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Institutional Policies

Policy ADMA-PUR-002

logo of The University of Southern Mississippi  
Responsible University Administrator: Vice President of Finance and Administration
Responsible Officer: Director of Procurment and Contract Services
Origination Date: N/A
Current Revision Date: 02/20/13
Next Review Date: 02/20/17
End of Policy Date: N/A
Policy Number: ADMA-PUR-002
Status: Effective




Policy Statement

The business of the university requires that some on-campus entertainment expenses be incurred. These expenses should be for university business only.

Reason for Policy/Purpose

This policy is required for the effective communication of university policies regarding allowable entertainment and miscellaneous expenditures for hospitality.


Who Needs to Know This Policy

All members of The University of Southern Mississippi community who act as hosts on behalf of the university.

Website Address for this Policy





All transactions involving entertainment expenses must have the following documentation referenced on a Business Related Expense Form:

  • a statement of purpose for the expense, as well as the benefit to the university. (General phrases such as "Entertainment Expense" and "Business Lunch" are not adequate explanations and will be returned, thereby delaying processing.)
  • a list of all persons in attendance, including their relationship to the program to be benefited and any other relevant details
  • the date, time and place of the entertainment
  • approval of the appropriate signature authority


NOTE: Accounts Payable reserves the right to request itemized receipts at any time, under any circumstance or when deemed necessary. Fiscal prudence and common sense should be used. Expenditures determined to be "lavish" will not be reimbursed.


Entertainment of prospective employees is considered an appropriate expenditure. When they are invited to visit the campus, all reasonable expenses, including travel, are allowable. Expenditures for the meals of such prospects as well as others in attendance should be for only those people essential to the interview process. The cost of such meals should be reasonable and the number of university employees should be kept to a minimum. Allowance for the entertainment expense of an employee's spouse will only occur when it is deemed that his or her attendance is required (when the candidate’s spouse attends, etc.)


Entertainment of official university guests is also considered an allowable expenditure when there is a clearly documented business purpose or benefit to the university. As stated earlier, the cost of such meals should be reasonable and the number of university employees should be kept to a minimum. These types of entertainment expenses should normally be incurred by administrative officials, deans, and department heads. Examples of official guests include, but are not limited to, visiting lecturers and performers, visitors from other universities, and business and community leaders.


Entertainment expenses for meals involving only employees and/or student workers(staff meetings, discuss research, etc.) are not ordinarily considered allowable expenditures. In rare instances where it may be necessary to have a meeting over lunch or dinner, the employee must give the reason the meeting could not be held during regular business hours; and also must provide documentation for the purpose of the meeting and a list of all personnel in attendance and their purpose for attending. The meal costs will only be reimbursed if they are reasonable and appropriate (as determined and approved by the signature authority, Sponsored Programs Administration, and State and University auditing requirements). 


Expenses for official university functions and receptions honoring employees, students, alumni, distinguished guests and friends of the university may be paid for using university funds as long as a detailed statement of the purpose is attached. The president of the university holds most receptions of this nature.


Meal or refreshment expenses associated with conferences, workshops, meetings and seminars conducted by the university will require assurance, through appropriate documentation, that the function is essential to the operation of the university and that provision of meals/refreshments must be incidental to the function rather than the primary purpose of the function. Meals held subsequent to a business function are not allowable uses of university funds.


This policy is NOT all‐inclusive, nor does it address every situation that may arise. It is intended to help prevent some of the more common mistakes. In order to prevent processing problems, questions about specific situations not addressed in this policy should be directed to the Procurement Services Office at 601‐266‐4131 to determine if it is within university guidelines.


The Director of Procurement and Contract Services is responsible for the review of this policy every four years (or whenever circumstances require immediate review).



Business Related Expense Form available at 





Related Information




Amendments: Month, Day, Year – summary of changes

11/01/11: Formatted for Institutional Policies website.

02/20/13: Formatted for template. Minor editing throughout.  





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