Field Advances

What is a Field Advance?

A field advance is a loan from the University of Washington (UW) general funds made to a UW department, under the supervision of a UW employee (custodian) to provide a temporary source of funds for conducting official UW business. All field advances issued are subject to federal, state and university purchasing rules and guidelines.



How is a Field Advance Issued?

  • Field advances are issued up to $10,000.00 after all Procurement methods to pay have been exhausted. Field advance requests above $10,000.00 are subject to an additional review.
  • Field advances are issued via a UW debit card.  Funds needing to be deposited directly to a bank account via ACH or wire are subject to additional review.
  • The turnaround time for a field advance request is between 7-10 business days.  If the custodian requesting the funds does not have a UW debit card, then allow up to an additional 10 business days. 
  • Funding cutoff time is 12:00 pm PST each working day.

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Authorized Uses of a Field Advance

  • Conducting research or training in a remote area (i.e., outside of United States, in developing nations) where payment methods like check and credit card are not accepted
  • Per diem advances for UW students and other individuals not on the UW payroll 
  • Research subject payments when the subjects need to be paid in cash 

Unauthorized Uses of a Field Advance

The following are not authorized uses of a field advance:

  • Travel expenses for UW individual employees
  • Domestic purchases for goods and services
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Reimbursements to UW employees
  • Alcohol purchases, with meals or alone, unless charged to a discretionary fund. IMPORTANT NOTE: The UW’s policy regarding alcohol in international student programs is that no university funds, including discretionary budgets, can be used to purchase alcohol for student activities.
  • Payments to UW employees for services rendered anywhere in the world (including honoraria, stipends, awards, scholarships, etc.)
  • Payments to U.S. citizens for services rendered anywhere in the world (including honoraria, stipends, awards, scholarships, etc.)
  • Payments to nonresident aliens (NRAs) for services rendered within the United States (including research subject payments, honoraria, stipends, awards, scholarships, etc.)
  • Items not directly related to a project's purpose (e.g. items for personal gain or benefit and related items for non-research consumption)

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Criteria For Obtaining a Field Advance

  • The custodian applying must be a UW employee for the entire duration of the field advance (HR records must be up to date)
  • All other Procurement payable options have been exhausted
  • The custodian does not have any past due field advances

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The custodian is accountable for all aspects of maintaining the advance, including its safekeeping, appropriate usage and timely reconciliation. All field advance expenditures are subject to UW Procurement policies and procedures.  Responsibilities include:

  • Request a per diem debit card, if a UW bank account is not available for funding
  • Cash on-hand must remain below $500.00 if a safe or vault is not in place in the campus department
  • Reconciles the expenditures by the due date of the field advance
  • All expenditures generated with field advance funds require that all associated taxes are paid at the time of purchase
  • When using a UW debit per diem card all purchases should be swiped at the point of sale, and not paid in cash, whenever possible
  • Any invoices that exceed $10,000.00 require a Purchase Order, no exceptions
  • Any field advance funds that are used to pay research subjects are required to complete 1099 reporting at year end
  • Any field advance funds that are used to pay per diem of any kind to foreign nationals to be spent in the United States requires additional documentation.  Please email for approval.

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How Long Can I Keep a Field Advance? 

Maximum 6 Months + 1 Month to Reconcile = 7 Months

Requesting a Field Advance

To request a Field Advance, use the Create Spend Authorization task in Workday. 

Important: When submitting a spend authorization, please put "Field Advance" as the Business Purpose and check the box besides Cash Advance requested. If you would like to have funds deposited directly to your personal bank account, please select "Direct Deposit" as the Reimbursement Payment Type". If you would like to have funds deposited to your US Bank reloadable card, please select "Reloadable Bank Card (Manual)" as the Reimbursement Payment Type.

Spending Down a Field Advance

To request a spend down for a Field Advance initiated AFTER Workday go-live, use the Create an Expense Report task in Workday.

To request a spend down for a Field Advance initiated PRIOR to Workday go-live, use the following link:

Important: When submitting a spend down in the legacy portal, please include the following Workday worktags* -

- Company

-Ledger Account

-Spend Category

-Cost Center



-Balancing Unit and Fund

*Additional worktags can be furnished (ex., Grant)


Instructions for portal

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Instructions for Field Advances

  • To access step-by-step instructions for Field Advances (spend authorization and spend down process), find the EXP-J-02 How to Manage Field Advances guide in the UW Connect Finance Portal.

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Ruby Yeung

Global Services within Procurement Services

Box 354967

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