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For general information on financial transactions, please visit Research Financial Administration. Additional processes specific to University Research Centers and Institutes are listed below.

Management Budget

  • FY19 Management Budgets are a “key component that reflects all financial activities and presents the budget at a higher level than the budgets we have been using” according to the May 2018 Provost communication. Thus, the function of the FY19 Management Budget will be to indicate and control spending authority on expenses. There is also the anticipation of a mid-cycle budget adjustment for FY19, for which the impact and process is currently undefined. In late May, these budgets were developed by URICs and provided to the Office for Research to be incorporated within overall budget targets. The Office for Research then subsequently entered into Northwestern’s budget tool so that the expense authority has been provided to the individual URICs for FY19 activity.
  • The FY19 Management Budgets represent a major change in Northwestern’s financial management approach, and there will certainly be questions and concerns along the way. In OR and URICA we will aim to provide as much guidance and transparency in assisting URICs as possible and we encourage URICs to proactively monitor for issues and concerns to help budgetary issues any related adverse impact upon URIC activity. There is still much to be defined on how implementing this Budget Transformation will impact ongoing activity at Northwestern, and we appreciate your partnership in helping ensure we continue to advance the University’s mission. For indepth information on the Management Budgets please see the Management Budget Guidance.


  • Approvals: Typically, appropriate staff in a URIC are granted the right to apply Level 1 (<$1,500) and Level 2 (<$5,000) approvals. URICs with less than two staff will have restricted approval rights. Purchases of $5,000 and greater are always reviewed for approval in the Office for Research.
  • Please note that use of preferred vendors and IBuyNU is highly recommended.

Expense Reports for Travel and Entertainment

  • Expense Reports are to be reviewed and approved by the immediate supervisor, regardless of faculty or staff status. The immediate supervisor should review for appropriateness of all expenses for which reimbursement is requested. Review and approval should be done in the financial system; all approvers should have at least one back up approver. (Approval of Expense Reports is a separate responsibility from approving the charge to the chart string.)
  • Special circumstances:
    • Approvals for Institute and Center Directors: Directors, in their capacity as the head of a URIC, report to the Vice President for Research, hence this requirement when requesting reimbursement for expenses incurred on behalf of the URIC. Expense Reports for Directors are reviewed by Anne Martin and Fruma Yehiely; Anne Martin approves these reports as proxy for Jay Walsh (Fruma Yehiely will assume this responsibility in Anne Martin’s absence). Institute and Center personnel may NOT approve any Expense Report for their Director, as this constitutes a conflict of interest. Directors requesting reimbursement for expenses incurred on behalf of a school or department should follow the local requirements for review and approval.
    • Approvals for student expenses: Student expenses should always be reviewed by their sponsoring faculty member.

Managing Requests for New or Existing Chart Strings

The Office for Research manages new and existing chartfield requests for University Research Institutes and Centers. Please complete the required forms and send to Tracy Lakemacher. With any questions, please contact Alexandra Manetas.

“One Card” Procurement Card Program

  • Northwestern University allows individuals in units and departments to have a procurement credit card, “One Card,” that directly charges the University. Northwestern | RESEARCH supports One Card use by its units and centers as a tool for efficient purchasing where appropriate. Each is issued to a specific individual who is responsible for its correct and appropriate use. Typically, Northwestern | RESEARCH will only allow a single card per URIC, or per Core Facility within a URIC. Please send your completed Northwestern University Procurement Card – Cardholder Agreement to Peter Anderson for review and approval.
  • Please review the policy carefully, as there are restrictions on the use of the One Card. Please note that Amazon requires special registration, prior to making the first purchase, of each card to apply Northwestern’s tax exempt status.
  • Northwestern | RESEARCH sets the maximum limit on a card at $1,500 per transaction and $5,000 per month. Well-supported exceptions will be considered, including those necessary for special one-time expenses that exceed the transaction and/or monthly maximum. Requests for exceptions should be sent via email to Tracy Lakemacher, copying Anne Martin.
  • All One Card transactions must be cleared through the financial system in a prompt manner. Carrying a balance on a One Card suspense account code may result in revocation of the card and exclusion from the program.