Business Purpose Guidelines

A business purpose and justification work together to provide an understanding as to how expenses relate to university business.

On this page:

What Expenses Need a Business Purpose

All expenses, whether via ShopBlue, Procurement Card, Travel Expense, or eReq, require a business purpose. The business purpose should be detailed to allow the reviewer to determine that the transaction was program- or grant-related.

What to Include in a Business Purpose

A business purpose should answer five basic questions:

  1. Who is involved in the activity related to the expense?
  2. What activity does the expense represent?
  3. When did the activity occur?
  4. Where did the activity take place?
  5. Why or how does the expense relate to university business?

Who is Involved in the Activity Related to the Expense?

Below are some questions that should be answered when describing who was involved:

  • Is it an individual?  If so name the person.
  • Is it a department?  If so provide the department name
  • Is it a group? Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, and Others,  If so identify the group

What Does the Expense Represent?

Below are some examples of questions to be answered when describing what the expense represents:

  • Is it a conference or training? If so, name the conference and give a couple of sentences about the meeting.
  • Is it a software package?  If so, list the software's name and its use.

When and Where Does the Activity Occur?

When documenting a business purpose, list when and where the activity took place.

Why or How Does the Expense Relate to Univeristy Business?

Below are some questions that should be thought about when providing how the expense is related to university business:

  • How does UB benefit from your attendance at the conference or training?
  • How does UB benefit from this activity or purchase?
  • What disciplines use the software in their curriculum?


Please contact the buyer who handles your contract, or look up the appropriate buyer who handles the contracted goods or services.

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