Standard for Conferences and Events

Purpose

The purpose of this standard is to provide guidance on the requirements for the use of University funds to pay for professional business activities considered external conferences, internal conferences, training sessions, or retreats.    

Scope

This standard applies to all situations where University funds are used.

Contacts

Direct any general questions about this standard to your department’s business officer or fund administrator. If you have specific questions, please refer to the contacts for fund use guidance listed in Appendix 1 of the University’s Financial Management Guidelines.

Standard

  1. External conferences, internal conferences, and training sessions:  All types of operating funds may be used for external conferences, internal conferences, or training sessions. The conference or session must be planned in detail in advance, have a formal agenda or curriculum, and have a written invitation to participants. The conference or session must be attended by twenty (20) or more participants in order to use The General Fund, Institutional Trust Funds, or Special Funds for refreshments. As stated in the North Carolina Budget Manual, these refreshment costs are limited to $4.50 per person per day[1]. Discretionary funds may be used for any excess costs, and may also be used if the event has valid University business purpose but does not meet all of the North Carolina Budget Manual requirements.

    The following additional requirements apply to these conferences and training sessions: 
    • External conferences: An external conference is a conference, seminar, workshop, training session, or retreat attended by persons other than employees of a single institution or agency. Payment for meals is allowable if included in the registration fee, but such fee must not consist exclusively of meals or it will not be allowable from The General Fund, Institutional Trust Funds, or Special Funds unless the overnight travel criteria is met per the North Carolina Budget Manual (refer to the Standard on Meals and Entertainment for additional guidance on meal expenses while in travel status). The General Fund, Institutional Trust Funds, or Special Funds may not be used to pay for conference meals if a conference fee was not charged unless certain conditions are met per the North Carolina Budget Manual[2].
    • Internal conferences: An internal conference is one that is attended by employees within a particular institution or agency only. Additionally, the internal conference must be held in a state facility, when available. A routine staff meeting is not an internal conference. No payment for meals is allowable from The General Fund, Institutional Trust Funds, or Special Funds unless the overnight travel criteria are met per the North Carolina Budget Manual[3].
    • Training sessions: Training involves courses that further develop an employee’s knowledge, skill, and ability to perform the duties of their present job, such as courses on computer usage or management skills development. No payment for meals is allowable from The General Fund, Institutional Trust Funds, or Special Funds unless the overnight travel criteria are met per the North Carolina Budget Manual[4]. The General Fund, Institutional Trust Funds, or Special Funds may be used for training books and materials related to training sessions, provided those books are required to participate in the training sessions. These books are considered the property of the University, not the employee.
  2. Retreats:  The General Fund, Institutional Trust Funds, or Special Funds may only be used for management retreats held by the Chancellor for their management team[5]. Discretionary funds may be used for other University-related retreats with a valid University business purpose.

Related Resources

Revision History

  • Initially approved May 1, 2017
  • Updated May 12, 2017
  • Revised July 10, 2017

[1] Refer to OSBM Budget Manual, Section 5.8.3, “Requirements and Limitations for External Conferences”, Section 5.8.5, “Requirements and Limitations for Internal Conferences”; and Section 5.8.7, “Requirements and Limitations for Training Sessions.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Refer to OSBM Budget Manual, Section 5.8.9, “Requirements and Limitations for Management Retreats.”