Travel and entertainment expenses must be authorized by an employee’s Business Manager or supervisor. These individuals are responsible for ensuring that budgeted funds are available for the expenses incurred by their employees and that the expenses are in compliance with this Policy and other University policies. Travel and entertainment expenses that are not approved may be the responsibility of the employee.
Sponsored Contract and Grant Travel
Sponsored contract and grant travel may be subject to different guidelines than those set forth in this Policy. Travel funded by federal agencies must comply with applicable federal regulations. Travel funded by a corporate or foundation grant is subject to the terms and conditions specified in the grant agreement. All sponsored project travel must be approved in advance by the Office of Contracts and Grants.
Travel should be booked using the most economical means available. Search engines such as Orbitz or Expedia may offer the best available rates. Conferences may also offer discounted rates on transportation and lodging.
Conference registration is reimbursable if attendance benefits the traveler in his or her role as an employee of the University. Membership or association fees included as part of a conference registration fee are not reimbursable by the University unless approved in advance by the traveler’s supervisor. See Membership Policy.
METHODS OF PAYMENT
The preferred method of payment for travel and entertainment expenses is the University Purchasing Card. The Purchasing Card is issued to an employee who travels regularly on University business; issuance of the card must be approved by the employee’s Business Manager. Employees are responsible for reconciling all Purchasing Card transactions in the Concur Reporting System. See Purchasing Card Policy.
If a Purchasing Card is not an acceptable form of payment for an expense that must be paid in advance of the travel (e.g., a conference registration fee), the traveler’s department should submit a non-employee Payment Request through the Concur Reporting System. A payment will be issued within 10 business days after Business Services receives a properly approved Payment Request. See Forms.
Employees who do not have a Purchasing Card should use a personal credit card or personal funds to pay for business-related travel and entertainment expenses. Such expenses will be reimbursed based on the completion of an Expense Report. See Reconciliation Procedures, Expense Report.
Travelers are required to use the Concur Reporting System to request cash advances for out-of-pocket expenses that will be incurred in connection with official University travel.
Although cash advances are discouraged, the University will issue an advance in cases where the Purchasing Card cannot be used to pay an expense due to the nature of the travel (e.g., certain foreign travel involving the hiring of guides, translators, and local labor). Such cash advances may be requested through the Concur Reporting System by completing a Cash Advance Request. Business Services will issue a direct deposit payment to the traveler (unless another form of payment is requested) within 5 business days of receiving a properly approved Cash Advance Request. Under IRS regulations, a cash advance may not be issued more than 30 days prior to when the expenses will be incurred.
If an employee needs to receive cash, instead of a direct deposit payment, he or she must specify this requirement in the Cash Advance Request at least 5 business days prior to pick up. The employee must personally sign for the cash advance when the funds are available from the University Cashier.
A traveler may not have more than one cash advance outstanding at any time. A cash advance must be accounted for, within 30 days following the completion of a trip, before another advance will be granted. See Reconciliation Procedures, Cash Advances.
Note: Cash advances are available only for full-time employees. Cash advances will generally not be given to students, including student employees and graduate assistants. A cash advance will also not be given to an employee on behalf of another traveler, except to fund group travel expenses.
Two reimbursement methods—actual expense or per diem—are authorized for the payment of lodging and meal expenses, depending on the location of travel:Continental United States (CONUS)
For travel within CONUS, travelers will be reimbursed for their actual cost of lodging and meals based on original itemized receipts. The maximum reimbursement for lodging and meals, however, is limited to the daily amounts set forth in Appendix A
. Foreign and Outside of the Continental United States (OCONUS)
For foreign travel and non-foreign travel outside of the Continental United States (OCONUS), reimbursement is based on the per diem rates published by the Federal Government. Separate rates are authorized for lodging and for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE). Under the per diem method, travelers are not required to submit itemized receipts for reimbursement. The per diem method is allowed only for foreign travel and travel in OCONUS areas, including Alaska, Hawaii, and U.S. possessions and territories.
The applicable per diem rates may be obtained from the Office of Accounting and Business Services or by visiting the following websites:
For foreign or OCONUS travel only, the actual and per diem reimbursement methods may be combined for the same trip. A traveler may be reimbursed for lodging using the actual expense method, based on itemized receipts, and for M&IE using the per diem method. The same methods, however, must be used consistently for the entire trip. Exceptions to Lodging and Meals Limits
Exceptions to the University lodging and meal reimbursement limits may be approved when:
- An employee is attending a meeting or conference and is required to stay at a prearrange hotel where the rate exceeds the University limit, or
- Affordable lodging within the University limit is not available within a reasonable commuting distance of the traveler’s meeting or conference site.
Such exceptions require approval by the President or applicable Vice President, Vice Provost, or Dean.
If a traveler has a Purchasing Card authorized for travel and entertainment, the traveler must use the card to pay for business-related expenditures, maintain the required documentation, obtain approvals, and reconcile all charges in the Concur Reporting System. In addition, the business purpose of each travel and entertainment-related expenses must be clearly indicated in the Concur Reporting System.Expense Report—Employees
An employee incurring travel or entertainment expenses on behalf of the University must use the Concur Reporting System to complete and submit an Expense Report no later than the first business day of the month following a trip or entertainment event ending in the prior month. If an Expense Report is not submitted within 60 days following the completion of a trip or event, the employee’s Purchasing Card may be suspended. In addition, the employee will not be eligible for the full reimbursement of his or her expenses. The Expense Report must be completed even if the employee is not due a reimbursement.
The employee must complete an Expense Report by supplying all required information, including, but not limited to, the following:
- General ledger account number (FOAPAL),
- Dates and description of travel,
- Business purpose for all purchases claimed for reimbursement,
- Correct dollar amount for purchases, and Cash advance amount.
For a business meal or other entertainment expense, the name and title of each person entertained and his or her business relationship with the University must also be included in the Expense Report. For large events (i.e., 10 or more individuals), only the number of individuals attending the event and the group’s affiliation with the University need to be provided.
Receipts must be faxed or scanned for submission to the Concur Reporting System before the Expense Report can be submitted. Out-of-pocket expenses paid with the employee’s personal funds and expenses incurred using the Purchasing Card or a Payment Request should be reported on the same Expense Report. Reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses will take approximately 5 business days from the date of budget authority approval.
Purchasing Card charges and expenses paid through a Payment Request are not reimbursable since these expenses are paid directly by the University.Payment Request—Non-Employees
A non-employee Payment Request should be used to reimburse students and other non-employees (e.g., prospective employees, visiting scholars, independent contractors, etc.) for expenses incurred while traveling on University business. Departments are responsible for reconciling such expenses in the Concur Reporting System.Cash Advances
If a cash advance has not been reported on the Expense Report within 60 days after a trip is completed, Accounting and Business Services will initiate proceedings to recover the advance. If the cash advance is not recovered within 120 days of when the trip is completed, IRS regulations require that the advance be added to the employee’s taxable income reported on his or her Form W-2 and that applicable taxes be withheld from the employee’s regular wages. This rule also applies to an employee who fails to reconcile and account for a cash advance he or she received on behalf of another traveler or a group of travelers, e.g., student travelers. See Violations
If a traveler received a cash advance that exceeds the amount of expenses he or she incurred on the trip, the traveler should write a check for the excess amount, made payable to the University of San Francisco, and send it to the University Cashier when the Expense Report is completed. To avoid loss or theft, cash should not be used to reimburse the University.
Travelers are responsible for providing sufficient documentary evidence to support the business purpose of all travel and entertainment expenses. Documentation should be in the form of an original bill or receipt, which includes the date, vendor name and address, description of the goods or services purchased, and total dollar amount.
An original receipt is required for all expenses of $50 or more, except for expenses reimbursed under the Per Diem Method. Such receipts must be scanned or faxed for processing as provided above. See Appendix C
for a summary of the documentation requirements.
Note: If an original receipt is lost, and every effort has been made to obtain a copy of the receipt, the traveler must complete a Missing Receipt Form, and submit it with the Expense Report as provided above. If the receipt is for reimbursement of an expense paid for with personal funds, a cancelled check or credit card statement must be included with the Missing Receipt Form as proof of payment.
APPROVAL OF EXPENSE REPORT
The Expense Report must be approved for payment by the employee's supervisor or Business Manager. The Expense Report should not be approved by a person who reports directly or indirectly to the employee. Persons authorized to approve travel and entertainment expenses shall not approve their own expense reimbursements. In addition, an employee shall not approve the expenses of an immediate family member, including the employee’s spouse, partner, parents, children, siblings, and in-laws. See Conflict of Interest Policy
A violation of any portion of this Policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment and/or legal action. In addition an employee may be personally liable for any financial liability incurred by the University as a result of expenses approved by the employee that were not reviewed and approved as required under this Policy.