Travel and business expense reimbursements
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Travel and Business Expense Reimbursements. ACCOUNTS PAYABLE GENERAL POLICIES and PROCEDURES. The Role & Responsibilities of the Traveler/Employee . Familiar with Departmental, University and funding agency policies and regulations Familiar with location of policy guidance and tools

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Travel and Business Expense Reimbursements

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Travel and business expense reimbursements

Travel and Business Expense Reimbursements

ACCOUNTS PAYABLE

GENERAL POLICIES and PROCEDURES


The role responsibilities of the traveler employee

The Role & Responsibilities of the Traveler/Employee

  • Familiar with Departmental, University and funding agency policies and regulations

  • Familiar with location of policy guidance

    and tools

  • Documents business purpose and justification for each expense and trip

  • Provides all original receipts, flight itinerary and/or all supporting documentation

  • Requests reimbursement no later than 120 days (or end of fiscal year, whichever is sooner) after expenses were incurred


The role responsibilities of the processor

The Role & Responsibilities of the Processor

  • Understands the nature of each expenditure

  • Checks the completeness and accuracy of accounting

  • Inputs expense reports into AP/CAR and selects appropriate approvers

  • Segregates “unallowable” expenses to an 8500 sub-code

  • Ensures that all supporting documentation is provided


The role responsibilities of the designated approver daf

The Role & Responsibilities of the Designated Approver(DAF)

  • Understands nature of the expense

  • Completeness of documentation and accuracy of accounting

  • Segregation of “unallowable" expenses

  • Compliance with University policy and funding agency regulations

    • Absence of a conflict of interest(employees’ duty and responsibility to conduct business matters solely for the benefit of the University)

  • Appropriateness of expense and availability of funding


Role responsibility of a supplemental approver

Role & Responsibility of a Supplemental Approver

When approving transactions, Individuals with Supplemental Approval authority are in all cases responsible to verify:

  • the business need for the exception

  • the propriety of the exception in compliance with the Supplemental Approver and Travel & Business expense policies.

    Individuals with Supplemental Approval authority are in all instances ultimately responsible for the approval decision.


Travel and business expense reimbursements

Under no circumstances may an individual approve his or her ownExpense Report or that of a person to whom he or she reports

DAF/Supplemental Approval Reminder


Role responsibilities of ap

Role & Responsibilities of AP

  • Process DAF approved expense reports and prepare and issue timely payment to the employee.

  • Image and archive all original documentation related to the reimbursement request.

  • Perform audits of these expense reports to verify:

    • Compliance with University reimbursement policy

    • Completeness of documentation and accuracy of accounting

    • Segregation of allowable expenses

  • Assist with policy & procedure guidance and approval of exceptions


  • Compliance

    Compliance

    • Compliance is everyone’s responsibility

    • The importance of compliance cannot be overstated and remains of the highest importance to the University. Consequences of non-compliance:

      • Decrease in federal funding, donations

      • Fines & penalties

      • Loss of tax-exempt status

      • Damage to reputation


    Compliance why it is important

    Compliance – Why it is important:

    EXAMPLES:

    • “IRS brings end to Oscar swag: In settlement, stars owe for 2006 but are off the hook for prior years; Academy says no more gifts.”

    • Stanford University - In the early 1990s, federal investigators looked at Stanford’s overhead costs for U.S. research and found thousands spent on sheets, an Italian wooden commode, and an enlarged bed

    • U. Tennessee - An audit showed that…had routinely failed to turn in receipts, overspent lodging allowances, received exemptions to university policies

    • IRS Recent Revocations of 501(C)3 determinations


    Compliance1

    Compliance

    Foundation of policy:

    • IRS Regulations

      • Reimbursement submission time limit

      • Receipts/Proof of payment

      • Business purpose

    • Federal Regulations

      • Segregation of “unallowable” expenses

      • Fly America Act (travel on grants)

    • Expectations of a 501(c)3 organization


    Reimbursement submission time limit

    Reimbursement Submission Time Limit

    Employees should submit within 10 days of a trip (for travel) or bi-monthly/monthly (for business expenses)

    Employees must submit requests for reimbursement to their department within 120 days from the date the expenses were incurred, or the end of the University’s fiscal year on June 30th, depending on which comes first.


    Reimbursement submission time limit1

    Reimbursement Submission Time Limit

    • Failure to submit within 120 days or at the fiscal year-end requires Supplemental Approval. Facts and circumstances of the late

      submission must be documented to determine if it is taxable.

    • Legitimate circumstances (not taxable)

      • Prolonged travel with no mechanism to submit expenses

      • Medical issues or leaves

    • Circumstances that are not legitimate (taxable beyond 120 days)

      • Being busy

      • Not having administrative support to prepare TBER

      • Not knowing the policy

    • If the expenses are not submitted

      within one year, they are always taxable.


    Documentation receipts

    Documentation: Receipts

    • Original receipts, invoices, web confirmations, payment documentation should be submitted to the department for all expenses

    • Lost receipts must be documented and require Supplemental Approval for:

      • Expenses over $75

      • Meals costing over $25

      • Lodging costing any amount


    Documentation receipts1

    Documentation: Receipts

    • Receipts may take many forms:

      • Cash register receipt

      • Order form

      • Web receipt/confirmation

    • Detailed receipts must identify:

      • Date of purchase

      • Vendor name

      • Itemized list and unit price of the purchased items

      • Total amount


    Documentation proof of payment

    Documentation: Proof of Payment

    • Proof of payment is required to demonstrate that payment was tendered and is often part of the receipt

    • Proof of payment may be documented by:

      • “Cash Tendered”

      • “Paid”

      • A zero balance due

      • Evidence of debit/credit charge

      • Debit or credit card statement


    Business purpose

    Business Purpose

    • Written explanation of valid business purpose must be documented

      • Where appropriate, conference agenda, flyer, registration form, or schedule of events should be provided.

      • Business purpose must be specific: “Travel to Boston to Accounts Payable Network conference to speak about CU Accounts Payable Department” is an appropriately documented business purpose. “Boston conference” is not.

        What did you do +where did you do it + why is it CU business

    Business purpose may be obvious to traveler but not to a third-party!!


    Compliance with irs regulations

    Compliance with IRS Regulations

    • Business vs. Personal Benefit (personal inurement)

      • This concept may be applied in evaluating approval of exceptions to policy

      • Reimbursements made by the University must have a clear business purpose related to mission and substantial business benefit

      • If the expense has primarily personal benefit, it should not be reimbursed (and would be taxable to the employee)

        • Personal benefit = additional compensation, so the IRS gets their share

      • Penalties include possible loss of tax-exempt status & tax penalties against the individual

    • This is why many expenses are non-reimbursable (suntan lotion, late fees, toothpaste)


    Compliance with federal regulations

    Compliance with Federal Regulations

    “Unallowables” or “Segregated” expenses

    • NO government funds are to be used to pay for “Unallowables”or “Segregated” expenses, that is, expenses characterized by the Federal Government as “frivolous”

      • Costs not clearly related to University business (e.g. alcohol, flowers, chocolate, entertainment)

      • Excess expenses over policy thresholds


    Compliance with federal regulations1

    Compliance with Federal Regulations

    Fly America Act

    • Travelers on federal grants must comply with US Flag Carrier Rule

      • With limited exceptions, travel must occur on US air carriers

      • Be careful of “code sharing”, rules are restrictive and require issuance through US Carrier

      • http://www.columbia.edu/cu/opg/policies/usflag.pdf


    Expectations of a 501 c 3 organization

    Expectations of a 501(c)3 Organization

    The University is supported by:

    • IRS & taxpaying public (tax exemption)

    • Donors

    • Students

    • Granting Agencies

      We must be careful stewards of these funds!

      (Remember the front-page test)


    Compliance reminder

    Compliance Reminder

    • Be mindful of departmental budgetary constraints and restrictions on federal funds

    • More restrictive policies mandated by:

      • Specific programs or grants

      • Departments or schools

        will take precedence over University policies.


    Exception requests to ap

    Exception Requests to AP

    All policy exceptions not listed as eligible for Supplemental Approval, or any requests for exception of amounts that exceed the thresholds allowable for Supplemental Approval, still require a formal written exception request approved by a Senior Departmental Officer for documentation and evaluation of approval by AP.

    • Travelers should understand this is a request, not a guarantee

    • For guidance, contact Accounts Payable prior to expenditure (where possible) or prior to submission or reimbursement request

      For example:

    • Meals in excess of 50% of policy guideline.

    • Helicopter service


    Travel expense policy

    Travel Expense Policy


    Planning travel

    Planning Travel

    • Consult the University preferred travel agency when possible. Also inform them of any special discounts available for conference.

    • Use a University preferred vendor.

      • http://tp194.purch.columbia.edu/purchasing/contracts/travelServices.asp

    • Check the internet for low fares.

    • When in doubt about whether an expense may be allowable, contact the AP Service Center with questions and/or obtain prior approval from your DAF.


    Travel expense policy airfare

    Travel Expense Policy: Airfare

    • Should be purchased at the lowest available commercial/economy rate (typically 14 days before travel)

      • Travel on U.S. air carrier is preferred, but not required for non-government grants only.

      • Carrier selection should be influenced by price & not by the traveler’s frequent flyer affiliation.

    • Business or first class air travel for flights in excess of 5 hours (or if there is a documented medical need) requires Supplemental Approval.

    • Air tickets, e-tickets, confirmations should show dates, price, to/from info and class.


    Travel expense policy rail bus

    Travel Expense Policy: Rail/Bus

    • Should be purchased at the lowest available commercial/economy rate

      • For rail, when traveling by Amtrak’s Acela train, a traveler should obtain business class tickets.

    • Business or first class for rail travel requires Supplemental Approval.

    • Tickets should show dates, price, to/from info and class.


    Travel expense policy ground transportation

    Travel Expense Policy: Ground Transportation

    • Taxis, private car services, shuttle services will be reimbursed

    • Rental cars

      • Compact or intermediate/mid-size car rate

      • If using CU preferred vendor (Hertz) in the US, do not purchase the insurance

      • Insurance will be reimbursed for all other vendors (when Hertz is not available), or using Hertz internationally

    • Receipts should show dates, price, to/from info (and class for rentals).


    Travel expense policy mileage

    Travel Expense Policy: Mileage

    Set by the IRS – currently

    $.505 per mile and includes:

    • fuel,

    • maintenance

    • insurance costs

    • In other words, DO NOT request reimbursement for gas when requesting reimbursement for mileage.

  • Tolls and reasonable parking charges will be reimbursed in addition to mileage

  • Tickets, fines, vehicle repairs are not reimbursable

  • Traveler should keep record of miles traveled (odometer reading or map quest). This does not need to be submitted to AP


  • Travel expense policy lodging

    Travel Expense Policy: Lodging

    • Threshold for reimbursable lodging expense:

      • Up to $350 per night for domestic travel

      • Up to $400 per night in international locations

        • Over- limit expenditures for lodging (by no more than 50%) require Supplemental Approval

        • Anything over 50% requires a formal written exception request approved by a Senior Departmental Officer for evaluation of approval by AP

        • If conference held at hotel where price exceeds threshold, provide conference flyer

    • Detailed hotel bill is required for all lodging expenses

    • Token gift for stay in private residence (should be $100 or less) and long-term rental accommodations requires Supplemental Approval


    Travel business expense policy business meals

    Travel & Business Expense Policy: Business Meals

    • Thresholds for reimbursable meal expenses (not including tips or tax)

      • Up to $25 for breakfast,

      • Up to $35 for lunch,

      • Up to $50 for dinner,

        • Over-the-limit expenditures for meals (by no more than 50%) requires Supplemental Approval.

        • Anything over 50% requires a formal written exception request approved by a Senior Departmental Officer for evaluation of approval by AP

        • Original cash register or credit card receipt required over $25

        • For groups, document the business purpose, names of the attendees (if over 10 people, the number of attendees), and the relationship of the attendees

      • This covers:

        • Individual meals during travel

        • Meals involving only CU personnel

        • Meals among peers for research collaboration or administrative meetings


    Travel business expense policy business meals involving external parties

    Travel & Business Expense Policy: Business Meals Involving External Parties

    • Expenses for business meals involving external parties (hosted and paid by a University employee and attended by business colleagues, donors, students, or prospective employees, which result in a business benefit to the University) should not exceed $100 per person, not including tips or tax.

      • Document the business purpose, names of the attendees (if over 10 people, the number of attendees), and the relationship of the attendees

      • Over-limit expenditures for meals involving external parties (by no more than 50%) requires Supplemental Approval

      • Anything over 50% requires a formal written exception request approved by a Senior Departmental Officer for evaluation of approval by AP

      • Original cash register or credit card receipt required over $25

    • Examples include:Fundraising, Recruitment, Speaking engagements


    Travel expense policy meals

    Travel Expense Policy: Meals

    • Thresholds are maximum spending limits, NOT per diems, and should not be charged as such

    • Per Diems

      • May be used if allowable in the terms of a grant

      • May be used in destinations where local custom or culture (remote locations) makes it difficult to obtain receipts

        • Requires Supplemental Approval

      • Per diem rate must be in accordance with the government’s published per diem rate for M&IE

        (http://www.state.gov/m/a/als/prdrn/cl6476.)


    Travel expense policy other reimbursements during travel

    Travel Expense Policy: Other Reimbursements during Travel

    • Meeting and conference fees

    • An emergency purchase of supplies, equipment, or books under $500 while traveling

      • Detail “emergency circumstance” in “Description of Expenses”

      • Greater than $500 requires Supplemental Approval, greater than $2500 require approval from Purchasing


    Travel expense policy miscellaneous reimbursable expenses

    Travel Expense Policy: Miscellaneous Reimbursable Expenses

    • Baggage handling

    • Storage expenses

    • Business office expenses

    • Business-related calls and faxes

    • Up to 3 personal calls per day of reasonable duration

    • Currency conversion fees

    • Gratuities to porters, bellhops and other service personnel

    • Internet access

    • Laundry or cleaning expenses on trips lasting over 5 days

    • ATM fees and traveler check fees

    • Ground transportation

    • Parking and tolls

    • Travel change/cancellation fees (if required for business needs)


    Travel expense policy non reimbursable expenses

    •Loss or theft of cash advance

    • Loss of airline tickets

    • Loss or theft of personal fund

    • Lost baggage

    • Luggage and briefcases

    • Personal reading materials

    • Medical expenses

    while traveling

    • Mini-bar alcoholic expenses

    • Movies

    • Personal entertainment

    • Pet care

    • Recreational expenses

    • Saunas, massages

    • Shoe Shines

    • Souvenirs, or personal gifts

    Airline club membership dues or one-day admission fees

    Air-phone usage

    Baby-sitting

    Barbers & hairdressers

    Clothing (purchase or rental)

    Toiletry items

    More than 3 personal calls each day, unless emergency circumstances are documented

    Expenses related to vacation taken before, during, or after a business trip.

    Frequent flyer miles

    Helicopter services for local travel/entertainment

    Snacks

    Travel Expense Policy: Non-Reimbursable Expenses


    Travel expense policy foreign currency conversion

    Travel Expense Policy:Foreign Currency Conversion

    • Expense Reports can only be submitted in U.S. dollars, and need an explanation & translation of foreign receipts and their conversions.

    • For conversion, traveler can choose the appropriate rate:

      • Using Oanda.com’s Daily default “Interbank Rate”, either the daily rate or average rate during the trip

      • Actual conversion rate based on cash exchange or credit card conversion

    • New Currency Conversion Worksheet enables the traveler to perform conversions into U.S. dollars automatically.

    • If the worksheet is not used, the traveler should write the conversion amount in U.S. dollars on each receipt and submit to the department.

    • The traveler should remember to provide conversion rate sources to the department. These are not required to be submitted to AP.


    Travel reimbursements for non university employees

    Travel Reimbursements for Non-University Employees

    • University travel policies and procedures apply to everyone, even individuals who are notUniversity faculty or staff. Visitors should be informed prior to visit.

    • Expenses of guest lecturer, consultant, or prospective faculty member or officer must be pre-approved by proper DAF.


    Travel reimbursements for non university employees1

    Travel Reimbursements for Non-University Employees

    • Request reimbursement for a non-University individual’s travel expenses on a CHECK REQUEST with required back-up documentation

    • Have individual complete a W-9 form and provide a homeaddress

      • If foreign person (non-US citizen), upon arrival, obtain copy of I-94 or passport with visa entry stamp to confirm the person may be reimbursed (http://www.columbia.edu/cu/isso/faculty/paymentchart.html)

    • Attach flyer of event as back-up documentation

    • To organize expenses, new non-employee worksheet may be used (similar to Expense report format)


    Travel advances

    Travel Advances

    • Where required, advances are allowable up to $500 to cover out of pocket expenses that cannot be reasonably charged to a corporate charge card

    • “Special” circumstances may warrant an advance over $500:

    • International travel

    • Travel by teams or large groups

    • Travel for recruiting purposes

    • Funds for program or research start-up or short-term operations

    • Payments to conference/research participants

      Budget justification should be provided.

  • Charge to 2380 sub-code


  • Business expense policy

    Business Expense Policy


    Entertainment expenses

    Entertainment Expenses

    • Business entertainment includes events such as (theatre, sporting events, recreational outings) that are taken with guests, business colleagues, donors, students, employees, prospective employees and are directly related to a University business purpose and conducted for the benefit of individuals outside the University.

    • Appropriate University purchasing mechanism (direct billing) should be used when possible

    • These types of expenses cannot be charged to a research grant.

    • Entertainment expenses over $1,000 reimbursed on a TBER or expenses for business entertainment conducted in private homes require Supplemental Approval.


    Employee entertainment expenses

    Employee Entertainment Expenses

    The University strongly suggests that employees first consider funding these with their own contributions.

    However, Departments may choose to celebrate personal occasions as an expression of employee appreciation.

    What to consider:

    • Fair & consistent application among employees

    • Budgetary constraints

    • The “front page test”- will it seem appropriate to others (e.g., donors, taxpayers) that the University pay for this event?

      Entertainment expenses for employee events reimbursed on a TBER over $500 require Supplemental Approval.


    Employee entertainment expenses reimbursable business occasions

    Employee Entertainment Expenses: Reimbursable Business Occasions

    • Dissertation defense

    • Promotion

    • Welcoming a new hire to the University

    • Leaving the University

    • Years of Service/Retirement

    • Graduation of an employee/student

    • Awarding of tenure

    • Publication

    • Event or performance opening

    • Sabbatical

    • Recognition of achievement, departmental goal, honor, or thank you


    Travel and business expense reimbursements

    Employee Entertainment Expenses: Reimbursable & Non-Reimbursable Personal Occasions for Employee Appreciation

    Reimbursable Employee entertainment

    • Departmental celebration of a holiday

    • Collective celebrations of birthdays

    • Congratulations on business related individual achievement

      Non reimbursable Employee entertainment

    • Showers for birth or adoption of baby

    • Engagements, weddings, anniversaries,

    • Individual birthday celebrations

    • Congratulations on personal related individual achievement


    Entertainment expenses documentation

    Entertainment Expenses: Documentation

    • The original receipts/invoices for events must include:

      • The date and location

      • The items purchased

      • The total amount of the expense

      • Proof of payment

    • Focused purpose of business event (such as “recruitment event at 21 Club for assistant professor of psychiatry,” or “football game with potential donor”) must be documented.

      • Vague, unfocused purposes (such as “to foster collaboration”) should be avoided.

      • List of attendees (or a #, if there are more than 10 names), and the attendees’ relationship to the University.


    Entertainment expenses clothing

    Entertainment Expenses: Clothing

    Rental of Clothing for an Event

    • Event must require attire that is more formal than standard business attire.

    • The employee’s attendance at the event is mandatory.

    • We suggest the rental of clothing be approved in advance by the department, and will only be paid when Supplemental Approval is provided.

      .


    Gifts to employees

    Gifts to Employees

    Gifts should generally not be given to employees, additional compensation is the proper mechanism

    Token gifts may be given for:

    • Exemplary business performance

      • Gifts, prizes, awards of $100 of less

        • Non-cash gifts of $100 or less are reimbursable and non-taxable.

        • Cash or cash equivalent (e.g., gift certificates) may be given, but is always considered taxable by the IRS, and reported on the employee’s annual form W-2.

      • Anything over the threshold of $100 (by no more than 50%) for business performance will require Supplemental Approval


    Gifts to employees1

    Gifts to Employees

    • Years of Service/Retirement

      • Gifts, prizes, and awards of $400 or less

        • Non-cash gifts of $400 or less are reimbursable and non-taxable.

          • Must be awarded as part of a meaningful presentation (presentation, ceremony or celebration)

          • Can not be given before the 5th year of service, and with at least 5 years in between each length of service award

        • Cash or cash equivalent ( e.g., a gift certificate) may be given, but is always considered taxable by the IRS, and reported on an employee’s annual form W-2.

      • A years of service gift to an employee with a value

        greater than $400 (by no more than 50%) will require Supplemental Approval.


    Gifts to employees reimbursable non reimbursable de minimus gifts

    Gifts to Employees: Reimbursable & Non Reimbursable “De Minimus” gifts

    “de minimus” gifts for occasions:

    • Token non-cash gift (flowers, fruit basket) of $100 or less

    • Cash or gift certificates are taxable

    • Anything over the threshold of $100 (by no more than 50%) for “de minimus” gifts will require Supplemental Approval

      Reimbursable occasions:

    • Birth or adoption of a child

    • Funeral, illness or hospitalization

    • Congratulations on a business related achievement

      Non-reimbursable occasions:

    • Engagements, weddings, anniversaries

    • Holidays

    • Individual Birthdays

    • Congratulations on other personal achievements.


    Gifts to employees reimbursable de minimus gifts

    Gifts to Employees: Reimbursable “De Minimus” gifts

    • Sympathy gifts:

      • If a contribution is requested in lieu of flowers, only a Dean, Associate Dean, VP or Senior Financial Officer can approve.

        • Considerations include fairness to competing interests, careful consideration of the mission of the organization to which CU donates to

      • A copy of the 501C3 exemption should be requested.


    Gifts to employees documentation required

    Gifts to Employees: Documentation Required

    The original receipts/invoices for gifts must include:

    • The date

    • The items purchased

    • The total amount of the purchase

    • Proof of payment

    • The employee’s name, home address and Social Security number for reporting to Payroll (for gifts with a value in excess of $100 or that do not meet the IRS exemption for years of service gifts).

      The approved purpose of the gift must be clearly documented.


    Gifts to non employees

    Gifts to Non-Employees

    • The fair market value of gifts of cash or non-cash items given to non-employees (e.g. donors, alumni) should not exceed $600 in a calendar year.

      • In rare circumstances where gifts to non-employees exceed $600, it becomes taxable income to the non-employee and is reported on a Form 1099.

      • Anything over the threshold of $600 (by no more than 50%) for gifts to non-employees requires Supplemental Approval.

    • Gifts to vendors are not reimbursable.


    Gifts to non employees1

    Gifts to Non-Employees

    • Gifts of cash to non-employees (e.g., honorarium) should be processed on a Check Request, and not reimbursed on a Business Expense Report. These gifts to foreign persons (non-resident aliens) must be processed through HRPC to comply with IRS and Dept. of Homeland Security regulations.


    Requesting reimbursement reminders

    Requesting Reimbursement: Reminders

    Remember to segregate expenses: Unsegregated Expenses in Column A, Segregated Expenses in Column B

    Verify payee’s correct home address is in system

    • Check may not be received if sent to incorrect location

    • We recommend DIRECT DEPOSIT

      When submitting report, with attached documentation:

    • NO STAPLES

    • Do not TAPE invoices together (please tape small receipts to one side of a piece of paper)

    • Use paper clips (as few as possible)

    • List in chronological order


    Supplemental approver launching february 1 2007

    Supplemental Approver – Launching February 1, 2007

    The Travel & Business expenses policies apply to employees, students and non-employees in all Schools and Departments around the University, and should be complied with.

    However, from time to time, certain business needs and special situations (i.e. nature of business, location of purchase) may necessitate departure from the guidelines provided by policy.

    What’s New:

    • Certain common exceptions to policy no longer require an exception request to AP for approval.

    • AP will rely on approval from the “Supplemental Approver” in the department.


    Supplemental approver

    Supplemental Approver

    How does this work?

    • Individuals submitting a reimbursement request must still request approval of the exception and should document circumstances surrounding the exception to policy.

    • Supplemental Approver would evaluate the situation & either approve or deny.

    • AP will rely on this approval when reviewing the voucher.


    Who are supplemental approvers

    Who are Supplemental Approvers

    Supplemental Approversmay be a:

    • Dean

    • VP

    • Associate Dean

    • Senior Financial Officer

      A Supplemental Approver is someone who is

    • responsible for the administrative and financial leadership of their academic or administrative unit

    • can determine the appropriateness of expenses and exceptions in compliance with policy.

      This will vary by School or Department, depending the size and organizational structure.


    Role responsibility of a supplemental approver1

    Role & Responsibility of a Supplemental Approver

    When approving transactions, Individuals with Supplemental Approval authority are in all cases responsible to verify:

    • the business need for the exception

    • the propriety of the exception in compliance with the Supplemental Approver and Travel & Business expense policies.

      Individuals with Supplemental Approval authority are in all instances ultimately responsible for the approval decision.


    Circumstances that require supplemental approval

    Circumstances that require Supplemental Approval

    Transportation/Travel:

    • First or business class travel by air (flights in excess of 5 hours or medical need).

    • First or business class travel by rail/bus (not including Amtrak’s Acela train).

    • Lodging exceeding the thresholds ($350 per night domestic and $400 (US dollars) per night international) by no more than 50%. ($525 domestic, $600 international)

    • Appreciation given for lodging in a private residence.

    • Short-term rental accommodations.

    • Reimbursed travel extended beyond the minimum days required for business purposes.

    • Required travel by an employee’s spouse, significant other and/or dependent (Note: May be taxable)


    Circumstances that require supplemental approval1

    Circumstances that require Supplemental Approval

    Meals:

    • Meals exceeding the per meal thresholds ($25 breakfast, $35 lunch, $50 dinner) by no more than 50%. ($37.50 B, $52.50 L, $75 D)

    • Meals (fundraising, recruitment, speaking engagements) involving external parties exceeding the per person threshold of $100 (excluding tips and taxes) by no more than 50%. ($150 per person)

    • Use of per diems on non-grant accounts.

    • Meals that require attendance by an employee’s spouse, significant other, and/or dependent.

    • Expenses for meals or entertainment conducted in private homes.


    Circumstances that require supplemental approval2

    Circumstances that require Supplemental Approval

    Entertainment:

    • Expenses for meals or entertainment conducted in private homes.

    • Entertainment expenses to be reimbursed in excess of $1,000.

    • Rental of clothing for an event.

    • Entertainment expenses for employee events in excess of $500.


    Circumstances that require supplemental approval3

    Circumstances that require Supplemental Approval

    Gifts:

    • A business performance or “de minimus” gift to an employee exceeding the threshold of $100 by no more than 50%. ($150) Note: Item is taxable

    • A years of service/retirement gift to an employee exceeding the threshold of $400 by no more than 50%. ($600) Note: Item is taxable

    • A gift to a non-employee exceeding the threshold of $600 by no more than 50%. ($900) Note: Item is taxable


    Circumstances that require supplemental approval4

    Circumstances that require Supplemental Approval

    Other:

    • Purchases of emergency supplies, books, equipment in excess of $500.

    • Issuance of a second travel advance before the first one has been reconciled.

    • Reimbursements submitted more than 120 days after the date of the expense or after the end of the fiscal year (whichever is sooner). Please note that supporting documentation must include legitimate circumstances contributing to late submission in order to evaluate whether this is a taxable event.

    • Missing receipt for expenses of $75 or more ($25 for meals), all lodging. Please note that supporting documentation must include missing receipt documentation to comply with IRS standards for reimbursement.


    Supplemental approval reminder

    Supplemental Approval Reminder

    As a reminder:

    All individuals requesting reimbursement should be in compliance with the University’s Travel & Business expense policies, effective October 1, 2006. Items eligible for Supplemental Approval are still exceptions; however, they are being approved by a departmental officer closer to the situation, rather than AP.

    Supplemental Approval in no way raises the thresholds of what is allowable or changes the segregation.


    Processing a voucher requiring supplemental approval

    Processing a voucher requiring Supplemental Approval

    Role & Responsibilities of Processors of Travel & Business Expense transactions

    • Reviews voucher to identify common policy departures that require Supplemental Approval

    • Identifies this in AP/CAR for review by the Supplemental Approval

      • Resources

        • List maintained in AP/CAR

        • List on AP website

        • Policy documents

        • Training manual


    Processing the voucher in ap car

    Processing the voucher in AP/CAR

    Upon selecting “Designate Approver”, a pop up box will appear asking whether the voucher requires Supplemental Approval.


    Processing the voucher in ap car1

    Processing the voucher in AP/CAR

    To select one or more reasons, double click on the small box on the left hand side, which will then place a check mark in the box (later will change to an asterisk as you select more than one). Once you have selected all reasons, click “Close”.


    Processing the voucher in ap car selecting an electronic sa

    Processing the voucher in AP/CAR: Selecting an Electronic SA

    Select the individual who is the appropriate Supplemental Approver from your department. Click “Continue” to assign the DAF approver of the voucher.


    Processing the voucher in ap car2

    Processing the voucher in AP/CAR

    Select the individual who is the appropriate DAF Approver from your department. Depending on the departmental structure, the DAF approver may be the same individual selected for Supplemental Approval or may be different. Click “Continue”.


    Audit review approving an invoice requiring supplemental approval

    Audit & Review Approving an Invoice Requiring Supplemental Approval

    If upon audit of the voucher, our Audit & Review specialists identify that Supplemental Approval was not appropriately selected (i.e. either was not identified at all, a reason is missing, or one is incorrectly included), they will put the voucher on hold to coordinate with the department.

    • Obtain the approval from the appropriate Supplemental Approver and image this as part of the voucher.

    • A further enhancement will be made to AP/CAR to allow the Audit & Review specialist to edit and select the supplemental approval reasons so this is tagged and included in any reporting.


    For more information

    For more information:

    AP website: http://www.finance.columbia.edu

    AP Service Center

    (212) 854-2122

    [email protected]


    Travel and business expense reimbursements

    QUESTIONS

    COMMENTS


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