Accountable Advances

The University’s travel policy states that "the University does not issue accountable advances for normal business travel" and although this is a true statement, Travel Services recognizes that there are a number of instances where advances are appropriate. Accountable advances will be issued for a number of reasons, some of which do not involve travel, and are outlined below, together with other pertinent information.

Click any of the links below for more information on Accountable Advances:

Accountable Advance Eligibility
Reasons to Issue
Request Procedure
How Payments are Issued
Duration of an Accountable Advance
Responsibilities of the Recipient
Accounting for/Returning an Accountable Advances
Foreign Accountable Advance Information
Advances for Exceptional Circumstances
Questions and Inquiries


Who is eligible for an Accountable Advance? 

Staff, students and in some cases, visitors.

Our current practice is to have the one-over-one and FOP signing authority (or alternate signing authority) authorize the accountable advance. Thus, an advance may be made directly to a staff member who does not have a full-time appointment if that person has signing authority (on a grant account, for example) or to a student. 

Reasons to Issue

Financial Services will issue accountable advances for:

  • Travel to other countries and to northern regions of Canada where credit cards are not widely accepted in the particular area of travel.
  • Travel to destinations where the traveller expects to be staying in light housekeeping accommodations and requires cash to purchase groceries and small incidentals from local merchants.
  • Research projects conducted by University researchers where the University’s purchasing system cannot accommodate purchasing needs or cannot be used to satisfy portions of the project’s purchasing needs.
  • Research projects which involve the payment of nominal amounts by researchers to a number of study participants.
    Normally the study participants will be expected to sign a document indicating that they have received payment, however if confidentiality of the study participant’s names is critical, a written declaration from the researcher's one-over-one attesting that s/he has seen the legitimate receipts and they will be stored in the department for the next seven years due to confidentiality, may be submitted instead. Payments of this nature are still subject to audit by the granting agency and as a result, Financial Services will direct the auditors directly to the researcher for the appropriate documentation to support these expenses.
  • Per diems for visitors (professors, lecturers, etc)

Request Procedure

  1. An Accountable Advance is requested within CONCUR, the University's Online Booking Tool.  Use the Concur Travel and Expense Guide, Cash Advance Excerpt to assist in your request for your Accountable/Cash Advance within Concur and your reconciliation.

    The comment section in the Cash Advance Request within CONCUR should provide:

    • FOAP
    • person  receiving the Advance (Employee/Student # if applicable)
    • purpose of the advance
    • end date the advance will be accounted for.
    The request should be approved by the signing authority for the account or an alternate signing authority. A person cannot approve a travel advance for him/herself.
  1. A Foreign Accountable Advance is available by filling out the Foreign Accountable Advance Request Form.

How Payments are Issued

For University of Manitoba employees, advances are deposited directly into the employee's bank account on Friday.

For non-employees, advances are issued by Canadian cheque.

NOTE: Travel advance requests received in Financial Services by noon each Tuesday, are processed and paid by Friday of the following week. 

Duration of an Accountable Advance

An end date is established at the time the advance is issued.

Accountable advances may be short term (1-4 weeks in duration) or longer term (greater than 1-month duration).

Advances will not normally extend past fiscal year-end as it is critical that expenses are recorded in the correct year for financial reporting purposes and that all billings to granting agencies are made in the correct year. For advances that do extend past the fiscal year end (March 31) recipients are required to submit a partial accounting as of March 31st to ensure expenses are charged to the correct period. 

Responsibilities of the Recipient

If the recipient is a non-staff member (e.g.student or visitor), the signing authority is responsible for the advance.

If the recipient is a staff member, he/she is responsible.

They must ensure:

  • the advance is accounted for at the expected end date
  • any unspent balance is returned to Travel Services

On major research projects which are undertaken in other countries or in northern regions of Canada, an administrative assistant located on campus normally has assumed responsibility as the local contact, however, the recipient of the advance is still expected to provide the accounting and sign for the appropriateness of the expenditures made.

How are Accountable Advances accounted for/returned?

By travel and business expense claim. Accountable advances must be accounted for by the end date which was agreed upon at the time of issuance; unless there are exceptional circumstances, new advances will not be issued before old advances are cleared.

NOTE: Timely accounting for advances is critical as the advance triggers only a commitment against the account to which it is charged. Accounting for the advance triggers the actual expenses to be charged against the account, which, in the case of grant expenditures may give rise to billing for the funding from the granting agency.

Advances for Exceptional Circumstances

Advances may be issued to receipients due to financial hardship. For instance, for students travelling or for new staff members who must travel but have not yet received a University Travel card and cannot use a personal credit card to pay their expenses.

NOTE: University Travel cards can be obtained within a very short period of time at no charge to staff. The University Travel card application form can be found on the forms website.  

Questions and Inquiries

Paperwork can be sent to Travel Services (405 Administration Building, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB   R3T 2N2)

Inquiries can be made by contacting Travel Services @ (204) 272-1659