This document establishes policies governing the reimbursement of travel, entertainment and other related expenses ("business expenses") incurred during the conduct of Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ (HWS) business. It is HWS’ policy to reimburse employees for ordinary, necessary and reasonable expenses when directly related to the transaction of HWS’ business.

Directly related means:

  • there is a recognizable current or future benefit for HWS
  • the employee is actively engaged in a business meeting or activity necessary to the performance of the employee's job duties
  • there is a clear business purpose for entertainment or other expenses

Employees are expected to exercise prudent business judgment regarding expenses covered by this policy.

Reimbursement for expenses requires approval of the department head or budget manager, and divisional Vice President, or when appropriate, the CFO or President. Employees are encouraged to obtain necessary approvals prior to incurring expenses.

Employees submitting expenses for reimbursement who are not in compliance with this policy risk a delay in processing, the reimbursement being treated as taxable wages, or being disqualified for reimbursement.


Requests for reimbursement of business expenses must be submitted via Unimarket as a Retrofit Order with appropriate supporting documentation attached. HWS are required to internally report monthly financial activity and therefore require expense reports to be submitted within 45 days after business related expenses are incurred. Any expense reports submitted after this timeframe must be approved by the divisional Vice President, and in certain cases may require the reimbursement to be processed through payroll as taxable wages, which is reported as additional W-2 pay.

HWS will allow the use of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) approved per diem reimbursement for individuals that travel out of town or overnight for approved HWS’ business which will require completed forms in lieu of receipts to substantiate reimbursement.

Per Diem Rates- The per night/full day rates in effect will be:


Cities, other than
Large Metro

Large Metro*

Per Night Lodging Accommodations (tax excluded)



Full Day Meals (tip included) & Incidentals

First and last day of travel reimbursed at 75%







* IRS Special Per Diem Update

All business expenses need to be substantiated with adequate submission of an Expense Reimbursement form or other record. This substantiation must include information relating to:

  • (1) Business purpose of the expenditure
  • (2) Date and place of the expenditure
  • (3) Amount of the reimbursement
  • (4) If applicable, the names and the business relationships of other individuals for whom the expenditures were incurred

Requests for reimbursement lacking this information will be returned to the originator for completion prior to processing.

When submitting expenses for reimbursement other than a "per diem," in addition to items 1-4 above, cost details and merchant payment or credit card statement receipts are also required for all expenses greater than $25.00. For grant funded expenses, cost details and merchant payment or credit card statement receipts are required for all purchases at any value. Any questions relating to grant requirements should be directed to the grant manager in the business office. Requests for exceptions to this policy should document extenuating circumstances and be approved by the divisional Vice President.


Expense Reimbursement forms and related supporting documentation, submitted through Unimarket will be routed to the employee's immediate supervisor for review and approval. In the absence of the immediate supervisor, approval from the next level of supervision is required.

Supervisors approving expense reports are responsible to ensure the following:

  • (1) Expenses reported are reimbursable under this policy
  • (2) The expense report has been filled out accurately and includes appropriate supporting documentation
  • (3) The expenses are reasonable and necessary
  • (4) Business purpose is clearly documented and acceptable under this plan.


4.1 Allowable Expenses.
The following are reimbursable expenses provided they comply with Section 1 of this policy:

  • Hotel or motel and related tips
  • Travel expenses including coach airfare, train fare, bus, taxi and related tip
  • Meals, including tips between 15-20%
  • Business telephone calls when unable to utilize personal cell phone
  • Laundry and/or dry cleaning expenses during trips in excess of 5 days
  • Car rental
  • Personal vehicle used (mileage according to ** below)
  • Fuel for HWS’ owned or leased vehicles
  • Tolls and parking
  • Conference and convention fees
  • Professional memberships or association fees necessary for the employee’s job function
  • Business entertainment expenses
  • Travel expenses for a spouse or partner if it can be shown that the person's presence was both essential and directly related to the effective accomplishment of HWS’ business. In these limited instances, the employee must obtain written approval in advance from their divisional Vice President, and in certain cases from the President.
  • Amazon purchases for digital content not available through the HWS’ Business Prime account
  • Other reasonable and necessary business expenses, not specifically excluded by Section 4.2

4.2 Non-allowable Expenses.
The following expenses are not reimbursable under this policy:

  • Baby-sitter costs
  • Animal care/boarding costs
  • Airline club dues
  • Barber/hairstylist
  • Amazon purchases made without use of HWS’ Business Prime account
  • Traffic fines
  • Tips in excess of 20% and tips in addition to pre-applied gratuity
  • In-flight movies/refreshments
  • Hotel room movies and other forms of personal entertainment
  • Luggage, briefcases
  • Alcohol, unless moderate consumption during business meals or legitimate business entertainment activities or an approved HWS’ event
  • Meals including only HWS’ employees, including work study students, unless traveling on HWS’ business or approved in advance by the divisional Vice President
  • Parties and gifts for HWS’ employees, including student workers
  • Reimbursement for personal miles in excess of the cost of airfare to the same destination
  • First class airfare
  • Meals taken in lieu of provided meals at conference events
  • Any bus, train, taxi fare that is not for to/from the business destination, lodging, or travel terminal.
  • Sales tax from which HWS are exempt (see Section 6.0)

No policy can anticipate every situation that might give rise to legitimate business expenses. Each employee and supervisor should use their best professional judgment in determining if an unlisted expense is reimbursable under Section 1 of this policy.

**Personal vehicle: Employees who utilize personal cars for business travel will be reimbursed at the per mile rate established periodically by HWS. Miles submitted for reimbursement are to be submitted net of any normal commuting miles. The expenses related to gasoline consumed by personal vehicles are the responsibility of the employee.


Credit cards may be provided to those employees whose jobs include a significant amount of travel and/or entertainment and upon request made by their divisional Vice President. Credit cards ultimately represent an extension of credit to HWS. Cards issued are a privilege for convenience and are not permitted to be used for personal expenses.

Employees are expected to process credit card statement reconciliations and submit reports timely in order for the Business Office to record expenses for month-end close.


As a not-for-profit organization, HWS are exempt from certain sales taxes and it is the employee's responsibility to be familiar with this exemption. It is the employee's responsibility to indicate to the vendor that HWS are tax-exempt.

A New York State tax-exempt certificate and additional information regarding tax exemption can be found on the HWS’ website or under Links on the Unimarket homepage. Use of the certificate to avoid sales tax on personal transactions is strictly forbidden. Please contact the Finance Office to inquire about other states that offer HWS tax exemption.


Cash advances: HWS recognize some incidental expenses cannot be paid by credit card. Requests for cash advances are to be submitted on the Cash Advance form via Unimarket and must be approved in a manner consistent with Section 3 of this policy. Subsequent advances will not be made available if the accounting for a previous cash advance has not been completed in a timely manner.

Parking tickets and moving violations: the owner/driver of the vehicle is responsible for all parking fines and moving violation tickets. HWS, if billed, will pass the bill onto the driver to be paid. If the driver is unverifiable, the person to whom the vehicle has been rented or signed out will be held responsible.

Instructions for making travel arrangements: all travel expenses must be approved by the immediate supervisor prior to committing HWS to the expense. If arrangements are not paid for with a HWS’ credit card, an Expense Reimbursement form can be submitted for reimbursement through Unimarket. In the event that travel is cancelled, any refunds/credits received by the traveler will need to be returned to HWS.

All employees are expected to travel coach class. Personal frequent flyer credits may be used to upgrade travel class, however, no reimbursement will be made and no contribution recorded on behalf of the employee for the business use of frequent flyer credits.

Delays/Layovers: if you are unable to make a connecting flight because the first flight has been delayed for any number of reasons, employees should seek to obtain as many services as possible through the carrier and are urged to inquire about these services should an event such as this occur. HWS will cover those expenses not covered by the airline, if ordinary, necessary, and reasonable.

Prudent judgment should be used when selecting a hotel, and HWS’ discounted/preferred providers should be considered whenever possible. A single room with a private bath in a moderately priced business class hotel or motel is the HWS’ standard. Reimbursement for suites or luxury accommodations requires the written permission from the divisional Vice President and/or President prior to booking the lodging.

If two persons, one of whom is not on HWS’ business (spouse, partner), occupy a double room, only the single rate may be charged to HWS. Always ask for corporate, conference, or educational discounts.

Employees must cancel the room reservation by the predetermined time set forth by the hotel policy at booking to avoid a "no-show" charge. Employees are advised to request and retain a "cancellation number" as documentation of the transaction. "No-show" charges will be the responsibility of the employee.

HWS’ discounted/preferred providers should be considered whenever arranging ground transportation.

Reservations should be made for a compact vehicle, depending on the type of travel. Occasionally a mid-size vehicle may be appropriate when more than one employee will be using the vehicle and in a small number of other circumstances.

While it is not necessary to purchase additional coverage for domestic travel since HWS’ insurance will apply, it is recommended additional coverage be purchased when traveling internationally.

Employees are expected to refuel rental cars prior to returning them to the rental agency in order to avoid their excessive price for gasoline; prepaid gas options should not be utilized.