Justifications are needed for just about any financial transaction. A perfectly legitimate expense can be fined in an audit if it's not properly justified in the documentation. A good justification requires WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY/HOW.
- Who: Who is involved in the transaction? (Travelers, Stakeholders)
- What: What exactly is being paid for?
- When: For travel, when will the travel take place? For supplies/equipment, when will the items be used? For services, when will/were the services be provided?
- Where: For travel, where is the destination? For supplies/equipment, where will the items be stored or used? For services, where will the services be provided?
- How/Why: How does the purchase benefit the university? Why is the purchase necessary?
Other things to include
- For Charges to Sponsored Projects
- Sponsored charge justifications must identify the project (project number, study title, etc.), principal investigator (PI), and a detailed explanation of how the expenses directly support the aims of the grant.
- For Subject Payments
- Because any identifying information should be removed and documents should be held in the lab in the case of an audit, including the statement "Documentation will be kept on file in the department, available for audit."
- Any Oddities
- Anything out of the norm should be included in the justification. Clarifications and extra details pertinent to the payment should be included.
Examples and further explanations can be found in our Writing Justifications Guide.