Category: News

How do I submit International Travel Requests for Approval?

As part of our recent Travel Policy updates, we have formalized the required prior approval for international travel. Travel is considered international when it occurs anywhere outside the United States of America, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or Canada. This approval will be automated through an International Travel Request once Concur is fully implemented on campus. Until that time, you should continue to submit international travel requests as you have in the past. Copies should be provided to the Capstone International Center (135 BB Comer; Box 870254).

Policy Updates

As you know, based on recent communications, we have been reviewing many of our policies in Accounts Payable as part of our transition to the Concur travel and expense management tool. We are undergoing these reviews to ensure that we are effectively utilizing our new tools and resources available through Concur.

Travel Policy:

  • Significant updates to the Travel Policy were announced by email on January 5. View our Updated Travel Policy post for full details.
  • A clarification was communicated by email on January 19. View our Travel Policy Clarification post for full details.
  • A new online course titled UA Travel Policy has been developed and is now available through SkillPort. It is recommended for any UA Employee who will travel, approve travel, make travel arrangements, or prepare travel expense reports.

Spending Policy:

Our updates to the Spending Policy are primarily to prepare for the Concur implementation by adding language regarding the new system. Please review the Spending Policy to see the updates.

Please contact Accounts Payable if you have any questions regarding the new policies.

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.