Business Purpose

Every expenditure must be supported by a documented business purpose. Policy 4.11

What is an appropriate business purpose?

  • Business purpose should be written so an individual, unfamiliar to the organization’s operation can understand why the transaction occurred and how it benefits the mission of the University.
  • Using words such as “for,” “on behalf of,” “at the request of,” etc. help the reader to understand the justification of the transaction or expenditure.

Examples of Poorly Written Business Purposes

  • Purchased 50 boxes of granola bars
  • Lunch with donor
  • Attend ASEE
  • Gift card for research participants
  • Airfare
  • Research collaboration

Examples of Properly Written Business Purposes

  • Purchase of granola bars to feed monkeys used in cancer research
  • Lunch with donor, Joe Smith, to discuss giving opportunities to the college in support of the building campaign
  • Attend American Society of Engineering Educators seminar to present paper on student retention
  • Gift cards given to research participants according to protocol
  • Invited to University of China to collaborate on chemical refinement processes on behalf of OSU
  • Various trips throughout South America to research rural irrigation systems to provide data for journal publication titled “Improving Rural Irrigation Systems”
 *Standard office supplies is an acceptable business purpose for typical office supply purchases(i.e. pens, paper, notebooks). However, you do need a specific business purpose for unique office supplies that are not purchased regularly(i.e. DVD player).