Employee Reimbursements Tutorial

Per the University Policy Library, Procurement Services has the responsibility for handling all procurement transactions. ISU employees have no authority to commit ISU funds, and should obtain a Purchase Order number from Procurement Services or use the ISU Purchasing Card whenever possible, rather than requesting reimbursement for items purchased with personal funds. Using a Purchase Order or the ISU Purchasing Card also exempts us from sales tax and saves 7% for local purchases.

The Employee Reimbursement system may not be used as a means of circumventing ISU’s procurement policies.

If you have questions, please call Jane Houk at 294-5180 or Bill Cahill at 294-5124.

Expense Type

Alternate Form or Source


Alcoholic Beverages

Allowability Depends on Funding Source

Allowable if used for cooking, research, or course study. Other business purposes must be charged to 206 or general support 497 funds. General support 497 funds can only be used when hosting non-ISU employees.

Animals, Laboratory or Livestock Animal Cages or Aquariums

Lab Animal Resources

All live vertebrate animals to be housed or used on the main or south campuses must be approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), assigned a log number, and purchased through Laboratory Animal Resources (LAR).

Artwork for Individual Offices


This is a personal expense and is not reimbursable.

Automatic Electronic Defibrillators

Web Requisition

ISU has standardized on a specific type, and AEDs require proper installation and training.

Cell Phone Equipment or Cell Phone Accessories


Iowa State University's policy allows for reimbursement for roaming charges, minute overage charges, and international or temporary access. Cell phone equipment or accessories owned by the employee are not reimbursable.

However, when the phone and plan are purchased through ISU's contract, we allow accessories, if for a reasonable amount.

Chemicals and Controlled Substances

Chem Stores or Web Requisition

ISU needs to be able to monitor the acquisition and disposal of chemicals and track the orders of controlled substances.

Clothing Suitable for Everyday Wear


Protective clothing, such as hard hats, work gloves, hip waders, or steel-toed boots may be allowable if required for the performance of an employee's job.

Insect repellant or sunscreen are not reimbursable for an individual, although a department that requires its employees to do fieldwork could purchase these items for distribution by the department.

ISU licensed apparel purchased for employees and event volunteers will be considered allowable from appropriate funding sources when the funding department documents the ISU business purpose. Valid business purposes could include event/public recognition, marketing, and employee morale. ISU licensed apparel purchased for non-employees with a valid ISU business purpose would also be considered allowable.

Computers - Includes towers, laptops, netbooks, tablets, or components to assemble a computer. Does not include readers (e.g., Kindle or Nook).

CyBuy or TechCyte

Contact Procurement Services for information on university contracts.

Conflict of Interest Payments


Payments to ISU employees for providing goods or services are conflict of interest payments, which cannot be reimbursed through the Employee Reimbursement System. Please read the Conflict of Interest page from the Policy Library or contact Cory Harms, Director of Procurement Services, at 294-2591 if you have questions.

Cylinder Gases and Liquid Nitrogen

Chem Stores

ISU needs to be able to monitor the acquisition and disposal of hazardous materials.



Donations to organizations are not allowable from any funding source.

eBay or Other Online Auction Services


Use of online auction services is prohibited. Please contact Procurement Services for additional information.

Fines and Penalties


Parking fines, library fines, etc. are the personal responsibility of the person who incurred them.

Firearms, Weapons, and Ammunition


Safety issues.



Allowable for official university events, such as graduation ceremonies, are allowable from any unrestricted fund source. Flowers for funerals or hospitalizations of employees or their immediate families are allowable from 206 or general support 497 funds, as long as the cost is relatively small.

Furniture and Furnishings


ISU has standardized product specifications and competitively bid contracts for such items.



Gifts for recognition of employee achievements are appropriate, except from sponsored funding. Gifts to employees for holidays, birthdays, weddings or wedding anniversaries are not allowable from any funding source. Please see the Allowability and Appropriateness handout for more information.

Home Internet


The Communication Technology Allowance and Reimbursement Procedures, which took effect July 1, 2009, only allow reimbursement if the employee's primary workspace is not located in university owned or rented space.

Home Office Expenses


If ISU already provides office space for an employee, charges for equipment, paper, toner, or other office supplies to support a home office are not reimbursable.

Items for Personal Use


All items purchased or reimbursed by ISU become the property of ISU. These items must be for a business purpose, rather than personal use.

Lease or Rental Payments

Web Requisition

Lease and rental contracts must be approved by Procurement Services, and in some cases by the Board of Regents. Lease and rental payments also must be reported on a 1099-MISC, which requires processing by voucher.

Licenses for Vehicles or Trailers

Transportation Services

Transportation Services must be able to track all vehicles owned by ISU.

Materials Costing $500.00 or More

P-Card or Web Requisition

Items costing $500.00 or more must be approved by Procurement Services, either by means of a Web Requisition, or by the delegated authority given to P-Card holders. If the employee already has purchased the items costing $500.00 or more, a Disbursement Voucher payable to the employee can be submitted, following these instructions. The Disbursement Voucher should include an explanation as to why a Web Requisition or P-card was not used. The Accounting Office will route the Disbursement Voucher to Procurement Services for their approval. Sales tax should not be included on the Disbursement Voucher, as it could have been avoided if the proper procurement methods had been used.

Moving Expenses or House-Hunting Expenses

Disbursement Voucher

Moving expenses and house-hunting expenses usually must be reported as taxable income.

Office Supplies


The university has a competitively bid contract for office supplies, which offers excellent discounts. Access is available through CyBuy. Departments are strongly encouraged to utilize this contract to ensure the lowest overall pricing. Office supplies generally may not be purchased using federal funds. Detailed explanations can be found on the OSPA site.

Payments for Services - Performed by the Employee

Payroll, or by initiating a Web Requisition to be approved by Procurement Services.

Services must be reported as taxable income. Employees are considered conflict-of-interest vendors, and usually cannot be paid for services, except through Payroll.

Payments for Services - Performed by Another Person or Business Entity

1.) A Web Requisition to be approved by Procurement Services,
2.) a Disbursement Voucher paid to an individual,
3.) a Disbursement Voucher payable to the business entity, or
4.) a Purchasing Card. [Please note that professional services (e.g., consulting) are not allowed on a Purchasing Card.]

Services must be reported as taxable income. The form to be used depends on the amount and nature of the services performed. Please contact Bill Cahill (294-5124) or Carole Gill (294-5181) for assistance.

Pharmaceuticals or Drugs

Web Requisition

ISU needs to be able to track the purchases of controlled substances.

Photocopier Supplies

Central Stores

Purchasing through Central Stores ensures university contract pricing.

Printing and Photocopying Services


Printing and photocopying should be done on campus whenever possible. Exceptions will need to be approved by Printing Services.

Radioactive or Hazardous Materials

Web Requisition

Environmental Health and Safety must be able to track these purchases.

Reimbursements to Non-employees (including students who are not employed)

Simple Disbursement Voucher

Only employees have the ISU ID number and bank information necessary to make the payment.

Telephones, Cordless Phones, IP Telephones

Web Requisition

This equipment must be approved by ITS and comply with other university policies.

Tuition Reimbursement for ISU Classes

(Tuition for non-ISU classes can be reimbursed on an Employee Reimbursement if less than $500.00, or on a Disbursement Voucher if $500.00 or more.)

Student Award Form

Tuition reimbursement may affect other financial aid. The Financial Aid Office must review these transactions, even if no other financial aid has been awarded. The Accounts Receivable Office will refund any credit balances resulting from tuition reimbursements.

This page was last updated on June 4, 2018.

Continue to Allowable Non-Travel Reimbursements through AccessPlus