Business Travel Expense Policy & Procedures

Modified 07/01/2014

PURPOSE
This policy provides guidelines for the reimbursement of expenses incurred for official University business travel that are properly authorized, reasonable and appropriately documented as submitted on a Travel Expense Reimbursement Report.

APPLICABILITY
This policy applies to all Faculty and Professional Staff Members at the University, excluding members affiliated with a collective bargaining unit.

Implementation
Implementation of this policy is the responsibility of the Department of Procurement Services

ADMINISTRATIVE OVERSIGHT
The Senior Vice President for Finance, Treasurer & CFO is the Drexel University official responsible for the administration of this policy.

POLICY
The University will reimburse its Faculty and Professional Staff Members for expenses incurred for official University business travel that are properly authorized, reasonable and appropriately documented as submitted on a Travel Expense Reimbursement Report. Travel expenses for spouses/domestic partners or other family members/friends are not eligible for reimbursement unless their travel can be justified as a bona fide business purpose.  It is expected that all Faculty and Professional Staff Members will exercise appropriate care in incurring all such travel expenses as reported on either a Travel Expense Reimbursement Report or the University Purchasing Card Statement of Account. Because the University is a non-profit, charitable, educational institution, or 501(c)(3) organization as defined by the IRS, such expenses should be moderate both in frequency and in amount.

The University’s business expense reimbursement policy qualifies as an “accountable plan” in accordance with Section 62 of the Internal Revenue Code. Under an accountable plan, Faculty and Professional Staff Members are reimbursed for expenses incurred, without tax consequences, when the following five conditions are satisfied:

  1. Business Connection: All charges are for business expenses paid or incurred in connection with the performance of services as a Faculty Member or Professional Staff Member.
  2. Substantiation: All payments must be substantiated by the Faculty or Professional Staff Member within a "reasonable period of time" (e.g., 30 days) after the expense is paid or incurred.
  3. Advance Reasonably Calculated to Cover Expenses: Any expense advance must be "reasonably calculated not to exceed the amount of anticipated expenses" and must be paid within "a reasonable period of time" or 7 days prior to the day the anticipated expense will be incurred.
  4. Specific Identification: The reimbursement or advance is identified or paid separately from wages.
  5. Plan Must Require Return of Unspent Advances: The Faculty or Professional Staff Member must be required to return to the employer within "a reasonable period of time" any part of the advance in excess of substantiated expenses. This requirement is met if the Faculty or Professional Staff Member substantiates the expense within 30 days after it is incurred and returns any unspent funds at that time. If a Faculty or Professional Staff Member does not return an unsubstantiated advance within 30 days, the entire advance is subject to FICA and income tax withholding.

Only actual expenses will be reimbursed. Faculty and Professional Staff Members should neither gain nor lose personal funds while conducting business for the University. It is the responsibility of each Faculty and Professional Staff Member, as well as the supervisor approving the expenses, to comply with the provisions of this travel policy.

By signing the travel reports, both the Faculty and Professional Staff Member and the Faculty and Professional Staff Member’s supervisor certify that the travel reports are complete and accurate. Payment of travel related expenses will not occur without such certification and approval, as well as all required information and documents including justifications and receipts. Reimbursement of out-of-pocket travel expenses is made only when the Faculty or Professional Staff Member submits an accounting of those expenses on the Travel Expense Reimbursement Report.

This policy governs all travel expense payments regardless of the source of funds supporting the travel. The policy and procedures apply to travel expense payments made using the P-Card, Faculty and Professional Staff Member’s personal credit card, University check, University cash advance or out-of-pocket cash.

DEFINITIONS
Professional Staff Member is defined as an individual employed in any non-faculty category by Drexel University, including an individual who is deemed to be either exempt or non-exempt under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or applicable state law.

Faculty Member is defined as an individual employed by Drexel University in a tenured, tenure-track, non-tenured track or adjunct position who teaches at any college, school, center or institute in the University.  A Faculty Member also is deemed to be exempt under the provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and/or applicable state law.

PROCEDURES

Travel Arrangements
It is expected that all University Business Air and Rail travel Requests, that can be reasonability met, be made with the University authorized travel management company (TMC). Access the TMC through the DrexelOne, Employee, Business Travel Portal.  Local Philadelphia hotels should be booked using the Procurement Services Portal. www.drexel.edu/procurement/.  All other hotel needs may be booked directly or with the TMC. 

Use of  the TMC will allow access to exclusive University specific provider discounts. The TMC provides online booking, agent assisted bookings, as well as other services. 

P-Card Use for Travel

When possible, travel expenses should be paid using the University Purchasing Card (“P-Card”). Travel expenses paid with the P-Card are reported on the monthly P-Card Statement of Account (“Statement”). The Faculty or Professional Staff Member’s supervisor must approve all travel expenses by signing the Statement. Original receipts are required and must be reviewed by the Faculty or Professional Staff Member’s supervisor prior to approving the Statement. The original receipts are retained in the department, along with a copy of the Statement, for audit purposes. P-Card holders making travel arrangements for individuals other than their direct reports must obtain the approving signature of the Faculty or Professional Staff Member’s supervisor prior to submitting the Statement to the Purchasing Card Office. Refer to the P-Card overview on the Procurement Services website for more information on using the P-Card for travel expenses. A description of the business purpose of the expense must be included on the P-Card Statement for each charge.
Expenses charged to the P-Card are reported on the monthly P-Card Statement and are required to be included on the Travel Expense Reimbursement Report only at the discretion of the Faculty or Professional Staff Member’s supervisor. P-Card charges included on the Travel Expense Reimbursement Report are reported as prepaid expenses. A description of the business purpose of the expense must be included on the P-Card Statement for each charge.

Completing the Travel Expense Reimbursement Report and Attaching Documentation

Faculty and Professional Staff Members should complete one Travel Expense Reimbursement Report per travel occurrence. Appropriate documentation/receipts for all expenses associated with business travel must be attached to the Travel Expense Reimbursement Report (see Documentation/Receipts section below for details). Reimbursement of travel-related expenses will occur only when the appropriate travel reports are fully completed and approved. Travel forms can be found on the Accounts payable website.

    1. A Travel Expense Reimbursement Report must be submitted within 30 days after the trip to the Procurement Services/Accounts Payable Office: 3201 Arch Street, Suite 400, or dropped off in the 3201 Arch Street lobby mailbox.
    2. The business purpose for the travel, including the name and location of the business meeting, a copy of the meeting agenda, names of the participants and their relationship to University activities or projects, is required.
    3. When foreign travel is approved, consult the OANDA website for currency exchange rates and convert all expenses to U.S. dollars.
    4. Travel Account Definitions for each travel expense account can be found on the Accounts Payable website.

Documentation/Receipts
Original receipts documenting proof of payment are required for all expenses. Photocopies of receipts are not permitted except for third party sponsored travel where original receipts are provided to the sponsor for reimbursement. All receipts must be attached to the report. Smaller-sized receipts must be taped to an 8½ x 11 inch sheet of paper and attached to the report.

      1. Online receipts must be submitted for reservations and registrations made through the internet. The online receipt is received via email when the reservation is completed. Itineraries that do not show proof of payment will be not accepted.
      2. In those instances when receipts are not available, Faculty or Professional Staff Members may "write up" their own expense receipts on 3 x 5 inch cards by describing the activity and including the date, amount, destination and signature of the Faculty or Professional Staff Member. Use of write-up receipts should be limited to infrequent occasions when the documents are not available and is not a substitute for the original receipts. The University reserves the right to refuse reimbursement in cases where the write-up receipts appear excessive or inappropriate.

Personal Credit Card Reimbursements
Travel expenses paid with a personal credit card will be reimbursed only upon submission of a fully completed and approved Travel Expense Reimbursement Report after the trip is completed.

Approval
All travel expenses must be approved by the direct supervisor of the Faculty or Professional Staff Member. Faculty or Professional Staff Members cannot approve their own expenses.

Excess Cash Advance Payments
Amounts due to the University for excess cash advanced or other payments must be reimbursed via personal check payable to Drexel University. The reimbursement must be submitted to the Accounts Payable Office along with the Travel Expense Reimbursement Report.

Reimbursement for non-University individuals (Other than spouses/domestic partners, family members/friends)
Requests for reimbursement of travel expenses for non-University individuals (guests of the University, candidates for positions, speakers, etc.) are made using a Check Request Form rather than a Travel Expense Reimbursement Report. The Check Request Form and instructions are available on the Accounts Payable website.

Reimbursement for Spouses/Domestic Partners or other family members/friends
Travel expenses for spouses/domestic partners other family members and friends are not eligible for reimbursement unless their travel can be justified as a bona fide business purpose.

Travel on Sponsored Programs
Travel on sponsored programs information and requirement can be found on the Office of Research Administration website.

Reimbursement Payment
Reimbursement will be issued within three business days after Procurement Services/Accounts Payable completes the process within the Banner Financial System. Faculty and Professional Staff Members who are enrolled in paycheck direct deposit will receive reimbursement through direct deposit. For Faculty and Professional Staff Members who are not enrolled in paycheck direct deposit, payment will be mailed to the Faculty or Professional Staff Members home address. For additional information on business expense reimbursement via direct deposit, consult the Resources on the Accounts Payable website or contact the Accounts Payable Department at 215-895-2840 or acctpay@drexel.edu.