Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Revised travel and business hosting policy effective Oct. 15

By Tim George
Finance Communications

A revised Travel and Business Hosting Expense Policy will go into effect Oct. 15 for university faculty and staff. A key change to the policy involves how the costs for meals and incidental expenses are reimbursed to employees traveling on university business.

Concur pilot participants
In October a number of departments and units across the university will begin using Concur on a pilot basis. Participants in the pilot include:
• Finance
• LSA — selected departments (chemistry, physics, English, and statistics)
• Medical School — selected departments (pathology and a subset of internal medicine)
• School of Dentistry
• School of Information
• University Audits

In addition, the university will begin using an automated travel and expense system in 2010 after it’s piloted by several units and departments across the institution later this fall.

The announcement was made to university faculty and staff Monday by Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, executive vice president for medical affairs; Timothy Slottow, executive vice president and chief financial officer; and Teresa Sullivan, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs.

Under the revised policy, employees on travel status will receive a per diem (a specified amount per day) for meals and incidental expenses (e.g., tips given to baggage carriers). To view the U.S. General Services Administration per diem rates, which vary by city, go to www.gsa.gov.

“Implementing a per diem system at the university brings us more in line with our peer institutions, which have been using such systems for years. A per diem system will enable us to better and more easily comply with state and federal reporting requirements and our own internal control standards. Just as importantly, a per diem system will allow us to redirect financial resources to our teaching and research mission,” Pescovitz, Slottow, and Sullivan say in their e-mail.

Other changes to the policy include: the timing around the submission of expense reports and the booking of flights, the appropriate selection of accommodations, and the reimbursement of in-town mileage and parking costs.

Launching an automated travel and expense system

The university also is launching Concur, an automated travel and expense software system, to support the revised policy. In addition to helping university employees more easily and efficiently comply with the revised Travel and Business Hosting Expense policy, Concur will:

• Automate the per diem process.

• Provide functionality to make travel arrangements such as airfare, hotel accommodations and car rental.

• Reduce the amount of time to process reimbursement.

• Automate time-consuming steps associated with making travel arrangements as well as tracking, managing, and reconciling travel, hosting, P-Card, and reimbursable out-of-pocket expenses.

• Help employees satisfy internal control requirements for travel and out-of-pocket expenses.

• Strengthen compliance with university policies.

• Take advantage of the university’s purchasing power to get volume discounts on goods and services.

Ensuring a successful university wide launch by piloting Concur

In October, several departments and units across the university will begin using Concur on a pilot basis. After the pilot concludes, it will be determined how to best introduce Concur to the rest of the university, which will occur in 2010.

While not all employees will be using Concur initially, all employees must comply with the revised Travel and Business Hosting Expense Policy when it’s launched in October.

Please go to www.procurement.umich.edu/travelexpense.html for more information about revised travel and business expense hosting policy and Concur. The Web site contains a variety of resources, including a schedule of informational meetings, FAQs, information for Concur users and non-Concur users, and a list of key contacts.

Questions about the revised policy or Concur may be directed to the Travel & Expense Policy Transition Team at travelexpense@umich.edu, or call 734-764-8212, option 1.