Document a Business Expense

All University-related business expenses require clear, complete, and accurate supporting documentation. The collective documentation associated with your expenses should answer the who, what, where, when, and why of each transaction. In your documentation, include:

  • Who attended or received the benefit from the expenditure;

  • What purpose the expenditure served, why the expense was necessary, or how it furthered the University’s goals; and

  • When and where the expense took place.

All documentation should be written in a way that will be understood by anyone who reviews it, whether today or many years from now. This includes a person outside of the University who is unfamiliar with your department’s specific practices or conventions.

Business Purpose Examples

The following would be considered incomplete business purposes:

  • January expenses

  • Research

  • Train ticket

  • Departmental expenses

  • Conference travel

The following are considered clear and complete business purposes:

  • Cloud storage for creative writing course

  • Celebration lunch for XYZ project kick-off

  • Food for John Smith’s retirement reception

  • Attend higher education user conference for XYZ software

Receipts and Documentation

Receipts are only required for expenses of $50 or more. Valid receipts must be clear and legible, itemized whenever possible (especially for restaurant charges), and include the supplier’s name and address, the date of purchase, quantity and unit prices, and the grand total paid.

You may need to include other supporting documentation for your expense, such as:

  • Emails containing essential information about the expense or pre-approvals for exceptions or unusual activity

  • Evidence of a comparison fare if you combined personal and business travel

  • Documents required by an external sponsor