Thinking
Whether you are an initiator, requester, approver, end user, receiver, or reconciler you should be asking yourself...

Is there a valid business justification for the purchase?

University staff members are expected to comply with all University of Iowa Purchasing  Policies, Board of Regents and State of Iowa policies including the Regents Code of Business and Fiduciary Conduct

Is this purchase for the University's benefit?

The purchase is done in an above-board manner assuring the best price has been obtained  fairly and legally. Departments are encouraged to use established University contracts to ensure purchases are made in such a manner.

Is the purchase for the personal benefit of any person?

It is important to be vigilant, not just for conflict of interest, but also the perception of a conflict of interest.  A conflict of interest would arise if an employee made purchases 
from someone with whom they have a personal or financial relationship.


As an individual involved in approving financial transactions, you are responsible for confirming that the transaction is in accordance with University policies and procedures.  The following guidelines should be used as a tool to help ensure a thorough review. 

  • Appropriate – the transaction directly relate to achieving the mission of the University
  • Valid – the transaction is allowed by policy, law, contractual agreement, and/or professional standard
  • Reasonable – a fair amount is recorded as being paid, received or adjusted for
  • Funded – there is sufficient funding  to cover expenses or the results of an expenditure adjustment
  • Accurately recorded – the amount is consistent with value received, provided, or adjusted for; and is free from accounting coding or arithmetic errors
  • Supportable – the amount of  goods or services received or provided, or the  justification for adjustment is consistent with supporting documentation, standard, situation, or practice
  • Timely recorded – the transaction date is accurate

Approver Analysis

You should ask yourself these questions when approving transactions in workflow...

  • Why is this transaction occurring?
  • Has the initiator attached all appropriate documentation including receipts and proof of payment when necessary? 
  • Is the transaction allowed by University specific policies and procedures?
  • Does the transaction seem reasonable and appropriate?
  • Are any personal expenses included in this transaction?
  • If asked, could I explain what the reimbursement, purchase, etc. is for?
  • Does the business justification provide sufficient details to describe what was purchased/reimbursed and why it was needed?
  • Is the requested purchase being made with University contracted suppliers?
  • Are the appropriate funding and expense codes being used?
  • Are vendor reward points or rebates given for any of the transactions? 
  • Has sales tax been charged on any transaction?
  • Does this transaction require additional review or approvals?