Everyone at Stanford, including staff, faculty and students, is responsible to differing degrees, for making sure funds are spent appropriately following the University's Code of Conduct, while holding ourselves and others to a high standard of integrity and quality. Even the appearance of misconduct or impropriety can be very damaging to the university. 

A number of considerations guide creating, approving, reviewing and correcting transactions to ensure that spending is proper, accurate, correct and within policy.

Approvers and reviewers are responsible for applying all the following considerations before taking action on a transaction. Transaction processors will frequently have limited information but should endeavor to apply as many of the considerations as they can.

  • The charges are correct.
  • The expenditure is reasonable.
  • The expenditure is necessary for university purposes.
  • The correct expenditure type was used. (Refer to Purpose & Use of Expenditure Types or DoResearch 2.4)
  • Charges are recorded in a consistent manner within departmental accounts.
  • Charges are appropriately documented.
  • All relevant university policies have been followed (and sponsor policies in the case of sponsored research).
  • Charges are appropriate for the account (project, task or award).
  • Funds are available in the account (project, task or award) being charged.
  • Charges to sponsored research funds are additionally guided by Administrative Guide 3.1.4 Cost Policy.
  • Correct: The amount matches receipts or other documentation defining the amount.
  • Reasonable: A prudent person would have purchased this item and paid this price.
  • Expenditure Type Correct: The definition of the expenditure type matches the expense, and any expense considered unallowable for cost reimbursement by the federal government is assigned to an unallowable expenditure type. 
  • Consistent: Like expenses must be treated the same in like circumstances.
  • Appropriate for the account (PTA): Charges adhere to the restrictions applied to the funding source (i.e., the fund authorization for non-sponsored awards and notice of award for sponsored awards). For questions about restrictions on non-sponsored awards, contact your fund accountant. For sponsored awards, contact your research accountant.
  • No individual can approve their own expense reimbursement, or the expense reimbursement of an individual to whom they report directly or indirectly.
  • Individuals may not use the authentication information of another person to approve expenses on their behalf.


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