Working with BRC: FAQs

Questions and answers about working with BRC

  1. Who is an "authorized signer"?
  2. How do I get documentation to the BRC?
  3. How do I know the BRC received my request?
  4. When is the right time for a customer department to contact the BRC about a planned transaction?
  5. Are customer departments required to use the BRC forms?
  6. Does an authorized signer have to sign manually?
  7. Why does the BRC require an approver to send an email directly to the BRC? This seems inefficient.
  8. What does the BRC need in order to process a request?
  9. How does the BRC know that a transaction is okay to process?
  10. We are working with a new vendor. When should we notify the BRC?
  11. What is a Non-Mandatory Reviewer?
  12. I have a suggestion/comment for the BRC. Whom should I contact?

Who is an "authorized signer"?

Subdivision Heads have authority to commit departmental funds allocated to them through the budget process.  They may delegate authority to commit departmental funds to others in the department.  

The Accounting Manual states that “Before budgeted funds can be expended, a record of the signatures of those authorized to originate and approve specified departmental business transactions must be provided to administrative and service departments.”

Before a department transitions to the BRC, the BRC obtains documentation of the subdivision’s delegations.  Departments may use the Signature Authorization or Cancellation form (pdf) from the Accounting Manual or, alternatively, can provide a schedule that includes:

  • Names of those with delegated authority
  • Scope of the authority delegated to each ($ limit, organizational level, exempted transaction types, etc)
  • Signature specimens of those to whom authority is delegated
  • Approval of the structure by the person possessing the authority to be delegated

When using the form, please note that a dollar limit may be warranted but is not readily provided for by the format.  Also, it is often appropriate to delegate authority at the Subdivision or Department level and, in these instances, the SDIV or DEPT code should be indicated rather than a listing of accounts.

Questions should be addressed to the BRC Manager.

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How do I get documentation to the BRC?

It is the BRC’s intention to make it as easy as possible for customer departments to get documentation to the BRC, so a variety of methods are available.  The Team mailboxes on the 9th floor of the Franklin Building in Room 9303 are available for drop-offs.  Interdepartmental mail can also be used.  Email is another option.  Each BRC Functional Team has an email account (Contact Us) that can be used to submit materials electronically, although paper documentation may need to follow depending on the transaction type. 

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How do I know the BRC received my request?

The Non-Mandatory Reviewer will receive a BruinBuy System-generated notice that the transaction has been processed (i.e., a PAN email).  This should occur within 3 days of receipt by the BRC.  If there will be a delay, the department contact will receive an email regarding the additional information needed or other acknowledgement.  If the department would like someone other than the Non-Mandatory Reviewer notified regarding a transaction, the BRC Service Request form provides a field for that information. 

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When is the right time for a customer department to contact the BRC about a planned transaction?

Early in the procurement process is the key.  The BRC should be contacted when the business need arises.  We are then able to maximize the value of our services to the department, help ensure compliance with purchasing and contracting policies, ensure proper accounting treatment and process the transaction most efficiently. 

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Are customer departments required to use the BRC forms?

No, the BRC forms are provided as a convenient tool to help customer departments provide all necessary information.  Equivalent information can be provided in the manner preferred by the department.  However, use of other formats or forms could result in processing delays if, as a result, a submission is incomplete.  

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Does an authorized signer have to sign manually?

No. An authorized signer must approve the transaction but this can be evidenced electronically instead of manually.  "Signature" can be evidenced through an email coming directly from the authorized signer’s email account with text that indicates approval or by using the Attach Item feature in Outlook. For example, a departmental initiator of a purchase request could send an email to an authorized signer.  The authorized signer could personally add a brief note approving the request and forward the email to the BRC Team email address.  Since, under UCOP IT policies, passwords cannot be shared and our email accounts are password-protected, this method provides assurance to the BRC that the authorized signer has approved the transaction.

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Why does the BRC require an approver to send an email directly to the BRC? This seems inefficient.

The departmental approval for a transaction is considered a Key Control. As such, it may be tested by our internal or external auditors. In order for them to accept the email in lieu of an actual signature, there needs to be assurance that the approval came from the authorized approver either directly or by using the Attached Item feature in Outlook. Although of course we would not expect this to happen, someone forwarding the message could have changed it either unintentionally or intentionally. For this reason, an auditor would not accept the forwarded message as evidence of authorized approval. The BRC needs to maintain documentation of departmental approval by an authorized signer for each transaction processed.

If departmental signature authority structures and process flows are designed with this requirement in mind, an efficient process should be possible. A more serious impact on efficiency would be if, in compromising on this electronic signature protocol, UCOP had to revert to manual signatures only.

Please contact the Accountability Team if you have further questions or would like the BRC to work with your department to design approval processes that meet departmental and control needs.

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What does the BRC need in order to process a request?

This will vary depending on the type of request. However, in all cases, the BRC will need the following before we can proceed with processing:

  1. BRC Form or equivalent information
  2. Signature of an authorized signer for the div/dept/acct/fund

More information can be found on the Instructions to the BRC Service Request form. 

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How does the BRC know that a transaction is okay to process?

BRC Preparers and Reviewers will look for an authorized signer’s name and signature and will compare the signature to the specimen on file before processing the transaction.  This provides assurance to the customer department that only authorized requests will be processed and charged to departmental funds. 

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We are working with a new vendor.  When should we notify the BRC?

Please contact the BRC right away. While the BRC should always be contacted early in the procurement process, there are additional steps required to set up a new vendor in the UCLA system.  To avoid delays in transaction processing, please let us know whenever you start working with a vendor that you haven’t used before.   BRC will work with UCLA to get the vendor set up. 

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What is a Non-Mandatory Reviewer?

A Non-Mandatory Reviewer automatically receives an email notification (PAN) every time a purchase is initiated or changed, just like a Mandatory Reviewer.  However, the Non-Mandatory Reviewer does not have the obligation to review the transaction within two working days, or at all. The BRC takes care of this responsibility for you. 

The PAN notice assures the customer department that their purchase request has been received and processed.  The BRC can always provide the customer department with copies of invoices or other documentation as needed.

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I have a suggestion/comment for the BRC.  Whom should I contact?

We welcome all suggestions and comments.  Please contact a BRC Team Lead or the BRC Manager.

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