Category: News

Travel Policy Clarification

Following our recent Travel Policy update, we have received many questions regarding the new GSA per diems for meals and incidental expenses and how to apply the per diems to partial-day trips. For a partial-day trip in which the traveler does not spend the night, GSA only allows a per diem if the trip is over 12 hours. We have reviewed many trips and scenarios for this application and have updated the Travel Policy in order to provide an amount for travelers.

Going forward, meals and incidentals for partial day trips for UA employees with no overnight stay will be reimbursed depending upon the length of travel in the same method as In-state travel. In-state partial day per diems will apply regardless of the travel destination.

For example, if an employee travels to Jackson, Mississippi, for 10 hours, the employee would receive $11.25 for meals and incidentals for travel of 6-12 hours. If an employee travels to Jackson, Mississippi, and stays overnight, the employee would receive the amount specified by the GSA for meals and incidentals based on the destination and duration of the trip.

We have updated our Travel Vouchers on the website to reflect this change. Please see the below listing of travel vouchers available.

This policy update is effective immediately and will be applied to any 2017 Travel Vouchers not already processed for payment.

Note there have been no changes to Non-Employee travel.

Travel Update Sessions

In our January newsletter, we announced changes to the UA Travel Policy and offered two town hall style information sessions in order to provide an opportunity for you get answers to any questions that you may have. We had a good turnout for our first meeting, and many more have registered for the second. In fact, we’ve had so much interest that we are adding a third session. Please see the details for both upcoming sessions below.

Wednesday, January 25
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
North Lawn Hall, room 1000

Thursday, February 2
1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
ten Hoor Hall, room 125

All are welcome to attend, but registration is preferred. Please sign up and submit any questions that you’d like to have covered during the meeting. We hope to see you there!

Updated Travel Policy

As we have been working towards our implementation of the Concur travel and expense management tool, we have reviewed many of our policies to ensure we are effectively utilizing our new resources. As such, we have a significant travel policy update to share with you. Effective January 1, 2017, The University of Alabama transitioned to a per diem method for reimbursing UA Employees for meals and incidental expenses for any travel outside of the state of Alabama. Travelers will no longer have to maintain and submit receipts for meals while traveling. This will make travel expense reporting far less time consuming and labor intensive for departments and will also allow departments to gain more certainty and predictability in travel budgeting. For non-UA employees, we will continue to reimburse using an actual expense method not to exceed a set maximum, but the non-UA employee traveler will no longer have to maintain and submit receipts either.

For more information on the change to the per diem method, please see our Per Diem Guide on the Accounts Payable website.

We will also hold two town hall style information sessions in January in order to communicate our policy updates and answer any questions you may have. All are welcome to attend but registration is preferred. Please sign up and submit any questions that you’d like to have covered during the meeting. We hope to see you there!

New Mileage Rates and Updated Travel Vouchers

Effective January 1, 2017, the mileage rate paid to persons traveling in privately owned vehicles on official business for the state will be 53.5 cents per mile (down from 54 cents in 2016). The mileage rate for moving will be 17 cents per mile (down from 19 cents in 2016).

In order to reflect the updated UA Travel Policy as well as the new mileage rates, Accounts Payable has developed new Travel Vouchers for 2017. The updated Travel Vouchers are effective for any travel occurring on or after January 1, 2017. Please use the 2016 version of the vouchers for any travel prior to January 1, 2017. The new types of Travel Vouchers are:

The updated Travel Vouchers are available in the forms section on the Accounts Payable website. If you have any questions regarding the new mileage rates or the updated vouchers, please contact Accounts Payable Customer Service by email or by phone at 348-7377.

Holiday Break

The holiday season is upon us! We all get very busy in the days before the holiday break. Avoid the rush in Accounts Payable by submitting your travel vouchers, MDVs and invoices as soon as possible. We would like to process all of your payments for you prior to the upcoming break.

Don’t Forget Your Signatures!

Reminder string tied around fingerBefore submitting vouchers for payment, please ensure that all appropriate signatures have been obtained. This will result in faster processing and payment through Accounts Payable!

Travel vouchers must be signed on the line marked “Signature of Claimant” by the traveler. This signature acknowledges acceptance of the terms and conditions of reimbursement. Travel vouchers must also be signed by the supervisor (not a designee or stamp) of the employee who is requesting reimbursement for official travel. By signing the expense report, the supervisor is certifying the expenses being submitted are in accordance with the University of Alabama’s Travel Policies.

All MDVs must be signed by the appropriate supervisor and an appropriate department-designated approver with budgetary authority. The approvers’ signatures serve as authorization that the purchases are being made in accordance with the UA Spending Policy.

Additionally, please review all supporting documentation within your Travel Vouchers and MDVs to ensure all appropriate signatures are included. For example, please do not include a contract that has not been fully executed and signed by both an authorized UA signer and the external vendor.

Sales Tax on Foundations

Please remember that the University’s sales tax exemption does not apply to purchases made by foundations. Vendors are generally unaware of the source of funding for a purchase and may not apply the sales tax for foundation purchases. If sales tax is not added to foundation purchases and the vendor is audited by the state, the sales tax will be assessed at that time, and the vendor can come back to UA for payment.

As such, it is in the best interest of UA and our vendors to be vigilant in adding sales tax to foundation purchases at the time the invoice is received. When you receive invoices from a vendor for foundation purchases, please review the invoice for sales tax and follow up with the vendor if not included. If you have any questions or any issues with the vendor applying the tax, please contact Accounts Payable.

TSA Pre✓®

The costs associated with TSA Pre-Check service are not allowable on state funds (Chart A). Payment via P-Card, or personal credit/debit card seeking reimbursement, may be made only if approval is obtained to charge the expense to foundation funds. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact P-Card Services or Accounts Payable.


Uber, an on-demand ride-sharing service, is gaining popularity and momentum across the U.S. as an alternative to traditional taxi services. If you are traveling to a city were Uber operates, you can simply use the Uber App (available for iOS, Android, Windows and Blackberry devices) to request a ride and pay for your ride using a credit/debit card.

Before using this service, an Uber account will need to be created. If traveling for University business and paying for this service using your P-Card or seeking reimbursement through a Travel Voucher, you should create a Business Profile. To do so, select “Settings” then select “Profiles” within the app. When you create a business profile, you’ll be prompted to associate a business email address and credit card. Trips taken on your business profile default to this credit card, and all trip receipts are sent to your business email. These receipts will need to be included with the p-card packet or reimbursement request.

Please note that Uber fares are based on supply and demand and are typically more cost-effective than taxis, but not during peak or high-activity times. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact P-Card Services or Accounts Payable.

Sam’s Club Purchases

Sam’s Club has recently started accepting Visa credit cards as a payment method. As such, Accounts Payable will no longer provide Wal-mart Credit Cards for Sam’s Club Purchases. Departments should now use a University P-Card for these purchases. As a reminder, the UA Membership with Sam’s Club is intended for departments to purchase food items. Non-food items require pre-approval by a buyer in the Purchasing Department.

Departments should continue to pick up the Sam’s Club UA Membership Card from the front desk of Procurement Services in the South Lawn Office Building at 1101 Jackson Avenue, Suite 3000, Tuscaloosa, AL 35401 between the hours of 8:00 -12:00 and 1:00 – 4:30. The membership card must be returned to Procurement Services within 48 hours of checking out. For more information, please see the Sam’s Club Purchases webpage.

Please be aware that Sam’s Club may require your assigned PIN number. Please see the P-Card website for more on how to use your PIN number.