In an era of enhanced scrutiny and increased rigor on the part of both our internal and external audit, we need to be very clear on what is, and what is not, appropriate in terms of expenditures. In addition to protecting both you and the College in any future audit, we would also like to assist you in finding the most competitive pricing and purchasing the most compatible equipment, in terms of computer hardware and software. Accordingly, the following guidelines are to serve as a reference when making professional purchases with any discretionary fund.
Please remember these are general guidelines and are meant to (1) protect you and the College during any internal and external audit, (2) protect the College from inappropriate use of its funds, (3) ensure that your expenditures aren’t subject to income tax, and (4) keep Centre compliant with sales tax law.
In the same way the initial funds are the property of the College, purchases made with those funds are also either the property or the expense of the College. Property and equipment, with a useful life greater than one year, includes but is not limited to computer equipment, instruments, laboratory equipment, furniture, art, and photographic equipment. Expenses include but are not limited to travel, subscriptions, professional services, and supplies.
Of course, since all such purchases are either made or reimbursed by the College, it is unlikely that they may be deducted on your personal tax return.
Expenditures fall within three categories, and all require receipts. The first category of expenditures are those submitted for reimbursement. Receipts are required in order for any reimbursement to occur. The second group includes expenditures made with a college credit card. As agreed upon receipt of your card, all receipts should be kept in a chronological file, which should be readily accessible in the event of an internal audit. Receipts must include not only the summary credit card receipt but also the itemized receipt listing the items purchased. Receipts for meals should also include purpose and attendees. The Dean’s Office needs to maintain copies of these receipts in your file. The third category is an advance, for which a subsequent expense report is promptly completed and submitted, in addition to any unspent monies. Advances require prior approval from the Dean.
Location of Property
Although it’s not uncommon for such purchased equipment to be kept and used off-campus, it is necessary that a listing be maintained of any property kept at your home or any other location. This listing should include a brief description, serial number, cost, and location. A copy of the listing should be given to the Dean of the College and to the Controller. After your use, these pieces of equipment may be used by others.
It’s important to note that all expenditures must be directly related to the underlying purpose of the particular fund. Additionally, such property is not for personal use, unless minimal. Examples follow of both acceptable and unacceptable expenditures. These lists are not definitive but intend to give you a sense of what is and what is not acceptable.
1) Discipline or classroom related books.
2) Student assistant stipends or salary, field trips, travel and conferences.
3) Photographic equipment used exclusively for academic pursuits.
4) Computer equipment, with prior approval from ITS, used exclusively for academic pursuits.
5) Associations directly related to discipline or field of study.
6) Professional travel for scholarship and/or teaching.
7) Equipment and supplies for research and/or teaching.
8) Entertainment for class and or professional reasons.
9) Other items directly relevant to your teaching or scholarship.
1) Home internet connections also used for personal business.
2) Data plans for mobile devices such as ipads, tablets, and smart phones.
3) Travel, conferences, etc. unrelated to either discipline or classroom activity.
4) Home office expenditures for equipment, repairs, renovations, etc.
5) Home or auto repairs.
6) Expenses for travel or other activities for family members (unless those family members have been retained by the College for engaging in the particular college activity).
7) Expenses for non-business/scholarship-related travel.
8) Equipment unrelated to classroom or scholarship.
Whenever possible, invoices should be addressed to, and paid directly by, the College.
The fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30 each year. It is important that expenditures and travel taken are reimbursed from the proper year’s budget. The only exceptions are for travel booked in advance or membership to professional societies, as this will come from the budget year that the activity occurs.
Computer hardware and software, printers, scanners and related expenditures should be made with the prior approval of Centre’s ITS department to insure both compatibility with our system and to enable equipment tracking capability. This process also assures sales tax isn’t being paid and that we are taking advantage of our pricing breaks. Additionally, ITS cannot service equipment unless it’s included in their inventory.
These guidelines are meant to reduce ambiguity with the application of funds, and to encourage open and frank conversation as to reimbursement. Please check with the Dean’s Office if you have any doubt whether a planned purchase is appropriate. The purchase of unacceptable items may be determined to be taxable income and thus included in your W-2.
Most importantly, it is in recognition of best business practices, tax law, and the increased documentation required by our auditors, that we need your compliance. This will protect both you and the College from unknowingly using professional funds in an inappropriate way.