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Business Office Services

The Business Office is a unit of SIPA’s Office of General & Financial Administration which serves as the liaison between the University’s Finance Division and SIPA’s students, faculty, staff and affiliated Institutes and Centers. We provide a broad range of financial support services. These services include but are not limited to the processing of non-salary invoices, check requests, purchase orders, and reimbursements for travel and business expenses.

We also provide guidance on budget preparation, revision, monitoring, and reconciliation to ensure alignment with Federal and University financial policy and procedure.

The office also serves as a primary financial resource for SIPA’s student organizations. We provide advice, guidance and oversight for funds allocated to the various student groups. In general, student groups’ allocations are determined by SIPASA, the SIPA Student Association, which is the umbrella group for all student groups and it distributes and oversees student groups funding.

Please direct questions and feedback to the SIPA Business Office:

SIPA Business Office
International Affairs Building
420 West 118 Street, Room 408
New York, NY 10027

Tel.  212-854-4116
Fax. 212-864-4847
Email: sipa_businessoffice@columbia.edu

Forms and Documents Library
Most used forms for processing Students requests: Cash/Checks Deposits, Pre-Travel Authorization Form, Vendor Authorization, etc.
Automated Vendor System (AVS)
The AVS is for obtaining a pre-approved voucher and adding new vendors to the Authorized Vendor list.
Transferring Funds
For a group wishing to support another group’s event or contribute to an activity, the preferred method of payment is a direct charge.
Types of Payments
Upon receipt of a bill or invoice from a vendor or an individual providing a service, you should hand deliver it to the Business Office for processing, or alert the Business Office if an invoice is being mailed or faxed. The Business Office staff will assist you in processing payment (s).
Processing Payments
All student group transactions must be routed through the Business Office. Procedures vary depending upon the type of expense involved.
Student Travel
The use of University preferred vendors shortens the process of payments and requires less documentation than the use of other vendors. We strongly recommend ordering directly from existing University vendors with University accounts. They are aware of the University payment methods and are aware that we are tax-exempt, and often offer a discount.
Expense Reimbursement
Travel and Business Expense Reports must be completed by individuals associated with Columbia University (i.e. faculty, graduate students).
Donations and Contributions
Proof of the organization's 501(c) (3) status must be demonstrated, usually by providing a copy of the organization's letter of determination from the IRS. At this time, the University does not permit donations to international organizations not registered in the United States.
Receiving Gifts and Awards
Columbia University is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt institution, categorized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c) (3) organization. The IRS permits contributions from one 501(c) (3) to another 501(c) (3) in some circumstances, but not to other types of legal entities.
Planning Events
Students groups are encouraged to hold events at venues outside Columbia University. However, the following procedure must be followed when using an outside vendor that requires a signed contract or agreement.
Co-Sponsoring Events
For any student group wishing to provide support to an organization or unit outside of SIPA, or co-sponsor an activity, the preferred payment method a direct charge.
Approved Vendors
University has negotiated specific terms and established standard contracts with local vendors and event venues within a local geographic area. Choosing one of these vendors shortens the approving time frame.
Procurement Documents and Policies
Contains documents and policies related to processing purchase orders.
Foreign Student Payments & Tax Information
If you are a foreign student and need information on eligibility for payments and/or what is considered taxable income.