Business Expense Policy

Policy Number T92-031 Appendix C
Effective Date July 01, 2008
Responsible Office/Person Board of Trustees
Related Policies
Additional History
Additional References

Effective Date: 7/1/08

Subject: UMass Dartmouth Business Expense Policy

*Trustee Business Expense T92- 031 (Appendix C)

The Business Expense Policy applies to expenses incurred by a duly authorized University of Massachusetts employee or Trustee who incurs expenses in the process of conducting University business. Campuses may establish further guidelines and procedures within the scope of University policies regarding business and entertainment expenditures. Campus guidelines may be more, but not less restrictive.

Business Entertainment Expense Form must be completed for all business entertainment expenses. If the vendor is off-campus, the completed form is submitted to the Controller's Office. For such oncampus vendors as Food Services, Alumni Office, Faculty Club or the Top of the Campus Restaurant, the original Business Entertainment Form with attachments must be kept on file in the initiating department, available to audit, for seven years. The Controller's Office will monitor departmental compliance by sampling these transactions in one of its audit processes.

General Policy
  • Expenditures must be a necessary expense of the organization and an allowable charge to the funding source.
  • Expenses must have a clear business purpose and be directly related to the goals and mission of the University/campus.
  • Expenses must be reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances and in moderation and good taste.
  • An individual's travel status does not affect reimbursement for business expenses.
  • All expenses must be fully documented (see below) .
  • The signatory authority (Fund Administrator or Principal Investigator) of the relevant account is responsible for compliance with this policy.
Specific Criteria

The following are examples of the types of expenditures that may be paid/reimbursed subject to the general policy articulated above and the documentation criteria described below.

  • Expenditures for the purpose of recruiting potential employees, soliciting prospective donors or sponsors, and hosting official guests when necessary for the conduct of University/campus business.
  • Expenses for meetings of regular University/campus committees, which may involve only participants from a single location, and which are documented as part of a working session necessitated by travel requirements, schedule conflicts or other unavoidable circumstances solely for the benefit of the institution.
  • Institutional events, including recognition/morale activities, public relations/development/fund-raising events, conferences/retreats/seminars, and activities in conjunction with various ceremonial and official events. These events may be either campus-wide or on a smaller scale and require prior approval. Such approval must be obtained through normal administrative channels. University and campus policy regarding administrative, budgeting, approvals, purchasing and documentation shall apply.
  • One-on-one meals are allowed when an employee takes a nonemployee to a meal as long as there is a clear business purpose and as long as such activities are documented as to purpose and attendance.
  • University funds may be used to purchase gifts related to an individual's employment at the University, but should not be used to mark personal events. All gifts must be approved by the department head and should be of moderate cost.
  • Expenditures requiring personal reimbursement must be preapproved beforehand by the department head, Dean or Vice Chancellor.
  • Any overnight travel requires an approved travel authorization.
  • Tickets for sports, theater, charitable/civic and other events for the entertainment of institutional donors, alumni, guests and visitors. In all cases the expenses must be shown to benefit the mission of the institution or directly support its programs and have prior written approval.
The following are examples of the type of expenditures which should not be paid/reimbursed:
  • Excessive or extravagant costs.
  • Political contributions.
  • Expenses incurred in connection with personal business including parking fees, parking tickets, club memberships, stolen articles, etc.
  • Purchase of alcoholic beverages is highly discouraged due to the expense and potential liabilities involved. However, when written authorization is obtained prior to the event, purchase may be made through Food Services or their approved substitute.
  • Expenses for spouses except as allowed in the Executive Compensation Policy (when approved) or as part of an institutional event which has received prior approval.
  • Meals during working hours, including "working meals" where one employee takes another employee to breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
  • Internet and Telephone Service (except where documented in job duties requiring at home access)
  • Mileage reimbursement to/from UMass Dartmouth satellite campuses except in special circumstances and with prior written approval.
  • Charitable donations or contributions.
  • Membership costs in any civic, community organization, country club, or social or dining club or organization.
  • Airfare travel costs in excess of the lowest available commercial discount airfare or customary standard coach airfare except in special circumstances and with prior written approval.
  • Goods and services for personal use.
  • Weddings, baby showers or birthday gifts may not be purchased with university funds.
  • Selling and marketing costs of products or services except in special circumstances and with prior written approval
  • Any unexplained or undocumented expenses.

Business entertainment expenses will not require prior approval, however a Business Expense form itemizing the cost and purpose of such activity will be made available for and approved by the next level administrative staff member prior to payment.

All expenditures must be accompanied by an original receipt; documentation must include:

  • The date, location and description of the expenditure.
  • The name(s), title, company, affiliation and business relationship of the person(s) in attendance.
  • Business purpose for incurring the expense.
  • Approval of the expenditure through administrative channels noted above.
Reporting Requirements

Campuses/locations should identify business and entertainment expenditures in the University Peoplesoft System in a manner which will allow for regular reporting to the Board of Trustees.