Travel and Business Expense Procedures


These policies and procedures are intended as a guide to reimburse individuals for University-related travel and business expenses. The University will reimburse faculty and staff for expenses incurred in the performance of their job duties or other assigned responsibilities relating to appropriate Fairleigh Dickinson University operations.

The responsibility to observe these guidelines rests with the traveler, supervisor and the budget officer who certifies conformance to these guidelines by approving the expenditure(s). Accordingly, reimbursement should be sought and authorized for only reasonable and customary expenses, which conform to University policy. The burden of determining whether a particular expense is reimbursable rests with each individual prior to incurring the expense.


These policies and procedures are necessary in order to ensure institutional compliance with federal tax law and what the IRS prescribes under their “accountable plan” rules. The IRS requires that accountable plans include all three of the following elements:

  • Expenses must be business related.
  • There must be adequate reporting by the employee to the employer of the amount, time, use, and business purpose of these expenses, within a reasonable period of time (not to exceed sixty days). Original receipts must be attached to the report.
  • Excess cash advances or reimbursements must be returned within fifteen days after completion of the trip.   

Failure to comply with these requirements could result in an employee having to report as personal income the costs incurred by the University for his or her business related travel and/or expenses.

Adherence to these policies and procedures will ensure consistent and fair treatment between departments throughout the University and the uniform reporting of financial results. In general, the quality of travel, accommodations, entertainment, and related expenses should be governed by what is reasonable and appropriate.

The University’s Travel and Business Expense Policies and Procedures reflect its respect for the personal integrity and discretion of each member of its faculty and staff.


A.      In Advance Of Travel

All travel must be approved in advance by an appropriate authority. As each department has a different supervisory structure, the appropriate authority is defined by this structure (the traveler’s immediate supervisor and/or department budget officer).

In the case where the traveler’s immediate supervisor is not the budget officer for the account being charged for the travel, the budget officer must sign the advance as well.

B.     Travel Advances

See Part V for Travel Advance Procedures

  1. Advances should be used only when substantial out of pocket expenses (in excess of $200) will be incurred. A travel advance should not be used for lodging, service payments such as honoraria, conference fees, or other substantial costs that can be prepaid, prearranged or invoiced.   
  2. However, there are situations where advances are necessary. Accordingly, in order not to inconvenience individuals by requiring them to use their own  funds, travel advances of up to $500 per trip may be requested. Requests in excess of $500 must be approved by a Vice President or Provost.     
  3. The University is exempt from sales tax in several states. It is the responsibility of the traveler to obtain the tax-exempt form from the Accounts Payable Department prior to the travel. Currently there are exemption agreements in the following states: New Jersey (Form ST-5), New York, Maine, Florida, Massachusetts, and Illinois. Click on the underlined link to be taken directly to the Accounts Payable web page.
  4. Authorization of a travel advance should be documented on the Request for Travel Advance and submitted to the Finance Department at least seven, but no more than twenty-one working days prior to the departure date (see attachment A).

C.     Prior To Reimbursement Processing

See Part VI for Expense Report Procedures

Each Expense Report must be signed by the individual incurring the expenses (traveler), his/her immediate supervisor and budget officer (if different than the supervisor).

  1. Traveler responsibilities are to:
    1. Complete and sign the Expense Report with all necessary supporting documentation attached.
    2. Determine that the amounts requested are reasonable and conform to expense guidelines.
    3. Provide 7-digit budget account number(s) to be charged.
    4. Forward the Expense Report to his/her immediate supervisor.
  2. Immediate Supervisor and  Budget Officer responsibilities are to:
    1. Review expenses submitted for reimbursement for reasonableness within expense guidelines and business purpose of such expenses.
    2. Determine that the request for reimbursement is reasonable.
    3. Determine that all information requested on the Expense Report has been completed and the preparer has signed the report.
    4. Verify that the account number(s) to be charged is appropriate, and that sufficient budget funds are available.
    5. Sign (approve) the Expense Report and forward it to the Finance Department (or the Budget Officer if appropriate).
  3. Upon receipt of the Expense Report Finance Department personnel:
    1. Date stamp the report.
    2. Review the report for appropriateness and compliance with established procedures.
    3. If approved, forward the documentation to the Accounts Payable Department for check processing.
    4. If not approved, an attempt to resolve the issue by contacting the payee and supervisor/budget officer via e-mail will be made. If this attempt does not prove to be successful, the reviewing accountant will make a copy of the document and return the originals to the supervisor/budget officer via inter-office mail with a book slip identifying why the Expense Report could not be processed and what is needed to successfully process the report.
  4. Presidential Expense Reports should be reviewed and approved by the Vice President for Finance/Treasurer, and the Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
  5. If proper documentation and/or authorization is not received by the Finance Department, the Expense Report or Travel Advance Request will be returned to the supervisor/budget officer or the originating department if there is no approval.