Memorandum 32 – Expenditures of Office Budget Money
Revised September 2012
This policy attempts to assure that University funds are expended only in support of Norwich University’s mission and to maintain accurate accounting records.
Expenditures of University funds must be in support of Norwich University’s mission and be made using the following guidelines. Purchases of materials and/or services not in keeping with the University’s mission or made without using proper procedures may become the responsibility of the individual who made the purchase.
All budget managers are responsible for insuring that expenses do not exceed their department’s budgets and that all guidelines and policies governing the expenditure of University funds are followed.
- Personal/Social Gatherings: Budget money may not be used for food or beverages at department/office parties, retirements, celebrations, or other private or personal gatherings or events, unless such events are associated with official University business and approved in advance by an authorized University official. “Official University business” is defined as events or activities sponsored or sanctioned by the trustees or president of Norwich University and his or her designees in support of the University mission. An “authorized university official” is someone designated by the president to approve expenditures of budget money for purposes that accord with University policy. Examples of events whose personal/social gatherings meet these criteria are trustee meetings, official gatherings at the president’s residence, and the annual faculty-staff recognition dinner. Norwich personnel are welcome to have the campus food service contractor provide food or beverages for personal gatherings but must pay for such food or beverages with personal funds upon receipt.
- Work Gatherings: It is only on rare occasions, and never routinely (e.g., regular faculty or staff meetings), that the University will allow a budget expenditure for meals or refreshments (i.e., working meals) when only University faculty, staff, or students are present at work-related gatherings. In order to comply with IRS regulations, the University will fund authorized “working meals” only if the following criteria are met:
- there is a clear business purpose for the function.
- it is impossible to conduct the necessary business during non-meal hours.
- there is signed documentation of the time, date, place, business purpose, and attendees at the work gathering. Prior approval of the working meal by an authorized University official is required for reimbursement. For such prior approval, use the Request for Working Events or Meals form.
- Gifts are not to be paid for out of University funds. The University has a “plant fund” administered by the Office of Financial Affairs (Ext. 2040), and flowers will be ordered upon the death of an immediate family member of a University employee, hospitalized employees, and the birth/adoption of an employee’s child.
- Bookstore charges should be used on a limited basis. In case of an emergency, you may purchase office supplies and charge them to your department. However, as a general rule, office supplies are to be purchased through the firm awarded the University’s Office Supply Contract (e.g., Office Max). Personal items (e.g., cards, hairspray, toothpaste) may not be charged at the bookstore.
- When submitting bills, proper forms must be used along with correct budget numbers and appropriate signatures. If you do not know the correct form, please call Accounts Payable at 2050. The deadline for a Wednesday pay date will be noon the previous Friday.
- All budget items must be charged to the correct budget line. If there is not enough money in a correct operating budget line, you may transfer from another operating line. This is the only way the University has of knowing how much money is being spent for a certain budget line (e.g., registration).
- Purchases made outside the purchasing system that are under $500.00 will be reimbursed with the proper receipt and supervisor’s signature. Anything purchased for $500.00 or more must have a purchase order. However, we will not reimburse anyone for sales-tax dollars spent. With the rare exception due to a significant emergency, purchase orders must be obtained prior to making a purchase in excess of $500.00. Individuals may be personally liable for “After the Fact” purchase orders.
- Providing meals or refreshments at gatherings involving persons who are not Norwich employees (hosting) is an appropriate University expense, if hosting activities contribute to or result from legitimate University-related business and the host’s function is the primary reason for the gathering. University personnel who are planning a hosting event must fill out the Request for Working Events or Meals and receive prior approval from the cabinet member to whom they report. Local business meals and meal expenses incurred by employees while hosting university guests or approved university events outside their personal residence will be reimbursed at actual cost within the constraints of good taste and reasonableness. Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages will require the applicable cabinet member’s approval. Cabinet members are expected to use prudence in determining the appropriateness of the hosting function and any use of alcohol during it. If the hosting event occurs away from the university, i.e., off-campus, the Norwich Travel Policies must be observed. For guidance on travel related meals, see Memorandum 35 – Travel Policies.
- Financial Affairs Office: Ext. 2040
- Accounts Payable Office: Ext. 2050
Examples of acceptable uses of budgeted funds with the approval of the appropriate cabinet member or his/her designee:
- Departmental dinners for campus functions mandated by the SVPAA in support of academic achievement, such as the function in the fall for freshmen and transfer students majoring in the various social sciences.
- Refreshments for the “induction ceremonies” for the five Honor Societies within the School of Social Sciences held every spring to which are invited faculty, current members, inductees, and parents, as well as the president, and the SVPAA.
- A buffet for the faculty meeting, usually held on Reading Day, as long as attendance is mandated by the SVPAA, the meeting cannot be held during regular business hours, and all information required by the IRS is provided to the Office of Financial Affairs (see paragraph 5 of this memo).
- Meals for guest lecturers who come to Norwich to meet with students and present in classes, as long as their doing so is considered of academic value by the SVPAA, or his/her designee.
- Refreshments or meals for a guest of the University (speaker, candidate, etc.), “the University” here meaning a person with the authority to invite such a guest to a university sponsored function.
- Refreshments at new faculty orientations and non-routine meetings with the untenured regular faculty to explore faculty issues.
- Lunches for faculty of a school/department and candidates at presentations that are required of candidates for faculty positions.
- Lunch or dinner for occasional lengthy (3, 4, or 5 hours) faculty meetings, such as an unusually long meeting of the University P&T committee.
- Lunches in the WCC or box lunches on Academic Day (several days after the Rooks arrive) when the SVPAA asks faculty to eat with their advisees.
- Meals or payment for meals for students on field trips, traveling to conferences, or giving presentations at which they are representing NU, if authorized by the SVPAA.
- Lunches for students who are required to attend events, such as Math Club meetings, Beta Beta Beta, or Putnam exam day, if their class schedule and the required event preclude their otherwise having their mid-day meal.
- Refreshments when an outside speaker or alumnus/a, who has been invited by a University official or his/her designee, makes a professional presentation to students.
- A dinner attended on campus by students, faculty, and an outside speaker at the end of Engineers Week, culminating a week of celebrating the engineering profession.
- Refreshments at an academic honor society induction.
- Refreshments at the annual school awards ceremony.
- Refreshments at a faculty or student talk/colloquium.
- Meals or refreshments at other events that are approved by the appropriate cabinet member and comply with University policy.