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Travel & Expense Management Newsletter: Fall 2020

Automated Pre-Booking Approval for Travel

Dependent on the University’s operational posture, approval is required for travel as outlined in the University’s Safe Travel Guidance and Requirements and Standards and Guidelines for Safe Mobility. To improve the process for required approvals for travel during each operational posture, pre-booking approvals for travel will be automated within the Concur system as follows:

  • High Risk and Elevated Risk Postures: RC Head approval is required for travel that is deemed necessary during these postures. The Concur online booking tool will automatically route travel bookings for pre-booking approval based on the traveler’s default account information in their Concur profile. The same RC approver for purchases over $100,000 will also approve Concur pre-booking requests.
  • Guarded Risk Posture: Approval by the traveler's department is required. The Concur online booking tool will automatically route travel bookings for pre-booking approval, based on the traveler’s default account information in their Concur profile, to the departmental approver.

For more information about approvals and guidance related to travel, visit this page.

Unused Airline Tickets

With travel being canceled for several months and currently restricted to only essential travel, unused airfare tickets are waiting to be utilized. Travelers or travel arrangers for the departments should work directly Anthony Travel to complete a name change to utilize the funds on any unused airfare in your area. For information on how to best utilize your departments unused tickets please reach out to Anthony Travel at pitt@anthonytravel.com.

Consolidation of Expense Reports

Due to COVID-19 related budget constraints, please consolidate and submit only one expense report for your monthly expenses. If multiple accounts are being used, use the allocations feature.

For departments submitting Trainee Health Insurance: upon the move to bi-weekly pay (which means health insurance will be deducted bi-weekly), please continue to submit on a monthly basis. This means that the expense report will now need to be submitted with two expense lines (or three depending on the month) showing the deductions per pay. We are unable to process them once every two weeks.

Professional Memberships/Dues vs Conference/Seminar/Course Registration vs Group Conference Registration

Professional Memberships/Dues are monthly/yearly/bi-annual payments made to organizations to maintain access to opportunities provided by the organization (trainings, networking, etc). This is not interchangeable with the registration expense types.

Conference/Seminar/Course Registrations are registrations for various events hosted by the previously mentioned organizations. This should be used when one person is paying for an individual registration to the event (i.e. one charge = one registration). This is not interchangeable with the membership expense type.

Group Conference Registration is used when the registrations of two or more people are paid for in the same expense (i.e. one charge = two or more registrations). You will need to provide a list of the attendees whose registrations were purchased (similar to a Group Business Meal).

Please remember to double-check the expense types on your travel card charges before submission, as sometimes Concur auto-populates the expense type field based on the MCC of the vendor submitting the charge. This is not always correct.

Difference between Refunds, Reimbursements, and Credits to the Travel Card

  • Refunds: An expense is considered a Refund when it is paid directly to the University but is being returned due to cancellation or other circumstance. Example – A fee was paid to the University for a ticket to an event being hosted by the University, but you are no longer able to attend the event and have cancelled your reservation. The University returns this fee for the event ticket. This would be entered as “Refunds”.
  • Reimbursement: An expense is considered a Reimbursement when it is a business expense incurred by you on behalf of the University, and the University is allowing you to recoup the costs of that expense. Examples – airfare, registrations, supplies, etc. This would be entered with the expense type that corresponds to the nature of your purchase.
  • Credits back to the Travel Card: Money given back to your travel card, either due to overpayment of tax or cancellation of travel/event. When your card is credited back for a charge, you must reconcile that charge on an expense report, and use the same expense type for the credit that was used for the original expense. A credit does not wipe out the card charge.

Travel Standards & Guidelines

The University of Pittsburgh COVID-19 Standards and Guidelines for Travel Management have been approved by the Healthcare Advisory Group and appropriate Sr Vice Chancellors. It is important for everyone who is either booking travel or traveling to review and understand these travel-related Standards and Guidelines. Not following the guidance can result in travel expenses not being reimbursed.

Check Pickups

Check pickups are unavailable at this time. You may receive an automated email stating your check is ready for pickup, please disregard that. The Payment Processing office remains closed at this time.

TSA: What to Know Before You Go

TSA has updated their safety protocol. Two key changes are:

  • Travelers are allowed up to 12 ounces of hand sanitizer per passenger.
  • Travelers will hold up their ID and boarding passes to the agents for a visual inspection, travelers will not hand them to the TSA Agents.

For more information visit TSA here.

Gift Cards

A reminder that gift cards cannot be purchased out of pocket or on the travel card. This needs to be done through Vincent Payment Solutions (formerly WePay). Information about Vincent can be found here.