SECTION OVERVIEW AND POLICIES
This section provides agencies with an overview of the Imaging and Attachment feature of the Statewide Financial System (SFS), as well as a summary of State Archives’ and the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC) requirements related to this feature. Specifically, this section discusses document collection, imaging, verifying, and attaching. It also discusses handling private and confidential information and SFS transactions with attachment capability.
Online agencies are required to use the attachment feature in the SFS to store electronic documents in support of transactions processed in the Travel and Expense Module. As agencies implement the P2P Streamline Model, they will also be required to use the SFS attachment feature in both the eSettlements and Accounts Payable Modules to store documents in support of invoice and voucher payments. However, agencies are encouraged to begin adopting the use of this feature in both the eSettlements and Accounts Payable Modules as soon as possible to assist with the transition.
For the remaining SFS modules, online agencies may use SFS to store documents electronically in support of transactions. They may use the attachments in SFS as the sole document repository for their official records after ensuring compliance with the requirements.
For all SFS modules, exceptions to the policy may exist due to file size limitations or in cases of private and confidential information, as specified below. Agencies should consider the limitations outlined in this section, and document justifications for exceptions in their policies and procedures.
Process and Document Preparation:
Agencies are responsible for collecting documents to support payments and other transactions. For more information about the types of evidence agencies should obtain to support claims for payment, please refer to Chapter XII, Section 4.B.1 – Supporting Information.
When using the SFS attachment feature, the agency should use it consistently, attaching to each transaction all relevant documents within the file size limitation. The agency should consider the types of documents it needs to attach for different business processes and how the attachments can help with the approval process.
In addition, agencies must maintain hard copies of the following documents:
- Any relevant documents that are not imaged and stored in the SFS;
- Original, clean versions of documents redacted for privacy considerations;
- Any documents required to be maintained in hard copy by Federal or State regulations; and
- Documents pertaining to land claims.
IMAGING AND ATTACHING DOCUMENTS
Imaging should be integrated into the agency’s normal course of business, and imaged records should be produced in a timely manner. When establishing controls over an imaging process/system, agencies should document procedures regarding how to use the data capture system. In addition, agencies should ensure controls address the following:
- Data accuracy, authenticity and confidentiality;
- Hardware and software reliability; and
- System integrity, security, operations and maintenance.
VERIFYING IMAGED DOCUMENTS
Prior to using the attachment feature in the SFS, each agency must develop a process that includes attaching and reviewing relevant documents, as well as redacting private and confidential information. When developing this process, each agency must include controls to ensure its imaging system produces legible, accurate reproductions of original documents.
In addition, if the agency is going to store its documents in the SFS as the sole document repository for its official records, the agency must have a defined, secure process for discarding originals once the image verification is completed.
PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION
Agencies using the SFS attachment feature to supplement the payment information should consider whether to redact private and confidential data from the electronic record. Redaction should occur in limited circumstances. Prior to redacting information, agencies should review OSC regulation (2 CRR-NY 6.2) to ensure invoices provide an acceptable level of detail to validate the appropriateness of the payment. If you are not sure the documents contain private and confidential data, consult your agency’s internal policies. Agencies storing their documents in the SFS as the sole document repository for its official records must retain the original, hard copy records with no redacted information.
The State General Schedule, issued by the New York State Archives, includes requirements for agencies on how long to retain documents for different types of transactions. These requirements can be found at http://www.archives.nysed.gov/records/retention-schedules. Agencies may have also developed agency-specific schedules that cover SFS-related records.
Agencies may choose to image documents and retain the image to satisfy the retention periods established in the State General Schedule or agency-specific schedules. Agencies may destroy original documents after imaging and image verification without any additional disposition authorization from the New York State Archives.
When signing into SFS, agency representatives must certify to the following:
“Imaged records accurately, legibly and completely reflect all the information in the original records except where redacted. For redacted images, the agency has retained the unaltered, original document.”
CONSIDERATIONS FOR ATTACHING FILES TO SFS TRANSACTIONS
Common file types such as PDF, TIFF, and files generated from Word and Excel, may be attached to support transactions. Agencies should not attach fillable forms due to their file size.
When producing PDF files from documents prepared by another application, such as Word or Excel, agencies should use the PDF generating capabilities of the source software rather than printing and scanning. Scanned document images will be accepted if there are no alternatives. These should be produced in black and white and at low resolution.
The SFS will scan all attachments for viruses and executable programs. The file size for a single attachment may not exceed four megabytes. Attachments that exceed file size limitations, or that contain viruses or executable programs, will be automatically deleted by the SFS.
|Guidance on Using Attachment Capability|
|Question||Billing –– Regular Invoices; Consolidated Invoices||Expenses–– Travel Authorizations; Expense Reports||Budgeting –– Budget Journals; Budget Transfers; Inter-Unit Budget Transfers||General Ledger –– Journal Entries||Purchasing –– Requisitions; Purchase Orders||Accounts Payable––Vouchers||Accounts Receivable––Deposits|
|When can a document be attached?||Before or after posting||Before posting only||Before posting only||Before or after posting||Requisitions – Prior to submitting for approval
Purchase Orders – Throughout the life cycle of the purchase order
|Before posting only||Before Posting or before Direct Journal is approved|
|Who can attach a document?||Anyone with update level access to the “supporting documentation” page||Originator prior to submission; approver during workflow||Originator prior to submission; approver during workflow||Anyone with update level access to Journal Header page||Requisitions – Originators or Approvers
Purchase Orders – Originators, Approvers, or any Buyers with add/update access
|Originator prior to submission; approver during workflow||A/R Preparer or A/R Approver prior to submission; approver during workflow|
|How many attachments are allowed?||Multiple||Multiple||One||Multiple||Requisitions – Multiple
Purchase Orders – Multiple
|Can documents be deleted from SFS after the transaction is posted?||Yes||No*||No*||Yes||Requisitions – prior to sourcing
Purchase Orders – before dispatching
* Once attached, documents cannot be modified or deleted. To modify or replace an existing attachment, the SFS user must save a new version of the file and clarify, in the file name or through other means, which version of the attachment supports the transaction.
For more information on record retention requirements and types of documents to retain, see:
- Chapter XII, Section 3 - Record Retention - Accounts Payable Vouchers and Land Claims
- Chapter XIII, Section 3 - Record Retention - Travel and Expense
For more information from the New York State Archives on Digital Imaging Guidelines and Records Management, see:
Guide to Financial Operations