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L&S Financial Documents Descriptions & Business Purposes

Prior LAB Audits of University of Wisconsin financial transactions and found an alarming number of expense documents out of compliance, with a majority involving the absence of a clear business purpose.

Per the UW System Audit Findings Action Items,

  • "Simply stating the name of the conference or the person attending a hosted meal or stating 'business lunch' does not establish a business purpose."
  • "Why the expense was incurred and how it benefited the University" must also be answered.
  • This standard must be met for any UW-Madison expense.  Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • E-Reimbursement
    • ShopUW+ (DP/PIR/Purchase Requisition)
    • P-Card Purchases


Please see the verbiage below for the full audit findings regarding travel.

Business Purpose
All employees are required to provide a business purpose for all University funds expended, regardless of funding source.  It is important to provide a detailed explanation that establishes a business purpose when claiming expenses for travel, conferences, meals, misc. purchases, etc. Simply stating the name of the conference or the person attending a hosted meal or stating “business lunch” does not establish a business purpose. It is important to answer “why” the expense was incurred and how it benefited the University.  An example of providing a sufficient business purpose would be providing the conference name and the reason for attending. The business purpose should be clear to an Approver/Auditor or a post-payment Auditor (e.g., UW-Madison Internal Audits - including RSP or OVCRGE, UW System, Legislative Audit Bureau or Federal Granting Authority)  without further inquiry.  If a valid business purpose is not provided, it is the responsibility of the Approver or Auditor to request necessary information and documentation or disallow the expense.



KeywordsUniversity, UW, System, audit, business purpose, benefit   Doc ID78245
OwnerMichele G.GroupL&S KB
Created2017-11-14 14:54:36Updated2024-06-03 08:04:32
SitesL&S KB
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