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Documentation Requirements for Expenditures

Expenditure documentation should provide sufficient background information to respond to the following questions:

WhyExplain the purpose, detail the reason, or describe how the expenditure relates to the departmental program for which the funds were granted or appropriated.
WhenProvide the date if an expenditure of funds is for a specific event, long- distance telephone call, etc.
WhoWhen an expenditure is for an item where there is the “appearance of a personal benefit (e.g., travel, entertainment, refreshments, etc.), you must provide documentation indicating those persons involved/attending the event for which the expenditure applies.
WhereList the location of the event.

In addition to answering the above questions, documentation should be sufficient to indicate that the primary purpose of the expenditure is for the benefit of the University and, therefore, is not for the direct benefit of any employee. The guidelines listed above are not intended for procurement of equipment, material or services requiring the use of a university purchase requisition. Please refer to the University Purchases and Stores Manual for those requirements.

Individuals designated as Account Custodians have the responsibility to ensure that proper documentation procedures are followed for the accounts which they control, and to ensure that only authorized expenditures are made from their accounts. Lack of appropriate documentation will be considered cause for nonpayment or non-reimbursement of expenditures.

Additional Documentation Requirements
Consult Travel Reimbursements.

Alcoholic Beverages
State Budget regulations forbid payment or reimbursement for alcoholic beverages or “set-ups” from State appropriated funds at any time under any circumstances. Contract or Grant funds follow the same rule unless a letter from the grantor approving expenditures for that purpose is on file with the Office of Contracts and Grants. Expenditures for alcoholic beverages from other trust funds (e.g., gift accounts) should be strictly limited and must have the signature of the appropriate Director, Dean or Vice Chancellor.


State Budget regulations forbid the payment of food supplies or refreshments from State appropriated funds for departmental receptions, office functions (e.g., a retirement or commencement party), student orientation functions, “coffee breaks” at employee workshops or seminars, and like events. Contract or Grant funds follow the same rules unless there is a letter of approval on file in the Office of Contracts and Grants or explicit wording in the contract or grant document approving expenditures for this purpose. Payment requests for food or refreshments from non-contract and grant trust fund (e.g., gift accounts) must include the appropriate documentation and the approval (signature) of the appropriate Director, Dean or Vice Chancellor.

Personal Reimbursements

Reimbursements, such as entertainment of University guests, meals while in Reimbursements non-travel status, or supplies, to an employee must be approved by an individual at a higher level of authority or a designee of the Director, Dean or Vice Chancellor.

Long Distance

Documentation of long distance telephone calls should be available in the department Telephone Calls for periodic audit or review.

Membership Dues

Payments to higher education and related state and national associations for institutional or individual memberships should be carefully reviewed to determine that substantial benefits accrue to the University. Individual memberships paid from State Funds shall be kept to an absolute minimum; however, a request may be approved for payment from State Funds by the Director, Dean or Vice Chancellor when:

  • the benefit to be derived and eligibility for membership is due to the individual’s position in the University, and
  • the individual’s association membership terminates at the same time the employee terminates employment with the University.
  • Payment for membership dues in civic or political organizations, “clubs” or like organizations are not permitted from any

Questions regarding documentation or the appropriateness of an expenditure should be directed to the University Accounting Office Accounts Payable Manager.

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