Submit an Invoice

Learn about invoices and invoicing for goods and services at Columbia University. 


An invoice is a document submitted to Columbia University by a vendor for payment of goods or services provided to a department. The vendor must be established on the vendor master file in Accounting and Reporting at Columbia (ARC) before an invoice can be paid.

Certain goods and services require a purchase order prior to doing business with the supplier, which must be initiated in ARC in order to pay an invoice.

Invoices are audited to ensure compliance with Columbia University policies and Accounts Payable procedures.

Certain basic information is required on the invoice, including:

  • Supplier name
  • Remit-to address
  • Tax ID number or social security number
  • Bill-to-party must be Columbia University
  • Invoice Date 
  • Invoice Amount
  • A description of services or goods provided

Columbia University only pays for current activity. If there is a previous balance, the department must obtain a new invoice for the current activity amount.

A legitimate business purpose that pertains to Columbia University business must be documented.

For conferences, include the following:

  • business purpose,
  • name of conference,
  • conference flyer,
  • number of conference attendees; if less than 10, name and affiliation of the individual, more than 10—just the number of attendees

For meals, include the following:

  • business purpose,
  • all meal thresholds as stated in the Business Expense policy apply; if meals exceed thresholds, either a manual Supplemental Approval or Exception Request must be submitted,
  • number of attendees; if less than 10, name and affiliation of the individual, more than 10—just the number of attendees

Columbia University is tax-exempt in most states. Please be sure not to include sales tax charges. Contact the Finance Service Center for a copy of our tax-exempt certificate.

Check the supplier profile to ensure that the supplier name, address, payment type, and 1099 code match the invoice.


Use the Manual Supplemental Approver Report for Travel and Business Expenses form for meals that exceed thresholds in the Business Expense policy.


View the Business Expense Policy for more information on expensing requirements at Columbia.