Business Expense Policy

The Business Expense Policy outlines policies and guidelines for business expenses, including travel related expenses. It is stated in general terms and is not intended to cover every possible situation. More restrictive policies and guidance when grant funding is used may apply and may not be expressly stated in this document. For details see the Sponsored Projects Accounting topic available on the Financial Services website. Likewise, more restrictive policies may be set at the department or school level. However, it is the responsibility of the department or school to document, communicate, and enforce any restrictions they impose.

It is essential that Washington University has a strong accounting control environment and guards its image as a careful steward of charitable and public funds. Given the decentralized nature of the university, Senior Management relies heavily upon individual judgment at all levels of the organization in determining when expenses are necessary and reasonable. Unauthorized business expenses that do not comply with university policies, or expenses deemed to be excessive may not be reimbursed or may result in taxable income to the employee.

This policy applies to all faculty and staff, as well as students, guest lecturers or researchers, consultants, prospective employees and any others seeking reimbursement for university approved business expenses. For non-faculty and staff, no commitment for reimbursing such expenses should be made before ascertaining that this policy authorizes such activities. To ensure compliance, departments are responsible for informing all non-employees about this policy, prior to their visit.

For a pdf version of the full policy click here or navigate the pages below.


Compliance & Controls

For expense reimbursements and substantiation of procurement card transactions

Financial Transaction Approvals

Workday transaction approvals

Supporting Documentation

Definition and requirements