Policy Number: 12

Official Function Expenditures (Entertainment)

Subject:

Expenditure of university funds for entertainment

Scope:

Employees and students

Date Reviewed: March 2008

Responsible Office: Finance and Legislative Affairs

Responsible Executive: Vice President, Finance and Legislative Affairs

I.     POLICY AND GENERAL STATEMENT

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“university”) supports appropriate expenditures of discretionary monies for such purposes as entertaining visiting scholars at lunches or dinners, hosting social engagements to promote a particular program or activity, and a variety of other types of social interaction. These types of activities are categorized generally as "official functions."

Only authorized representatives of the university may expend university discretionary funds for these purposes. In this context, "authorized" is defined as having fiduciary responsibility for discretionary accounts used for these purposes.

Such expenditures are usually handled only as reimbursements after the event; however, for larger scale events, the university will sometimes pay for a portion of the amenities at an event in advance through a check request process.

Official function expenditures are appropriate only in locations where business affairs can be discussed comfortably. The university will not reimburse any such expenditure for attendance at cultural or sporting events such as the ballet, the circus, baseball games or similar functions.

II.     PROCEDURE

I. Guidelines and Limitations

Employees, residents and students may obtain reimbursement from departmental discretionary funds for certain expenses incurred in the course of official function activities that directly benefit the university. Reimbursements are subject to the following specific guidelines and limitations:

Additional information can be found by referring to the Reimbursement Guide; Payment Procedures, Business Meals Section and the Petty Cash Guidelines.

Any request for the purchase of tables at functions of profit or nonprofit organizations must be coordinated through the Office of Institutional Advancement. Refer to HOOP Policy 172 Marketing the University through Sponsorships.

The university generally does not make direct payments to any commercial establishment for allowable official function expenses. Exceptions may be made where the payments are for services rendered for an official university event. If the total amount for any such official function expense (whether reimbursement or otherwise) is projected to exceed $2,500, the department must complete the Official Functions form and obtain approval of the event from the appropriate dean or vice president, as well as the Executive Vice President, Chief Operating and Financial Officer (EVPCOFO) or designee prior to incurring expenses. This request must describe how the event supports university activities and purposes.

II. Authorization to Expend Funds for Official Functions

To protect both the claimant and the institution from improper obligation of funds, the request for reimbursement must be supported by both the security code of the individual responsible for the account against which reimbursement will be made, and official documentation of the incurred expenses (i.e., individually itemized, original receipts) as specified above. A credit card receipt is accepted as official documentation for business meal expense on unrestricted fund sources. An itemized receipt is required when requesting reimbursement from some restricted funds. All claims for official function expense reimbursement will be audited by the Employee Reimbursement or Disbursement staff for compliance with related rules and regulations. Any reimbursement request that appears to be non-beneficial, excessive or extravagant in the context of the event may require additional support by the claimant and/or approval by the appropriate dean or vice president.

III. Account Restrictions

Certain restrictions limit the reimbursement of official function expenditures from specific fund accounts. The following restrictions apply:

IV. Official Functions Related to Travel

When legitimate official function expenditures are generated in the course of travel on official university business, those claims and documentation must accompany the request for travel reimbursement.

V. Reimbursement Mechanisms

The university uses two methods for reimbursing official function expenditures: non-po vouchers and travel po-vouchers.

Regardless of the method of reimbursement, any purchase documented by a grocery or cash register receipt must be individually identified and verified by the individual. Reimbursable items should be circled and initialed for identification when they appear on the same receipt with personal purchases. Texas sales tax will not be reimbursed unless the transaction is appropriately coded and charged to an unrestricted account.

III.     CONTACTS

ContactTelephoneEmail/Web Address
Vice President, Finance and Legislative Affairs 713-500-4907 laura.d.smith@uth.tmc.edu
Expense Reimbursement Team 713-500-4958

travel@uth.tmc.edu