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To:     MOU Leads
University Business Managers
Finance TIPs and Trainers
Finance Campus Working Group Members

From: Martha Pendergrass, Director of Procurement Services

Date:  December 11, 2014

This communication is a follow up to campus questions concerning travel advances, registration and reimbursement.  Both the Web Travel training manual and the related travel policies and procedures are in the process of being updated to reflect this information.

The following policies have not changed and remain in effect:

The University strongly suggests that departments pre-pay the vendor directly for the traveler’s conference registration fee using the pre-payment function via Travel Authorization in Web Travel.  Prepaying the individual for a conference registration fee is not desired, but exceptions are possible as discussed below.

The University’s travel policy regarding airfare remains as it was prior to go-live.  The airfare option in Web Travel (formerly known as CABS) should be used for airfare requests.  The reason for this is that the State of N.C. regards airfare miles as belonging to the State, not the individual.  NOTE: Travel advances are NOT issued to travelers for airfare.

Travelers are still required to personally sign/date the Traveler Acknowledgment page when requesting Travel Advances and/or Travel Reimbursements.  Note: The Traveler Acknowledgement page is different depending on whether you are requesting a Travel Advance or requesting a Travel Reimbursement for expenses incurred.

What has changed?

There has been a change in the procedure for reimbursing a traveler for registration expenses prior to the trip.  Prior to Oct. 1, if a traveler paid for his/her own conference registration (not the preferred process), the preparer would create a Travel Authorization within Web Travel, enter the registration information and could designate the traveler as vendor/payee to reimburse the traveler for the registration fee.  The process has now changed.

Now, if a traveler chooses to pay for conference registration with their own monies, Travel Services may issue the amount as a Travel Advance to reimburse the cost only if there is a justification in the Notepad section, providing the reason the traveler paid for the registration instead of following the preferred procedure of requesting the University issue registration payment to the conference vendor directly (see policy 1309, Registration Fees) on behalf of the traveler via Travel Authorization.  Any registration request payable to the traveler and missing the required justification will be denied and sent back to the preparer.

If an exception is granted and a Travel Advance is issued for registration costs, the preparer will need to include the registration fee in the reimbursement details section of the Travel Reimbursement document in order to settle/reconcile the travel advance.  If registration payment is issued directly to the conference vendor, the amount does not need to be included in the reimbursement request.

The Traveler Acknowledgement page is being updated to clearly state to the traveler that if the University is paying a conference registration directly to the conference vendor, the traveler does not need to sign the Traveler Acknowledgement page.  The checkbox language on the page is being updated as follows: “By checking this box I am certifying that I have attached the Traveler’s Acknowledgement, or the Travel Authorization only requests registration fees to be paid directly to the conference vendor.”

Important terminology

Travel Authorization:
A Travel Authorization can be used to prepay registration on behalf of the traveler (or reimburse the traveler for paid pre-registration fees before the trip, if an exception is granted) and/or to advance monies to UNC faculty, staff or students who are planning a business trip for the benefit of the University.
Travel Advance:
Travel Advances are issued for meals, room and/or pre-registration expenses. Travel Advances are issued as checks and cannot be direct deposited.  Travel Advances must be reconciled after the trip by processing the Travel Reimbursement against the original Travel Advance request.  Advances are generally only available for foreign travel and student travel.
Travel Reimbursement:
A Travel Reimbursement is completed after the trip.  A Travel Reimbursement is used to reimburse UNC faculty, staff and students who have incurred expenses related to University business travel.
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