3305 Expense Advances

Responsible Official: 
Responsible Office: 
Effective Date: 
November 1, 2000
Revision Date: 
January 9, 2020

Policy Sections

3305.1 Circumstances for Which Expense Advances May be Provided

3305.2 Expenses Funded by Sponsored Awards

3305.3 Other Expense Advances

3305.4 Authorization of Expense Advances

3305.5 Management of Advanced Funds

3305.6 Clearance of Expense Advances

3305.7 Expense Advances for Foreign Activities


This policy establishes guidelines for expense advances.  Expenses funded by sponsored awards may be subject to additional restrictions not specifically covered by this policy.

Policy Statement

Individuals involved in authorized and funded University activities should have the necessary funds available on a timely basis.  The University prefers to make direct payments for goods and services, but will provide advance funds for extended out-of-area activities and for certain other expenses when alternate methods of purchasing and payment are not practical or available.

Only employees of the University (including student employees) may receive expense advances, and only one expense advance may be outstanding for an individual at any time.

Individuals receiving expense advances should spend University funds prudently, and should neither gain nor lose personal funds as a result of their activities on Yale’s behalf.  Advanced funds must be appropriately safeguarded and managed, and expenses must be properly recorded and reported as set forth in this policy.  Advances must be cleared within the time periods specified in this policy.

Salary and wage payments for work done in the United States should not be made from expense advances.  University employees, individuals performing work in the United States, PDFs, and students may not be paid for services from advanced funds.  Advances for human research study participant payments must be made in accordance with Procedure 3417 PR.01 Human Research Study Participant Remuneration.

Reason for the Policy

The University is occasionally involved in long-term research/activities conducted away from the campus.  There are operational circumstances in which the preferred procurement methods are not available or cannot be used.  In order to make necessary funds available for the conduct of such activities, the University may provide expense advances, if appropriate justification is provided.


Expense advance

Funds advanced for purchases or payments in a limited number of circumstances where other preferred methods of purchase or payment are not practical or available.

Policy Sections

Expense advances may be provided to University employees who have special expense needs associated with approved and funded activities such as archaeological expeditions, field site assignments, extended performance tours, etc., involving travel that exceeds one (1) month in duration.

Expense advances may be issued in order to make funds available for anticipated operating expenses that cannot be paid through the standard University procurement methods.  Such expenses may include costs of operations while on site, such as supplies and equipment, food, lodging, and local travel expenses.  For more detailed guidelines regarding airfare, lodging, meals and other travel-related expenses, consult Policy 3301 Travel on University Business.

Whenever possible, the University prefers to make payments for goods and services directly to the provider by check, wire transfer, purchasing card, or personal credit card.  In cases where direct payment is not practical, advanced funds may be used, but careful records must be kept to document such payments.

Advanced funds can be issued in the form of check, direct deposit to individual domestic bank accounts, cash, or prepaid card.

In addition to the limitations set forth in this policy, special restrictions may apply to expenses funded by sponsored awards.  Contact the Office of Sponsored Projects for more information.

A request for an expense advance must be made using the Spend Authorization process, pursuant to Procedure 3215 PR.03 Yale Spend Authorization (Cash Advance).

  • The advance request must include a business purpose for the advance and an outline of how the advanced funds are to be spent.
  • The amount requested should not exceed the costs that are expected to be incurred.
  • The request should also include the expected start and end dates for the advance activity.

Funds may be advanced up to the amount of reasonable anticipated expenses that cannot be paid for by other preferred methods.  To reduce risk and promote proper management of advanced funds, however, replenishment of initial advanced funds by means of additional advance requests is preferable to issuance of very large lump sum amounts.

3305.4 Authorization of Expense Advances

Requests for expense advances must be approved by the appropriate individual(s), pursuant to the process detailed in Procedure 3215 PR.03 Yale Spend Authorization (Cash Advance), Section 4.C.  Approvers of such advances are responsible for ensuring that funds are available and committed and that advances are fully accounted for in accordance with relevant policies.  Expense advances will not be issued for amounts under $300.

Original receipts for expenses equal to or greater than $75 must be retained to substantiate all expenses.  If receipts are lost, submit Form 3301 FR.05 Missing Receipts Form that describes the expense, amount, date, place, and reason for missing receipts.

Expense advances must be cleared via an expense report, pursuant to Procedure 3215 PR.03 Yale Spend Authorization (Cash Advance), and are expected to be cleared no later than two weeks (10 business days) after the end date of travel.  If travel exceeds 90 days, expenses incurred to date should be cleared every 90 days.  To receive non-taxable reimbursements, employees have a maximum of 119 days from the date an expense is incurred to submit and receive approval on the expense for reimbursement through the “Create Expense Report” function in Workday.  Expenses must be accounted for by submission of the relevant form and receipts.

  • Original travel receipts must be attached, as specified in Policy 3301 Travel on University Business.  For receipts in foreign currency, a memo should be prepared and attached, explaining the receipts and the currency exchange rates used.
  • Any outstanding advance amount in excess of substantiated expenses will be deducted from the employee’s next pay check.

If the advance is not cleared within the time period specified above, the outstanding amount will be recovered by one or both of the following methods:

  • If the individual submits a subsequent expense reimbursement request, the outstanding advance amount will be automatically deducted from the reimbursement.  If, however, an individual has an outstanding advance for an ongoing research project at a remote site and incurs other business expenses (e.g., attends a professional conference) while the long-term project is still under way, the outstanding advance will not be deducted from the individual’s travel expense reimbursement.
  • Any remaining outstanding advance amount will be deducted from the employee’s paycheck.  The employee will receive written notification prior to the deduction.

Department lead administrators are responsible for ensuring the timely clearing of all advances.

In the planning stages of activities that will be conducted outside the U.S., the University Treasury Manager should be consulted for advice on foreign banking practices, foreign currency, and recommended payment methods for certain kinds of anticipated expenses.  Refer to Procedure 3301 PR.02 Obtaining Cash for Yale Activities Abroad for guidance on meeting cash needs for activities conducted outside the U.S.

Special Situations & Exceptions

Exceptions to this policy require prior approval by the Controller’s Office, in consultation with the Provost’s Office, General Counsel, or an Officer of the Corporation, as appropriate.

Roles & Responsibilities

Individual Receiving the Advance

Ensures that expense advance requests and actual expenditures are reasonable and necessary in accordance with University policy.  Documents all expenses and retains receipts.  Clears expense advances within time periods specified in this policy, with required receipts.

Individual(s) (Departmental) Approving the Advance

Reviews departmental expense advance requests for reasonableness, necessity, and adherence to University policy and applicable sponsor terms.  Authorizes expense advance requests, if appropriate.

Department Lead Administrator

Responsible for ensuring the timely clearance of all advances within their department(s).

University Treasury Manager

Advises the community on expense advance procedure, foreign banking practices, foreign currency, and recommended payment methods.  Ensures advances are processed in accordance with University policy.

Treasury Services

Processes Spend Authorizations for cash and prepaid cards in a timely manner (up to petty cash limit specified in Controller’s Office Factsheet).

Accounts Payable Department

Processes Spend Authorizations for checks and direct deposits in a timely manner.  Ensures advances are processed in accordance with University policy.  Advises the community on expense advance procedure.


Reviews and approves exceptions to University expense advance policy with respect to staff members and approves all advances greater than $25,000

Office of Sponsored Projects

Advises departments and principal investigators as to the terms and conditions of specific awards as they pertain to expense advances, and provides general guidance with respect to activities funded by sponsored awards.