Wayne State University

Aim Higher

Policies-11

7.1 Travel Expense Policies and Procedures (Revised as of 4/1/12)

PURPOSE

This policy governs the process to reimburse individuals for university-related travel. The responsibility to observe the guidelines rests with the traveler, their immediate supervisor, budget administrator or other individuals who may certify conformance with these guidelines by approving the expenditure(s). Travel should be limited to activities that are directly related to the furtherance of the university's mission. The same judgment and consideration applies to travel reimbursements as to any university financial transaction. Reimbursement should be sought and authorized only for expenses that conform to university policy, are necessary and reasonable both in amount and relative to its purpose.

This policy applies to any WSU employee or non-employee (hereafter referred to as "WSU traveler") who incurs travel expenses and seeks reimbursement for those expenses from the university, regardless of funding source. The university will reimburse for reasonable transportation, meals, lodging and out-of-pocket expenses incurred in the transaction of university business.

These policies are not expected to cover every possible situation. Items of an unusual nature should be approved by the appropriate members of the S/C/D before the submission of expenses. The President, Provost, Vice Presidents or Deans can approve exceptions to this policy in the event of extenuating circumstances. However, even if approved, these exceptions may result in a taxable reimbursement. The written explanation and approval, as needed, must be included with the Travel Expense Report.

RESPONSIBILITIES

These policies are necessary to comply with Federal and State tax laws and third party sponsoring agency regulations. They are intended to ensure consistent and fair treatment across departments throughout the university and the uniform reporting of financial results. In general, the cost of travel should be governed by what is reasonable and appropriate to the purpose involved. The university respects the personal integrity and discretion of each traveler and conducts expense account monitoring accordingly. The following information outlines the responsibilities of various parties involved in the process:

Responsibility

Action

Traveler/Employee

The traveler submitting a Travel Expense Report (TER) is responsible for:

  1. Verifying that all expenses for which reimbursement from the university is requested are valid expenses incurred while conducting University business and conform to the appropriate university policy.

  2. Understanding that requests lacking required documentation and/or business purpose will be questioned and not reimbursed.

  3. Attesting that expenses submitted for reimbursement have not been previously paid via a prior expense report, travel advance or by an outside agency or other third party.

  4. Completing the TER within 15 calendar days after completion of travel.

  5. Retaining accountability for ensuring all expenses are in accordance with university policy even though the employee may delegate responsibility for preparation of the request.

Authorizer/Approver

Individuals authorized to approve travel expenditures of others will administer these policies and are responsible to:

  1. Attest that the purpose of the travel is valid and directly related to university business.

  2. Attest that expenses submitted for reimbursement have not been previously paid via a prior expense report, travel advance or by an outside agency or other third party.

  3. Request further documentation or explanation for expenses that appear to be excessive or unusual in relation to the nature of the business travel. Explanation of such expenditures must be included with the Travel Expense Report.

  4. Take action on the request for approval of the Travel Expense Report on a timely basis, specifically within 5 calendar days of receipt in the approval queue.

  5. Understand that while Disbursements may provide a post reimbursement review of the Travel Expense Reimbursement, the primary responsibility for the appropriateness of expenditures rests with the traveler/employee and the approving parties.

Fiscal Operations/Disbursements

The Disbursements Department within Fiscal Operations is responsible for reviewing the Travel Expense Report subsequent to processing the reimbursement; verifying expenses are reasonable and meet the following criteria:

  1. Information in the Travel Expense Report is supported by accompanying documentation, which is both complete and in accordance with University policy.

  2. Expenses conform to requirements imposed by university policy and the Internal Revenue Service.

  3. Expenses have been reviewed and approved by the appropriate authorizer.

The traveler and authorizer(s) should note that the Office of Internal Audit routinely examines travel transactions for compliance with university policies.

TRAVEL AGENCY SERVICES

(NOTE: In September 2011, WSU requested proposals from travel agencies to provided travel management services. The section will be completed when that process has been completed and a vendor has been selected.)

TRAVEL CARD PROGRAM

(NOTE: In August 2011, WSU requested proposals from credit card companies to provide card privileges for the conduct of university travel.  The section will be completed when that process has been completed and a vendor has been selected.)

TRAVEL EXPENSE REPORT SUPPORTING DOCUMENTATION

The following table provides the university's requirements for receipts and other documentation for the more commonly used expense types.  This table is provided as a guide and may be updated.

Type of Expense

Documentation

Supplemental

Airfare and baggage fee

Passenger itinerary and proof of payment

 

Lodging

Itemized hotel bill and proof of payment

Zero balance receipt

Car Rental

Itemized rental car receipt

Zero balance receipt

Personal Auto

Mileage claimed for trip

Google-type map giving approximate mileage

Conference/Meeting Registration

Registration form when present and the agenda or meeting schedule

 

Include pages containing the location of the conference, cost of conference, the schedule and those pertaining to the traveler's involvement at the conference.  Individual membership fees should be reported separately and require the approval of the respective Vice President or Dean.

All expense items including taxi, incidentals and other expenses

Itemized receipt for each item greater than $15