Business Reason, Spend Category & Expense Item


Workday introduced several new procurement and expenditure terms related to Requisitions, Spend Authorizations (SAs) and Expense Reports (ERs).  The University emphasizes the importance of consistent application and usage for of these functions.

Workday Term


Guiding Principles

Applies to…

Business Reason/Purpose

Defined as the comprehensive justification and narrative, or, “why” of the expense. 

  • Must be entered directly into the Workday transaction.  Not explained on an attachment (e.g. email, supplier document, etc.).
  • Business Purpose must be a comprehensive and explanatory narrative (who, what, where, why & how), including the benefits to the University.
  • Goal:  Individuals/areas outside of CFAES be able to gain enough insight about the expense without requesting additional clarification or information for “why” an expense is warranted.   

All procurement and expense transactions (pre and post; see below).

Spend Category

Defined as the “what” is the goods or service being purchased. 

  • The University preselected Spend Categories for some catalog suppliers and/or items (Buckeye Buy).  These preselected Spend Categories should not be changed to maintain reporting integrity.
  • If University did not preselect a Spend Category then depts permitted to select the most applicable.        

Pre-purchase Requisitions



Spend Authorizations


Spend Category with Special Approval Workflow

Some specialized goods and services require review and approval by a University subject matter expert (SME). 

SMEs may review via automatic workflow, or, in consultation with University Purchasing.  Special Approval listings are linked from the Purchasing Policy on 

  • Same as above.
  • A department designee must be available to respond to questions or clarifications posed by a SME during the review and approval process.



Expense Item

Same as Spend Category.  Defined as the “what” the expenditure’s good or service was.  

  • Same as above.
  • Expense Items can also require Special Approval workflow.


Expense Reports (ERs)

Other Key Information

  • The University assigned oversight and management of Spend Categories and Expense Items to Service Centers.
  • At time of a transaction’s compliance review Service Centers are expected to edit Spend Category or Expense Item accordingly.
  • Spend Categories and Expense Items do not necessarily mirror one another.  There are more descriptive Spend Categories than Expense Items.
  • The University continues to standardize Workday, including edits to Spend Categories, Special Approvals and Expense Item types.  University updates and edits may regularly occur to each of these transaction components.