3215 PR.03 Yale Spend Authorization (Cash Advance)

Revision Date: 
February 18, 2022


1.     Overview

2.     Accountable Official

3.     Roles and Responsibilities

4.     Business Process Map: Spend Authorization (or Cash Advance)

Yale’s Expense Management: Spend Authorization (including Cash Advance)

The Create Spend Authorization task in Workday allows an employee (faculty/staff) or his/her delegate to pre-authorize a specific expense by creating a commitment of funds for a specific departmental expense or activity.  Spend Authorization can be created with or without a cash advance.

Pre-authorizing Expenses

Departments use the spend authorization process when an employee needs to incur a pre-authorized expense on behalf of Yale.  Some examples of the Create Spend Authorization task are to:

  • Pre-authorize an expense paid with cash out-of-pocket or a Yale University Purchasing Card (PCard).
  • Generate a cash advance.  After the Create Spend Authorization task is initiated, the Cash Advance Requested box is selected.  This action permits the employee to receive advanced funds from Yale.  The employee or his/her delegate may designate the preferred payment option during the process.
  • Indicate that money will be spent on an expense prior to the purchase of the goods or services.
  • Spend Authorizations are tied only to Expense Reports and will not be offset by invoices or requisitions.

Note: If the Spend Authorization included a Cash Advance, the employee must reimburse Yale for any funds left over from the cash advance.

Creating a Spend Commitment

The Create Spend Authorization task creates a preauthorized commitment to incur an expense for a specific department activity.  A Spend Authorization can also be used to create a commitment for:

  • Spending money from a specific account on miscellaneous small dollar purchases or other approved activities or expenditures
  • Requesting a cash advance to be used for paying for the travel and related expenses
  • Distributing study subject advances

Please refer to Policy Section 3201.3 General Purchasing Policy for preferred purchasing methods, Procedure 3215 PR.02 Yale Expense Management: PCard and Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Procedure 3417 PR.01 Human Research Study Participant Remuneration, and Procedure 3301 PR.02 Obtaining Cash for Yale Activities Abroad for additional guidance and information.

For additional information regarding allowable expenses, approvals and processes, please refer to these related procedures:

The Chief Procurement Officer has responsibility for the systems, processes, effectiveness, and efficiency of purchasing activities at the University.

eCommerce Department

Central process owner for purchasing card program (with oversight from the Controller) and expense reporting system.  Responsible for monitoring the issuing (with proper approval from business office/shared service office), use, suspension and termination of PCards.  Also, responsible for training all faculty and staff on proper use of PCards and Workday Expenses/Spend Authorization.

Business Offices

Responsible for maintaining a sound and adequate system of internal controls surrounding the use of and approval process of various purchasing card and out-of-pocket business transactions.

Note: Business Offices are responsible for ensuring that outstanding advances are expensed or repaid within the terms of Yale’s policy, especially prior to an employee’s termination from the University.


Approves all exceptions and where necessary, delegates authority normally performed by the Controller. Consults with eCommerce on monitoring the use, suspension and termination of PCards.

Controller’s Office

Responsible for performing quality assurance reviews of PCard and out-of-pocket transactions.

Yale’s Expense Management Solution

Includes the processing, creation and submission of expense reports for the following expenditures: travel expenses, reimbursements for materials or supplies purchased with or without a PCard, out-of-pocket reimbursements, or requests and repayment of cash advances.

  • Figure 1: Spend Authorization Process: Employee as Self

  • Figure 2: Spend Authorization Process: with Delegate

Processing Spend Authorizations

Note: Sections A through E below explain the spend authorization steps A through E in the above process maps for creating Spend Authorization with and without a delegate.

A. Estimate Future Spend and create spend authorization (cash advance)

  • An employee (staff/faculty) may create a Spend Authorization. To create a Spend Authorization for Cash, the employee must first have at least one Payment Election configured.  Follow the steps below:
  • Click Create Spend Authorization
  • Enter Start and End dates
  • Enter Description, Business Purpose and Justification
  • Click + and enter Line Details
    • Study Participant Advance: Business Purpose must be Study Subject Advance and expense item must be Study Participant Advance.
    • Add Yale IRB# in the line Memo, and identify the Principal Investigator (PI) in the Assignee worktag.
    • Non-Study Participant Advance: choose the expense item Travel and Expense Advance
  • Submit

Note: The Spend Authorization (Cash Advance) cannot be used as petty cash for students not employed by Yale or to pay for expenses for other non-employees, such as visiting speakers.  For additional information, please refer Workday Create Supplier Invoice Request to create a payment to a non-employee.

B. Delegate Creates the Spend Authorization

With Delegate (Figure 2): Estimate the future expense or spend and request Delegate to create spend authorization with cash advance.  The Delegate will follow the steps outlined in section A.  Refer to Prepare an Expense Report as a Delegate for further information.

C. Cost Center Approver Reviews and Approves Spend Authorization

With Delegate (Figure 2): If the Spend authorization was created by a Delegate, the employee must review and approve the Spend Authorization before the transaction moves to the appropriate Cost Center Approver.

Spend Authorization approval process:

  • The Cost Center P2P Approver - $1K approves the transaction; has no edit capability.
  • Spend authorizations with a value between $1,000 and $10,000 will be approved by the Cost Center P2P Approver -$10K.
  • Spend authorizations with a value greater than $10,000 are approved by the Cost Center P2P Approver - Unlimited (typically a Lead Administrator).
  • Spend authorizations with a value greater than $25,000 are approved by the Controller

D. Processing Payments

Payments are processed by Accounts Payable (AP) or Treasury.  The employee can elect payment from Yale in variety of ways:

1. Standard Payment Type

  • Direct Deposit or Check

2. Treasury Payment Types

  • Cash pick-up at Yale Treasury (Note: $1,000 limit for study subject advances and $300 for all others)
  • Re-loadable debit card
  • Gift card

Note: Advanced notice to the Treasury office regarding a payment option is required prior to pick-up.  Please send an email to treasury@yale.edu to inform the Treasury office of the requested payment and pick-up.  In the case of re-loadable debit cards and gift cards, please allow up to three (3) business days for processing prior to pick-up.

E. Expense Management

The employee or an initiator (preparer) follows 3215 PR.02 Yale Expense Management procedure.  The employee or delegate links the expense report to the spend authorization.  If the expense report is the final expense report on the spend authorization, the employee or delegate marks the Final Expense Report for Spend Authorization option.

Note: Spend Authorizations may not be closed on the same day that payment is issued to the requestor.  Please wait a minimum of one day after receiving the payment to close a Spend Authorization.

If the spend authorization included a cash advance, the employee reimburses Yale for any funds remaining from the cash advance.  The employee reimburses Yale by sending a check payable to Yale University with the spend authorization number included on the memo line, Accounts Payable (AP).

Please refer to Section 4, Procedure 3215 PR.02 Yale Expense Management (PCard and Out-of-Pocket Expenses).

Note: For further assistance with the Spend Authorization process, please consult the Workday@Yale Support webpage, or the Finance Support Center (FSC), at (203) 432-5394.

The following Workday Quick Guides are also available:

Associated Reports

To track spend authorizations or expenses, run the following Workday reports:

  • My Spend Authorizations
  • Find Spend Authorization/Cash Advance-Yale

Note:  When departments use Spend Authorization to commit funds for individual conferences or other approved activity, report balances reflect the intended expense.