What to do for a lab event, such as an end-of-semester get-together or a lab retreat, to make sure you get reimbursed.
Background: Types of Events
TL;DR Lab retreats and end-of-semester celebrations are Official Functions
The university classifies events with business and social components in two main ways:
- Official Functions. More social, less business
- Recruitment events
- Commencement celebration
- "Annual holiday/general appreciation events"
- Social Events. More business, less social. (Not a typo: this is the more business-y one.)
- Reception after an invited speaker's talk, where the research is discussed
- Training session
The idea is that for Official Functions, you might have to justify why the event "advances the university's mission," ie, research or business was taking place. For Social Events, it should be obvious already how the event benefits the university.
Other helpful info:
- University policy on Official Functions, including a list of examples: https://policy.wisc.edu/library/UW-3075
- A decision matrix for deciding between different types of events: https://darcrnhhg6i0c.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/sites/546/2019/07/Official-Functions-Guidance-Matrix.pdf
- University page about event planning: https://businessservices.wisc.edu/purchasing/planning-an-uw-event/
Planning and doing an Official Function
The only thing you absolutely need to do before the event is complete the Official Functions and Expenses Pre-Approval Form: https://businessservices.wisc.edu/documents/official-functions-and-expenses-pre-approval-form/. For old examples, see
/smng/admin/accounting/purchasing/2022-05 end of semester.
On the pre-approval form, you cannot use federal funds (class 144). Try using CapEx or startup funds (131, 136, 150).
Send your completed form to whoever is the finance specialist in the department that you're requesting to use funds from. For CapEx funds, it's the Waisman Center, so send it to Jan.
Use a purchasing card to buy things. You can pay for stuff out of pocket as well, but that makes reimbursement more annoying. (There are rare exceptions where you can't use a p-card, such as using Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA) funds, but that'll probably never come up for our lab.)
As with all p-card purchases, you are exempt from paying Wisconsin sales tax, and in fact expected to NOT pay sales tax. When making purchases, tell the vendor you are tax exempt. Provide either the Certificate of Exempt Status (CES) number 008-1020421203-13 or a copy of the tax exempt certificate.
Reimbursement after an Official Function
If you used a purchasing card, do your normal p-card reimbursement method. Attach your signed pre-approval form when you submit your expense report. If food was at the event, you'll need to complete the Meal Payment Form. Attach that to your expense report as well: https://businessservices.wisc.edu/documents/events-meal-payment-form/
If you paid out of pocket or used a personal credit card, you will instead submit an expense report via the e-reimbursement portal to get reimbursed: https://businessservices.wisc.edu/travel-reimbursement/getting-reimbursed/#HowDoIGetReimbursed
If you end up spending more than what you requested on the pre-approval form, that's ok. You'll just need to explain why the expenses were higher than anticipated.