Comptroller's Office
 Policies and Procedures Manual

Effective: 07/22/2004
Revised: 05/17/2013 

CMP 420-04: Business Meals


        Guidelines for business meals


University policy


    This policy covers all expenditures made for business meals


Expenditures for business meals, food, and related expenses must be paid from the following sources:

  1. unrestricted gift Dept/Units


  2. conference, seminar, and workshop Dept/Units



  3. other local Dept/Units, when the business meals, food, and related expenses/expenditures are consistent with the purpose of the Dept/Units.

Meals and nonalcoholic beverages should generally cost $40 or less per person. For meals and nonalcoholic beverages costing more than $40 per person, special approvals are required. If the meal cost is anticipated to be more than $40 per person, then the needed approval (see approvals below) should be obtained prior to the meal. (Alcoholic beverages may not be paid for with university funds from any source under any circumstances.)

Since business meals, food and related expenditures are often not appropriate on sponsored project Dept/Units, confer with your Sponsored Projects administrator before making any commitment of funds for this purpose. Business meals, food, and related expenses expenditures cannot be charged to sponsored project Dept/Units, unless specifically authorized by the grant or contract.

State funds cannot be used to pay for business meals, food, and related expenses, regardless of the purpose.

Standard business practice dictates, and the university’s internal and external auditors require, certain specified documentation for business meals, food, and related expenditures. For this reason, the Food Purchase form must be completed for every food expenditure, regardless of the dollar amount. It is important that the public purpose being served is adequately documented on the form since public funds are being used. A list of attendees also must be documented on the form. If, however, a large group is present at the event and an attendee list is not available, it is acceptable to state the approximate number in attendance and, if known, mention the related NAU departments of affiliation if non-NAU related.


Submit  Food Purchase form, signed by the Dean, Director, or Chair of the department with the following information:


Food purchases are not allowed for the following:

TIPS - Tips will be reimbursed when reasonable. Reasonable amounts are considered to be 15-20% of the meal.




The Business Meals and Related Expenses Form requires the following approval(s): D


Expenditure Approval Required
Meals and nonalcoholic beverages less than $40 per person Authorized Dept/Unit signature or online approval of PV.
Meals and nonalcoholic beverages in excess of $40 per person Appropriate dean’s or director’s signature; if charge incurred by a dean/director, then appropriate provost/vice provost/vice president signature.


For more information on allowable food expenditures, see CMP 401-03, Prohibited Transactions and the NAU Food and Refreshment Policy CMP 420-02.

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