Purchasing and Reimbursements

SHESC Business Services, known as the BOS team, is here to help you with any aspect of purchasing that you will need. We have worked to create systems that help to streamline the process and make your purchasing experience as easy as possible. If you have any questions about our forms or processes, please contact us at SHESCBusinessServices@asu.edu.

Below are some helpful links to University Rules and Guidelines that can help you with your purchasing decisions.

SHESC Purchase and Reimbursements Request Form
Please complete the Purchase/Reimbursement Request form to share all the information needed to process your request with the BOS team. If you have questions or a complex request, please contact us at SHESCBusinessServices@asu.edu.

Please allow up to 72 hours for all purchase requests to be processed by the SHESC Business Team. ASU Accounts Payable may take up to four weeks for processing once your request is received. 


All computer and laptop purchases must have prior approval from ASU UTO and be purchased and paid through SHESC. No personal reimbursements are allowed. Please complete a Purchase/Reimbursement Request form listing your desired specifications and the BOS team will work with Desktop Support to obtain a quote.

All purchases from Amazon are required to be processed through the Sunrise Workday Purchasing system and all deliveries must be to an ASU Campus location. You may include links to specific items in your request or share an Amazon shopping list in your Purchase/Reimbursement Request form.

Research purchases over $1,000 may be tax-exempt. Please contact us for more information. 

Please contact the SHESC main office (Rm 233) or email the SHESC Business Team.

Business/Public Purpose Guide

The justification for a purchase that clearly identifies the public purpose served (benefit to ASU’s mission) and/or how the transaction directly benefits a sponsored project (whether it’s reasonable, allocable, and allowable).  Each transaction must be able to stand alone when reviewed by auditors. 

Related policies: FIN 119: Public Purpose Served and Uniform Guidance 2 CFR 200 (Code of Federal Regulations)

ASU is an institute of higher education that is heavily involved in research activities for external funders such as federal, state, and local governments; private foundations; et cetera.  We need to be cognizant and spend funds according to the rules & regulations of ASU, government, and sponsor policies.  

Inappropriate use of funds could: Result in an audit finding, bad newspaper publicity, loss of federal/external funding to ASU, and/or disciplinary action (in cases of fraud).

1. What was purchased? Description of specific items, list of services such as equipment maintenance contracts or consultants, etc.
2. How it supports ASU’s mission to advance research and discover public value and/or directly benefit a sponsored project? Clearly justify either in the business purpose
3. Who will be using the item? Title of purchaser, researcher, or staff member (name is helpful) or the lab/unit that will use product
4. When? If not a one-time purchase, such as in the case for service agreements, clearly state the coverage period (e.g. 01/01/19-12/31/19).
5. Where? If the shipping address is on ASU’s campus, not needed. However, if the purchase is being shipped elsewhere, clearly state why it’s not coming directly to ASU (e.g. staff member works in ASU DC office).

Purchase of Dell server (on a grant)

  • Good: Dell PowerEdge T630 server, budgeted on grant 3’ Untranslated Regions-mediated (3’UTR) Repressive Signals Collectively Oppose Proliferation, to be used by the principal investigator to analyze sequencing reads produced by tissue-specific ribonucleic acid (RNA) isolation.
  • Bad: Dell server used to run data analysis for project.

Employee travel to a conference (on a grant)

  • Good: Registration for Joe Smith to attend annual Nature Conference in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Smith will present his NIH grant research on Identification of Tuberculosis Vaccines in Exosomes.
  • Bad: Registration to attend a conference.

Purchase of an antibody (on a grant)

  • Good: Anti-TRPV1 (transient receptor potential cation channel subfamily V member 1) antibody used in western blotting for membrane protein analysis of pain sensation & cancer progression.
  • Bad: Antibody for western blotting.

Purchase of a lab supply (non-sponsored, unless justified/allocated on grants)

  • Good: Biohazard containment system needed to store and organize project samples in BioDesign lab B353. The purchase is split on grants A & B as all samples stored are for these projects.
  • Bad: Biohazard containment system.

ASU vehicle repair (non-sponsored, unless budgeted/justified on grant)

  • Good: Regular maintenance service (replace battery and wheel balancing) performed on ASU-owned jeep. The jeep is used by Dr. Smith’s lab personnel for field research to gather data essential for experiments on Dr. Smith’s grant for bat migration activity.
  • Bad: Vehicle repair and maintenance for car used for research activities.

Reimbursements Overview

Although the preferred method for any purchases made with ASU funds is through Business Ops where it can be purchased either with a Purchase Order or a PCard, we understand that it is sometimes necessary to purchase goods and services with personal funds for later reimbursement by SHESC. In these cases, please use the Purchase/Reimbursement form to submit your receipts to Business Ops for reimbursement. Business Ops will review and determine whether reimbursements are allowable per ASU guidelines.

We are able to reimburse faculty, staff, and students for purchases of goods or services while performing university-related work. 

Reimbursement Deadlines: Requests should be submitted as soon as the transaction takes place to ensure that they are not paid to you as taxable income. Reimbursements must be submitted and fully approved 60 days from the date of the receipt or else the payment will be taxed.

Business Purpose: ASU requires a public purpose served by every ASU expenditure. Please include a clear, stand-alone, audit-ready public purpose that explains how the purchase directly benefits ASU and/or the sponsored project paying for it. A business purpose should include these three items:

  1. What was purchased
  2. Who will be using the item
  3. How it benefits the University’s mission or the scope of the grant

Receipts: must be itemized and include the vendor, date, and total of that was purchased.

Reimbursement limit: reimbursement requests should be used sparingly and always under $1,000. Requests over this amount require Dean and Provost approval and should be avoided by submitting a purchase form through Business Ops.

Some items are exempt from reimbursement and should always be purchased through your Business Office.

Amazon: We are not allowed to reimburse anyone for Amazon purchases made on a personal credit card or to use a P-card for Amazon purchases. Items from Amazon should be purchased through a Purchase Form with the Business Ops team
Software and Computers/ Laptops: Technology purchases are governed by University and College policies and must be originated through Business Ops. Software purchased require an approved Internal Security Review, prior to purchase
Payments to Individuals: Individuals should be set up as an independent contractor and paid via PO
Transactions older than 2 years: Reimbursements more than 60 days old are subject to tax and any transactions 2 years old are unallowable

You can submit receipts for Business meals via the Purchase Justification Form and attach the business meals and related expenses form as back up. Please list each guest and their affiliation, as well as describe in detail why the expense was appropriate. It is OK to state the approximate number in attendance if a list is not available.

Reasonable meal reimbursements are allowable for the following occasions:

  • Business meals
  • Receptions and banquets
  • Food and refreshment at conferences and workshops
  • Departmental team-building workshops
  • Staff appreciation in recognition of a commendable accomplishment
  • Search committee meetings during mealtime when there is no other time to meet
  • Interviewee meals while in travel status ($46 per diem)
  • Guest lecturers, consultants, and other independent contractors while in travel status ($46 per diem)

A business meals form is not necessary for the purchase of beverages generally provided to office guests.

Please note that business meal reimbursements cannot exceed $40 a meal per person and a 20% tip. No reimbursement for alcoholic purchase is allowed on any university accounts. A $46 per diem is allowed for guest lecturers, independent contractors, and interviewees in travel status.