Finance Policy

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Finance Policy


UNSW is trusted with public and private funds to fulfil its vision to improve lives globally, through innovative research, transformative education and a commitment to a just society.

This policy:

  • states the UNSW principles and objectives for expenditure and financial management
  • allocates financial authority and responsibilities
  • defines expected standards for expenditure and financial management, and
  • states procedural requirements for each type of expenditure and financial activity.


This policy applies to anyone committing, receiving, or otherwise managing UNSW funds, or undertaking travel on UNSW business. Some sections of this policy state a more limited scope for those sections. University Leadership Team members are exempt from sections 5.4, 7.1 and 8 of the Business Expense procedure, and from sections 3.2, 3.5-3.9, and 3.24 of the Travel procedure.  


Policy principles and objectives 1: Accounts receivable  | 2: Business expenses | 3: Credit cards  |  4: Procurement |  5: Travel  |  6: Treasury


  • 1. Responsible and ethical financial management

    Those who spend UNSW’s funds and manage its finances will:

    • ensure efficient, effective and ethical use of public money
    • minimise environmental and social harm associated with purchases, procurement and travel, and look for opportunities to make a positive environmental and social impact
    • influence suppliers and organisations in which UNSW invests to improve environmental and social responsibility and sustainable practices
    • manage UNSW’s financial investments responsibly and ethically, and
    • keep records so that their decisions and transactions can be audited and demonstrate compliance with the Recordkeeping Policy.

    2.    Financial authority and accountability

    2.1.           All financial commitments and expenditure must be approved by a financial delegate authorised in the Register of Delegations.

    2.2.           Each financial commitment or expenditure must be from an approved budget or funding source.

    3.    Accounting and financial reporting

    3.1.           The Director, Financial Control and Compliance will maintain the UNSW Accounting Standard to ensure that UNSW complies with legal requirements, the Australian Accounting Standards and relevant guidelines.

    3.2.           General purpose financial statements will be prepared following the Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting issued by the Australian Accounting Standards Board (AASB).

    4.    Accounts Receivable

    UNSW ensures the efficient and effective:

    4.1.           Billing and receipting of all funds paid to UNSW.

    4.2.           Management, collection and processing of any debt owing to UNSW.

    4.3.           Refund assessment and facilitation.

    4.4.           Tracking of bad debts and debt write-offs.

    5.    Business expenses

    All UNSW business expenses must be:

    5.1.           Necessary to perform a valid business purpose fulfilling the mission of UNSW.

    5.2.           Reasonable, not excessive, and reflects a prudent decision to incur the expense.

    5.3.           Appropriate to the context of the business purpose.

    5.4.           Allowable under any relevant legislation, contract, or UNSW policy.

    6.    Procurement

    When making procurement decisions, staff will ensure that:

    6.1.           UNSW will receive value for money across the life of the product or service.

    6.2.           Goods, services, infrastructure, and works are fit for purpose.

    6.3.           Risks of a good, service, infrastructure or work are assessed and managed.

    6.4.           Products and services are socially responsible, sustainable, and ethically sourced.

    6.5.           Decisions are informed by risk assessment of suppliers.

    6.6.           There is appropriate segregation of duties. The person who approves expenditure or signs a contract is not the person who obtained quotes for, evaluated proposals for, or negotiated the contract for the expenditure/contract.

    6.7.            When procuring goods and services for UNSW Defence contracts and research agreements the requirements of this policy (UNSW Finance Policy) and the Australian Government Protective Security Policy Framework Policy - 6 Security Governance for Contracted Goods and Service Providers are followed.

    7.    Travel

    7.1.           UNSW will protect the health and wellbeing of UNSW travellers.

    7.2.           Travel must be essential and planned to benefit both UNSW and the traveller.

    7.3.           UNSW provides a travel booking system that ensures bookings are equitable and standardised. 

    7.4.           Travel must be approved by financial delegates who ensure efficient use of resources.

    7.5.           UNSW travellers should select travel modes, routes and service providers that minimise environmental, including climate, impact.

    8.    Financial planning

    8.1.           UNSW’s key objectives for financial management are to optimise the generation and use of scarce resources, steer those resources into activities of high strategic value, and ensure UNSW maintains a financially sustainable position. This is achieved through:

    • Development of short-, medium- and long-term financial estimates that inform and align with strategic plans.
    • Development and management of an annual budget and rolling three-year financial plans linked to annual operating planning processes.
    • Regular forecasts and management reporting that focuses on the key indicators of financial health.

    8.2.           The Director, Financial Planning & Analysis maintains a Finance: Management Reporting Guide that provides the approach to financial management reporting at UNSW.

    9.    Investment

    UNSW manages its financial investments in an ethical and responsible manner. In conducting its investment activities, UNSW:

    9.1.           Expects its fund managers to exert influence over and encourage the organisations they invest in to operate ethically, responsibly, and in a manner that contributes to a sustainable and better world.

    9.2.           Believes environmental, social, and corporate governance factors can impact investment risk and returns and contribute to sustainable growth.

    9.3.           Recognises that climate change is impacting the environment, communities, and the economy and in response is implementing a climate change strategy for investments, consistent with the Environmental Sustainability Plan approved by the UNSW Council.

    9.4.           Will not invest - directly or indirectly - in any sector, industry, or product excluded by resolution of the UNSW Council.

    10. Treasury

    10.1.           Treasury activities and the associated risks are managed in a clear, prudent, cost-effective and comprehensive manner, to reflect the needs of stakeholders and align with UNSW strategic objectives.

    10.2.           A Treasury standard is established under this policy to provide the quality requirements and expectations that guide the management of the treasury function, in relation to treasury risks.

    10.3.           The Director, Treasury, Investments & Insurance maintains the Treasury Manual to state the detailed processes and reporting required by the Treasury function.

    11. Compliance with this policy

    11.1.           Where a person breaches this policy (including requirements in its procedures section), UNSW may take disciplinary action under the relevant Enterprise Agreement, seek reimbursement, withdraw a financial delegation or cancel the person’s UNSW credit card.

    11.2.           UNSW Finance will actively monitor compliance with this policy and related procedures and will escalate serious instances in accordance with the escalation process. Where non-compliance is suspected to be intentional, it will be escalated to Internal Audit for further investigation and may be reported to the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

    11.3.             Where a person suspects that serious wrongdoing has occurred including, corrupt conduct, serious maladministration and/or a serious and substantial waste of public money, they must report this in accordance with the Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblowing) Policy and Procedure.

    11.4.             Internal Audit conducts periodic audits of compliance with this policy.



    Effective: 1 February 2024               Responsible: Chief Financial Officer                    



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Section 1: Accounts receivable


    1.    Operational Finance responsibilities

    • The creation and maintenance of customers in NewSouth Financials (NSF)
    • Raise credit notes for faculties and divisions
    • Process refunds
    • Manage debt collections, doubtful debts and debt write-offs
    • Assist with Auditor enquiries
    • Banking and receipting, including unallocated receipts
    • Daily bank reconciliations

    2.    Creation and maintenance of customers

    2.1.           UNSW billers complete the Customer Request form in NSF (if no customer records exists) and provide the following information:

    • Customer details – trading name and ABN
    • Customer contact details – contact name, fax, phone number and email
    • Customer business and billing address

    2.2.           Accounts Receivable will create the customer account within 48 hours of the request providing all information is complete. A notification email will be sent to the requestor confirming the details of the new customer account.

    2.3.           A request for an existing customer will be rejected and the requestor will be notified.

    2.4.           To amend a customer record, email Accounts Receivable (

    3.     Invoice processing and requirements

    3.1.           Bills can be raised by UNSW billers and Finance Hub staff only.

    3.2.           An invoice request will include:

    • description of the goods/services being billed
    • the chart fields where the revenue will be allocated such as account code, fund code, department ID and project ID
    • amount to be billed including information if GST inclusive or exclusive, and
    • customer information such as name, email address and contact number.

    3.3.           Invoices are not raised for internal charges. A manual journal is raised for these transactions.

    3.4.           See Online Forms for further information about invoice requests.

    3.5.           If invoice requests have incomplete information, the request will be rejected and returned.

    3.6.           Finance Hubs process invoice requests in NSF within 48 hours. Finance Hubs will email an invoice copy and notification to the requestor.

    4.    Credit notes

    4.1.           Credit notes are centrally managed by the Accounts Receivable team except at UNSW Canberra. Credit notes are issued for a variety of reasons, for more information see the Finance intranet.

    4.2.           Approved forms are submitted to Accounts Receivable at: If incomplete, the request will be rejected and returned to the requestor.

    4.3.           Credit note requests are reviewed and processed monthly. The cut off for receiving credit note requests is mid-month. Requests are then reviewed by Accounts Receivable and sent to the CFO or delegate to approve. Once approved, the Accounts Receivable team will raise the credit notes in NSF.

    4.4.           A notification will be sent to the requestor via email.

    5.    Payment refunds

    Sundry refunds

    5.1.           Accounts Receivable are responsible for managing payment refunds. Refunds are initiated by completing a Payment Request form (PR1) which are signed and then approved by the appropriate financial delegate and sent to for processing. The requestor and approver cannot be the same person.

    Student refunds

    5.2.           The Student Financials team in Student Lifecycle administers student refunds. 

    6.    Management of debt collections

    Sundry debt

    5.1.           Sundry debts are all outstanding invoices raised to non-student related customers.

    5.2.           Every day the Accounts Receivable team review the outstanding debts based on the age of the invoice. If the debts are overdue, they will send:

    a)     a first reminder to the biller/customer to follow up on payments

    b)     a second reminder 15 days later notifying the customer that payment is due immediately

    c)     a notification to the requestor/biller from the faculty or division that a final demand letter will be sent to the customer if the debt remains unsettled 15 days after the second reminder is sent

    d)     a final demand letter is sent

    Sponsor debt

    5.3.           Sponsor debt is all debt relating to sponsored student debtor accounts.

    5.4.           Accounts Receivable will send an invoice and supporting documents to the address nominated by the sponsor approximately one week after the relevant census date. After this the following action will be taken:


    Action taken by Accounts Receivable

    Remains unpaid after 30 days

    Notice 2 is sent to the sponsor and student advising payment is due within 30 days. The notice will highlight that an administrative block may be placed on the student.

    Remains unpaid at 60 days

    • Notice 3 is sent to the sponsor and student.
    • The respective sponsored student’s account is blocked, after consultation with the International Office.
    • The sponsor and sponsored student are advised that the student’s account has been blocked and that the responsibility for the debt now rests with the student.
    • The student account will be unlinked from the sponsor after the account has been reviewed by the International Office.  


    6.5.           Accounts Receivable is the main point of contact for any sponsored student related debt account and recovery issues and will make all reasonable attempts to recover the debt.

    6.6.           If unable to recover the debt, confirmation from the International Office is sought before the debt is forwarded for approval to write off the debt.

    6.7.           Once approved, Accounts Receivable will process the write off in the Student Information Management System (SiMs).

    Student debt

    6.8.           Student debt is all debt relating to UNSW student fees and charges for each term.

    6.9.           Any student account that is overdue 3 days after the relevant census date is considered an overdue account. The overdue reminder email provides students with a three-week period in which to settle their outstanding debt. If the outstanding debt is not cleared within that 3-week period, a final notice is sent to the student via their student email address. The final notice gives the student a further three weeks to clear the outstanding debt.

    Bad debt write off

    6.10.         After all attempts to recover a debt have been exhausted, Accounts Receivable will seek approval from the relevant delegate (see the Register of Delegations) to write off the debt.

    6.11.         The debt will be ‘written off’ in SiMs and a block placed on the account. Should the debtor contact us again in the future the block will be removed and the debt reinstated. 

    7.    Payment remittance advice

    7.1.           All customer(s)/payer(s) should send remittance advice to to prevent payment delays and receipting errors.

    7.2.           All sundry related payments should be paid to UNSW accounts receivable bank account only in relation to the remittances.

    8.    Unallocated receipts

    8.1.           If payment details are not available on the direct deposits made to UNSW bank accounts by the end of the business day, funds will be receipted to the unallocated monies account.

    8.2.           Accounts Receivable will investigate and look for the required information. Once the appropriate information is available, funds will be allocated to an invoice, or a new invoice will be issued to allocate the monies.

    8.3.           Any unallocated monies for more than a year will be transferred to Other Miscellaneous Income. 

    9.    Provision for doubtful debts

    9.1.           Accounts Receivable is responsible for reviewing the aged debtors at the end of each month.  The current provision percentages can be found on the Finance intranet.

    9.2.           Annually the Accounts Receivable Team Lead and Manager Operations & Continuous Improvement in conjunction with Financial Control & Compliance review the provision percentage for each aging bracket.

    10.    Bad debt write off

    10.1.           Business units do not have the authority to approve bad debt write-offs. However, they are required to recommend the write off to the relevant delegate (see the Register of Delegations).

    10.2.           One of the following conditions should be met before a debt will be written off:

    • Where the debtor has moved address and all attempts to locate them have failed (applicable only for student debts).
    • When it is uneconomical to finalise recovery action due to the relatively small value of the debt and/or the potential cost of recovery is more than the initial debt.
    • Where the debtor is bankrupt, in receivership or in liquidation, the debt is written off until such time as funds may become available.
    • Where legal proceedings through the courts have proved, or on legal advice would prove, unsuccessful.

    11. Banking and receipting

    11.1.         The Accounts Receivable team is responsible for ensuring that:

    • all funds received in UNSW bank accounts are correctly accounted for in Xetta and the Accounts Receivable sub ledger, or
    • that unallocated monies are accounted for (see section 8).

    11.2.         The following are the payment options at UNSW:

    • Direct Deposit
    • Cashless payments e.g.  credit cards, EFTPOS, Webpay and BPay
    • Western Union
    • Cheques 
    • Cash – this is not a preferred method. For enquiries contact the Accounts Receivable team:

    12.  Bank charges and foreign exchange gains and losses

    12.1.           Bank charges that arise through the settlement of sundry debtor are charged to the business unit.

    12.2.           Foreign exchange gains and losses that arise from settlement of a sundry debtor are charged centrally.

    13.  Management of credit card data

    13.1.           No credit card payments will be received over the phone and credit card payment authorisation forms are not accepted.

    13.2.           Any request for credit card refunds will be refunded back to the originating card. Any exceptions must be considered by the Accounts Receivable Team Lead.



    Effective: 1 February 2024               Responsible: Chief Financial Officer                    Lead: Director, Operational Finance



Section 2: Business expenses

  • This procedure applies to all financial commitments and expenditure incurred by UNSW.

    The requirements for responsible and ethical management of funds are set out in this policy. Individuals who spend funds of grants from external bodies or similar must comply with the terms and conditions of the grant. Where the terms of the external grant and UNSW’s policies and procedures are inconsistent, the terms of the external grant prevail to the extent of the inconsistency.

    A member of the ULT may approve an exception to sections 5.4, 7.1 and 8. 

    1.    Expense requirements

    1.1.           Expenses must be approved by the one-up supervisor of the employee or that person’s one-up supervisor with the appropriate financial delegation, objectivity and independence.

    1.2.           The approver must understand the details of the expense and this policy to ensure that the expense is appropriate and consistent with the principles of this policy and any other relevant UNSW policy document.

    1.3.           Tax invoices/receipts/approvals must be attached electronically in Concur or NSF. A Missing receipt declaration must be completed if a receipt is lost or unable to be obtained.

    1.4.           There must be segregation of duties between the individual purchasing the good or service and the approver. Expenses cannot be self-approved. 

    1.5.           Expenses for goods or services provided by one of UNSW’s controlled entities require the same level of scrutiny and independent judgement as expenses for goods and services provided by any third party. Delegations stated in the Register of Delegation still apply.

    1.6.           There are no exceptions to the delegations stated in the Register of Delegations.

    1.7.           If a staff member has a conflict of interest (actual, potential, or perceived) in proposing or approving a financial commitment or expenditure, they must refer to the Conflict of Interest Disclosure and Management Procedure.

    2.    Entertainment of staff members

    2.1.           All entertainment expenses relating to food and drinks should be reasonable and for legitimate UNSW business purposes. 

    2.2.           Excessive expenditure on wine and other alcohol is not considered reasonable.

    2.3.           The most senior member of staff must pay the bill (except if they are an invited guest).

    2.4.           Personal-related celebrations are private expenses that are not funded by UNSW.

    2.5.           Entertainment of family and friends is not allowed, except for formal UNSW Sydney and UNSW Canberra arranged events (such as the annual UNSW community day, Town and Gown Dinner).

    2.6.           To avoid incurring additional Fringe Benefits Tax (FBT) costs to UNSW, the names and zIDs of the attendees must be listed and attached to the expense claim (either in NSF or Concur) for FBT purposes.

    2.7.           Tipping is discouraged in Australia.

    3.    Entertainment (where non-UNSW parties are involved)

    3.1.           All entertainment expenses relating to food and drinks should be reasonable and for legitimate UNSW business reasons. A ULT member may approve an exception for high-status guests.

    3.2.           Excessive expenditure on wine and other alcohol is not reasonable.

    3.3.           The most senior member of staff must pay the bill (except if they are an invited guest).

    3.4.           To avoid incurring additional FBT costs to the UNSW, the names and zIDs (UNSW staff) of the attendees must be listed and attached to the expense claim (either in NSF or Concur) for FBT purposes.

    3.5.           Tipping is discouraged in Australia.

    4.    Donations and sponsorships

    4.1.           UNSW funds cannot be used to make a donation, unless approved by the Vice-Chancellor.

    4.2.           The Vice-President, Societal Impact, Equity and Engagement must grant permission for sponsorships, which are otherwise not allowable or appropriate. This does not apply to sponsorships which form part of the normal activities of researchers attending conferences.

    5.    Gifts and rewards

    5.1.           This sub-section does not apply to prizes: see the Prizes Procedure for requirements in relation to prizes.

    5.2.           Gifts and rewards are allowed for legitimate UNSW business reasons.

    5.3.           External (3rd party) gifts: staff are permitted to purchase a gift that is reasonable, appropriate and allowable.

    5.4.            For internal gifts and rewards to a staff member or student:

    • Staff can purchase gifts for departing employees (leaving following resignation, retirement, redundancy, and similar) with over 5 years of service, that are reasonable, appropriate and allowable.
    • Gift cards may be purchased to reward a staff member or student for exceptional performance or contribution. Such gifts/rewards cannot be cash. Gift cards purchased as gifts must be treated like cash and recorded in a gift card register.
    • No gifts are permitted for non-work-related reasons, such as birthdays, marriages, births, condolences, etc., unless self-funded.
    • Staff may buy gifts and other rewards (such as gift cards) for participants in research. 

    6.    Travel

    Refer to section 5, the Travel procedure, for travel expenses.

    7.    IT hardware and software

    7.1.           IT hardware such as laptops and desktop computers must be obtained through UNSW IT. See the UNSW IT website.

    7.2.           Before purchasing software, staff must check with UNSW IT whether licensing agreements are in place between UNSW and the provider.

    8.    Work from home equipment

    UNSW expenditure for home office equipment and consumables (both IT and non-IT) is not permitted.

    9.     Non-compliance

    Non-compliance may result in disciplinary action and potentially a requirement for repayment by the employee or individual. UNSW Finance monitors compliance, with significant cases assessed in accordance with the escalation process.



    Effective: 1 February 2024               Responsible: Chief Financial Officer                    Lead: Director, FCC



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Section 3: Credit cards

  • 1.    Eligibility for a credit card

    1.1.           UNSW may issue a credit card to an applicant who:

    • is a continuing or fixed term employee of UNSW
    • is eligible for a financial delegation and acts in compliance with the Register of Delegations
    • needs to make purchases as part of their role and responsibilities, and
    • agrees to the conditions of use stated on the credit card application form, and to comply with this Finance policy and all other relevant UNSW policies.

    1.2.           The staff member whose name appears on the credit card is the card holder.

    1.3.           Card holders must complete the online training material.

    1.4.           Card holders are accountable for their expenditure. (See section 2 Business Expense procedure for requirements).  

    2.    Using UNSW credit cards

    2.1.           All expenses must be for legitimate UNSW purposes and be necessary, reasonable, appropriate, and allowable in the circumstances and publicly defensible as would be expected from a public university. Credit cards should never be used for private expenditure. Restrictions outlined in this policy apply to credit card expenditure and a list of acceptable uses can be found on the Finance intranet, including instructions for unavoidable incidences. If a credit card is used for a private expenditure in error, the amount must be repaid within the monthly reconciliation timeframe.

    2.2.           Credit card spend limits will be set according to the Register of Delegations and align with business requirements for a role.

    2.3.           Card holders are responsible for keeping their credit card safe.

    2.4.           Intentional misuse is a breach of trust.

    2.5.           Credit cards cannot be used to purchase stationery, lab consumables, and IT equipment (see section 4, Procurement).

    2.6.           UNSW Credit cards should not be used for flights or accommodation where they can be arranged via the UNSW travel provider.   

    2.7.           Credit card users will obtain original receipts or tax invoices (a photograph is acceptable for reconciliation) for all transactions, or the expenditure may be treated as private expenditure. A Missing receipt declaration must be completed if a receipt is lost or unable to be obtained.

    2.8.           Transactions cannot be split to avoid financial expenditure limits stated in the Register of Delegations.

    2.9.           The card holder is responsible for resolving disputed credit card transactions with the bank or merchant within 28 days.

    3.    Credit card reconciliation and monitoring

    3.1.           UNSW credit cards must be reconciled within 30 days after the end of each calendar month.

    3.2.           The card supervisor must complete the approval process within 21 days of the card reconciliation.

    3.3.           UNSW Finance will monitor unreconciled and unapproved credit card expenditure.

    3.4.           Card holders who consistently fail to meet the reconciliation and approval requirements will be escalated to the CFO.

    3.5.           Exception reports will highlight expenditure that is not compliant with policy. Faculties and divisions must respond to significant non-compliance within 5 working days. 


    Effective: 1 February 2024          Responsible: Chief Financial Officer         Lead: Director, Operational Finance


Section 4: Procurement

  • 1.    Role of Procurement

    The Procurement team in UNSW Finance:

    • advises staff involved in procurement to ensure they meet the principles of this policy, such as value for money (see policy section 6) 
    • manages all contracts with suppliers and contractors that total $350,000 or more
    • maintains guidelines on how to seek quotes
    • assist staff with sustainable procurement guidance and practices, and
    • may require staff undertaking a high-profile, complex or high-value procurement project to involve a probity adviser, where the project sponsor or project steering committee requests this.

    2.    UNSW suppliers and UNSW panel suppliers

    2.1.           To streamline procurement and ensure UNSW obtains maximum value for money, suppliers may be assessed and approved for status as a UNSW supplier or UNSW panel supplier.

    2.2.           A UNSW supplier established by Procurement must be:

    • used when procuring any goods, services, infrastructure and capital works, and
    • paid by issuing a purchase order or buying from a catalogue.

    2.3.           UNSW panel suppliers are approved by the Director, Procurement and must be:

    • used when procuring any pre-qualified goods, services, infrastructure or capital works
    • paid by issuing a purchase order or buying from a catalogue, and
    • chosen based on a quote or quotes or other documentation (such as a work order or scope of work), as required according to the cost of purchase by the Procurement Buying Reference (see sub-section 3).

    2.4.           Suppliers can only be a UNSW supplier or UNSW panel supplier if they have been approved as such by Procurement via a competitive procurement or sourcing process which will ensure:

    • competitive pricing and product/service offering
    • favourable terms and conditions
    • probity and standards established by the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW) (GIPA).
    • competitive lead-time (where applicable depending on the goods or services provided), and
    • inclusion of warranty or maintenance services (where applicable depending on the goods or services provided).

    3.    Criteria for procurement decisions: UNSW buying reference

    Procurement decisions must involve Procurement and/or have quotes as specified in the Procurement Buying Reference.

    3.1.           Once a commitment has been made, the staff member managing the procurement will raise the purchase requisition and place the order.

    3.2.           Only Procurement can approve a bulk exemption from the requirement of at least three quotes for procurement transactions that total at least $50,000 but less than $350,000.

    3.3.           Procurement may also decide to guide the procurement process in any procurement activity that:

    • involves identified risks
    • is of strategic importance
    • may receive negative media coverage, or
    • may involve significant environmental or social risks.

    4.    Payment terms

    4.1.           UNSW complies with agreed payment terms and seeks to take advantage of discounts for prompt payment.

    4.2.           UNSW’s default payment term is 30 days after the end of the month in which the invoice is received. Where a supplier’s standard payment terms are less than this, a longer payment term should be negotiated if possible.

    4.3.           If no payment term is specified on the invoice, UNSW shall pay within 30 days of the end of the month in which the vendors invoice is received. Any exceptions to the standard payment terms must be requested through the Accounts Payable team with an appropriate justification provided for an assessment to be conducted.

    5.    Sourcing requirements

    5.1.           Staff involved in procurement other than via the Procurement online system will:

    • use the templates for this purpose maintained by Procurement, and
    • follow the templates’ instructions for their use.

    5.2.           Any variation to a standard template for a contract with a supplier or service provider must have been approved by Procurement or Legal.

    5.3.           Staff must use TenderBox for requests for tender (RFT).

    5.4.           In making procurement decisions, staff must apply the principles of this policy. The Procurement Manual states detailed requirements for, and provides guidance on, doing this.

    5.5.           Where risk assessment of a good, service, infrastructure or work identifies significant risk, the staff procuring it will develop and implement a risk management plan (see sub-section 7).

    5.6.           Staff who have established a contract with a new supplier or service provider will:

    • monitor the supplier’s/service provider’s performance to check that they are meeting the contract terms and conditions, and
    • forward records of this monitoring to Procurement.

    6.    Unsolicited proposal

    6.1.           Where a staff member receives an unsolicited proposal, they must forward it to Procurement ( for review.

    6.2.           Section 15 of the Procurement Manual provides further instructions.

    7.    Risk assessment

    7.1.           A supplier cannot be approved as a UNSW supplier or UNSW panel supplier unless there has been an initial risk assessment of the supplier and either Risk Management or Procurement have advised that the supplier can be considered for approval.

    7.2.           Procurement may require that any proposed supplier or service provider be assessed for approval as satisfactory by Risk Management or Procurement, on the basis of a risk assessment, where:

    • the supplier/provider is based outside Australia
    • the goods, services, infrastructure or works may cause negative media coverage
    • a non-standard contract (a contract not approved by Legal) is required
    • the goods, services, infrastructure or works, if not fit for purpose, may adversely affect courses, research or staff, or
    • the goods or services may pose environmental or social risks in their origin, composition, production or disposal.

    7.3.           Procurement may consider a supplier or service provider to be a UNSW supplier or UNSW panel supplier, merely on the basis that the supplier/service provider is on the relevant type of panel of a reputable third party such as the Commonwealth Government, a state government or a relevant national organisation. See sub-section 8.4 and 8.5 of the Procurement Manual.

    8.    Procurement partly funded by UNSW

    Where procurement of goods, services, infrastructure or capital works is jointly funded by UNSW and another organisation the following applies:

    Procuring organization

    Relevant policy


    UNSW Finance Policy, procedures and instructions in the Procurement Manual

    Another university

    That university’s procurement policy

    Private sector

    UNSW Finance Policy, procedures and instructions, unless Procurement advises otherwise


    Effective: 1 February 2024                Responsible: Chief Financial Officer           Lead: Director, Procurement


Section 5: Travel 

  • Purpose

    Domestic and international travel is essential for some work-related activities of staff and students. UNSW will support University travellers by providing a safe and equitable travel process


    This procedure applies to all University travellers. This includes travel and travel-related expenses that are paid (in whole or in part) by UNSW regardless of the source of funds. Sub-sections 1, 2, and 3 of the Business Expense procedure provide details that may be relevant to your travel expenditure. The University Leadership Team are exempt from sections 2.1, 3.2, 3.5-3.9, and 3.24 and can provide exemption for any section not mandated by tax or safety legislation. 

    Travel funded through external grant arrangements must comply with the terms and conditions of the grant. If the terms of the grant are inconsistent with this policy, the terms of the external grant, with respect to travel, will apply with the exception of sub-sections 8.1 and 8.3.

    1.    Plan your travel and request pre-approval

    Travel should be planned in advance, to avoid the higher cost of airfares and accommodation that may occur with last-minute bookings.

    1.1.           Discuss your travel plan with the manager who approves your travel to confirm that it is:

    • essential and beneficial to the functions of UNSW
    • within budget and can be arranged at a reasonable cost, and
    • unable to be conducted via videoconferencing.

    1.2.           Fill out Pre-Trip Approval in the online travel portal accessed from the MyTravel@UNSW website:

    • Domestic bookings – the manager who approves your travel will be notified of a domestic booking.
    • International bookings – will require approval in the system by the manager who approves your travel.

    1.3           Travel risk levels of your destination will be assessed in the pre-trip approval process against Department of Foreign Affairs Smart Traveller risk levels and UNSW risk criteria. Where pre-trip approval identifies a destination as high risk or restrictive, the travel will require approval by both your travel approver and the Director of Risk.

    1.4.           UNSW recognises that additional expenses are often incurred by staff members with disabilities who need adjustments to travel arrangements. The UNSW Travel Assistance Fund for  Staff with Disabilities, managed by Human Resources, may cover these expenses.

    2.   Book and pay for your travel

    2.1.           You must book your travel through FCM, the travel management company UNSW uses, using MyTravel@UNSW or a consultant:

    • Book with FCM for flights, accommodation, car hire and rail or ferry transfers.
    • Contact a consultant for complex bookings and general information and requirements including visa processing.

    2.2.           Flight and accommodation costs will be paid automatically when you book through FCM.

    2.3.           If your personal travel makes up 50 percent or more of the duration of your trip, you must pay 50 percent of your airfare(s). Refer to sub-section 8 below for more detail. You must book leave for any days of personal travel when you would usually be working. This requirement does not apply to students travelling for unpaid, UNSW study related activities.

    2.4.           If you need to arrange travel at the last minute because conflict or disaster makes it necessary to change your route, destination or timing of travel you may:

    a)       use a UNSW credit card, or

    b)       pay for it independently and seek reimbursement through Concur in line with the Business Expense procedure.    


    3.   Travel Expenses


    3.1.           UNSW acknowledges that air travel has a very high environmental cost footprint,  and this should be taken into account when planning your travel. Where possible you should seek alternative, more environmentally sustainable travel options.

    3.2.           Economy class airfares are allowed for UNSW business.

    3.3.           Business Class and Premium Economy are restricted to:

    • ULT
    • where such travel is explicitly mentioned in the traveller’s employment contract, and
    • by ULT member approval in exceptional circumstances.

    3.4.           You must take the most direct, environmentally and economically efficient route to/from UNSW and to/from your travel location. You must not direct the choice of flight or route based on personal preference or private travel needs.

    3.5.           You cannot pay for seat allocation or other pay-for-service airfare add-on options.

    3.6.           You cannot pay for excess luggage unless:

    • your business trip requires you to take bulky items, or
    • a relocation agreement provides for you to pay for excess luggage.
    Airline lounge/club memberships and frequent flyer programs

    3.8.           Airline lounge memberships are allowable for staff who travel more than 5 flights per year.  Memberships must be for a maximum of 12 months.


    3.8.           Reduce the cost to UNSW when booking accommodation by ensuring you choose a place that will provide an appropriate individual room at the lowest tariff.

    3.9.           The Finance intranet states indicative rates for domestic and international accommodation that are deemed reasonable.

    3.10.           Pay for domestic accommodation using a virtual credit card, arranged with UNSW Travel when you book your travel. For accommodation during international travel, staff must use either a UNSW credit card or their own personal card (in which case expenses can be reimbursed via Concur in line with the Business Expense procedure).

    3.11.           UNSW funds cannot be used to pay for private accommodation (staying with family/friends), recreational facilities, movies, or room upgrades.

    3.12.           If you are staying in a location longer than 21 days, you must provide evidence that the accommodation was for work purposes. You cannot claim accommodation expenses for more than 90 days in one location per calendar year.

    Car hire

    3.13.           You may hire a car if driving is more cost-effective than flights or taxis.

    3.14.           Car hire should be arranged through FCM where possible.

    3.15.           Staff should rent the most appropriate vehicle consistent with business and safety needs and refuel the car prior to returning to the car hire company.


    Meals and incidentals (i.e., newspaper, toiletries, tea, coffee, water, laundry, tips, snacks).

    3.16.           You should spend within maximum rates of expenditure for meals and incidental by travel region, which are specified on the Finance intranet. You may pay for meals and incidentals while traveling with:

    a)   a UNSW credit card, or

    b)   your own credit card or cash and then request reimbursement of the expense in accordance with the Business Expense procedure.

    Mobile phone and data charges

    3.17.         If you are a UNSW Optus or Telstra mobile service customer you can arrange international roaming with Mobility at prior to leaving Australia. Data roaming packs for personal phones can be obtained according to IT eligibility guidelines.

    Public transport: rail and taxis

    3.18.           Please use public transport for business travel wherever possible.

    3.19.           You may use a standard taxi or Uber service where public transport would be unreasonably slow or unsafe.

    3.20.           You may purchase a public transport pass where this is an economical way of using public transport for business purposes.


    3.21.           You may pay parking fees for work-related parking of less than 24 hours, or for multiple days if the cost is less than that of a standard taxi/Uber fare.

    3.22.           Parking fines and infringement notices are considered personal expenses.

    3.23.           UNSW Parking Permits on campus are only for external parties visiting UNSW on a one-off basis for a maximum of 12 hours and for staff travelling between campuses for work commitments.

    Passports and other travel documents

    3.24.           Passport or travel documents are private expenses that UNSW will not reimburse, excluding medical reports and police checks if required in the employment agreement.

    3.25.           UNSW may reimburse you for the cost of a medical report, police check or other checks or certificates required for travel on UNSW business, if the relevant employment agreement provides for this.

    3.26.           Visa and visa related expenses for travellers on UNSW business trips are appropriate and necessary.


    3.27.         Tipping is discouraged in Australia.

    3.28.         Tipping at the average/median percentage in other countries is appropriate (up to a maximum of 20%).

    4.   Reimbursement of travel-related expenses

    4.1.           UNSW does not pay per diem allowances.

    4.2.           Meals, taxis or incidentals can be reimbursed if in line with the requirements in this policy.

    4.3.           You may require a travel cash advance for travel expenses in situations where credit card transactions are unavailable. For this, submit a cash advance claim in Concur at least 7 days before your trip and then:  

    • keep all receipts or invoices for travel expenses to demonstrate that you have spent the advance for legitimate purposes, and
    • submit the documentation as a reimbursement claim in Concur within 30 days of your return to demonstrate legitimate spending of your cash advance.

    You must reimburse UNSW for any part of the advance for which you cannot provide receipts/invoices to demonstrate legitimate expenditure.

    5.   When do I need a Travel Diary?

    5.1.           Tax law requires you to keep a travel diary for any travel that continues for 6 or more nights. This diary must be retained as a UNSW record for at least 5 years. You, or (if a group is travelling together) the group’s lead traveller must complete a travel diary with FCM, which includes:

    • pre-trip – information including any conference itinerary, external information or supporting brochure, and
    • post trip – submit a revised travel diary or TR5 form within 10 business days after you return.

    6.   Insurance

    6.1.           UNSW’s travel insurance covers staff, students and affiliates who are travelling more than 100km on approved UNSW business against medical emergencies, evacuation, and damage, loss or theft of luggage (excluding electronic or digital equipment).

    6.2.           The Travel Insurance website gives full details of what this coverage includes. 

    7.   Safety

    Do not travel when it is not safe to do so. Pre-trip approval will determine your travel risk.

    7.1.           You will not be required to travel on UNSW business to a country rated as high risk on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Smart Traveller website. If you choose to undertake high risk travel, the travel must have been approved by the Director of Risk before you make bookings. The travel will not be insured without this approval.

    7.2.           Before you undertake a high-risk activity while travelling, check whether it is covered by the UNSW’s Travel Insurance. It you are doing field work, you must follow the requirements of the HS406 Fieldwork Guideline, HS917 Fieldwork Procedure, and HS019 Fieldwork Risk Management Checklist.

    8.   Personal payment of travel costs, fringe benefits tax considerations and the use of private vehicles

    8.1.           Private travel is allowed only where it is combined with a business trip and it is merely incidental (less than 50% of the total trip) to the business trip component (refer to the Travel Intranet for more detail on what is ‘private’ and ‘business’). Where the private portion is equal to or greater than 50% of the total trip, the private portion is deemed not to be incidental to the trip and becomes subject to FBT. The FBT liability that arises because of your travel (either funded through external grants or internally) must be eliminated by:

    a.    Reducing private travel days to less than 50% of the trip duration, or

    b.   flight cost contribution:

    i)    pay FCM for the entire trip privately and request reimbursement of the business component (50% of the total airfares), or

    ii)   pay the private component of the flights’ cost (50% of the total airfares) directly to FCM at the time of booking, or

    iii)  if a trip change happens post-departure, repay the private portion of the flights’ cost to UNSW after completing the trip.

    8.2.           UNSW does not reimburse travel expenses of an accompanying traveller unless specified in an employment contract or approved by the Vice-Chancellor.

    8.3.           Travel that involves staying more than 21 days continuously in one location or staying for a total of more than 90 days in one location in a calendar year may incur FBT on the accommodation and living expenses.

    8.4.           You should limit the use of a private vehicle for travel on UNSW business. UNSW does not generally accept liability for damage, loss or injury arising from use of a private vehicle. Travellers who choose to use a private vehicle must complete the Travel MV1 form (Approval to Use a Private Vehicle) before they travel to provide justification when practicable to do so and then claim expenses for the use through Concur. UNSW will only reimburse private vehicle expenses for travel:

    • between home and somewhere that is not your regular work location, or
    • between locations where you will conduct UNSW business, neither of which is your home.

    9.        Additional information for students

    9.1.           This Travel procedure applies to student travel for approved UNSW related activities, domestic and international, such as exchange, fieldwork, practicum, short course, conferences, study tour, volunteer placement and internship undertaken while studying at UNSW. This includes travel for Arc@UNSW activities, including those under a Student Community and Development Grant, and activities included in a student’s Australian Higher Education Graduate Statement.

    9.2.           Students planning overseas travel should refer to How to Prepare for Departure before making their travel.

    9.3.           Higher degree research candidates can consult the UNSW HDR Hub’s information on working away from the University and the Development and Research Training Grant scheme.

    9.4.           A Head of School may agree to a student’s claim for reimbursement of travel expenditure where the student has provided receipts or invoices as evidence of the expenditure, subject to requirements for expenditure of UNSW funds in this procedure.


    Effective: 1 February 2024          Responsible: Chief Financial Officer                      Lead: Travel Service Manager

    Back to contents

Section 6: Treasury

  • Purpose

    To provide quality requirements and expectations for the management of the Treasury and Investments (TI) function.

    This section covers the management of the following areas of treasury risk:

    • Credit
    • Short term liquidity
    • Funding and refinancing
    • Interest rates
    • Foreign exchange, and
    •  Operational risk relating to treasury activities.

    1.    Role of Treasury & Investments

    TI is a risk management and service function responsible for managing exposures to market and operational risks listed in the purpose of this standard. TI will:

    1.1.           Manage all counterparty credit exposure, from treasury activities to individual financial institutions that TI transacts with, to acceptable levels of credit risk through institution selection, diversification, monitoring, and related decisions. Counterparty credit exposure will be captured across the UNSW Group.

    1.2.           Ensure that UNSW has the capacity to meet its financial obligations as they fall due.

    1.3.           Facilitate the securing of new, or renegotiated, credit facilities to meet financial requirements in a timely manner.

    1.4.           Minimise the impact of unfavourable movements in interest rates on UNSW’s interest income or expenses.

    1.5.           With respect to foreign exchange risk management:

    • Identify all material foreign exchange exposures.
    • Engage with divisions and faculties, schools, departments, research centres and controlled entities to explain the TI role in the identification and management of foreign exchange risks.
    • Ensure foreign exchange exposures are tracked, managed and reported in accordance with limits and policies.
    • Retain sole responsibility to execute foreign exchange derivative transactions.

    1.6.           When managing operational risk:

    • Minimise risk through an appropriate level of internal controls and segregation of duties (taking into consideration the size of the TI function),
    • Ensure that well documented procedure manuals are updated and readily available, and
    • Ensure that TI applications have adequate disaster recovery procedures documented and in place.

    1.7.           Not engage in speculative transactions.

    2.    Treasury Manual

    The Treasury Manual states the detailed processes and reporting required by the Treasury function.


    Effective: 1 February 2024                         Responsible: Chief Financial Officer                      Lead: Director, TII


Appendix 1: roles and responsibilities

  • Authority over procedures and instructions

    The following UNSW officers are authorised to maintain and change the procedure sections of this policy in accordance with the Policy Framework Policy:

    1. The Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has authority to approve a standard or procedure section of this policy.

    2. The Director, Financial Control and Compliance has authority to change the:

    • Business Expense procedure, and
    • Travel procedure

    3. The Director, Operational Finance has the authority to change the:

    • Credit Card procedure, and
    • Accounts Receivable procedure.

    4. The Director, Procurement has authority to change the

    • Procurement procedure, and
    • Procurement Manual.

    5. The Director, Treasury, Investment & Insurance has authority to change the:

    • Investment procedure
    • Treasury Standard, and
    • Treasury Manual.


    The Finance Investment Sub-committee (ISC) of the Finance and Strategy Committee (FSC) is responsible for:

    • the design, monitoring and implementation of the investment principles, and
    • reporting to the FSC on the objectives of investment funds and their performance, to ensure maximum returns according to agreed risk profiles.

    The Director, Treasury, Investment, and Insurance will:

    • maintain systems and processes to ensure practice is consistent with the investment principles (policy section)
    • implement the ISC’s investment decisions, report and address any limit breaches identified within the Treasury Manual, and
    • be the designated University Compliance Owner responsible for managing compliance with UNSW’s legislative obligations in its investment activities (including the resourcing, developing, implementing, and monitoring of internal controls).

    The Director, Procurement approves suppliers as UNSW suppliers or UNSW panel suppliers.

    The Director, Operational Finance may approve processes to support this policy.

    Staff with a financial delegation are responsible for ensuring compliance with this policy and will act as the representative making the commitment on behalf of UNSW.

    Legislative compliance

    1.       This policy is intended to ensure that UNSW complies with the:

    1.1.      Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 (NSW)

    1.2.      University of New South Wales Act, 1989 (NSW)

    1.3.      State Records Act, 1998 (NSW)

    1.4.      Independent Commission Against Corruption Act 1988 (NSW)

    1.5.      Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (NSW)

    1.6.      Public Interest Disclosures Act 2022 (NSW)

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