Travel and Expense The Road to a Streamlined & Efficient Implementation
Your Presenter • Bobbi Walker, MAcc • Financial Systems Principal • University of Missouri • Accounts Payable Functional Lead • Asset Management Functional Lead • Travel and Expense Functional Lead
Problem Statement • The University of Missouri uses a paper-based process to manage travel expense reimbursement. Compliance with existing travel policy is enforced by the Campus Accounting Offices through manual review of expense reimbursement requests. Therefore the process lacks automation and requires manual intervention for ensuring policy compliance.
What Do We Want? • Specific reimbursement data • Travel data for negotiation with vendors • Efficient Workflow • Electronic storage of receipts • Integration with PeopleSoft
Shared Services Initiative • Customer-focused organizational model that reduced inefficiencies and duplicative costs and increases customer service by: • Continually improving the quality of services provided • Demonstrating superior customer service via metrics that benchmark effectiveness • Leveraging automation to improve processes • Examining policies to reduce manual effort and optimize associated processes
Other Observations • University policies allowed departments and campuses to be more restrictive • Used to limit the amount of reimbursement • Employees not treated equitably • Collection of travel data was done manually • Paper vouchers with detail being processed as a single amount in PeopleSoft • Budgeting challenges due to lack of detailed data • Vendor relationships could not be leveraged to negotiate discounts
Total Quality Management (TQM) Methodology • Adopting a guiding set of principles around which past and new implementations will be evaluated • Formally mapping processes and evaluating each step for process and policy improvements and efficiencies • Developing metrics and service level agreements (SLA) to measure the success of improvement efforts • Partnering with departments/divisions to get the most out of the new process and aggregate transactions
New Problem Statement The University of Missouri uses a paper-based process to manage travel expense reimbursement. Preparation of the reimbursement is time consuming as currency conversion and meal limits are calculated manually. The approval process is lengthy as the reimbursement is often delayed at each step in the approval process. The status of a reimbursement is unclear as there is no record of where the form is in the approval chain and therefore reimbursement to the employee is delayed. Compliance with existing travel policy is enforced by the Campus Accounting Offices through manual review of expense reimbursement requests. Therefore the process lacks automation and requires manual intervention for ensuring policy compliance.
What Do We Want? • Specific reimbursement data • Travel data for negotiation with vendors • Greater compliance with travel policy • Consistent application of travel policy • Efficient Workflow • Electronic storage of receipts • Integration with PeopleSoft
Where Do We Start? • Current reimbursement process • How long does it take to get reimbursed? • How does a travel voucher get approved? • Current policies • What are we trying to accomplish with our policy? • Are we consistently applying policy across campuses/departments? • Review process for policy compliance • How many times is the travel voucher reviewed? • What causes us to send a travel voucher back for clarification or policy violation?
Current Reimbursement Process • The time it took for the travel voucher to route for approval was not clear because it was not recorded. When polling departments, it was reported to take 1-3 weeks for the approval process. • Once the travel voucher was approved, it took about a week from the time it was entered into PeopleSoft until it was released for payment. (With a range from 2 to 20 days total)
Current Policies • Required documentation that wasn’t value-added • Complicated meal reimbursement policy • Inconsistent application of policy between departments • Reducing reimbursement rates for different levels of employees
Current Review Process • Minimum of 3 reviews/signatures per travel voucher • Average of 4 reviews/signatures per travel voucher • Delays were prevalent at each step in the approval path • Project Manager approval for Grant Funding was not consistently obtained • Review Process included 12 categories of items being reviewed and within those 12 categories there were 45 aspects verified
Review Process • Benchmark data identified that 14% of travel vouchers required further clarification or contained policy violations
What Did We Change – Policy? • Streamlined our policies • Policy changes to eliminate redundant reviews and approvals • Policy changes to reduce or eliminate required documentation that didn’t add value • Implemented the use of per diem for meal reimbursement • Established system-wide policies applicable for all employees. No longer allowed more restrictive policies at the campus, division, or departmental level.
What Did We Change – Review? • Reduced the number of “send-backs” by implementing pre-populated data (i.e. per diem limits, foreign currency conversion rates, etc.) • Integrated ImageNow into the module so receipts can be viewed electronically from within the module while approving the report
What Did We Change – Process? • Electronic workflow used to move expense reports through the approval process. Notification that reports are available for approval is sent through email with link to the document. • Most Expense Reports will only require 1 approval • Removed HR Supervisor from expense report approval • Campus Accounting Office review was reduced to reports that met certain criteria
What Did We Change – Self-Service? • Promoted Self-Service for Employees • Traveler enters expenditures directly into PeopleSoft Expenses • Traveler may assign a delegate to enter on their behalf • Traveler can change the bank account for deposit of reimbursement • Traveler can update their default ChartField string for expenditure posting
Implementation • Lewin’s Model of Change
Unfreezing • Helping people recognize the need for change and achieving buy in for proceeding
Moving • Act of implementing new behaviors, method, policies, etc. to support the new way of doing things • New policies went into affect for everyone • Rolled out the new electronic system to divisions over a 6-month period • Multiple training tools and communications were made available
Refreezing • Re-embedding and reinforcing organizational culture around the new process or “the new norm” • Establishing a user community where users can share ideas, collaborate on management reports and look for ways to leverage the system • Service Level Agreement that defined specific measures for success was created
Benefits • Increased visibility, tracking and accountability for the travelers and reimbursement (e.g. Where is my reimbursement?) • Reduce the University’s paper consumption by more than 200,000 sheets annually • Easier compliance with grant activities
Benefits (cont’d) • Equitable and consistent policy enforcement • Should be able to reduce our cost to process travel reimbursements by at least $1.5 million • Reduced preparation time of reimbursement request • Fewer resources needed to process travel by automating policy compliance and policy changes
Benefits (cont’d) • Reduced our reimbursement time • 73% of Expense Reports are reimbursed within 1 day of being submitted • 81% of Expense Reports are reimbursed within 2 day of submitting • New reporting capabilities with detailed travel data will benefit budget management and discount negotiations
Contact • Bobbi Walker • Financial Systems - Principal • University of Missouri • E-mail: email@example.com