Business Meals and Hospitality

Introduction 

This policy states the requirements for business meal and hospitality expense reimbursements.

Policy Statement 

Business Meals

  • Brown University reimburses employees for business meal expenses.
  • All University funds-including gifts, grants, and contracts, shall be used in a reasonable and prudent manner and only for activities related to Brown’s primary mission of education, research and public service. 
  • Meal expenditures that exceed guidelines require Senior Officer approval.  A Senior Officer is a member of the President’s Cabinet.
  • Non routine business meals (holiday event, summer outing, etc.) may be reimbursed with sufficient explanation or with a Senior Officer approval.  Expenses incurred in relation to the following events are not reimbursable:  birthdays, weddings, births, showers, etc.
  • The number of Brown hosts accompanying a guest for lunch or dinner should be no more than four. 
  • Reimbursement for family members is not permitted unless there is a specific business purpose for the family member’s attendance at the event. IRS publication 463 states: “you generally cannot deduct the cost of entertainment for your spouse or for the spouse of a customer. However, you can deduct these costs if you can show you had a clear business purpose, rather than a personal or social purpose, for providing the entertainment.”

Alcoholic Beverages

When procuring and serving alcoholic beverages at University sponsored events, and in order to be reimbursed, faculty and staff must comply with University policies on alcoholic usage:  Brown University Alcohol and Other Drug Policy and the Student Activities Office Event Planning guidelines.

  • At no time may alcoholic beverages be served to minors.
  • The use of alcoholic beverages while in the conduct of University business should be kept to a minimum.
  • In no instance may alcoholic beverages be charged to federally funded grants or contracts, either directly or indirectly. 
  • Travel Meals and Alcoholic beverages:  The cost of alcoholic beverages must be charged to the Exclusions spend item.  It may not be charged to travel meals.
  • When planning events on campus where alcoholic beverages are served, use of Brown Dining Services, an outside caterer approved by Brown Dining Services, or the Brown Faculty Club is preferred. 
  • If alcohol is purchased for informal University department functions, the reimbursement request must include the Responsibility for Alcoholic Beverages Form.
  • Serving alcoholic beverages at a University event held off campus, such as in an employee’s private home, is strongly discouraged.  In such instances where alcoholic beverages are to be available, the sponsor of the event must complete and have approved the statement of Responsibility for Alcoholic Beverages form, and attach the form to the request for reimbursement.

 

Definitions 

Business meals are those taken with business associates, university guests, job applicants, professional colleagues, or donors, during which University business discussions take place or hospitality is extended to distinguished guests.

  • Meals between two or more employees during which routine business issues are discussed are not reimbursable, however,
  • Business meals taken with employees when, to ensure privacy and confidentiality, business must be conducted off campus, may be reimbursed.
  • When authorized by the department head, business meals may also be taken for the purpose of employee recognition or reward. 

 

Procedures 
  • Business Meals are reimbursed in Workday using the Create Expense Report business process.
    • Receipts are required for all business meals and entertainment expenses.
      • Use a Missing Receipt Affidavit Form if a receipt has been lost or misplaced.
    • The date of the expense item is the date of the transaction.
    • List attendees:  a large group can be identified as a group i.e., Ivy Plus University Controller’s Group
    • Number of Persons:  The number will default in from the number of attendees listed.  If the attendees are identified as a group, override the default number with the number of actual attendees.
    • Business Reason:  Detailed reason for the business meal, i.e., Lunch for the Ivy Plus Controller’s Group attendees who attended the Providence Conference.
    • Merchant:  Location of the business meal, i.e., Parkside Rotisserie and Bar, Providence
  • Business meals must be charged to the business meals expense item and may not be charged to any travel expense item. 
Forms/Instructions
Frequently Asked Questions

When would I use the spend category for Business Meals vs. Food and Provisions?
Use Food and Provisions when purchasing food supplies for office use.  Use Business Meals when you use a restaurant or an outside caterer – including catering by a grocery store.  

What do I do if the expenditure exceeds Brown University’s guidelines for business meals?
If your expenditure exceeds the University’s guidelines, you will need to obtain Sr. Officer approval for the reimbursement.  Attach the approval, which can be an email, to the supplier invoice.

Policy Owner
Approved by 
Assistant Vice President and University Controller
Contact(s) 

Raquel Almeida
Senior Accounts Payable Specialist
Raquel_Almeida@brown.edu 
401-863-9442

John Haden
Accounts Payable Manager
John_Haden@brown.edu
401-863-2401

Doreen Burgers
Director of University Disbursements
Doreen_Burgers@brown.edu
401-863-7579 

Revision Date:  Fri, 2016-07-01 10:27