General Business Policies

Supplement to Travel and Other Policies

This page contains other policies members of the Alfred University Community should keep in mind.

The University's affiliation with an organization or group is based upon the business benefit to be derived from such affiliation. In the case of certain civic, community and educational organizations that serve a broader purpose and constituency, the University typically joins as an institutional member, and designates employee representatives. Institutional memberships often provide certain benefits (such as reports, studies, etc.) to the University at large and may also provide news updates and magazines that are routinely sent to a specified number of individual employees on the membership mailing. Employees who attend meetings or functions as representatives of the University are eligible for reimbursement of travel expenses if the specific departmental policies allow such costs to be treated as University expenses.

Individual membership in professional associations or other costs incurred to maintain professional certifications or licenses that are directly related to the employee's current position and have a clear business benefit to the University may be allowable as business expenses.

The cost of memberships in athletic clubs, social clubs or other similar organizations generally does not qualify as a business expense. Employees must pay for these memberships personally. The exception is when the membership serves the greater good of the organization and is approved at the executive level.

Gifts to employees in celebration of birthdays, births, marriages, etc., cannot be charged to department accounts. A personal collection of funds throughout the department can be initiated if the department wishes. Gifts to employees may be charged to the University when made pursuant to a recognized University-wide policy or practice such as service awards for employees or awards for students at convocation. Please refer to the "Guidelines for Gifts, Prizes and Awards" that can be found on the Human Resources website.

The sending of flowers or a small donation upon the death or serious illness of an employee or family member is not chargeable to department accounts. A personal collection of funds throughout the department can be initiated if the department wishes. Notification should be directed to the President's Office in the event of death or serious illness.

Regarding Deaths: Flowers will be sent in case of death for an employee or members of the employee's immediate family (spouse, parents, parents-in-law, children) and students. An exception would be when charitable contributions are specifically requested in lieu of flowers. Whenever a death occurs in the University family, please inform the President's Office as soon as possible so the appropriate arrangements may be made. The name of the individual, the affiliation, and the name and address of the funeral home are necessary.

Regarding Illness: In the case of illness resulting in hospitalization, instead of sending flowers the President's Office would like to be informed so they can send a card. A card will be sent when an employee or employee's spouse (including retirees) is hospitalized. This includes hospitalization for maternity, but not for brief visits for tests. Again, please provide the name and complete address of the person who is hospitalized.

As in the past, the card in either case will read "President Zupan and your friends at Alfred University."

If an individual case warrants some deviation from above, the President's Office will make the decision. In some cases, a specific group may wish to send flowers on their own, which would be their personal responsibility and would have no bearing on this practice.

In cases where University employees meet over a meal during the day (regardless of the nature of business being discussed) the cost of the meal is considered a non-reimbursable personal expense.

It is permissible to incur expenses chargeable to the University for meals provided as part of a local conference, seminar, workshop, presentation or other similar group meeting involving employees when it extends through the usual mealtime(s). Such meals must be reasonable in relation to the nature and business purpose of the meeting.

Occasional (generally, annual or semi-annual) functions for employees are considered reimbursable business expenses when the expenditure is intended to serve as a token of appreciation that primarily promotes employee relations, or that recognizes individual or group achievements, such as holiday parties, employee banquets, service awards, etc. These types of expenditures are incurred at the University-wide level and individual departments should not incur such costs. Occasions such as parties to celebrate birthdays, births, marriages, etc. or in-office functions with purchased food or beverages must be paid for by the employees involved. In addition, departmental parties for holidays and similar occasions are considered the personal responsibility of those involved in the function.

Expenses for dining involving non-University personnel are reimbursable when the purpose of the meetings is to conduct University business and when it is necessary or desirable to have the meeting in conjunction with or during a meal. Expenses for such meals should be kept to a reasonable level. The typical business meal might involve interviews of prospective employees, meetings with prospective employers for student placement, cultivation of donors.

Recruiting expenses are further subject to area-specific policies of supervisors, department heads, and Deans. Every effort should be made to limit the number of department and search committee members dining with applicants. Attendance of a host and one other member of the search committee, for example, are reasonable. Moderately priced dining establishments are recommended, and expenses incurred for high priced establishments are subject to disallowance.

Dining expenses involving discussions with vendors, consultants, or other persons with whom the University does business, or meetings of organizations and groups at which agenda items pertinent to University business are covered also qualify as business meals.

Inclusion of spouses or other individuals who are not directly involved in conducting University business or consumption of alcohol are general indications that the occasion is not a business meal, but an entertainment function and therefore not reimbursable by the University.

The federal government has mandated that no alcohol may be charged as either a direct or indirect expense of federally sponsored projects. This mandate means that under no circumstances should alcohol be charged directly to a federal grant or contract account. The permissibility of expenses for alcohol on non-federal grants depends upon the guidelines of the specific sponsor and must also conform to the University policy. If alcohol charges conform to these guidelines, it must always be charged separately to account code 7243.

Alcohol is reimbursable as a business expense only when served at University functions primarily intended to promote University relations. Such functions are initiated at the executive (presidential) level and would include Board of Trustee meetings and similar occasions. It is also understood that promoting institutional relations includes donor relations and prospective employees. In this case, expenditures for alcohol would be charged to account code 7243.

Employees will not be reimbursed for expenses incurred for meals when such meals are intended to serve a group of co-workers regardless of the business nature. This includes staff meetings. Such expenditures are deemed to be personal according to IRS regulations.

All food service vendor invoices that are submitted for payment must state the business purpose and include a list of the attendees, along with a 17-digit account number and proper approval. Failure to comply can result in out of pocket expense for the employee named on the invoice.

When the University is covering the cost of travel, room and board, and other expenses of visitors, recruits, and consultants (to be hereinafter referred to as visitors), University travel and reimbursement policies apply to their expenses as well. Visitors, or departments on behalf of them, must adhere to the same reasonable standards and submit required receipts or other documentation supporting expenditures. It is the responsibility of the sponsoring department to make visitors aware of the travel and expense policies. Reimbursement of their expenses will be made once a completed check request form has been reviewed and approved.

In the case of travel and other expenses incurred by consultants or independent contractors in connection with services performed for the University, reimbursements can be obtained by submitting a completed check request form with the appropriate signatures when no contract exists.

Departments that bring prospective employees to campus for an interview should do so in the most cost effective way, while ensuring their timely arrival for the interview.

University departments can receive special rates for hotel accommodations for visitors at the Saxon Inn. Departments should contact the Saxon Inn directly to book local accommodations for candidates.

Note: While we should make every attempt to accommodate the schedules and personal needs of the visiting applicant, the applicant should be willing to compromise if it will result in significant dollar savings to the University.

Department policies determine who may attend conferences and seminars for purposes of professional development at the University's expense. These policies should ensure that the content of the program is of a substantive nature, which directly relates to the employee's job responsibilities and that limited budgets for such activities are appropriately allocated.

Non-Reimbursable Personal Expenses

The following is a list of personal expenses (in addition to those that have been identified in other sections of this document) that are not eligible for reimbursement as University business expenses

  • Amenities such as movies, in-room bars, saunas, massages, etc
  • Child care costs, house-sitting costs, pet boarding or other animal care
  • Any personal clothing or accessories
  • Grooming expenses such as haircuts, toiletries, etc.
  • Prescriptions, over-the-counter medication, or other medical expenses
  • Magazines, books, newspapers, or other personal reading material
  • Personal recreation or entertainment such as greens fees, sightseeing fares, theater tickets, entry fees, lift tickets, etc.
  • Expenses related to non-Alfred activities or personal time off taken before, during, or after a business trip
  • Airline club membership dues
  • Airline travel insurance costs
  • Incremental airline ticket costs to obtain frequent flyer benefits
  • Fines for vehicle or parking violations
  • Cost differential on premium and luxury car rentals
  • Charges from unwarranted failure to cancel hotel reservations, airline tickets, etc.
  • Personal auto mileage for assisting a recruit in becoming familiar with the area or doing a housing search

Ground Transportation

When traveling to a metropolitan area that has taxi, shuttle, bus, or subway service, auto rental is considered an excessive and unnecessary expense. Should the traveler need to frequent multiple locations for business purposes, supporting documentation should accompany the Travel Advance and Authorization Form including detail of how the additional expense of the rental plus applicable parking is the least costly alternative.

Business Meal

An employee travels to another institution to meet with his/her colleagues and discuss issues of common concern. At dinner the traveler has a beer with dinner. The cost of the meal, excluding the alcohol, is reimbursable as a business expense. The cost of the beer, including applicable taxes, is considered a personal expense and is not reimbursable.

Two members of a search committee take a visiting recruit out to dinner after participating in a day of interviews. Wine is served with the meal. The cost of the meal, including the alcohol, is reimbursable as a business expense; but the alcohol must be segregated and charged to account code #7243 on the Travel Expense report.

Meal that is NOT a Business Meal

Two employees from the same or different departments decide to meet for lunch at a local restaurant to discuss plans for an upcoming event for students involving their respective departments. The cost of lunch is a personal expense even though business was discussed.

Business Entertainment Expenses

The University invites a renowned lecturer to deliver a paper. The sponsoring department provides coffee and pastries during a break before a related question-and-answer session. The cost of the refreshments is a business entertainment expense and should be reported as "Meals & Entertainment" (account code 7242).

Senior executives organize a retreat to discuss the University's strategic plan. The purpose of the meeting is to strategize annual business plans, and food and beverages are served throughout the day. The cost of this function is considered a business expense and should be reported as "Meals & Entertainment" (account code 7242).

A resident director invites his/her building residents to a meeting to discuss plans for the upcoming semester, and pizza is served. The cost of the function is considered a business expense and should be reported as such in accordance with residence life practices.

The University holds a reception for personnel, donors, and honored guests to celebrate the opening of the new building; this function is considered business entertainment and should be reported as "Meals & Entertainment" (account code 7242).

Expense which is NOT Business Entertainment

While away on business, after dinner the employee and some colleagues go out to a local nightclub. The costs incurred for cover charges, transportation, entertainment, food and/or alcohol are the personal responsibility of the traveler.

At Christmas an academic or administrative department wants to celebrate the holiday with their student workers and staff. This function is not considered business entertainment and the costs are the personal responsibility of those in attendance.