Business Office

Affiliated departments and school

Information of Possible Interest

SCS Business Office Petty Cash funds
Petty cash is available for reimbursements less than $25. The SCS Business Office has a Petty Cash fund custodian, Michelle Davis, 373 Noyes Lab. Only the fund custodians are permitted to dispense petty cash from their funds. Map showing location of business office.

Reimbursements for food and beverages are not allowed. Petty cash refund requests need to be accompanied with physical documentation in the form of a receipt, etc.
UIUC Mileage reimbursement rate
The mileage reimbursement rate for authorized automobile travel is $0.54 per mile, as of January 1, 2016. Business Travel, Passenger Vehicles

The University has established a business travel guide. This guide has several sections, which explain University Policy in detail and help the traveler with any related concerns.
Campus closely monitors reimbursements to individuals or vendors that exceed $499
Such a review can cause significant processing delays.

Since it is our goal to facilitate accurate and prompt reimbursements, please consult our procurement staff for any purchases of goods or services. Typically, orders can be called in the same day. Personal reimbursement should only occur in rare circumstances.

For any single-item reimbursement that exceeds $499, please be prepared to provide additional documentation why normal procurement processes could not be used.
Campus Purchasing concerns on the use of Ebay or other web vendors.
While Purchasing generally does discourage the use of Ebay as well as other auction sites, the University does not have any formal policy on the use of Ebay or other web sites that permit on-line purchases.

For your information, I have detailed below both our general concerns about using web sites for on-line purchases as well as provided a summary of the purchase mechanisms that can be used if you wish to permit your staff to purchase items through a web based order process.

Bradley W. Henson, bhenson4 [at] uillinois [dot] edu, Director of Contracts and Purchases
UIUC Purchasing Division

Web site purchase concerns:

We have several major concerns that lead us to discourage the indiscriminate use of web sites as way to initiate purchases:
  • Vendor (source) history - since web sites can be established relatively easily, we find that both familiar and unknown sources are now capable of selling goods on-line. The more difficult task is to let all University staff know which vendors are stable, reliable sources and which are unreliable, or worse yet, fraudulent. Given the large number of sites that now permit on-line ordering, we advise that the use of such sites is certainly a case of "caveat emptor". We have even had one notorious vendor who regularly "spams" the University in an effort to solicit purchases of toner and cartridge supplies for printers. After a review of their "great deals", we determined that their pricing was considerably higher than from current University sources for these items.
  • Problem resolution or recovery - Related to the above issue is the ability of Purchasing or others (departmental business staff, Legal Counsel) to intervene if a problem arises. If we encounter a problem with goods ordered on-line (non- receipt, damaged merchandise, product misrepresentation), we may have less recourse in trying to resolve the issue or recover expended funds. If we are dealing with an established well known business entity this may not be an issue. However, if it is an unknown or rarely used business entity, we may have substantial difficulty in trying to resolve some of the problems related above. One major difficulty relates to the extent and type of documentation that evidences the purchase and terms related to the transaction. If we do not have a clear understanding of the terms that applied to the purchase and any applicable vendor (source) policies related to on-line purchases, we can find ourselves in a position of having inadvertently agreed to terms that we generally would find to be unacceptable.
  • Audit requirements - At a dollar level of $5,000 or more, particularly on Federal funds, the Office of Naval Research (ONR) performs a regular audit (typically every 3 years). One area of compliance always reviewed in the course of such audits is to determine if the University is utilizing appropriate source selection procedures and undertaking an effort to verify that the prices paid are reasonable. In cooperation with the ONR, the University has developed a form which our Purchasing Division buyers complete use along with appropriate documentation to verify that we have complied with these Federal acquisition requirements. In the case of on-line purchases, it would be impractical or impossible for us to meet these Federal requirements and be in non-compliance with the applicable Federal regulations.
Web site purchase mechanisms:
Currently, should a department choose to conduct on-line purchases, there are three potential purchasing mechanisms that could be used to accommodate such purchase transactions (see below). None of the mechanisms listed can be used alone or in combination to "string" a series of purchases together to accommodate a purchase dollar cost of $5,000. Use of one or a combination of these mechanisms in that fashion is a clear violation of University policy.
  1. P-Card - Comparable to a credit card purchase. Departments can authorize selected staff to obtain a P-Card for use in making purchases of up to $5,000. Some restrictions apply to types of purchase and these can be found at If you are going to permit staff to purchase from an on-line source, we would recommend that you use this mechanism since it would at least provide some level of documentation and potential protection if a problem would arise. Like any on-line purchase mechanism, the P-Card should only be used in a secure web site environment.
  2. Cash purchases - University policy permits cash purchases with a vendor up to a dollar level of $250. Since this is a cash vehicle, it can either be used to issue a check to the vendor or reimburse a staff member for purchases made. In the case of an on-line purchase, this mechanism would most likely be useful only in the instance of reimbursing a staff member for an on-line purchase made with their personal credit card.
SCS Gas cylinder inventory will take place in October.
Thank you for your efforts when handling the issue and return cards when checking out and returning your cylinders. We will send out the current cylinder inventory for your research group in the fall.

Your response to this is appreciated.
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Business Office
School of Chemical Sciences
338 Noyes Lab
MC-712 Box D-3
600 South Mathews Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801
Monday thru Friday
8:00 am to 4:30 pm

Please send comments and suggestions to:
scs-procreimb [at] scs [dot] illinois [dot] edu

For accounting and grants questions, contact
scsgrants [at] scs [dot] illinois [dot] edu