John P. Kruczek, University Controller Finance and Accounting David S. O’Brien, Director Physical Plant Division
The University incurs significant costs for telephone usage from long distance toll calls, credit card calls, cellular telephone charges, telephone charges reimbursed while on travel status, and for monthly service charges. It is the responsibility of each department to maintain an adequate system of internal control to ensure that calls and telephone related expenses are for official University business. In general all departments must certify the business nature on invoices of all calls for cellular phones and telephone calling card charges.
SUNCOM calls should receive the same degree of control and review as other long distance toll charges. Since SUNCOM charges are generally less expensive than regular long distance charges, use of the SUNCOM system should be encouraged. A statement is printed on all monthly long distance telephone invoices to indicate that each department must ensure the accuracy of the invoice and that telephone calls listed are for official business. In addition, space is provided for the signature of the accountable officer responsible for reviewing the bill. Procedures should be established by each department to ensure that telephone invoices are properly reviewed and approved for payment; and that only authorized and official business telephone charges are paid. On invoices related to University issued telephone calling cards, long distance calls to an employee’s personal residence should be clearly identified on the invoice as being for official business and the nature of the business should be identified. Personal long distance calls should be made using a personal calling card.
Generally, telephone calling cards should be requested only when there is an ongoing business need. These cards are to be used for official University long distance only. If a long distance calling card is lost or stolen, the card holder should call 1-800-CALL-ATT immediately and follow up with cancellation by contacting the Telecommunications Department, Physical Plant Division. If a telephone calling card holder terminates employment with the University, the card should be destroyed and written notification should be sent to the Telecommunications Department in a timely manner. This procedure is included as a step on the Employee Exit Checklist that should be completed for every terminating employee.
Recently, the State Comptroller has reminded us that due to the relatively higher cost of cellular phones, they should only be used when a conventional telephone is not readily available. However, while the use of cellular telephones may be more expensive than the SUNCOM network, improved efficiency resulting from the use of cellular telephones may provide an overall savings. Each department should establish internal controls over the use of State-owned or leased cellular telephones to provide assurance that payments from public funds relating to cellular phones serve a specific authorized public purpose.
Personal (non-State business) use of State-owned and leased cellular telephones should not be allowed.
In all cases, each cellular phone invoice should include or be attached to a letter containing the following information:
- User’s name and title
- Vehicle in which phone is located
- Statement from user that calls being paid from state funds were official business only
- Signature of user
In addition, please deduct any state or federal tax and any late charges relating to official business calls, and notify the mobile phone company of your exempt status if the phone is used exclusively for University business.
The following object codes have been established in association with costs incurred for cellular telephone usage and should be used where appropriate:
221101 – Monthly Charge/Airline Fee-Communications–Cellular telephones
441101 – Rental of Equipment-Cellular telephones (for rental and lease payments
512102 – Purchase of Cellular Telephones-greater than $99.99 but less than $500 (expense); or
512101 – Purchase of Cellular Telephones (tangible personal property-OCO)
Thank you for your assistance. If you have any questions regarding payment for cellular phones, please contact Debbie Anderson, University Payable and Disbursement Services, at 392-1241, Ext. 306. If you have questions regarding telephone calling cards, SUNCOM or regular long distance toll charges, please call Suzanne Leahy, Telecommunications Department, at 392-1146.