Entering an Expense Report in NUFinancials

When do you enter an Expense Report?

  • For travel or non-travel reimbursement
  • For yourself or as proxy for another employee
  • With single or multiple expense lines
  • Charged to a Grant or Non-Grant chart string
  • Using one or more chart strings                                                                                                                              

What policies govern Expense Reports?

What does an Expense Report affect?

  • Expenses created from Expense Reports will be reflected in reports as expenses once they are budget checked, even if all approvals have not been processed.
  • Sponsored Project Expenses - F&A will not be applied to these expenses until they have been completely approved.

When is an Expense Report not used?

  • When travel/expense has not yet occurred.
  • For reimbursing individuals who are not employees (use a Visitor’s Expense Report).
  • Note that temporary employees (except in the Center for Public Safety) cannot submit electronic Expense Reports and must be reimbursed as a visitor (use a Visitor’s Expense Report).

Who can submit an Expense Report?

  • Employees who incurred expenses for legitimate business purposes
  • Employees/Proxies who are authorized to enter Expense Reports on behalf of another employee.


Review Expense Report Policy

Expense reports are used to reconcile transactions made by employees. These expenses may be out of pocket expenses (cash or personal credit card), expenses charged to the Northwestern Corporate Card, and prepaid expenses such as airfare and hotel charges paid through Northwestern Travel Services. Refer to Expense Report Policy and Procedures for further detail on Expense Report policy.

Out of Pockets Expenses

  • List all expenses on the Expense Report and attach receipts and/or other supporting documentation.
  • If you are missing a receipt, indicate so on the report and complete the Expense Policy Exception Request.
  • In an Expense Report, you will choose Cash/Personal Credit Card as the payment.

Northwestern Corporate Card Expenses

  • For charges to the Northwestern Corporate Card, review the charges in My Wallet for accuracy of the Category before transferring the expenses into the Expense Report (NUFinancials > Expenses tile > My Wallet).
  • You can change the Account code after the transaction is in the Accounting area.
  • You should always transfer in My Wallet charges and not re-enter them in an Expense Report.
  • If you delete a My Wallet charge from an Expense Report, it will return to My Wallet to be reconciled at a later date.
  • You should attach receipts from Northwestern Corporate Card purchases to the Expense Report.
  • In an Expense Report, Northwestern Corporate Card will default as the payment and it cannot be changed

Pre-paid Expenses

  • You have the option to list pre-paid expenses on an Expense Report (to reflect the full cost of the trip).
  • Select the Payment Type “Prepaid by Northwestern”, which automatically marks the field Non-Reimbursable = Yes in the Exceptions section.  The expense will then be excluded from the total reimbursement amount.

Personal expenses

  • The Non-Reimbursable field functions as both a personal expense and as a non-reimbursable expense.
  • If there is an inadvertent personal charge on a Northwestern Corporate Card, reconcile the charge on an Expense Report and have the individual write a check to Northwestern University. The check and the Expense Report number should be sent to Accounts Payable.
  • If a family member is included in a travel expense, split out the amounts on the Expense Report using the Split Receipt function and only request reimbursement for the Northwestern employee.


Step 1: Navigate to NUFinancials

    1. Go to https://nufin.northwestern.edu
    2. Log in using your NetID(User Name) and Password

Note:   Every user will have to do a Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) in order to access NUFinancials. For information on MFA, click here

Step 2: Create an Expense Report

Navigate to Expense Reports

    1. From the Employee Self Service click the Expenses tile.
    2. Click Create Expense Report tile.


You will be taken directly to a new Expense Report.



NOTE: If you are entering an expense report for someone else (as a proxy), follow the For Proxy steps immediately below. If you are entering the expense report for yourself, skip to Step 3: Enter Expense Report General Information.


For Proxy

If you are creating the Expense Report as a Proxy, it is VERY IMPORTANT to change the employee name first by following the steps below. 

  1. To change the employee name:
    1. Click on the drop-down arrow next to your name in the upper left corner.
    2. Click Change Employee.


    3. Select the name of the employee for whom you are proxy from the Employee Search window that appears.



  • Once selected, you will be taken back to the Expense Report General Information page.
  • You will now see the employee’s name you selected in the upper left corner.


Step 3: Enter Expense Report General Information



  1. Select the Business Purpose from the drop-down menu.
  2. Enter the Description for the Business Purpose.

    Default Location is not currently used.
    Reference is not currently used.
  3. Select the Expenses Supervisor by clicking on the Expenses Supervisor magnifying glass to search for the supervisor who will approve these expenses.
  4. Select the appropriate Expenses Supervisor name.
  5. Scan and attach receipts and other supporting documentation in the Attach Receipt field.
    a.   Be sure to attach receipts in the Attach Receipt field in the General Information section not on each expense line.
    b.   Consult with your school or department for document retention guidelines.
  6. Click Accounting Defaults.
  7. Enter the chart string Fund, Dept, Project, and Activity codes.
    • PC Business Unit is “NWUNV”.
    • You cannot enter an account code. It will be prepopulated based on the Expense Type.
  8. After entering your chart string, click Done.


Select Type of Expense Details Then Add Expense Lines

  1. Click the Expense Report Action drop-down arrow.
  2. Select an Expense Report Action option.
    • If you are adding single lines to your Expense Report, select Add Expense Lines.
    • If you are adding multiple lines at a time to your Expense Report, select Add from Quick-Fill.
  3. Click in the Date field and select the date the expense was incurred.
  4. Select the Expense Type by clicking on the magnifying glass in the Expense Type box.  
  5. Select the Expense Type from the list of expense types. Specific types can be selected by searching the type in the “Search Expense Type” box from the All Types tab.
  6. Enter Description explaining the details of the expense.  Provide as much information as you can, including dates of travel if applicable.
  7. Payment Details, Additional Information and the Exceptions can be added in this page for single line expense reports. See Step 4 Enter Expense Line Details section for details.

Add from Quick-Fill

If you are adding multiple lines to the Expense Report, use Add From Quick-Fill to enter the information. 

  1. Click the Expense Report Action drop-down arrow.
  2. Select Add from Quick-Fill
  3. Once the Quick-Fill window appears, enter the Date Range for the expense.
  4. On the Add Expense Types section:
    1. Click the One Day checkbox if it occurred only once during the trip.
    2. Click the All Days checkbox if it occurred more than once.
  5. Click Done.
  6. Click Update Details. This will take you to the line information.


Step 4: Enter Expense Line Details


This example shows 2 expense lines for 2 expense transactions.

  1. This expense line demonstrates that with clicking the +Add button you can easily enter a new blank Expense Report.
  2. This expense line demonstrates an example of what would appear when you click Quick-Fill on the General Information screen to enter an expense transaction.
  3. Enter the Expense Date.
  4. Select Expense Type by clicking on the magnifying glass.
  5. Enter a Description explaining the details for this expense.
  6. Select Cash / Personal Credit Card from Payment drop-down menu
  7. Enter the Amount and select the Currency. 
    • For Currency field, please see Appendix E - Entering Foreign Currency.
  8. Billing Type defaults to NU Expense
  9. Adjust chart string information in the Accounting field.


**When creating Expense reports, there are some special types of Expenses that may require additional information. Look at the sample scenarios below:  

Domestic-Group Meal (Attendees) Expense Type

  • A group meal is used whenever reimbursing the employee for more than just their own meal.
  • This may include other faculty, staff, and university guests, but not family members.
  • This type of Expense report requires the Name, Company and Title of each person who was part of the group meal.
  1. Enter the Expense Date.
  2. Select Expense Type by clicking on the magnifying glass.
    1. Expense Type categorizes expenses as they relate to the ChartField Account.
    2. The Expense Type search will default to Frequently Used expense typesor you can click on All Types to use a search function to find the Expense Type that you need.

  3. Enter a Description explaining the details for this expense.
  4. Select Cash / Personal Credit Card from Payment drop-down menu.
  5. Enter the Amount and select the Currency.
  6. Billing Type is always NU Expense.  
  7. Click Add Additional Attendees to enter Name, Company, and Title of additional attendees.
  • The employee being reimbursed automatically appears on the first line. Enter their Title.
  • Click to add a blank row.
  • Enter the other Attendees Name (Last, First), Company (school, employer, etc.), and Title (professional title or faculty, staff, etc.).
    Repeat for each attendee.


  • To remove an unwanted line, click Edit and select those to be deleted.
  • Click on the Trash Can icon to delete the unwanted line.

After all Attendees have been entered, click Done in the upper right corner of Attendees Entry window to return to the Expense Entry Screen.

Hotel Expense Lines Expense Type

  1. Select Domestic or Foreign Hotel/Motel as the Expense Type and enter the Description.
  2. Enter the Number of Nights stayed in the hotel for that expense line.
    1. Hotel stays can be aggregated to one line or broken out for each day.
    2. Each unique hotel stayed in must have at least one expense line.


Domestic or Foreign Private Auto Mileage Expense Line

Domestic or Foreign Private Auto Mileage Policy:

  1. Mileage reimbursement covers fuel, insurance, and vehicle wear and tear; these expenses may not be claimed separately.
  2. The mileage Rate is updated in NUFinancials annually by Northwestern administration based on the Federal Mileage Rate and corresponds to the Expense Date.
  3. When attaching proof of mileage, you may use Google Maps, MapQuest, or Yahoo Maps to calculate mileage.
  4. Please attach only the page that shows (in text) the names of the start and end points as well as number of miles driven.
    1. Select Domestic or Foreign Private Auto for the Expense Type and enter the Description.
    2. Enter the number of Miles for the trip.
      • This may be a round trip figure.
      • Mileage must be entered in whole numbers only.
    3. The Amount will automatically populate. 

Step 5: Review or Edit Accounting Details (chart string)

You can review or edit your accounting details at the expense line level for the following instances:

  • If you didn’t enter your chart string in Accounting Defaults found on the General Information screen.
  • To update the Account Code (If you are expensing for a Grant chart string or you entered “Other Expense” for Expense Type). See Appendix B for the list of Expense Types with default Account codes.
  • To enter the Project and Activity codesThis can be done through the Project ChartFields tab.
  1. Click Accounting.
    1. Enter Fund, Dept, Project, and Activity. 
    2.   Scroll to the right to view and if necessary, change the Account.
    3. To add additional chart strings to your expense line in the event the expense transaction needs to be split between two chart strings, click the button next to the ChartFields line.
    4. If you add a chart string, enter the Amounts to be allocated to each chart string.
  2. Click Done.

Step 6: Exceptions


This functionality is used for both personal expenses as well as non-reimbursable expenses.

  • If there is an inadvertent personal charge on a Northwestern Corporate Card, reconcile the charge on an Expense Report and have the individual write a check to Northwestern University. The check and the Expense Report number should be sent to Accounts Payable.
  • If a family member is included in a travel expense, split out the amounts on the Expense Report using the Split Receipt function and only request reimbursement for the Northwestern employee.
  • If you purchase airline tickets through Egenciathey are charged directly to a chart string. The employee is not reimbursed for the amount of the tickets. Therefore, you would mark this as “Prepaid by Northwestern”. Example:
    It will appear as “Non-Reimburse” on the summary page.

No Receipt

If you do not have a receipt:

  1. Select the No Receipt field.
  2. Enter an explanation in the Description field.
  3. Attach the Expense Policy Exception Request to the Attach Receipt field.


Receipt Split

Use this option to separate charges on the same receipt in separate expense line items. For example, a Hotel/Motel receipt may include room charges, as well as room service or dinner at the Hotel restaurant. This offers a quick way to expense each of those lines.

  1. Complete fields for General Information: Business Purpose, Description, Expenses Supervisor, Accounting Details. You can attach your receipts here if you like, as well.
  2. Click Add Expense.
  3. Enter Date, Expense Type, Description, Payment, and Amount.
  4. Click Receipt Split.
  5. Click the above Date to add another line.
  6. Enter the Date, Expense Type, Description and Amount in the new line. 
    a.  If this is Non-Reimbursable expense, select Yes.
  7. Click Done. This will take you back to the Expense Entry screen. Complete each expense line accordingly.


Step 7: Review and Submit

  1. Click Save in the upper right corner.
    • You must complete the General Information section and enter at least one expense line to save without error.
  2. Click Review and Submit in the upper right corner.
    An Expense Report summary will appear.
  3. If you entered any foreign travel related expenses, a message will appear below Budget Status. 
    • Click the Foreign Travel Dates link.
    • Complete the Foreign Travel Dates window until Balance is 0.00.

i. Enter the Country and City where the foreign expense was incurred.

ii. Enter the dates (consecutive) that you were in the foreign country and city by clicking the Date From and Date To calendar icons and selecting the dates. The dates (consecutive) you select should include the full length of stay in the city, not just the dates when you incurred an expense.

iii. Enter the total amount in U.S. dollars of expenses you incurred in the foreign city. Note: If you incurred more than one expense for a given foreign city in consecutive dates, add the expenses up and enter the total expense. The total USD amount you allocate in Foreign Travel Dates should only reflect the total USD expenses that are “foreign” expense types. This total may not include all the expenses actually spent in that foreign location; e.g., “books” expense should not be allocated to a foreign location even if purchased in a foreign location.

iv. To add more foreign travel country, city, dates, and amounts, click + and repeat steps i - iii.

v. Click Done.

4. To make changes to your Expense Report, click Update Details.

  • This will take you back to the Expense Entry page.
  • Once all details have been updated, click Review and Submit in upper right corner.

5. Once back on the Expense Summary page, click Budget Validation.

6. If the user does not have an ER supervisor set up in the system, a Printable Version of the Expense Report should be printed and signed by the Expense Report supervisor.  To access the Printable Version of the Expense Report, click the View Printable Report in Additional Information.  

A new window with the chart string information will open.

7. Click Submit.

8. A certification statement appears.  Click Submit. (This is your electronic signature, certifying the accuracy of the Expense Report)

9. A Summary of all your Expense Reports will appear. Click either Returned, Not Submitted, Awaiting Approval, or Pending Payment, on the left side to view your Expense Reports.

Search for Existing Expense Reports

  1. Navigate to Employee Self-Service> Travel and Expenses> Expense Reports> View.
  2. Enter a Search Criteria.  Click Search.
  3. From the results, select the expense report that you want to view. 

Note: If you do an open search, the results will include all expense reports for all employees for which you are a proxy.


Delete an Expense Report

Starting January of 2024, the delete functionality has been made unavailable to users.  The updated Department of Labor policy on expense reimbursement retention prompted the removal of the ability of users to delete their expense reports - both for expense reports sent back by approvers or those that were never submitted for approval.

For expense reports that were started and never submitted, users can repurpose them for future reimbursement needs.  They can just change the information within the report such as the Report Description and the actual expense lines.  Please note that users can still delete individual expense lines from expense reports they are creating or revising.  Only the ability to delete actual expense reports has been removed.

Appendix A – Per Diem

  • Per diems are permissible for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) for authorized business travel. For M&IE, the reimbursement method selected must be used for the entire trip and should be established ahead of the trip.
  • The employee’s travel location determines the maximum per diem reimbursement rate.
  • Incidentals are small items like a snack, bottled water, pen and notebook.
  • Ask your department if they allow Per Diem.
  • Per Diem Reimbursement Methods:


Reimbursement Methods


Per Diem

Actual Expenses**




Meals and Incidental Expenses



Trip Duration is less than or equal to 12 hours



Trip Duration is greater than 12 hours



First day of Travel

75% of the per diem rate


Last day of Travel

75% of the per diem rate



**Receipts must be submitted for reimbursement. Meals must comply with policy limits.


For more information regarding Policy, please view the Travel Policies & Procedures document on the NUPortal.

Navigate to gsa.gov > Travel > Per Diem


  1. Enter State and City. Click Next.
  2. Click Calculate Per Diem Allowances for a Trip.
  3. Enter Travel Dates and click Next.
  4. Choose STANDARD RATE including Standard Rate. Click Next.
  5. Print Results.



Follow the Step 2: Create an Expense Report steps above. When you get to Step 3: Enter Expense Report General Information and are ready to enter the Amount field, see this example for how to calculate Per Diem, First and Last day, Amount:


You must enter a separate Expense Line for each of the following: First Day: $38.25, Second Day: $51.00, Last Day: $38.25: Enter the Expense Location. Use the magnifying glass to the right to search for the correct code.

Appendix B – Expense Types with default Account Codes




Appendix C – 90 Day Exception Rule

If you submit an Expense Report past 90 days, be sure to attach the 90 Day Exception Form to your Expense Report. This form can be found on the NUPortal.

  • The expense report will give you an error if you are submitting a late report.
  • Complete and attach the 90 Day Exception Rule form to the Attach Receipt field and submit.


Appendix D – Create a New Expense Report from Existing Expense Report

  1. Login into NUFinancials > Expenses tile > My Expense Reports > View all
  2. Click on the drop-down arrow next to Description.
  3. Select Copy to New Report.
    1. Be sure to update the Date, Description, Amount, etc., accordingly in the new Expense Report.


Appendix E – Enter Foreign Currency

Navigate to Oanda.com > Currency Conversion > Converter


  1. Currency I Have: Select foreign currency type (e.g. Euro).
  2. Currency I want: Select US Dollar.
  3. Amount: Enter “1” to calculate the exchange rate or if your receipts are in more than one currency, enter the amount from the receipts individually.
  4. Amount: This is the exchange rate to enter in Amount on the Expense Report for the date selected.
  5. Date: Select original transaction date from receipt.
  6. Click Print and attach a scanned printout of the conversion web page with the Expense Report.

Note: Interbank Rate: Not used


For additional assistance please contact the IT Support Center at 847-491-4357 (1-HELP) or email servicedesk@northwestern.edu.

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Article ID: 1206
Thu 5/12/22 12:38 PM
Fri 4/12/24 12:19 PM