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NPR 9630.1
Effective Date: July 10, 2017
Expiration Date: March 30, 2024
Printable Format (PDF)

Subject: Accounts Payable and Disbursements

Responsible Office: Office of the Chief Financial Officer

| TOC | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | Chapter4 | Chapter5 | Chapter6 | Chapter7 | Chapter8 | Chapter9 | Chapter10 | Chapter11 | Chapter12 | Chapter13 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | ALL |

Chapter 12 COs and Secure Payment System Data Entry Operators

12.1 COs' Accountability

12.1.1 COs have a responsibility to verify that proposed payments are legal, proper, and correct. The verification involves certifying a voucher upon which a disbursement will be made. The CO's certification of a voucher is an assertion of the appropriateness of each payment on the voucher and the CO's accountability for:

a. The correctness of the computations and facts stated in a voucher and its supporting records.

b. Preventing certifying payments made that are prohibited by law and that do not represent legal obligations under the appropriations or funds involved.

c. Any illegal, improper, or incorrect payment resulting from any false, inaccurate, or misleading certification, as well as for any payment prohibited by law.

d. Compliance with internal controls established to safeguard and protect the interest of the Government.

12.1.2 The certification of a voucher is to be performed according to the informed judgment of the CO, based upon the facts establishing the legality and propriety of the claim.

12.1.3 Coercion or administrative pressure will not be used to obtain a certification. This does not prohibit discussing any facts or circumstances bearing on invoices with a view toward expediting settlement.

12.1.4 If improper payments cannot be recouped by collection, stop payment, or other means, unless relieved of liability, the CO is held personally liable for repayment for amounts on vouchers he/she approves with his/her certification where there is:

a. An illegal, improper, or incorrect payment resulting from any false, inaccurate, or misleading certification made by the officer.

b. A payment prohibited by law or which did not represent a legal obligation under the appropriation or fund involved.

12.1.5 NASA Accountable Officials shall ensure COs are informed of their responsibility and liability before taking certification action.

12.1.6 Advance Decisions. NASA attorneys in the respective Centers Office of Chief Counsel and/or NASA OGC are trained to provide advice on appropriation law issues such as the proper expenditure of funds based upon time, purpose, and amount considerations and should be consulted if there is any doubt as to the legality of a particular expenditure. If the CO is uncertain whether the cited appropriation may legally be used to fund a particular payment, he/she may request an advance decision from the Comptroller General. Any such request for an advance decision will be routed via the Agency DCFO(F) or OCFO Director for Policy for review, comment, and forwarding to the Comptroller General. Any questions of law involving payments of $100 or less, which cannot be resolved locally to the satisfaction of the CO, may be referred to the Agency DCFO(F) or OCFO Director for Policy for review and advice. COs may rely on written advice from the Agency DCFO(F) or OCFO Director for Policy, when concurred by NASA OGC, as to propriety of the payment. Such payments will be considered conclusive by the Agency in settlement of the accounts of the COs. Referrals to the Agency DCFO(F) or OCFO Director for Policy should include a copy of the uncertified invoice or claim and other pertinent supporting documents. The CO shall include the following:

a. A statement of the facts out of which the claim arose.

b. A statement of the doubt or other reason for forwarding the claim.

c. A recommendation as to the disposition believed to be proper. Upon reaching a decision, the Agency DCFO(F) or OCFO Director for Policy will provide a written response to the CO. The CO will include a copy of the decision with the payment records. If the proposed payment is for more than $100 and the advice provided by Center Chief Counsel or Office of Agency General Counsel does not clarify the propriety of proposed payment to the satisfaction of the CO, the CO shall refer the question to the Comptroller General, via the Agency DCFO(F) and OCFO Director for Policy for review, comment, and forwarding for resolution.

12.2 Reasonable Reliance

12.2.1 Often due to a large number of transactions, automated systems, cross-servicing arrangements, and prompt payment considerations, it is not practical to perform a personal examination of each transaction certified. Nonetheless, NASA will ensure COs can reasonably rely on systems, controls, personnel, and other methods used to process transactions and verify payments. NASA Accountable Officials shall provide conditions whereby a CO can perform his or her duties with reasonable reliance.

12.2.2 Indicators that reasonable reliance is present, upon which COs can rely, include:

a. Well-defined organizational structure and flow of work, with appropriate separation of responsibilities and clearly written policies and procedures governing the examination, approval, and certification of disbursement vouchers.

b. Effective application of available technology with separation of duties and concepts to achieve efficient and effective voucher processing.

c. Reviews of the voucher processing procedures and controls conducted with sufficient scope, depth, and frequency that key processing procedures and controls are known to be working and reliable.

d. When performing certifying duties, the title "Authorized CO" shall be used. The date of certification and the name will be typed, stamped, or printed below the space for the signature on vouchers, schedule of payments, and on official correspondence. In automated systems, COs should request information showing that the system is functioning properly and can be relied on to produce payments that are accurate and legal. Reviews should be made at least annually or with interim checks of major system changes. Electronic certification is legal, as long as it has adequate safeguards. Each CO will use an electronic symbol or user signature which is capable of being verified, and under his or her sole control or custody. The Treasury's BFS offers electronic certification systems, which when used in accordance with applicable requirements, satisfy the statutory requirements for voucher certification and payment.

12.2.3 If the CO believes factors exist that prevent certification of vouchers including systems, controls, personnel, and methods that cannot be reasonably relied upon, the CO will point out the weaknesses to the appropriate NASA officials and use alternative procedures and/or controls that can be reasonably relied upon. Any such alternative procedures and/or controls will be fully documented, with concurrence of their Center DCFO or Agency DCFO, prior to use.

12.3 Secure Payment System (SPS) Data Entry Operators (DEOs)

12.3.1 The SPS DEOs are individuals to whom authority to create and modify payment requests and transmit certified payment requests to a Treasury RFC has been delegated. They do not have authority to certify payments. Only COs have this authority.

12.3.2 The following are the responsibilities of the SPS DEOs:

a. Payment data entry and editing voucher-schedules.

b. Uploading voucher-schedules that have been approved by a NASA CO, created on other computer systems, into SPS.

c. At the option of NASA, SPS DEOs may be authorized to initiate and monitor transmission of certified voucher-schedules from the NASA Core Financial System to Treasury RFC.

12.3.3 NSSC Accountable Officials shall ensure that individuals designated SPS DEOs are informed of their responsibility before acting in that capacity.

12.4 Designation of COs and SPS DEOs

12.4.1 A designation is an appointment of a person to perform a specific disbursing function through the Treasury BFS. COs and SPS DEOs are designated by NSSC officials.

12.4.2 An individual MAY NOT be designated as both an SPS DEO and a CO for the same Agency Location(s).

12.4.3 The FS Form 210CO, Designation of COs, is used to designate COs. The FS Form 210DEO is used to designate SPS DEOs.

12.4.4 Designations for COs and SPS DEOs are valid for a period of two (2) years from the effective date, unless revoked earlier.

12.4.5 Revocation. When a CO or SPS DEO will no longer be in that capacity for whatever reason, his or her authority will be revoked. The responsible designating official shall forward a FS Form 210CO or FS Form 210DEO revoking the authority.

12.4.6 Revocations will be effective on the latter of the effective date requested by the Agency or the date received and processed by BFS.

12.5 Designation

12.5.1 Designation establishes the authority to act. The designated official's identity, functionality, and signature is captured by BFS to certify and approve vouchers or perform other disbursing functions for data transmission and security or check custody. A valid FS Form 210 series (appended by letters for the particular official or duty) is submitted to designate these accountable officials. This section also covers additional procedures to access SPS. The Agency DCFO(F) and the Director of NSSC shall ensure the forms are completed including the following:

a. NASA Accountable Officials shall ensure that the required FS Form 210 is submitted promptly, accurately, and completely for each individual performing CO or SPS DEO functions.

b. Sections I, II, III, IV, V, and VI will be completed. Section I contains space for identification of the applicable Agency Location Codes (ALC) and also check-off boxes to indicate the type of designation action.

c. All signatures in Sections IV and V are to be in black non-erasable ink. All signatures should be within the signature block(s) provided. Treasury requires all signatures be the official signature of the individual, "nicknames" will not be used. All four signature blocks of the individual who is being designated require original signatures.

d. In all cases, NASA's ALCs, that are required to be listed on the form, will correspond correctly to ALCs established by NASA with BFS.

e. Complete FS Form 210 and retain a copy before forwarding them to BFS. BFS will verify the designation, sign it, make a copy, and return the original form to the NASA Designator. The receipt of the original FS Form 210 signed by the Treasury representative signifies BFS' acceptance. On receipt of the signed original, the Designator shall verify the contents against the retained copy to ensure that no alterations occurred.

f. SPS. Treasury has established SPS to transmit schedules via the internet. The following are requirements for NASA personnel to be granted access to SPS. Every SPS user at NASA will:

(1) Be a designated official (CO or SPS DEO).

(2) Have a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificate and a smart card or token in order to access the system. PKI will also be used to sign certifications electronically. Smart cards or tokens are obtained through the designation process. The servicing BFS RFC will be contacted to provide instructions and policies for PKI enrollment. In order to obtain or renew suspended PKI certificates, in addition to contacting the servicing BFS RFC, users will appear in person at a PKI Registration Authority or a Fiscal Trusted Registration Agent designed by Agency and Center CFOs for NASA.

(3) Be provided a card reader or token that has been obtained from the Treasury BFS RFC for accessing SPS.

12.6 Renewal and Termination

12.6.1 NASA will renew CO and SPS designations prior to the expiration date as estimated by BFS. The effective date of designation is that date from which BFS calculates the period until it expires. It will be the later of the effective date requested on the form or the date accepted by BFS.

12.6.2 Action to Renew. BFS will notify the NASA official who served as Designator of the pending expiration of the designation, by mailing a 'Letter of Notification of Pre-Expiration' to the address listed in Section V of the FS Form 210 series that documented the designation. Designators shall take prompt action to renew the authority.

12.6.3 When a renewal requires changes in the details of the designation, the designating official will resubmit the appropriate FS Form 210 series with the Re-Designation block checked.

12.6.4 Renewals without changes in the details of the designation may be submitted via either of the following:

a. Designations of authority that are about to expire and for which there are no changes in the details of the designation may be renewed by having an authorized Designating Official complete the "For Renewal Only" portion of the "Letter of Notification of Pre-Expiration" and returning it to BFS, at the address specified in the letter.

b. An "Agency Initiated Letter of Renewal" for designations of authority that are about to expire and for which there are no changes in the details of the designation may be submitted in lieu of preparing a new FS Form 210. All Agency Initiated Letters of Renewal shall:

(1) Be signed by the NSSC official with a valid FS Form 2958, Delegation of Authority on file with BFS for that type of designation.

(2) Be on NASA letterhead.

(3) Provide the name, type of designation, authorized ALCs, agency/bureau/division identification for the individual, and requested renewal date.

12.6.5 NASA may use a single Agency Initiated Letter of Renewal to renew multiple designations, at the same time.

12.6.6 Designations not renewed by their expiration date will become void as of that date, and no further disbursing actions (designations, certifications, etc.) performed by that individual will be accepted by Treasury.

12.6.7 Treasury will notify NASA of expired designations via a "Letter of Notification of Expiration," mailed to the designating official, at the address provided in Section V of the original designation form.

12.6.8 Once a designation expires, the NASA designating official shall submit a new FS Form 210 to reinstate that individual.

12.6.9 When an individual, for whom a designation is on file with BFS, departs or otherwise becomes ineligible to act (including reassignment, retirement, departure, death, etc.), the responsible designating official shall forward the appropriate FS Form 210 revoking the designation of the departing/ineligible designee to BFS. Revocations will be effective on the date received and processed by BFS.

12.7 Reorganization

12.7.1 When organization names or titles change, authority will be re-designated to all affected positions.

12.7.2 NSSC will accomplish the re-designation by submitting a new FS Form 210 for each affected position.

12.7.3 The NASA Accountable Official at a level above the areas affected by the organizational or title change submits the appropriate FS Form 210 for each CO and SPS DEO by checking the Re-designation block, and noting in the "Name" block in Section II the word "REORGANIZATION."

| TOC | Preface | Chapter1 | Chapter2 | Chapter3 | Chapter4 | Chapter5 | Chapter6 | Chapter7 | Chapter8 | Chapter9 | Chapter10 | Chapter11 | Chapter12 | Chapter13 | AppendixA | AppendixB | AppendixC | ALL |
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