This page provides an overview of roles and responsibilities and the process, policies and procedures for initiating and approving expense reports using the Expense Requests system.

Transaction Preparer - within 10 days of expenditure or completion of travel

With a few exceptions, expenses submitted more than 60 days after they were incurred will be reported as additional income to the individual, in accordance with Internal Revenue Service guidelines.

Approver Reviews - upon receipt of Workflow Notification
Business Expense Auditor - upon receipt of Workflow Notification

It is the responsibility of the individual incurring expenses, those who assist others with incurring expenses and those involved in the preparation and approval of reimbursement requests or financial transactions to exercise good stewardship of university funds and to adhere to university policies. Travelers should neither gain nor lose personal funds as a result of business travel on behalf of Stanford University. Learn more about roles and responsibilities in the following table. (Refer to Topic Overview: Business and Travel Expense Policies)

Roles Responsibilities
Departments and Unit Finance Managers
  • It is the responsibility of the financial managers, officers and deans to periodically advise faculty and staff of requirements. Dean’s offices should properly advise new employees of this guidance and any related local policies and procedures.
  • Exceptions to any stated policy or guidance should be submitted to and approved by the Dean’s office before an expense is incurred. Detailed justification for the exception should be provided to be attached to the Expense Request.
Originator (the individual incurring the expense)
  • Before incurring an expense, the originator is responsible for understanding the university's policy and guidance.
  • Should an exception to policy or guidance be required, a request for an exception should be sent to the originator’s Dean’s office before incurring the expense. The originator should attach the approval of the exception to the Expense Request.
  • The originator is responsible for providing the necessary information and documentation to prepare the request. Depending on the type, value and funding source of the expense, certain requirements and policies apply.
  • Within 10 days of the expense(s) being incurred or the travel end date, the originator should prepare the request (refer to Preparer role below). If the originator will not be the individual preparing the expense report, they should submit all required information and documentation to the preparer within the 10-day timeframe.
  • If expense requests are not made within 60 days, the reimbursement amount paid by Stanford will be tax-reportable as income to the individual per IRS guidelines.
Preparer (the individual preparing the expense request)
  • The preparer can be the originator or another individual who prepares and submits the expense reports to properly record travel and business-related expenses and to request reimbursement on behalf of Stanford affiliates (faculty, staff, students, emeritus on payroll), including reporting expenses purchased with a Stanford Travel Card.
  • The preparer should submit the expense report within 10 days of the expense(s) being incurred or the travel end date. 
  • Transactions submitted in the Expense Requests system are reviewed for authorization by designated "approvers," usually a department or other representative with authority to approve charges to the appropriate PTAE.
  • Expenses are payable only when all required approvals, including any required approval from government agencies or other project sponsors, are obtained.
  • Employees may not authorize travel or approve expense payments for themselves or for a person to whom they report directly or indirectly.
Business Expense Team
  • Once approved, transactions are routed to a processor on the Business Expense team in Financial Management Services. The team checks to see that the expenditures and supporting documentation comply with policy and government regulations, and if compliant, will approve the transaction for payment. When a transaction is non-compliant, it is rejected, and the person initiating the transaction is notified of required action.

For more information about who can approve expense reports and PCard transactions, refer to Reimbursements to Employees Reference Guide.


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