Representational Allowance Expenses

UAF uses the Representational (Rep) Allowance process to document the business justification for and approval of entertainment-type expenses. Entertainment-type expenses include expenditures for any activity providing hospitality, recreation, amusement, meals or other service, benefit or commodity generally considered entertainment. They also include satisfying the personal needs (such as providing food, lodging or transportation) of individuals or guests.

Since these are not a typical day-to-day business expense, they are held to a higher standard of scrutiny. For example, at catered events or receptions, one often hears remarks such as “Wonder how much they’re paying for this, instead of paying for ‘x’?” UAF’s Rep Allowance process provides a clear avenue to substantiate these non-standard expenses as allowable and avoid the appearance of impropriety or waste. The Rep Allowance form ensures an authorized central figure has certified the expenses as appropriate and in line with UA business needs.

Units must complete and submit to OFA a Rep Allowance form for 8115 expenses over $200, gifts over $25 and other discretionary expenditures.

Units must complete and internally file a Rep Allowance form for non-8115 entertainment-type expenses and 8115 expenses under $200.

All entertainment-type expenses over $25 require an invoice. A receipt documenting proof of payment is required if requesting direct pay reimbursement through Accounts Payable.​


Additional Considerations
  1. "Gifts" purchased for use as prizes follow both the Rep Allowance process and the processes outlined under the Non-Cash Gifts/Awards & Raffles page.
  2. Fund 1 money cannot pay for gifts >$25 or for alcohol/alcohol-related charges (including bartenders or liquor licenses).
  3. Entertainment-type expenses cannot be reimbursed or paid from petty cash.
  4. Entertainment-type expense purchases on ProCards require authorization from Procurement & Contract Services prior to purchase.
  5. Restricted funds are governed by the agency grant or contract and may vary from state and UA regulations. Please visit the Office of Grants & Contracts Administration website for more information on restricted funds.

Entertainment-Type Expense Account Codes

Representational expenditures in direct conduct of UA business or interests.

Includes but is not limited to

  • Gifts (>$25)
  • Catering, self-catering or meals in venues that include alcoholic beverages
  • Office decorations or refreshments
    • “Thank you” or holiday cards
    • Water, coffee, tea and sodas
    • Utensils, plates and cups
  • Open house events
  • Events at private homes
  • Retreats
  • Receptions
  • Staff recruitment (meals or receptions)
  • Hospitality provided to visiting guests/dignitaries

Entertainment-type expenses not considered representational expenditures (non-8115).

3008 (3018 Restricted Fund)

Non-alcohol catered services, non-alcohol meals in venues or other entertainment-type expenses that do not meet the threshold for a representational expenditure.


4008 (4018 Restricted Fund)

Groceries and food purchased for self-catered events, small tokens of appreciation of nominal value (<$25) and other entertainment-type commodities that do not meet the threshold for a representational expenditure.

Includes but is not limited to

  • Small plaques or other tokens of appreciation (gifts <$25)
  • Advisory council meetings
  • Special UA events
  • Dept meeting for a specific purpose (non-recurring)
  • Elder programs
  • Commencements
  • Faculty convocation or orientation
  • Honors program
  • Merit awards or presentations
  • RA housing meeting
  • Rural AK Honors Institute/Upward Bound
  • Seminars
  • Student recruitment activities
  • Student Services programs
  • Summer Arts Program
  • Conferences
  • Training sessions
  • Workshops
  • Working lunches

Events where participants are required to work through a meal period require an agenda and list of attendees.

Note: Seasonal cards, office decorations, office refreshments and their respective supplies are considered representational expenditures regardless of their nominal value.

Entertainment-type meal expenses for fundraising events that do not meet the threshold for a representational expenditure.

These account codes must post to a "Z" program code.

3038

Catered fundraising events not including donor “thank you” meals

4038

Self-catered fundraising events

Approvals

Signature Authority Designee List (PDF) (Updated 07/27/2021)

All 8115 expenses >$200, gifts >$25, expenditures that include alcohol and other discretionary expenditures require approval from the Rep Allowance designee assigned by the Chancellor. This list of designees is updated every year. Please reference the current list when determining your authorized approver.

Additionally, 8115 expenses >$200 require approval from the designated authority before funds are expended. 

The unit's fiscal designee can approve non-8115 entertainment-type expenses and 8115 expenses <$200. The fiscal designee is the authorized approver for the funding source, generally the financial manager or dean/director for the unit.


Forms

The Rep Allowance form provides clear documentation of the business justification or benefit gained and approval from the authorized designee which is essential for audit purposes (including ProCard audits).

Our Rep Allowance forms use Docusign PowerForms to capture required information and signatures. A Docusign account is not required to prepare or sign the form.

For non-8115 entertainment-type expenses and 8115 expenses <$200
  1. Identify your signature authority (fiscal designee)
  2. Complete this Rep Allowance Form
For 8115 expenses >$200, gifts >$25, expenditures that include alcohol and other discretionary expenditures
  1. Use the Signature Authority Designee List to determine the authorized approver
  2. Gifts >$100 require additional approval from the AVC for Financial Services
  3. Complete this Rep Allowance Form

If you are the form preparer AND approver, enter your name and email in both the "Form Preparer" and "Fiscal Designee" fields. 

Terms as defined by UA regulations and their use in the Rep Allowance process.

Representational expenses include discretionary business charges which are generally not allowable under normal procurement procedures, such as entertainment-type expenses, office decorations and refreshments provided to employees.

Gifts include awards and tokens of appreciation or recognition to students, employees, dignitaries, community leaders, visitors, guests and other associates. Gifts may be based on achievement, service to UA, cultural traditions or contributions to the mission, purposes or goals of UA or its community.

Gifts are considered representational expenses except for issuance of modest cost (<$25) plaques or similar tokens of appreciation or recognition which may be charged to non-representational accounts

Other discretionary expenditures include expenses generally not allowable under normal procurement procedures (e.g. refreshments provided to employees, holiday cards and office decorations). These are only allowable if the expense is "ordinary and necessary" for the conduct of UA business.

Invoices/Receipts are required for all entertainment-type expenses >$25 regardless of payment method.

An invoice/receipt may take many forms (e.g. cash register receipt, copy of an order form, web receipt, etc.) but must identify the following:

  • Date of purchase
  • Vendor’s name
  • Itemized list and unit price of the purchased items
  • Total amount

Proof of payment is required when requesting direct reimbursement for entertainment-type expenses.

Proof of payment may take many forms but must demonstrate that payment was tendered and must identify how payment was tendered by the employee. This information is usually included on the original receipt and indicated in the following ways:

  • “Cash Tendered”
  • “Paid”
  • A zero-balance due
  • Documentation of payment method (e.g. card type with last four digits of card)

A clear, concise detailed description of the business purpose or benefit gained is required for all entertainment-type expenses.

The description should support a complete, reasonable understanding of the business conducted. The business purpose of an expense may be obvious to the employee, but not to a third-party reviewer. 

For example, “Dinner with donor to discuss alumni event ideas” is an appropriately documented business purpose. “Dinner with donor” is not.

Reasonableness is required on expenditure amounts for business meals.

An amount is deemed “reasonable” if it does not exceed three times the current federal per-diem rate for that city, pro-rated as follows:

  1. Breakfast: 25%
  2. Lunch: 25%
  3. Dinner: 50%

Example: Assume that a faculty member has a business dinner in Fairbanks with a colleague from another university, and the current federal per-diem rate for Fairbanks is $70. Under these assumptions, a total dinner cost (excluding tip) of up to $105 per person is considered “reasonable” ($70 * 50% * 3 = $105).

An "ordinary" expense is an expense of a type which is customary and usual in the individual's field of business, trade or profession.

A "necessary" expense is an expense which is appropriate and helpful to the conduct of such business.

Memo: Representational Allowance Changes (10/29/2012)

The UA regulations governing entertainment-type expenses are defined by R05.02.070. Representational Expenses.

 

Due to the varied and complex nature of Rep Allowances, not all situations are covered here.
Our staff are happy to answer any questions or help navigate specific scenarios.