Washington State University
BUSINESS POLICIES AND PROCEDURES MANUAL

PURCHASING
70.33
Revised 12-13
Business Services/Controller's Office
335-2022

Using Discretionary 17A Accounts

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OVERVIEW

Expenses from discretionary accounts must benefit WSU, supporting one or more of the University's missions of research, education, public service, and outreach. The use must conform with the donor's intent for the gift. Additionally, such expenditures must be legal and meet the test of public scrutiny for appropriateness.

ALLOWABLE AND NONALLOWABLE EXPENSES

Following this policy and procedure statement is a table of allowable and nonallowable expenses. (See below.) This list is not all-inclusive. Any expense must meet the criteria set out in the overview above. Direct questions regarding expense allowability to the Executive Director of Business Services/Controller's Office.

DEPARTMENT RESPONSIBILITIES

Administration of Accounts

Vice presidents, chancellors, or deans (and designees) are responsible for administering discretionary accounts.

Department Approvals and Delegations

Allowable expenses must be approved by a vice president, chancellor, dean, or designee who is responsible for the supporting discretionary account.

A vice president, chancellor, or dean may delegate 17A expenditure authority to subordinates, e.g., associate dean, director, department chair, area finance officer. An official receiving 17A expenditure authority may not delegate that authority further; all such delegations must come directly from the vice president, chancellor, or dean.

To delegate expenditure authority for discretionary accounts, complete and route an Expenditure Authority Delegation form. Send the completed and approved delegation form to the Controller's Office. See 70.02.

Individuals who seek repayment for personally-incurred expenses may not authorize their own reimbursements. A request to reimburse a personally-incurred expense must be authorized by the claimant's supervisor.

Responsibility to Monitor Accounts

To monitor expendable accounts, departmental personnel compare copies of expense documents with the appropriate Budget Statements (see 30.07) or the online Account Balances/Detail Application (see 85.33).

Avoiding Overdraft Accounts

Overdraft accounts are not permitted and must be corrected immediately by revenue or expense transfer. See 30.21.

Departmental Recordkeeping Requirements

Departments are responsible for retaining documents relating to expenses in accordance with the current records retention schedule. See 90.01.

CENTRAL RESPONSIBILITIES

Finance Office Responsibilities

Controller's Office and Purchasing Services personnel review expenses to ensure compliance with University policies and procedures.

The accounting system checks all expenses from discretionary accounts to assure that each expense is in an allowable object category (see 70.09) as defined by the Establishment of Fund form (see 30.75).

Audit

Discretionary account records may be subject to public review and are subject to audit by the University's Internal Audit Office and state of Washington auditors.

PROCEDURES - GENERAL

Compliance with Standard Procedures and Forms

Departments are to use standard University procedures and forms when making expenditures from discretionary accounts. (See Chapter 70 for purchasing procedures and Chapter 95 for travel procedures.)

Submittal of Expenditure Justification

Departments must include a brief justification statement with each request for a 17A expenditure or reimbursement.

Supporting Documentation

Allowable expenses must have appropriate supporting receipts in order to be paid.

Expenditure Transfer

A vice president, chancellor, dean, or designee who is responsible for the account assuming the expense must approve each expenditure transfer. See 30.25 for expenditure transfer procedures. Transfers must include a brief statement justifying the expense.

PROCEDURES - PURCHASING

Official University Events

Expenses related to "official University-sponsored events" are often allowable. An official University-sponsored event supports one or more of the University's missions and is approved by a vice president, chancellor, dean, or designee.

Events and Business Entertainment Expenses

Regardless of the method used to pay for the entertainment, the department is to submit the following information with the request for reimbursement or payment:

When seeking approval for food and beverages, this list may include the names of the participating organizations or groups when the number of participants is large or when the names of participants are unknown.

A department may reimburse an employee or directly pay the vendor for entertainment costs.

Employee Reimbursement

A University faculty or staff member may pay for entertainment, e.g., meals, beverages, admission costs, and claim reimbursement from a discretionary account. If the expenses were incurred while the claimant was in travel status, the department must include the expenses on a Travel Expense Voucher along with the rest of the claimant's travel expenses. If the claimant was not traveling when the cost were incurred, the department must use a State of Washington Invoice Voucher to submit the request for reimbursement.

Claimant in Travel Status

For entertainment expenses incurred while in travel status, the claimant's department requests reimbursement for the employee as follows:

Claimant Not in Travel Status

For entertainment expenses incurred while not in travel status, the claimant's department requests reimbursement for the employee as follows:

Claim Approval

The Invoice Voucher or Travel Expense Voucher is approved for payment by a vice president, chancellor, dean, or designee who is responsible for the account and supervises the claimant.

Reimbursement Payment

The Controller's Office distributes the reimbursement payment to the claimant by one of the following methods:

Direct Vendor Payment

The department may pay a vendor directly by using one of the following procedures. Submit a description of the entertainment and a justification statement with the documentation.

DO

Complete a Department Order. Follow procedures in 70.07.

Departmental Requisition

Complete a Departmental Requisition prior to the entertainment event. (Purchasing Services generates a Purchase Order which is given to the vendor at the time the entertainment is obtained.) Follow procedures in 70.10.

IRI

Complete an Interdepartmental Requisition and Invoice if the vendor is a University organization, e.g., Dining Service, CUB. Follow procedures in 70.05.

Vendor's Invoice

Obtain an invoice from the vendor.

A University purchasing form is not required for this procedure.

Submit the vendor's itemized invoice to Accounts Payable. Add the coding of the supporting account.

NOTE: The total cost may not exceed the current purchasing bid limit. See 70.13.

PROCEDURES - CONTRIBUTIONS TO AGENCY ACCOUNTS

Discretionary account funds may be contributed to an agency account if the recipient organization's activities support a University mission.

To make such a contribution, route a memorandum to the Controller's Office. The memorandum is to include the recipient and donor account codes and be signed by an administrator with expenditure authority for the donor account.

NOTE: Agency accounts include registered student organization (RSO) accounts. See also 30.05 and 70.18. Contact the Controller's Office for more information.

Refer to the table below as needed.

ALLOWABLE AND NONALLOWABLE EXPENSES

NOTE: Allowable expenses must have appropriate supporting receipts in order to be paid.

Types of Expenses

Allowable on Discretionary Funds
(17A)?

Events & Business Entertainment:

Food and nonalcoholic beverages for retirement/departure events for employees retiring or departing from WSU. Only one retirement/departure event per employee may be supported by discretionary funds. Cost per event cannot exceed $15.00 per person. Include the expected/estimated number of attendees with the request for payment/reimbursement.
NOTE: Retirement/departure means that the employee is terminating employment with the department or with WSU. A position or role change within a department does not qualify as a retirement/departure for which event expenses are allowed.

Yes

Hosting official University-sponsored events.

Yes

Food and beverages for University employees and guests at official University-sponsored events.

Yes

Admission fees/charges for employees to attend social or business events when attendance is required by the University.

Yes

Food and nonalcoholic beverages for division or departmental holiday receptions. Only one event per division or department per year may be supported by discretionary funds. Cost per event cannot exceed $15.00 per person. Include the expected/estimated number of attendees with the request for payment or reimbursement.

Yes

Food and nonalcoholic beverages for division or departmental employee appreciation events. Only one event per division or department per year may be supported by discretionary funds. Cost per event cannot exceed $15.00 per person. Include the expected/estimated number of attendees with the request for payment or reimbursement.

Yes

Food and beverages for division or departmental graduation events. Only two events per division or department per year may be supported by discretionary funds. Cost per event cannot exceed $15.00 per person. Include the expected/estimated number of attendees with the request for payment or reimbursement.

Yes

Banquet liquor permits and special occasion licenses for official University-sponsored events (see 70.29).

Yes

Food and beverages for employee showers, weddings, birthdays, and similar personal life events.

No

Purchase of beverages to be stored for future use except as required by the President or chancellors in their official hosting capacity. Note, however, that unopened beverages from other hosted events can be returned or stored in accordance with 70.29.

No

 

Travel:

Travel expenses which exceed the amount payable from state funds and are related to an employee's official duties. Such expenses must be approved by the responsible vice president, chancellor, or dean.

Yes

Travel expenses for a prospective employee's partner's travel when approved in advance by the responsible appointing authority.

Yes

Travel and related expenses to meet with donors, prospective employees, and prospective students. An official should use discretion when approving such travel and other expenses. He or she should send only the minimum number of employees required to accomplish objectives.

Yes

Business Class (premium class other than first class) airfare when a flight to or from a point outside the continental U.S. is over 14 hours long (not including domestic layover time). Note that such airfare is also allowed on state funds in accordance with 95.07.

Yes

First Class/Business Class airfare. Exception allowed if individual has a medical exemption from a doctor. For airline club memberships, see the "Memberships" subsection below.
No
Payment of travel meals, lodging, and transportation expenses for an employee's partner, unless the responsible vice president, chancellor, or dean has determined that a partner's attendance is necessary for the conduct of official University business. If the travel is for the partner of a vice president, chancellor, or dean, approval by the supervisor is required. The responsible official must approve such expenses in advance of the travel.
No

Commuting mileage.

No

 

Moving Expenses:

Moving expenses including those expenses that exceed the amount payable from state funds when approved in advance by the responsible vice president, chancellor, dean, or designee.

Yes

 

Memberships:

Membership dues, a license, or a certification that enhances an employee's ability to perform position duties. The expense must be approved by the responsible vice president, chancellor, dean, or designee.

Yes

Airline club membership fees where membership is needed for business purposes and is approved by the responsible vice president, chancellor, or dean. If membership is for a vice president, chancellor, or dean, approval by the supervisor is required.

Yes

Membership dues, a license, or a certification which does not enhance an employee's ability to perform the duties of her or his position.

No

 

Awards, Loans, Gifts, and Similar Items:

Scholarships and fellowships expenses are processed through Student Services and are not subject to procedures in this section. See 30.90 to authorize and process a departmental scholarship.

Yes

Employee and student excellence awards provided through approved University programs.

Yes

Retirement gifts with a cumulative value that do not exceed $200.

Yes

Flowers and other tangible gift items for nonemployees such as donors, special guests or dignitaries, as part of a cultivation process or an expression of appreciation that do not exceed $200.

Yes

Expressions of sympathy associated with the death or serious illness of an employee, an employee's immediate family member, or a non-University employee with a business connection to the University (e.g. donors, alumni, etc). Expressions of sympathy include floral arrangements, sympathy cards, and similar items.

Yes

Loans to individuals other than WSU students. Student loans must be processed through Financial Aid.

No

Gift certificates, flowers, and other tangible gift items for employees or their family members in recognition of holiday events, birthdays, boss's day, administrative assistant day, etc., or as an expression of thanks.

No

 

Contributions:

Contributions (cash or non-cash) to a WSU-related organization in support of an official University mission. Such an expense may take the form of a direct purchase on behalf of the organization or a contribution to the organization's account.

Yes

Contributions (cash or non-cash) to any individual, organization, or institution that is unrelated to WSU.

No

 

Supply/Office/Promotional Items:

Note cards, holiday cards, stationery, and postage for sending welcome, congratulatory, or other communications to faculty, staff, students, donors, alumni, etc. (Note: Electronic communication is strongly encouraged unless circumstances dictate otherwise.)

Yes

Promotional items with University or college logos such as coffee mugs, lapel pins, writing instruments, key chains, t-shirts, etc. that are given to donors. The provision of such items to University employees is prohibited unless the event is a University-sponsored event and the value is of nominal value (less than $10 per person per year).

Yes

Promotional items, meal tickets/coupons, and other giveaways as an incentive for students to get involved in organizations, clubs, surveys, etc.

Yes

Birthday cards, wedding cards, engagement, cards etc. for employees or their family members.

No

Office decorations for a personal office space.

No

Postage for personal correspondence.

No

 

Miscellaneous Items:

All purposes for which state of Washington public monies or federal monies are spent.

Yes

Cash, gift certificates, or other tangible items that are given to participants in research projects.

Yes

Expenses of a personal nature unless the personal benefit is clearly de minimis to the primary purpose of benefiting the University.

No

Fines for illegal actions, e.g., parking or traffic infractions.

No

Gratuities not associated with meals, unless specifically permitted by other University regulations.

No