Signing Authority

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Signing Authority Delegation

Principal Investigator is the individual responsible for meeting the objectives of his/her sponsored research project, including financial management. For operational efficiency, the PI may delegate signing authority to other full-time university staff to approve expenditures against the awarded project. 

To delegate signing authority, please complete and sign the Signing Authority Form (sent to you during project setup or contact Research Accounting to request a new one), indicating the individual (s) you wish to delegate signing authority to. The delegate will also sign the form acknowledging his/her responsibility. The form will then, be forwarded to Research Accounting.

The individual to which the signature authority is delegated should understand the purpose of the award and should be able to certify eligibility of expenses related to the award. Delegates will be responsible to ensure that purchases are allocated to the correct project, in compliance with all applicable policies, procedures, rules and regulations.

Signing authorities that you can delegate:

  • Purchases
  • Travel
  • Expense transfers
  • Receipt of goods and/or services

Signing authorities that you cannot delegate:

  • Budget modifications
  • Sponsor/agency required reports
  • Payroll

Please note your delegate may not delegate his or her authority to another person without your prior written consent. For example, a delegate provides written consent to a student doing the research to purchase supplies from the Bookstore. This is not acceptable. Instead, the student must obtain written consent directly from you, the PI, prior to making a purchase.

Authorizing Research Expenditures

It is your responsibility as the PI to authorize expenditures from your research account in accordance with the sponsor’s (including Tri Agencies) requirements and with SFU’s policies. No other party may authorize expenditures without the PI’s written delegated authority. ALL research claims must have the PI or delegate’s signature.

For reimbursement of claims charged to a grant, the following signing rules apply.

Claimant Signature Required By
Student Grantee
Visiting Researcher Grantee and Department Head
Grantee Department Head
Delegate Department Head

Holders of restricted funds (e.g., research, endowment spending, and other trust funds) may delegate signing authority over expenditures but remain accountable to ensure that the expenditures are consistent with the restricted intent for those funds and do not exceed the authorized dollar amounts.