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Handbook 10-39
April 2010

Chapter 2

Paying Agent Duties and Responsibilities

Paying agents are entrusted with large amounts of money that could be tempting to steal. Therefore, paying agents must follow specific guidelines such as those listed below.

Paying agents will:

  • Only make purchases approved by the field ordering officer.
  • Only cash checks when authorized in writing.
  • Receive a copy of the current paying agent instructions.
  • Receive a copy of Department of the Army Form 3953, Purchase Request and Commitment, showing how much the paying agent is authorized to spend.
  • Sign a memorandum stating they have been briefed and understand their duties and responsibilities. (Make sure this is always done, and keep a copy of the statement.)
  • Use funds for the purpose listed in orders.
  • Ensure the goods or services are immediately available.
  • Ensure the total single purchase payment for funds does not exceed $25,000.00.
  • Make payment directly to the seller/vendor, and get receipts for expenses.
  • Maintain a ledger to track each payment made, and balance the ledger daily (see Appendix A).
  • Provide safeguard to funds and paid vouchers (see Chapter 3).
  • Maintain contact with the disbursing officer.
  • Ensure Standard Form 44, Purchase-Invoice-Voucher, is filled out properly.
  • Make every effort to clear funds and documentation with the disbursing officer immediately after completing the paying agent mission or within 30 days and not later than 90 days (approved extensions may be granted by the disbursing officer [only] in exceptional circumstances).
  • Clear the same financial management office that funded the paying agent, ensuring the payment documents and/or funds remaining balance with the total funds received.
  • Immediately suspend operations and notify the disbursing officer if a loss of funds occurs.
  • Complete a serial number account report for all $100 bills.
  • Balance daily and/or after each transaction.
  • Review and become familiar with paying agent memorandums of instruction, standing operating procedures (SOPs), and applicable regulations.
  • Contact the disbursing officer every 30 days, either to clear the funds drawn or to request another 30-day extension:
    • Extensions are granted, upon request, up to 90 days.
    • A paying agent will be terminated if he exceeds the allotted 90-day threshold.
    • The disbursing officer exclusively has the authority to grant extensions beyond 90 days; an extension does not ensure the paying agent will not be terminated.

Paying agents will not:

  • Loan, use, invest, insure, or gamble public funds.
  • Conduct business under duress.
  • Mix government funds with personal funds.
  • Entrust funds to any other person for any purpose other than what is specifically stated on the appointment orders (for example, go on leave and give funds to another person).
  • Delegate responsibility for government funds to anyone else, including financial institutions.
  • Make payments in advance of receiving goods or services.
  • Make split transactions/payments.
  • Round up dollar amounts. (Note: This technique will not allow the paying agent to balance or clear [except with foreign currency]).
  • Keep funds for more than 90 days without contacting the disbursing officer to update status.
  • Leave theater without clearing funds drawn from the disbursing officer (this includes emergency leave).
  • Attempt to draw funds from another financial management unit without prior approval.
  • Make change for anyone. (Note: $100 bills are often counterfeited.)
  • Exchange U.S. dollars for foreign currency.

If a paying agent is wounded or killed in action:

  • The paying agent's unit will take action according to the disbursing officer's SOP.
  • The unit commander will notify the disbursing officer.


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