Effective Date: July 2009
Last Reviewed: July 2009
Purpose & Scope:
The purpose of the Stonehill College Business Expense and Reimbursement Policy is to provide guidance to appropriate College expenses and the proper channels for approval of certain business expenses.
As a tax exempt organization, dependent upon both tuition payments and tax deductible donations from families, alumni and friends, higher education institutions like Stonehill have an obligation to ensure that these resources are being used appropriately and wisely. Among the important business processes that are of interest are the expenses incurred by employees in the pursuit of the College’s overall goals and objectives.
Therefore, the College will generally reimburse expenditures incurred for ordinary and reasonable business-related expenses that support the education, research and public service missions of the College.
While it is impossible to identify every situation or cost that may arise, the primary objective in all such policies is to ensure that employees act in a prudent and reasonable manner. The following lists business expenses and reimbursement policies by category.
Methods of Payment for Expenses:
The Stonehill College Purchasing Card is the preferred method to be used for business related expenses of $2,500 or less. (See the Purchasing website for details on purchasing card policies, program and applications).
Employees may have vendors invoice Stonehill College directly for goods or services purchased. The original vendor invoice with a completed Request for Payment Form must be forwarded by the purchaser to the Accounts Payable Department for payment.
Miscellaneous Cash Advance/Petty Cash
An employee may request a miscellaneous cash advance to cover the cost of expenses not chargeable to the Stonehill Purchasing Card or the College. (A Petty Cash advance can be obtained in amounts of $100 or less). These advances are obtained by completing a Miscellaneous Cash Advance/Petty Cash Form.
Employees who may use their personal credit card for business expenses can request a reimbursement via a Travel and Expense Reimbursement Form.
Gifts to Individuals/Award Programs
Gifts and awards are typically gifts of cash or other tangible personal property to employees or students in recognition of, or in connection with the, holiday season, retirement, or in recognition of outstanding employee service. Awards in recognition of employee work-related achievement or years of service are allowable under the College annual bonus and star performer programs through the Human Resource Department. Gift cards may also be purchased outside the official College recognition programs for extraordinary employee job performance. These awards must be approved by the appropriate divisional Vice President and cannot exceed $100 per individual. Gifts may be also purchased, with College funds, for individuals in recognition of volunteering or student appreciation. The recognition must be consistent for all such recipients in a department. The limit for this gift is $25 per individual. This amount is based on the IRS threshold for non-taxable income. The College has a centralized program (through the Purchasing Department and/or Human Resources) that provides gifts on behalf of an employee, or an employee’s immediate family, for the following events only:
• Recognition of long-term employee leaving a department or retiring from the College after ten years of service to the College,
• Illness of an employee or student, requiring extended hospitalization,
• The death of an employee or an employee’s immediate family member. Memorial gifts made on behalf of an employee may include flowers or a donation to a charitable organization
Payment for these items is only permissible via the Purchasing Department or Human Resources.
Gifts may not be purchased from College funds for employees for events such as birthdays, births, holidays, non-retirement departures, etc. The method of providing such gifts is through personal contributions among colleagues.
Gifts from a Third Party
Gifts received by a College employee from a third party (such as a vendor) are generally discouraged. If gifts are received they are the property of the College. Certain gifts of “de minimus” value may be kept by the employee or department. Gifts with a value of $100 or more must be submitted to the respective Vice President to determine proper disposition. Any conflict of interest has to be disclosed to the Vice President. Invitation by vendors to vendor events (ie: golf tournaments) may be accepted at no cost to the College and vacation time must be taken by the employee attending the event. This does not include Stonehill sponsored events.
Prizes and Raffles
Prizes (ie door prizes) and raffle prizes paid for by the College are taxable and must be reported as additional earnings if their value exceeds the following dollar thresholds.
• Cash or gift certificates/gift cards over $25 (the IRS considers gift certificates to be equivalent to cash.) The Controller’s Office requires that any request for payment or reimbursement for these items include name, home address, and social security number of the recipient.
• Tangible personal property with a value greater than $100 (Tangible personal property less than $100 is considered “de minimus”). The Controller’s Office requires that any request for reimbursement for these items include name, home address, and social security number of the recipient.
Prizes or raffles received by an employee from a third party are permitted, such as door prizes at conferences or for recognition of service from an organization.
Donations to Other Non-Profit Organizations
Donations to other non-profits are allowed but must be approved through either the President or the Vice President for Advancement. This includes donations in the form of recognition dinners, golf tournament or event participation.
Business Meals (non-travel related)
Employees may be reimbursed for approved, necessary and reasonable business meal expenditures. Business meals are those taken with vendors, College guests, job applicants, professional colleagues, or donors, during which College business discussions take place.
Original detailed receipts must be submitted for any business meal or entertainment expense. Internal Revenue Service guidelines require that names, positions/titles, and/or the organizational affiliation of the guest(s), along with the business purpose must be provided on the supporting documentation.
Business meals (excluding alcohol) may also be taken with subordinates, in extenuating circumstances, to ensure privacy and confidentiality, where business must be conducted off campus.
Meals taken between two or more College employees during which routine business issues are discussed are generally not reimbursable from any College funds. We encourage all employees to use their judgment and obtain prior Division Head approval as to when such meals are non routine and therefore could be reimbursable by the College.
Meals (excluding alcohol) may be purchased with College funds for employees working through meal time at the request of their supervisor, such as at a training event or when there is a deadline to be met. Meals may also be purchased for meetings that last over three hours or when the only time the committee can meet is over lunch, although this should not be a frequent occurrence. Catering services can be used for meetings but reasonability should be used when making food selection. Occasional employee morale building events are allowable. Department managers should seek pre-approval from their respective Division Head before expending College funds on these types of events.
On-Campus Entertainment and Hospitality
Certain functions and events are considered business entertainment if they are intended to provide hospitality to individuals outside the College when considered necessary and customary in furthering the College’s interests. Some examples of allowable business entertainment may include:
• Receptions for College guests and visitors,
• Alumni reunions or similar alumni events,
• Entertaining donors or prospective donors,
• Welcoming receptions for parents and students,
• College wide holiday party, •
Retirement parties – after ten years of service,
• Candidate search interview.
• Stonehill community presentations (ie: quarterly management meetings, Town Hall meetings)
Some examples of items that may not be funded with College funds include:
• Departmental holiday parties,
• Individual office holiday decorations,
• Refreshments at departmental and committee meetings unless the meetings are three or more hours in length.
• Candy or other food items, including related supplies such as utensils, plates, and cups.
Catering services can be used for on campus events but reasonability should be used when making food selection.
Generally coffee is not allowable unless it is in a pre-approved location primarily for outside guests of the College. All pre-approved locations are determined by Vice Presidents and submitted to the Controller’s Office. If coffee is approved it must be purchased by the most cost-efficient means. Coffee cannot be purchased through our preferred office supply vendor.
All College sponsored events held on campus, at which alcoholic beverages are served (open bar or cash bar), require an authorized bartending service provider to be engaged for the purpose of providing and serving (when necessary) these beverages. Alcoholic beverages consumed while on college business travel must be in moderation and be in conjuncture with a meal.
Alcoholic beverages are not reimbursable as an expense on federally-sponsored grants and contracts under OMB Circular A-21, section J., and certain state and local sponsoring agencies.
Student or Sports Team Entertainment
Student entertainment expenses for students and/or sports team is allowable when using either their own fundraising or SGA funds. Student entertainment expenses may also be allowable, in certain instances, with College funds if they correspond to a formal department’s activity. Department managers should seek pre-approval from their respective Division Head before expending College funds on these types of events.
In order to maintain furniture standards, all office furniture (ie: desks, chairs, file cabinets and tables) are purchased through centralized contracts in the Purchasing Department. Office furnishings, items of a decorative as opposed to functional nature, are purchased outside the purchasing department. Lamps, pictures, and clocks are allowed to be purchased with College funds but require prior approval of the department head. Any other furnishings are considered personal items and are not to be funded through the College. Allowable furnishings should be purchased through the most economical vendor.
Office equipment are items used in an office with a value of $100 or over. Certain office equipment must be purchased through the appropriate departments as follows:
Item Responsible Department
Computer & peripherals Information Technology
Photocopiers Purchasing Department
Voice & Data Equipment Information Technology
Some examples of items that may not be funded with College funds include:
• Televisions – unless it is documented that they are needed as an integral part of required job functions
• Coffee Pots – unless in an approved coffee location
Office supplies are those smaller miscellaneous items used in an office. Orders can be processed by using our preferred vendor website or through use of the Stonehill Purchasing Card. Employees should use prudence when ordering these items such as cost and quantity. Employees may seek alternative vendors if the pricing is substantially less than the College’s preferred vendor.
Home Internet Charges
Home internet charges are not allowable to be reimbursed with College funds.
Policies related to reimbursable moving expenses are maintained by Human Resources and are documented in the employee handbook.
All expenditures require both the signature of the employee and the appropriate approval authority as outlined in the Signing Authority Policy. All signatures must be original. An individual signing another person’s name and initialing it is unacceptable. Signature stamps seriously weaken internal control over expenses and their use is specifically prohibited.
The individual submitting an expense for payment bears the responsibility to:
• Verify that all expenses being paid or reimbursed by the College are valid and conform to this policy document and understand that requests lacking required documentation and/or business purpose will be questioned and may not be reimbursed through these policies.
Individuals authorized to approve business expenditures of others will administer these policies and are responsible to:
• Attest that the purpose of the expense is valid and directly related to College business,
• Request further documentation or explanation for expenses that appear to be excessive or unusual in relation to the nature of the business expense. Explanation of such expenditures must be included on the documentation,
• Understand that while Accounts Payable will review the expense, the primary responsibility for the appropriateness of expenditures rests with the employee and the individual responsible for departmental approval
Controller’s Group/Accounts Payable
The Accounts Payable department within the Controller’s Office is responsible for reviewing expenses prior to processing to verify that expenses are reasonable and meet the following criteria:
• Expenses have been reviewed/approved by the appropriate approver
• Expenses are charged to the appropriate account numbers
• Expenses have been reviewed for compliance with College Policies
• Notify Vice President with any questionable purchases/items.