Using DocuSign to Review and Approve Subcontract Invoices

UCSF enters into numerous subcontracts for which UCSF is the prime awardee and another institution is responsible for fulfilling a portion of the research work. Subcontracts are processed through Office of Sponsored Research (OSR) and payment to the subcontractors is handled through Accounts Payable. Departments and Principal Investigators are responsible for reviewing and approving subcontractor invoices.

DocuSign is a cloud-based electronic workflow and signature application that has been integrated into the subcontract review and approval process. By adopting this application, we have moved to a paperless process and hope to increase efficiency and decrease the elapsed time between Accounts Payable (AP) sending a subcontract invoice to the department and the release of the hold on the check to the subcontractor. DocuSign is legally binding and provides full document encryption and a tamper-proof audit trail.

There are four roles in the DocuSign subcontract process:

  • Workflow Owner: receives invoices from AP and designates Approver(s) and other department-related workflow. This role is assigned to Post Award Analysts/Financial Analysts.
  • Approver: reviews and approves invoice by electronic signature. This role is assigned to the Principal Investigator (PI) or delegate.
  • Reviewer: receives a copy of the invoice. Assigned by the Workflow Owner.
  • Sender: prepares and sends invoices to the Workflow Owner. This role is assigned to Accounts Payable.

Workflow Owners and Approvers receive an email notification when they have an action to take in DocuSign. Select the “View Documents” link in the email to access DocuSign. If requested, login to MyAccess using your username and password.

The Workflow Owners User Guide Job Aid provide detailed and summarized information on how to assign Approver(s), add an optional note, add optional Reviewer(s), add optional attachments, track an invoice envelope, and view completed or declined invoices.

The DocuSign Quick Start Guide for Approvers (PIs) provides basic information for all Approver actions in a single document. Also available are the Approving Subcontract Invoices in DocuSign and Setting Up Your DocuSign Signature which provide detailed step-by step instructions for Approvers, and the DocuSign Approver (PI) User Guide

DocuSign is available through MyAccess. Recommended browsers: Mozilla® Firefox® 3.0 or above (Windows and Mac); Safari™ 3.0 or above (Mac OS only); Google Chrome® 5.0 or above (Windows and Mac). We do not recommend using IE as there may be compatibility issues with using DocuSign.

Contact the Accounts Payable Helpdesk if you have any questions about using DocuSign for subcontract invoice review and approval.