Meals, Food, Beverages, and Entertainment

LAST UPDATED: March 24, 2015

What You Should Know

Group meal, food and beverage costs are permissible University expenses when directly related to University business and reasonable in amount.

Examples of valid business purposes for incurring group meal, food and beverage costs:

  • Meetings (administrative or academic)
  • Conferences (administrative or academic)
  • Recognition events (individual or group accomplishments, milestones, building openings, etc.)
  • Employee transition events (retirements, installations, orientations, etc.)
  • Candidate interviews
  • Receptions (for visitors, faculty, students, parents, alumni, etc.)

Beverages do not need to be coded separately if they are included in a catering or dining bill. If you are buying alcohol for Department events, this can be coded to Account 6701-Food Svc Goods-Beverages. Alcohol is not permitted on Sponsored Project Funds G0001 and G0002

Entertainment costs are permissible University expenses when directly related to University business and reasonable in amount. Entertainment costs are not allowable on sponsored projects.

Entertainment costs include amusement, diversion, and social activities and any directly associated costs (such as tickets to shows or sports events, meals, lodging, rentals, transportation and gratuities).

Examples of valid business purposes for incurring entertainment costs:

  • Holiday parties
  • Department picnics
  • Social events (with staff, students, guests, etc.)

Sponsored Projects - Direct Charge

Meal costs are allowable as a direct charge on sponsored projects when:

  • Included as part of a meeting, workshop or conference when the primary purpose is to disseminate technical information directly related to the award 
  • Provided by a conference grant 
  • Specifically approved as part of the project activity in the approved budget

Alcoholic beverages are not allowed on sponsored projects and should be separately charged to Account 6733 Alcohol – Domestic or to Account 6762 Alcohol – Int’l.

Meals, Food, Beverage, and Entertainment Accounts

The Account ChartField is used to track the specific activity related to meals, food, beverages and entertainment. If the item is purchased via the requisition process, the requisition creator should select the appropriate account in Prime Financials. If the item is purchased via a Departmental Purchasing Card or Travel Card, the individual who completes the statement report or expense report in Concur should select the appropriate expense type which will then default to a preset account. When assigning the expenses to chartstrings in Concur, the account can be changed.

If the wrong account has been selected, corrections can be made using a Journal after the transaction has posted to the General Ledger.

A complete list of accounts is available on the Choose the Right ChartField web page. A complete list of Concur expense types by card and account code is available on the Expense Type Listing web page. Listed below are some common meal, food, beverage and entertainment scenarios and the related expense type and account.


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