising expenditure

1. What should I do if I have questions about what I am being asked to authorise?

If you do not have sufficient information to make an authorisation decision, you should either park or reject the task. You should never assume that this information exists if it is not clearly evidenced. By authorising a task, you are confirming that you have reviewed and accepted all supporting documentation.

If you park the task, you will need to authorise or reject once your review is completed.

2. What do I do if I am asked to authorise expenses over 3 months old?

The Procurement and Purchasing Policy is clear that all expenses should be claimed within 3 months to ensure that budgets, particularly research grants and contracts, show the most up-to-date financial information. It is your decision whether to accept expense claims over 3 months old, but you should consider the impact that this may have on your ability to manage your budgets. As an indication, if a member of staff has made a simple mistake then it should be authorised and the staff member made aware of the rules. If it happens on a continual basis, then the claim should be rejected. 

3. I am a budget holder, can I authorise my own claim/purchase?

Good financial control relies on at least two separate people raising and authorising a task, so that members of staff are not open to accusations of fraud or financial impropriety. As a consequence, budget holders cannot authorise their own claims and purchases; these are directed in the Finance System to the budget holder’s line manager for approval. 

4. How do I make sure my budget doesn't get overspent as purchase card and out of pocket expenses don't show up? 

Purchase Card transactions only show as a committment against budget once the transaction has been authorised. Out of pocket expense claims are reflected as a committment as soon as the claim is submitted.

This means that you will need to discuss purchasing with those who are spending against your budget in this way to ensure you have sufficient control.

5. How do I know the right supplier has been chosen?

The Procurement and Purchasing Policy [PDF 835.61KB] sets out a decision tree that needs to be followed to determine the correct supplier. The member of staff selecting the supplier needs to demonstrate to you the steps that have been followed so that you can be sure that a Value for Money supplier has been selected.

6. How do I find out about the Purchasing Policy?

In authorising a transaction you are confirming that the purchase is being made in accordance with the Purchasing Policy and therefore it is important that you understand the Policy. Procurement and Purchasing Policy [PDF 835.61KB] itself is available on the Finance website and the e-learning modules and guides for Purchasing Goods and Services and Travel, Working away from base, Hospitality and Out of Pocket Expenses provide further information. If, having looked at this material, you still have questions please contact the Finance Service Desk at

7. How do I know if something is reasonable/moderate?

By their nature certain expenditure relating to personal travel, accommodation, entertaining and similar situations require significant judgement to be applied to ensure Value for Money from University funds. In most circumstances, staff who are authorised to incur expenditure are expected to make a judgement as to what type of expenditure is reasonable based on local circumstances.

The Procurement and Purchasing Policy [PDF 835.61KB] relies on local staff to make these judgements as they are best placed to understand these circumstances. If in doubt, you should apply the transparency test, i.e. would you be comfortable with the action or behaviour in question being subjected to public scrutiny?

8. How do I get Chief Financial Officer authorisation in the case of exceptional circumstances?

Please contact the Finance Service Desk at

How to complete authorising expenditure tasks

1. How do I install the authorisation application (app)?

There is guidance available in the Authorising Expenditure e-learning and training guide to help you install the app. Please note the app is only supported on current IOS/Android software versions and we cannot fix any issues if the device and operating system are not supported.  

If' having followed these instructions, you are still not able to install the app, please contact the Finance Service Desk at

2. What should I do if I have received a task in error?

You should receive a task because you are the nominated budget holder or authoriser for the subproject that the expenditure is being charged to. If you believe that it is incorrect that the transaction is being charged to your subproject, or you don’t understand why this is the case, contact the requisitioner in the first instance to ask them to double check that it is being charged to the correct code. 

You may also receive a task because you have been given delegated authority by another manager to approve tasks on their behalf whilst they are away from the University. They should have informed you that they were doing this and you should check whether you have any emails to this effect. 

If, having undertaken both these checks, you are still unsure as to why you have received a task please contact the Finance Service Desk at

3. How do I know if there is enough budget for a requisition I am being asked to authorise?

If there are not enough funds (budget) to cover the cost of the proposed purchase the system will display 'Over budget' in the authorisation task name.

Alternatively, if you have opened the task, click on Funds check to view the available funds for the subproject. The Finance System will check if there are funds against the subproject to cover the expense of the proposed requisition.

There are 3 possible icons that will appear against each line of the Requisition details tab in the Funds check column.

  • Red circle with exclamation mark = Funds overspent (over budget)
  • Green tick = Funds available (within budget)
  • Orange triangle with exclamation mark = Funds available, but remaining funds less than 10%

To view the funds check results in detail, click on Funds check results. This will show you the detail per subproject budget.

Click on each subproject line to view the available budget results. The results include the requisition you are raising and VAT.

If you require further help please contact the Finance Service Desk at

4. What happens if I don't action a task I am sent, will someone else get it?

The likely outcome of not actioning a task is:

  • For requisition tasks the order will not be raised
  • For GRN tasks and invoice tasks the supplier will not get paid which may lead to dispute and reputational damage
  • For expenses the claimant will not be paid or correct the claim 

Except in a small number of instances where an authoriser is part of a group set up so that a number of people can approve transactions on a single subproject, if you don’t authorise the task then no-one else will. The task has been sent to you as you are the responsible budget holder or authoriser for the subproject or type of expenditure. Therefore if you are going away, or if you are aware that you are not going to be able to access the Finance System for a period of time, you should ensure that you have delegated authorities (‘substitutes’) set up in the Finance System and that you have nominated one of these on the system to act on your behalf whilst you are awa. Further information on this is available in the Authorising Expenditure e-learning and training guide.

5. What happens if I park a task?

Nothing. If you park a task it will not progress through workflow and will remain your responsibility until you take action. This may result in delays to payment so in the first instance please action tasks and where you are unsure ask for guidance.

6. What should I do if I authorised something in error? 

Contact the Finance Service Desk on x7172 as soon as possible. The team will be able to advise you on the best course of action.

7. What should I do if I authorised something that is miscoded? 

If the subproject or code on a transaction you are being asked to authorise is incorrect, you should reject the transaction back to the requestor and advise them to correct the details. If you authorise a transaction with a miscode then it will not be changed afterwards, except where the miscode makes a significant impact on a School or Division’s accounts or affects any external reporting requirements.

8. How do I authorise or reject a Purchasing Card transaction? 

You should review to ensure that all the details are correct and that the spend is appropriate and then click either 'Approve' or 'Reject'.

Further guidance on the decision making process and how to do this can be found in the Authorising Expenditure Guide [PDF 4.88MB] and e-learning.

If you require further help please contact the Finance Service Desk:

Delegated authority 

1. What do I do if I need holiday or other cover for my financial responsibilities?

To avoid delays when you are away from the University you should ensure that one or more substitutes are delegated to action your tasks during your absence. Please note you remain responsible for these actions.

Complete the Delegated Authority Set-Up and email it to Finance Service Desk at who will arrange authorisation and setup on the system. The substitute will then be available to select from your drop down list.

Please refer to Authorising Expenditure e-learning or guide for further information.

2. How do I activate delegated authority for a period of absence on the Finance System?

In order to activate delegated authority, go to Finance System Home tab on the web version. Under Options select 'Activate your substitutes'. Select your absence dates from and to, and change the status to 'Activate my substitute'.

If it is the first time activating your substitute press the "Add" button and select your nominated substitute for the period from the dropdown list (only people set up as per your form will appear). Select the valid from and valid until dates - this should at minimum cover the period you are away. Once you have updated the row(s) with absence cover please press save.