Finances Set-up

General Finance Guidelines

Bank Accounts for UBC Funds

  • UBC funds must be deposited into a UBC account administered by departmental Finance or affiliated UBC entities (i.e. AMS, EUS).
  • UBC funds refer to donation and sponsorship from industries, UBC departments, and external parties raised by using UBC's brand.
  • Only APSC approved groups are able to fundraise using the UBC name - all other groups must to through the AMS.
  • Individual student group/team are not permitted to open and/or maintain external bank accounts to manage UBC funds.

NOTE: AMS and EUS are operating with a Finance System that is different than the system used within the UBC Departments and it is administered by the AMS Finance Team only. Any funding questions for the funds in AMS or EUS, ensure to connect with the right Finance Team for clarification.

Team Budgets

Teams are responsible for developing a professional budget outlining all expected income and expenses for the team’s projects and activities and financing their projects. Each student group/team is responsible to track and manage their funds using an external system (i.e. spreadsheet) in conjunction with UBC accounts administered by departmental Finance. Financing can be done through industry sponsorships (monetary and in-kind), and by applying for UBC-based funding opportunities. Teams are also responsible for any deficit in the account due to overspending.

Account Balance

  • The account balance in the student groups/teams’ record will be different than the UBC accounts’ record due to timing differences for payment/reimbursement process.
  • For example, student groups record expenses at pre-approval stage or after claim submission, whereas UBC account captures expenses after the reimbursement claims/invoices have been processed in the UBC’s Workday system by Finance or Department Stores (e.g. ECE store, CHBE Store).
  • Student groups/teams should conduct monthly reconciliation with their finance teams to ensure both records are align. This improves transparency and enhance the stewardship of the team/group’s funds.

Account Set-Up (Worktag)

Teams are not allowed to open external bank accounts in the university’s name or utilize the university's name for fundraising or other purposes. An official university account (Worktag) needs to be created for teams’ fund management. Only use official university accounts designated for the teams’ financial activities.

Email the Engineering Design Team Coordinator ( to set up an appointment for a new account.


Transferring Signing Authority

Each student group must delegate specific members as signing authorities for finance reimbursements.

Account Balance

The designated team members can request the account balance by contacting the departmental finance team. Contact APSC Finance to find out the home department for the teams’ accounts.

Expense Claims & Approvals

Receiving and Depositing Sponsorship Funds

All external relations and sponsorship funding-related queries fall under the Development Office.

Account Surplus/Deficit

  • Donors and sponsors might have specific terms and conditions on eligible expenses and/or unused funding (surplus). Some allow the student groups/teams to carry forward the unused funding to future years, but some might request the unused fund to be returned. Student groups/teams are expected to ensure the expenditures are in compliance with UBC policy and donor/sponsor’s requirement.
  • Student groups/teams will be responsible for any deficit incurred in their UBC accounts due to overspent. Monthly, quarterly, and/or annual budget plans should be in place to track funding.
  • When there is deficit in the UBC account:
    • Student groups/teams need to work with their departmental finance who administering their UBC accounts to ensure no duplicate payments or erroneous expenditures. The expected source of funding from the donors/sponsors have been deposit into the UBC account that were included in the budget.
    • If both records are align and correct, student groups/teams should seek for fund raising opportunity to cover the deficit.
    • Expense claims and new purchases must be on hold until the deficit is clear and the new funding can sustain the group/team’s operational activities.

Purchasing Procedures

Planning to purchase something for the team? Or not too sure about the duties of a Finance Lead? Learn about the necessary procedures.

Questions to ask when considering what is reasonable and appropriate:

  • Would this expense be considered excessive/unreasonable from the general public’s view?
  • Is there an alternative that is less expensive but still appropriate, safe and convenient?
  • Is it an arm’s length transaction (i.e. no conflict) that conforms to sound business practice?
  • Does the expensed comply with the terms and conditions from the donors/sponsors?
    • i.e. PAF will not fund alcohol or alcohol-related costs
  • Is this expense already reimbursed by another source of funding?
  • Is this expense necessary to fulfill the primary objective/mission of the student group/team?

All purchases should be authorized/pre-approved by the designated team leaders and faculty advisor. All reimbursement claiming the design team funding must be approved by the faculty advisor and the designated team leaders before any disbursements. The designated signing authorities cannot approve their own reimbursement claims; teams must assign at least two signing authorities to approve purchases and reimbursement claims for members of the team.

UBC requires a Purchase Order (PO) for any order that is over CAD $3500 inclusive of taxes. Teams that need to make large orders with personal funds, ensure to check with the finance teams before making the purchases to avoid reimbursement delay.


The Professional Activities Fund (PAF) exists to enhance professional development activities in the engineering undergraduate program at UBC Vancouver like Engineering Design Teams. PAF is a separate funding from your team’s finance account that you need to claim directly from the PAF funds. Claimants need to know who the primary applicant is and the PAF reference code. Refer to the PAF Website for expenditure guidelines, reimbursement deadlines, and approval requirements.

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