Approved Travel Changes Roll Out July 1

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past year, the Travel and Complex Payments (“Travel”) Office has been working on several new planned initiatives that will decrease processing time for travel reimbursement requests and improve the customer experience. These new initiatives were approved for campus-wide roll-out at the Chancellor’s April 11th Cabinet meeting. If you haven’t already, we strongly encourage you to start using the new forms now to make the transition easier.

When are these new initiatives effective?

July 1, 2016

Who’s impacted?

Those who travel or prepare travel paperwork for UNC Charlotte business purposes or both. 

What's changing?

New Travel Authorization & Reimbursement Forms Why?
  • New travel forms, initially released campus-wide in April 2015, will be mandatory and will include the Travel Authorization and Request for Travel Reimbursement forms.

  • Small changes to the forms will be made public and posted on the web by July 1st. An email communication will accompany these changes.
  • More user-friendly

    • One consolidated workbook - traveler and fund information only need to be entered once.

    • Separate sections for prepaid charges, mileage, per diem meals, and reimbursable costs.

  • Improved efficiency and accuracy

    • Formulas and drop-down boxes eliminate manual calculation of account code totals, AND

    • Forms are faster to review for departments and the Travel Office, which leads to faster processing.
Delegated Authority for Travel Reimbursements Why?
  • The entire campus will have travel reimbursement approval authority for lower-risk reimbursement requests ($500 or less) that do not involve international travel or travel advances.

  • Reimbursements that meet these criteria will no longer be centrally pre-audited. Instead, they will be audited quarterly on a sample basis. Audit reports will be sent quarterly to departmental fund managers.
  • Increase departmental knowledge & accountability.

  • Emphasize the importance of departmental review.

  • Detailed review stays within departmental administrative units that are closer to the source of information and can provide more one-on-one service to their travelers.

  • Training and communication increase campus users’ understanding of travel process and requirements.
The Travel Prepayment Request form will be eliminated. The Travel Advance Request will be a stand-alone form. Why?
  • Required travel costs that need to be paid before and during travel (e.g., registration, airfare, and hotel) should be made with a University Purchasing Card (p-card).

  • Departments will be required to have at least one P-card within their department to help process these prepaid expense needs.

  • For any vendor that does not accept credit card payments, any legitimate need for a manual check to prepay a travel-related expense (e.g., registration fee to a vendor who does not accept credit cards) must go through the Direct Pay Request (DPR) process.

  • Travel will no longer process prepayment requests that effectively reimburse the traveler for travel-related expenses made on the traveler’s personal credit card before traveling (in such situations, the traveler may request reimbursement once the trip is completed).

  • Travel advances will continue to be granted if needed, for expected meals and mileage using a stand-alone form.
  • Decrease processing time and paper by reducing over 1,500 requests for prepayments that can otherwise be paid via p-card (savings of $30,000+ and 8,000+ pieces of paper).

  • Transition the paper-based prepayment process to the electronic p-card program.

  • Reduce the need for multiple reviews both before and after the trip for the same expense items.

Links to all forms will be on the Financial Services Forms page.

For time savings, we encourage p-card use! Complete a p-card application here.

One of our overall goals is to increase customer service and transparency. These changes will enable the Travel Office to provide better targeted, ongoing customer service and guidance, and monitor compliance with travel policies.

Will there be training?

Yes! To assist users with this transition, we will hold two presentation/training sessions as well as two drop-in sessions on the new travel forms at the dates, times, and locations listed here. No registration is required. 

We will also be meeting will key colleges/departments across campus between now and July 1st. If you would like one-on-one departmental training for your area, please contact us.

Key resources:

  • FAQs

  • Contact the Travel Office with questions and to set up one-on-one or departmental training.

Other improvement efforts completed:

Other improvement efforts being considered:

  • Electronically submitting forms in Perceptive Content (formerly ImageNow)

  • Updated Mileage & Parking form

  • Updated Missing Receipt Affidavit form

Thank you to all of the areas that participated in the delegated authority program pilot. Three pilot phases involving 18 departments were conducted since May 2014 and resulted in multiple process efficiency gains and improved customer experience. User feedback led to many form and process improvements to meet campus travel needs. We are grateful for your time and commitment to making this program successful in each of your areas.

We realize these are significant changes, and we will provide resources (both human and system) to guide you successfully through this transition.

Please look for further communications regarding these changes and don’t hesitate to reach out to the Travel Office with questions at TravelComments@uncc.edu.

 

Ron Sanders, Associate Controller

Julie Hughes, Travel & Complex Payments Supervisor