04 - 008 Cash Advances (for travel and other purposes)


This procedure pertains to all advances made by check or cash for the purpose of travel or other business expense; the procedure establishes maximum advance amounts and requires timely accounting by employees, subject to payroll withholding if necessary for collection.

1. Employees traveling on official University system related business, in excess of one business day or more, may receive an advance to cover the reasonable business expenses to be incurred during their travel.  Advances will not normally be granted for airline tickets, hotel or conference fees, items that should be secured through standard procedures preceding the travel.  Advances are to be used for incidental business expenses that cannot be readily or most economically assumed by University Payment Cards.  Examples of these expenses include transportation to/from an airport to a conference, parking, or some meals. This also includes security deposits for temporary lodging/housing in which an employee will be staying while traveling on USNH business. The employee is expected to return the entire amount of the original deposit upon their return. Any amount retained by the landlord is to be paid by the employee. All requests for advance must be documented by estimates of anticipated reasonable expenses and submitted on the standard USNH Pre-Approval/Advance Form as described in Procedure 7-117, Travel Pre-Approval/Advance.
2. Internal Revenue Service Regulations (Reg. Sec. 1.62-2) - Cash advances and expense reimbursements must be reported as income on an employee's Form W-2 subject to income tax withholding UNLESS paid under an "Accountable Plan." An Accountable Plan is one that satisfies 4 requirements:

a. Business Connection - Advances must be limited to reasonable job-related expenses expected to be incurred by the employee and, the employee would be eligible for a tax deduction on his/her Form 1040 if the employee paid them out of his/her own pocket.
b. Advance Reasonably Calculated to Cover Expenses - Advances must be based on a reasonable estimate of the anticipated expenses, and must be drawn within a reasonable period of time before the expenses are likely to be incurred.
c. Substantiation - The employee must supply the employer with detailed expense records as would be required if he/she had to substantiate a business expense deduction on his/her own personal tax return. In the case of business meals, date, place, amount, applicable receipts, names of persons accompanying employee, and business purpose must be documented.
d. Unspent Advance Must Be Returned - Employees are required to return to the employer, within a reasonable period of time, any amount advanced that is in excess of the substantiated expenses.

3. USNH Administrative Procedures - USNH will avoid income tax withholding on cash advances and expense reimbursements by meeting all requirements for an Accountable Plan and insisting that all employees comply with these requirements.

a. Business Connection - Travel advances should be limited to reasonable, necessary out-of-pocket business expenses incurred. Travelers are strongly encouraged to use their personal bank charge card or to request a travel exception for their USNH Purchasing Card to reduce the need for a cash advance. Generally, hotel bills and deposits necessary to hold reservations should be paid by a qualified USNH Purchasing Card or other personal charge card. Conference registration fees not prepaid by Invoice/Check should also be put on charge cards. If it is not possible to use a charge card, either a USNH purchase order or a USNH check should be issued to the vendor to avoid the need for a cash advance.
b. Advance Reasonably Calculated - Documentation of anticipated expenses must be submitted prior to granting an advance. Advances must be kept to a minimum and should be used only for minor expenses which cannot be charged on the USNH Purchasing Card or other personal charge card. Travel advances are generally limited to $300 per person per week maximum unless specifically approved in writing by the campus Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or his/her designee. Advances of currency are at the discretion of each campus, but generally should not exceed $400. Special arrangements which follow the intent of these procedures may be required for athletic team travel,  and other group activities or non-travel advances. Requests for advances must be approved by the responsible dean/director/department head using standard institutional forms. Advances should be processed through the campus travel manager/coordinator at least four business days before the check is needed. However, cash advances (including checks) are not generally released earlier than two business days prior to the date needed (e.g., travel departure date). Advances are not intended to pay pre-departure expenses and will not be available for that purpose.
c. Substantiation - All travel expenses must be substantiated with appropriate supporting documentation (original receipts) on an itemized USNH Personal Reimbursement Form (or on a Petty Cash Voucher in the case of travel paid from petty cash) according to USNH and campus policy and procedures detailed elsewhere.  Any advances must be referenced on the reimbursement form.
d. Unspent Advance Must Be Returned - All unspent or unsubstantiated advances for travel and other business expenses must be returned to the campus travel manager/coordinator with proper substantiation (e.g., USNH Personal Reimbursement Form) within 10 business days after completion of the trip. This also includes security deposits for temporary lodging/housing in which an employee will be staying while traveling on USNH business. The employee is expected to return the entire amount of the original deposit upon their return. Any amount retained by the landlord is to be paid by the employee.
e. Responsibilities of Employees Requesting Advances - Employees failing to return unused USNH cash advances and/or proper substantiation within 10 business days will be subject to payroll deduction of the amount unreturned/unsubstantiated after adequate written reminders have been given to the employee. Employees with outstanding advances are not eligible to receive additional advances for other business purposes.


1. Responsibilities of the Campus Travel Manager/Coordinator - The USNH Travel Coordinator is responsible for sending a standard written reminder to the Campus travel manager or BSC Director with information necessary in order to process the USNH Personal Reimbursement request to substantiate the expenses associated with the trip.  The reminder should state the facts and site this procedure.  A copy of the reminder will be sent to the advance recipient and the dean/director/department head who authorized the advance.  If the substantiation is not received, a second reminder will be sent about two weeks from the date of the first reminder.

 In the event that travel advance responsibilities are delegated to the Campus Travel Coordinator or the BSC Director, they are responsible for the above.  In addition, they are responsible for reconciling their advance account and providing a monthly reconciliation statement to the USNH Disbursement Manager.

The USNH Travel Coordinator is responsible to maintain a detailed list of all employees with advances outstanding. The list will include the employee's name and USNH ID#, the amount of the advance, the date the advance was issued, the date the advance is expected to be returned (e.g., trip return date plus 10 days), and the dates reminders were sent to the employee. The list must be reconciled each month and sent to the USNH Disbursement Manager by the 10th day of the following month, even if no employee is presently delinquent.

Outstanding advances indicating that at least 2 reminders were previously sent, will be subject to payroll deduction in the following pay period. USNH Travel Coordinator will notify Payroll who will initiate the deduction and send notice to the USNH Travel Coordinator, the Campus Travel Manager or the BSC Director.  In turn, they will notify the employee that the payroll deduction will occur. The notice will instruct the employee to deduct business expenses to the extent allowable by the IRS on his/her personal tax return.

The USNH Travel Coordinator will clear/cancel any open credit invoice transactions in the AD System.
2. Responsibilities of the USNH Payroll Department - On the 10th of each month USNH Disbursement Manager will receive from the campus travel manager/coordinator a listing of all outstanding advances reconciled to Banner. Where 2 or more reminders have been sent to the employees, the outstanding amount will be deducted from the employee's next paycheck. Payroll will notify the campus travel manager/coordinator when the withholding occurs by forwarding a reference to the JV document to transfer the money into the campus travel advance account.
3. Advances to non-employees - Advances of USNH funds will not be made to persons who are not currently affiliated with USNH. Rare exceptions may be made only by the campus VPFA office. Students, when functioning in an official capacity, and student organizations on each campus are considered affiliated with USNH. Consultants are not considered affiliated with USNH. Alternatively, a status employee of USNH may choose to sign for an advance on behalf of the student or non-employee; however, the employee so doing is fully responsible for the full amount of the advance and subject to the collection procedures cited in A.3.e. Business travel expenses such as airline tickets and hotel accommodations should be made via USNH purchase card.  When direct payment to a vendor is not possible, USNH may reimburse the individual for properly substantiated expenses that were incurred.  This will occur after the trip and with submission of a fully approved USNH personal reimbursement form.

This page last updated Tuesday, October 18, 2016. For information on the adoption and effective dates of policies please see explanation on the OLPM Main Menu.