It is the intent of this Administrative Practice Letter (APL) to define parameters for travel, expense reimbursement, and the use of corporate cards while maintaining sufficient controls. These procedures apply to employees and qualified individuals when they incur travel-related and non-travel expenses while conducting authorized University of Maine System (the University or UMS) business.
The University pays for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred by University employees and qualified individuals (e.g., job applicants, student recruits, students, and guest speakers). All travel and expense transactions, including any reimbursement to the traveler, must be processed through the University’s travel and expense management system, SAP Concur, herein referred to as Concur. Reimbursement for approved expenses will be based on actual costs, as authorized.
Purchasing decisions should always be made in the best interest of the University. Travelers and purchasers are expected to minimize expenses by making reasonable selections that result in the least expense to the University. It is expected employees will strive to obtain the best price for the quality needed. By weighing price and service, not just convenience, travelers and purchasers can ensure University funds are used effectively. This includes using the required Concur booking tool for all airfare purchases (see Travel Booking Services, III.B.).
If federal funds are used and federal requirements are more restrictive than the University’s, the federal requirements will take precedence.
It is the traveler’s and purchaser’s responsibility to document expenditures in accordance with the procedures outlined in this APL.
Through this APL, University CBO is used to refer to either the CBO or their designee.
Consult Procurement Services staff (email@example.com) with questions regarding the University’s procedures or requirements.
These procedures shall be administered and enforced uniformly for all travelers and purchasers. Each level of approving authority/employee’s supervisor is responsible for making the policy readily available to subordinates and monitoring compliance when authorizing Travel and Purchasing Requests or approving Expense Reports. Travelers/purchasers and supervisors should exercise sound business judgment in implementing these procedures and in responding to conditions that warrant exceptions. Exceptions will be monitored and inappropriate claims will not be reimbursed. In addition, the University could impose disciplinary action on individuals who fail to follow these procedures.
III. Travel Approval & Booking Guidelines
A. Approval of Travel
All out-of-state (and international) travel requires prior approval via a fully approved Travel Request in Concur. This requirement applies regardless of any approvals that may have been granted outside of Concur. A Travel Request accomplishes three important objectives;
- Documents approval to travel from the traveler’s supervisor,
- Allows the appropriate budget approval authority to ensure that adequate funds exist for the travel, and
- Provides visibility into the trip to ensure the traveler is adequately insured AND to allow the University to render assistance, as appropriate, to the traveler while traveling. For travel fully (or partially) funded by an entity outside of the University (e.g., a University employee serves as an officer of a professional association and related expenses are covered by the association), Travel Requests are still required.
Quarterly reports will be provided to supervisors listing trips with no prior approval, but for which prior approval was required, for follow up supervisory action.
B. Travel Booking Services
The University has retained a designated Travel Management Company (TMC) and requires travelers to use the Concur booking tool or the TMC for booking all air travel. Travelers are also encouraged to use Concur and the designated TMC to book lodging, rental car, and rail services.
Booking travel through Concur and the TMC provides the University with the information necessary to meet its duty-of-care obligations (i.e., to render assistance, as appropriate, to the traveler while traveling). In addition, use of such programs ensures that the traveler receives appropriate service levels and negotiated rates, while providing management information to ensure contract performance of vendors.
The UMS Travel Administrator in consultation with the appropriate University CBO may grant rare exceptions to book outside of Concur/the TMC for compelling business reasons.
The Concur booking tool should not be used to book personal travel. The designated TMC may be used to book personal travel as long as they are informed and a personal credit card is provided for that personal travel.
IV. Travel Expense Guidelines
Individuals who travel on behalf of the University shall be reimbursed for such travel based on the actual expenses incurred. Such actual expenses shall include, but not be limited to, meals, lodging, air travel, and ground transportation. Travel expenses will be reimbursed after a trip has been completed.
University travelers are expected to pay for major travel expenses (e.g., airfare, lodging, car rental) using a Corporate Card or purchase order unless granted a prior exception by the appropriate CBO.
All travel expenses, whether made on a Corporate Card or as a reimbursable expense, require a receipt unless otherwise noted. See Receipt Requirements, VI.A. for what constitutes an acceptable receipt.
Meal expenditures are allowable when they are ordinary and necessary for carrying out the mission of the University.
Travelers are encouraged to utilize a University issued Corporate Card for meal expenses; however, the traveler must reimburse the University for meal expenses that exceed the lower of the Department or University per day maximum.
Note: all meal allowances are based on actual costs incurred, the University does not allow per diem reimbursements.
Tips are allowable up to 20% of the cost of a meal, before taxes and fees, and do not alter the daily meal limit. There are two exceptions to this requirement:
- Travelers may round tips up to the next dollar, and
- In the rare instance where a restaurant requires a tip greater than 20%, the full amount is an allowable expense. Restaurants typically only require a certain percentage for a tip when a group is served.
Generally, alcohol is not an allowable expense. Any exceptions must be approved by the applicable University’s CBO and must be funded appropriately from non E&G (educational and general) sources. See APL IV-I, Use of University Funds.
Meals that meet one of the following criteria are allowable:
1. Travel Meals
Meals are allowable when travelers are on business and away from home overnight.
The University provides for individual meals at reasonable and actual cost, up to the allowable amount; for overnight travel the standard allowance for domestic travel is $50 per day. Departments may limit meal expenses by allowing a lower daily maximum limit, provided that limit is applied to both unrestricted funds and restricted funds. It is the responsibility of the departmental expense approver to monitor compliance with the reduced allowance.
Receipts are not required for individual meal expenditures, however in rare cases, departmental approvers can require receipts at their discretion, but must communicate that requirement to the traveler at the time of trip authorization and note that requirement in the Concur system.
a. Meals Outside the Continental United States:
For travel outside of the continental United States, the University allows for actual meal expenses up to the maximum Federal Rate for that location. Allowable amounts for meals Outside the Continental United States (OCONUS) vary depending on the locality of travel:
- OCONUS – is to be used for non-foreign localities outside of the continental United States. These areas include Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and possessions of the United States.
- Foreign OCONUS – is to be used for foreign travel.
As rates change, travelers should complete their Expense Reports in a timely manner to ensure that the applied rate is appropriate to the actual dates of travel. The Concur system automatically calculates the foreign travel meal allowance by location. For reference, these rates may be obtained by adding the Local Meals and Local Incidental amounts at the United States Department of Defense Travel website (External Link).
b. UMS Federal Rate Meals:
For overnight travel that is out-of-state but within the continental United States, The University permits travelers to elect a higher daily allowance by using Federal Rate Meals. Federal Rate Meals are allowable at actual costs (not per diem), whether paid for with the Corporate Card or as a reimbursable expense. These rates are based on the travel destination and can be determined using the meal portion of the meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) rates found on the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) website (External Link).
- When electing to use Federal Rate Meals, the travel and the meal rate must be approved via a Travel Request prior to booking travel. The Travel Request may not be denied based solely on the meal rate selected. Travelers may elect either Federal Rate Meals or standard Travel Meals ($50) for an entire trip, rates cannot be combined.
- The Federal Rate Meals allowance provides for a prorated amount (75%) on the first and last days of travel. It also includes per-meal reductions when meals are provided to the traveler (e.g. meals provided at a conference, or otherwise paid for by another party).
2. Official Meetings, Training, and Group Meals
University funds may be used for meals when a meeting for official University business involves individuals who are not University employees (e.g., guest lecturers, job candidates, donors, prospective students).
University funds may also be used for meals when University employees meet to accomplish various business objectives and it is not possible or practical to leave the premises or otherwise be responsible for their own meal. Such meetings will have an agenda, are often catered, and usually have a short lunch break or continue during the meal.
University funds may be used for meals for employee training events. Training events are defined as organized activities aimed at imparting information and/or instruction to improve job performance. Training events do not include regular staff meetings and, whenever practical, personnel should set training times to avoid incurring meal expenses.
University funds may also be used for athletic team meals, student group travel, or in instances where a group meal includes three or more employees with Corporate Cards, but it is not practicable to split the expense (care should be taken to observe the daily limits).
The expenses should be reasonable, properly substantiated, and directly-related or associated with the active conduct of University business. Such expenses will be allowed at actual costs. Proper substantiation includes documentation of the amount, the date, place, business purpose, listing of attendees, and itemized receipt. See: APL Section IV-I, Use of University Funds.
3. Extended Day Meals (taxable)
For single extended days (no overnight stay), the maximum limit is $20 per day, per person.
Meal expenditures for Single Extended Days are allowable and taxable (will be reported on the employee’s annual IRS W-2) under the following circumstances:
- The employee’s required travel extends their work day by more than four (4) hours beyond their regular work day. Regular work day is defined as the normal time at work plus normal commute time
- The Single Extended Day Travel Meal allowance is not intended to replace the employee’s regular mid-shift meal.
- The travel day cannot be otherwise extended in order to meet the 4-hour minimum.
- The Single Extended Day Travel Meal is allowed at actual cost and may not exceed $20. No receipt required and a University Corporate Card should be used whenever possible.
1. Lowest Cost
University travelers are expected to use the lowest cost lodging appropriate to their travel. University travelers should stay in a standard room only. Suites and other upgraded rooms are not allowable expenses. If there is a valid business need for a non-standard room, the business purpose must be documented and approval must be granted in advance by the department chair or CBO. Travelers may accept complimentary upgrades. Incidentals such as in-room movies and laundry services are not allowable.
2. Lodging at Actual Cost
The University allows for lodging at actual cost, itemized lodging receipts are required. Such receipts typically show the name and location of the lodging, the dates, and separate amounts for other charges such as meals and telephone calls.
Tipping for housekeeping and bell services, typically $1-$2 per night, is allowable at actual cost and should not exceed $5 per night. Receipts are not required.
3. Multiple Occupancy
When paying for other University travelers’ lodging costs, travelers must list those names on the Expense Report with the total amount paid. When staying in a room costing more than the single room rate and the other person(s) in the room is not on official University business, the maximum amount allowed is equal to the single room rate.
If sharing accommodations with other University travelers, occupancy should be based on one person per bed.
C. Air Travel
1. Use University Designated Travel Management Company
Travelers are required to make all air travel arrangements for individuals through Concur or the TMC, or for group travel, with the designated TMC. The UMS Travel Administrator in consultation with the appropriate University CBO may grant rare exceptions to book outside of Concur/the TMC for compelling business reasons. If an exception is granted, travelers are still expected to use the Corporate Card for airfare.
2. Air Travel
Regularly scheduled airlines should be selected as carriers whenever possible unless approved in advance in writing, by the applicable University CBO AND University Risk Manager, private non-commercial and/or charter services are not allowed.
3. Use Economy Coach Fares
University travelers are expected to use the lowest cost airfare appropriate to their travel, which is generally regular economy coach fares, excluding restricted basic economy and light fares (as these classes of fares are highly restrictive and often incur additional fees and charges, e.g., charges for seat assignments, charges for carry on baggage, etc).
4. Air-Related Expenses Not Reimbursable
The University will not reimburse travelers for the purchase of in-flight and/or airport Wi-Fi, fee-based upgraded seat or boarding assignments, and airport lounge expenses.
5. Use U.S. Flag Carrier Service
Travelers must use U.S. flag air carrier service for all air travel funded by the U.S. Government, except as provided in the Fly America Act. Further details on the United States Fly America Act website (External Link).
D. Travel Insurance Not Reimbursable
The University will not reimburse travelers for the purchase of travel, life or accident insurance, except in unique circumstances (e.g., travel booking in anticipation of receiving a grant) with prior approval from the appropriate CBO. In some instances, Travel Interruption Insurance may be allowed with prior approval of the University’s Risk Manager.
The University provides travel insurance for student and employee travelers on University business. Visit Risk Management’s website for more information.
Using your Corporate Card to book travel expenses also provides vehicle and other insurances. See Visa Commercial Card Guide To Card Benefits and Worldwide Lost Luggage, Travel Accident Insurance, Fraud Protection for more information.
E. Ground Transportation
a. Hotel courtesy cars, airport buses, and public transportation should be used, if they are available, and meet the traveler’s need. Sharing of transportation is encouraged when possible.
b. University travelers are expected to use the lowest cost train fare appropriate to their travel, which generally is economy coach fare.
c. APL Section II-B, Motor Vehicle Administration & Guidelines, should be reviewed prior to operating a vehicle for University business.
d. Travelers are liable for fines they incur when using rental, personal or University cars. Fines and citations become part of the driver’s record and are not the responsibility of the University. The University is, however, liable for any fines incurred related to University vehicles that are not inspected or registered.
e. Fees for bridges, ferries, parking, etc., incurred when conducting University business are reimbursable with a receipt. Highway toll fees do not require a receipt.
2. Use of Taxi Services
If used, sharing of taxi services is encouraged when possible. Taxi charges when traveling on University business are reimbursable with a receipt and may include a tip of up to 20%. Ride Sharing services (e.g., Uber and Lyft) are allowed as an alternative to taxi services and may include a tip of up to 20%.
3. Use of University Cars
a. Whenever possible or practical, University pool cars should be used when traveling on University business.
b. Liability insurance coverage is provided on all University owned and leased vehicles.
c. Each University has a designated Vehicle Administrator who should be consulted to determine specific vehicle use guidelines.
4. Car Rentals
a. Cars should be rented based upon a demonstrated need (i.e., no University pool car is available or appropriate, no public transportation is available, several locations will be visited).
b. Travelers should strive to get the lowest possible rates by using Concur, or through the University TMC. Travelers should select the most appropriate vehicle to meet their travel needs (generally compact to mid-sized) and higher cost vehicles such as convertibles or high performance vehicles are not allowed. Hybrid vehicles are allowed and encouraged if costs are reasonable.
c. Travelers should refuel rental cars just prior to return to the vendor, whenever possible and practical, to avoid the large surcharge on fuel. The cost of refueling can be paid with the Corporate Card and must be reported on the Travel Expense Report in Concur.
d. Physical Damage insurance coverage on the rental car is automatically provided when a Corporate Card is used to pay for the car rental, except in unusual circumstances (e.g., rental in certain foreign countries, vehicles with more than eight seats). See Visa Commercial Card Guide To Card Benefits for more information. When not provided via Corporate Card use, Physical Damage insurance coverage on the rental car should be obtained using the least expensive option. When the Corporate Card is in the name of the driving employee, and the rental is less than 14 consecutive days, the individual should decline additional coverage (e.g., CDW – collision damage waiver and LDW- loss damage waiver). This coverage is only available for vehicles that hold eight or fewer people, including the driver seat. Additionally, high performance vehicles and antique vehicles are expressly excluded from coverage. International coverage is provided outside a group of specific countries that are excluded by the University’s Corporate Card provider. For additional information, contact the Office of Risk Management.
e. In all other cases, losses to the rental car are the responsibility of the University department renting the car. If further coverage for the vehicle is required, the CDW or LDW should be purchased and funded by the University department renting the car. The CDW or LDW generally is a per day cost of approximately $10-$15.
f. In the event of a loss on a rental vehicle with coverage provided by the Corporate Card, Risk Management is to be notified immediately regarding the accident. If notice is not immediate, the University department may be held completely responsible for the damage to the vehicle.
g. Liability insurance coverage is provided by the University for rental cars rented and used for University business. However, for international travel, liability insurance coverage should be purchased from the rental car agency for the country of travel at the minimum required limit for that country. Coverage provided by UMS insurance carriers is in excess of the required minimum for an automobile.
h. If required by the rental agency, proof of liability insurance can be provided through the UMS Risk Manager. Additional information is available on the University’s myCampus portal under Risk Management. The Risk Management administrative assistant can also consult on the best options for rental car insurance.
5. Use of Personal Car
When University cars are not available or practical for use, travelers may use their personal car. When using a personal vehicle, travelers can only submit for mileage reimbursement, not fuel costs.
a. Reimbursement of mileage shall be limited to the lesser of:
- the actual distance traveled on official business, or
- the distance from the University to the destination (i.e., the distance the University vehicle would have traveled if used).
b. Personally owned vehicles used for University-related business should be properly registered and inspected and appropriate for the intended use, as determined by the driver of the car.
c. The University provides no physical damage insurance coverage and no liability insurance coverage for personal cars. If a traveler uses his/her personal car for University-related business, that person’s own insurance on the vehicle is responsible for any insurance claims, and the traveler is personally responsible for any deductibles. However, if an employee uses their car, and the liability insurance has been exhausted, then the University’s excess liability coverage will apply when the driver is an authorized University employee on University business at the time of the loss. The University will not reimburse a traveler or their insurance company for any deductible, liability claim, or damage to the vehicle.
6. Accident Reporting
a. Travelers involved in an accident while on University business, regardless of the vehicle being used, must report the accident to the applicable Vehicle Administrator (see APL Section II-B, Motor Vehicle Administration & Guidelines) as soon as possible, and in all cases, within 48 hours of the time of the accident.
b. Under Maine law, all accidents involving personal injury or death to a person, or apparent property damage of$1,000 or more, must be reported to the police or sheriff’s office and within 48 hours on forms provided by local police, State police or the Secretary of State.
c. For vehicles rented with the Corporate Card, the UMS Procurement Card Administrator and Visa must be notified within 48 hours of the accident. To file a claim, contact Visa at 1-800-VISA-911. If you are outside the United States, call collect at 303-967-1096.
d. Each University owned or leased vehicle should contain within it an Accident Report form and an insurance card summarizing the University’s liability insurance.
F. Phone Use
University travelers are encouraged to use the lowest cost practical for making business related toll calls.
G. Travel Advances
All employee travelers should have a Corporate Card for expenses incurred when traveling on University business. In the rare occurrence where a Corporate Card is not available, employees may request a travel advance. Corporate Card holders are not allowed travel advances without securing prior approval from the appropriate CBO.
a. Employees may request a travel advance using the Travel Request form within Concur.
b. Employees are allowed travel advances of $500 maximum for any domestic trip and $1,000 for international trips. Exceptions must be specifically authorized by the appropriate CBO.
c. Only one cash advance is permitted per employee, per destination, and will be issued no sooner than 14 business days prior to the trip.
d. At the completion of the trip, the traveler must incorporate the Travel Request, which includes the cash advance, on the Travel Expense Report.
e. Any unspent cash advance funds must be returned to the appropriate University business office for their campus within 5 business days of returning from a trip. Checks should be made payable to the University. Travelers must obtain a receipt for the repayment and then attach an image of the receipt to the Travel Expense Report.
f. No advances will be issued for expenses that are the responsibility of a third-party organization rather than the University.
The University reserves the option to deduct from the employee’s paycheck, any outstanding cash advanced when the employee has not submitted a travel expense report within 60 calendar days of the end of the trip.
V. Non-Travel Expense Guidelines
All Non-Travel Expenses, whether made on a Corporate Card or as a reimbursable expense, require a proper receipt (including itemization). See Receipt Requirements, VI.A. for what constitutes an acceptable receipt.
State of Maine sales tax is not an allowable expense when paying with a University Corporate Card (applies to purchases made within or shipped to Maine). For more information, see Tax. The University generally does not reimburse when sales tax is paid by an individual.
A. Non-Travel Meals: Meals & Refreshments, Food & Provisions, Catering
The University allows for non-travel meal expenses when they are reasonable, properly substantiated, and directly-related or associated with the active conduct of University business. Such expenses will be allowed at actual costs. Proper substantiation includes documentation of the amount, the date, place, business purpose, listing of attendees or event, and itemized receipt. See APL Section IV-I, Use of University Funds.
University funds may be used for non-travel meals when they meet one or more of the following criteria:
a. Meals when a meeting for official University business involves individuals who are not University employees (e.g., guest lecturers, job candidates, donors, prospective students).
b. Meals when University employees meet to accomplish various business objectives and it is not possible or practical to leave the premises or otherwise be responsible for their own meal. Such meetings will have an agenda, are often catered, and usually have a short lunch break or continue during the meal.
c. Meals for employee training events. Training events are defined as organized activities aimed at imparting information and/or instruction to improve job performance. Training events do not include regular staff meetings and, whenever practical, personnel should set training times to avoid incurring meal expenses.
d. Athletic team meals, student groups, catering, and refreshments for University events.
e. Food and provisions for University approved purposes, e.g., stocking food pantries and off-campus dining halls.
f. Meals furnished at a University location on behalf of the University for the convenience of the University. Examples include providing meals to food service employees or to an employee to ensure the employee is available for emergencies. In the latter case, to be exempt, the department must be able to show a history of emergencies in the employee’s position as well as demonstrate that providing meals to the employee promotes readiness in dealing with emergencies. The individual authorizing the meals for an employee is responsible for ensuring the justification is documented.
Tips are allowable up to 20% of the cost of a meal, before taxes and fees, and do not alter the daily meal limit. There are two exceptions to this requirement:
- Travelers may round tips up to the next dollar, and
- In the rare instance where a restaurant requires a tip greater than 20%, the full amount is an allowable expense. Restaurants typically only require a certain percentage for a tip when a group is served.
Generally, alcohol is not an allowable expense. Any exceptions must be approved by the applicable University’s CBO and must be funded appropriately from non E&G (educational and general) sources. See APL IV-I.V.d., Use of University Funds (Alcohol).
VI. Reporting Travel & Non-Travel Expenses
The traveler/purchaser is responsible for ensuring that only appropriate business-related expenses, within the limits established by this APL, are expensed and that amounts are properly substantiated, including amount, date, and business purpose. The appropriate approving authorities are the primary control for determining the accuracy, adequacy of supporting documentation, and reasonableness of all expenditures.
All Requests and Expense Reports are subject to audit by internal and external auditors, and are subject to public inspection in accordance with the State of Maine freedom of access laws.
At a minimum, an Expense Report requires approval by the employee’s supervisor and the Cost Object Approver for the assigned chartfields. Changes and updates regarding each employee’s supervisor should be directed to Procurement Services via Concur Profile Update Form as soon as possible.
Delegates, Cost Object Approvers, and Manager Approvers must read the applicable APLs and review training before managing/approving transactions.
A. Receipt Requirements
Transactions requiring receipts must be supported by proper documentation in the form of an itemized receipt, vendor invoice, etc. Internet purchases must be supported by online confirmations or other itemized documentation detailing the completeness of the transaction. It is the responsibility of the purchaser to ensure that all goods paid for are received in the quantity and quality desired.
Proper documentation must include the following information. (If this information is not included in the merchant’s documentation, it needs to be recorded directly on the documentation):
- Vendor Identification (merchant name, location).
- Date purchase was made.
- Description, quantity and total cost of EACH item purchased.
- Total amount and method of payment.
- If documentation has been lost, the purchaser must select a Missing Receipt Declaration within the Expense Report stating that the expense was incurred on behalf of the University for business-related purposes, including specific descriptions of the items purchased.
In the rare event that a receipt is not available, the traveler/purchaser is certifying by selecting a Missing Receipt Declaration within the Travel Expense Report that the expenses were incurred by the traveler/purchaser for University business. Use of the Missing Receipt Declaration should be minimal.
B. Travel Expense Reporting
To ensure trip integrity and enable the approving authority/employee’s supervisor to properly evaluate reasonableness, the traveler must detail all expenses of a trip on a Travel Expense Report in Concur, no matter the method of payment: Corporate Card, cash advance, personal credit card or cash, etc. A Travel Expense Report needs to be submitted even if the traveler only incurred expenses directly paid by the Corporate Card and no travel advance was issued.
Except in unusual circumstances, all expenses for a given trip should be reported on a single Travel Expense Report. Corporate Card expenses should be assigned to a Travel Expense Report as soon as reasonably possible after they post to Concur. The Travel Expense Report is not to be submitted before the completion of the trip, but is required to be submitted no later than 30 days from the end of the trip.
So that accounting for expenses is not unreasonably burdensome, an exception to the 30-day requirement may be made when total expenses have not exceeded $125. (This exception does not apply at Fiscal Year End.) Such expenses should still, however, be submitted for reimbursement within 60 days. For external audit and account management purposes, travelers must make every effort to submit all expense reports during the fiscal year in which expenses are incurred.
See Travel Advances, IV.G. for specific requirements when a travel cash advance has been issued.
Travelers must attach supporting receipts to a Travel Expense Report for all expenses other than travel meals, travel agency fees, and E-Z Pass or highway tolls. If receipts are not available, travelers must select a Missing Receipt Declaration within the Travel Expense Report. Use of a Missing Receipt Declaration should be minimal.
In rare cases, when travelers incur expenses on behalf of others, the travelers must list all names on the Travel Expense Report. Other information required for expenses incurred on behalf of non-employees must include affiliation, business purpose, etc.
Non-lodging expenses such as meals, parking, and local telephone calls charged on a lodging bill must be separately reported on the Travel Expense Report.
Those who travel internationally, use a personal form of payment, and submit receipts in a currency other than USD, must provide supporting documentation for exchange rate conversion with the Travel Expense Report. When the rate is unknown, the traveler should calculate the amount using the tables found at the OANDA Currency Converter website (External Link).
C. Non-Travel Expense Reporting
Non-Travel expenses must be reconciled using a Non-Travel Expense Report in Concur; Corporate Card expenses must be assigned to an Expense Report as soon as reasonably possible after they post to Concur.
In most cases, the expense report should be completed and submitted within 15 days of the transaction posting date, ensuring that any credits, if any, are posted and reconciled as well. If multiple transactions are made within a small window of time, for efficiency purposes, they should be combined on a single Expense Report and submitted bi-monthly.
Receipts are required for all non-travel transactions. See Receipt Requirements, VI.A. for what constitutes an acceptable receipt. Transaction comments for each expense will be required within the Concur Expense Report to detail the purpose of the purchase.
Documentation not stored within Concur (receipts, invoices, paper credit card statements, etc.) should be retained in accordance with UMS record retention requirements as outlined in APL IV.D, Record Retention Practices. Retention of documentation is subject to periodic review and audit.
VII. Corporate Card
The Corporate Card is a procurement tool to facilitate travel and small dollar purchases (typically less than $500), emergency purchases, and rare instances when the vendor cannot take a purchase order. University travelers are expected to pay for major travel expenses (e.g., airfare, lodging, car rental) using the Corporate Card or purchase order unless granted a prior exception by the appropriate CBO.
The University’s primary means for procurement is MaineStreet Marketplace, which should be used whenever possible and practical. Corporate cards are not to be used for purchases from MaineStreet Marketplace catalog suppliers.
It is the intent of this APL to define parameters for the use of Corporate Cards while maintaining sufficient controls.
B. Guidelines & Practices
1. Card Application and Approval
a. To apply for a Corporate Card, a completed Card Application Request in Concur must be approved by the card applicant, applicant’s supervisor, University CBO, and Procurement Cards Administrator before a card will be issued.
b. Prior to being assigned a card an applicant must read the applicable APLs, complete training, pass an associated quiz, and complete a Cardholder Agreement, which specifies that the cardholder will protect the card and adhere to all policies and procedures.
c. Active University employees may be issued a Corporate Card subject to the approval of the Chief Business Officer (CBO) at each University. Students and student employees are not eligible for Corporate Cards unless a special request is made and approval is granted by the CBO.
2. Approval Prior to Purchase
With the exception of purchases under $160, emergency purchases, or other unusual extenuating circumstances, a non-travel Corporate Card purchase will be made with prior written knowledge and approval (generally an email) from the cardholder’s supervisor (or the supervisor’s designee). A supervisor’s designee should not be an individual who is a “direct report” to the cardholder seeking approval unless that person is otherwise responsible for financial approvals (e.g., a department budget manager). A blanket prior written approval may be granted, for up to a fiscal year, for specific named purchases of a routine and repetitive nature (e.g., a blanket approval could be placed on file for internet advertisements that run weekly throughout the fiscal year).
For the purposes of this APL, an emergency condition justifies the use of a Corporate Card without prior approval when that condition does not permit securing of advanced approval, cannot be anticipated, and threatens one or more of the following:
- The preservation or protection of property;
- The health or safety of any person(s) or animal(s); and/or
- Other bona fide emergencies that otherwise cannot be anticipated.
Emergencies do not include:
- Purchases that need to be rushed because of failure to plan ahead;
- End of fiscal year purchases; or
- End of grant/contract purchases.
Emergency purchases shall be limited to the types of items and quantities or time period sufficient to meet the immediate threat and shall not be used to meet long term requirements. Emergency purchases shall be noted in the Purpose of Purchase field (within the expense line), including written justification of why prior approval could not be sought.
3. Required Actions
The following actions are required:
- Immediately reporting a stolen or lost card or card number to the Corporate Card issuing card provider (bank), the cardholder’s supervisor, and the Procurement Cards Administrator (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Immediately reporting resignations/pending resignations from the University and reconciling all open transactions prior to departure.
- Reporting any changes (i.e., name, position, location, supervisor) via the Concur Profile Update Form or Concur Card Request, as appropriate. Note: if an employee changes positions within the University, their card can be transferred to the new department, with supervisor approval.
- Destroying any old cards once a replacement Corporate Card is activated.
- Cardholders must immediately notify their supervisor, the Procurement Cards Administrator, and UMS Risk Management of any accidents involving rental cars for which a Corporate Card was used to secure the rental.
- Notifying the UMS Procurement Cards Administrator to suspend the cardholder account of an employee due to personal leave of absence or sabbatical.
- Vendors may offer rebates to those who use the Corporate Card. All cash and credit rebates received for using the Corporate Card should be deposited to a University bank account and credited to the chartfield combination associated with the original purchase.
- If a cardholder has an issue with a transaction, he/she must contact the vendor in an attempt to reach a resolution. If the issue is not successfully resolved, the cardholder must immediately notify the issuing card provider (bank) and the Procurement Cards Administrator so that a timely dispute resolution process can be initiated within the time limits outlined by the Bank, typically 60 days. For example, charges may be disputed for:
- a difference in amount authorized and amount charged
- duplicate charges
- account not yet credited, but a vendor credit voucher was received
- failure to receive goods or services
- returned merchandise
- defective merchandise (not returned at vendor’s request)
- unrecognized/unauthorized charges
- altered charges
- Cardholders must promptly review their Corporate Card transactions in Concur, assign the transactions to an Expense Report, and submit the report for approval in accordance with this APL. Cardholders who do not complete these actions in a timely manner will be subject to suspension or cancellation of their card (see Travel Expense Reporting, VI.B. and Non-Travel Expense Reporting, VI.C.).
- Before IT software or non-standard computer equipment (including single-function printers) are purchased, they must be pre-approved by UMS: IT. Contact email@example.com.
4. Disallowed & Prohibited Actions
The following transactions with a Corporate Card are disallowed, unless approved by the University CBO prior to each purchase; all transactions are also subject to the requirements of APL Section IV-I, Use of University Funds.
- Refunds/returns/exchanges for cash.
- Payment of State of Maine sales tax. It is the responsibility of the cardholder to advise vendors that the University of Maine System is exempt from State of Maine sales tax including, but not limited to, tax on meals and hotels. Sales tax may be identified in various ways on receipts, including food tax and occupancy tax, for example. A copy of the State of Maine sales tax exemption certificate and form can be found in APL Section VII-E, Sales Tax.
- Split purchases (splitting a purchase into two smaller transactions to defeat the transaction dollar limit that was placed on the card).
- Purchases from MaineStreet Marketplace catalog vendors.
- Paying for collision insurance on rental vehicles in cases where it is already provided by the Corporate Card. Information can be obtained from the Corporate Card provider, UMS Risk Management, and a review of APL Section II-B, Motor Vehicle Administration & Guidelines.
- Expenses that are the responsibility of a third-party organization rather than the University.
- Other purchases as defined by University policy.
The following actions are prohibited:
- Lending or sharing the Corporate Card (which includes emailing/texting/photocopying your card number).
- Failure to obtain or retain required supporting documentation for Corporate Card purchases.
- Using the card to acquire personal goods/services.
- Using the card to acquire goods/services the cardholder has not been authorized to purchase or which are prohibited by University policy.
- Using another cardholder’s card to circumvent a purchase limit assigned to either cardholder.
- Other actions as defined by University policy.
In the event any of the disallowed transactions occur, the responsible cardholder’s supervisor, or the person who becomes aware of the transaction first, will report the incident to the UMS Procurement Cards Administrator. When deemed appropriate, the UMS Procurement Cards Administrator will notify the University CBO. The CBO and Human Resources staff at each University will review the infraction and determine suitable action including (but not limited to) the following:
- Provide additional training on responsibilities.
- Immediate reimbursement to the University for the amount of the purchase.
- Suspension or cancellation of the card.
- Disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
- Criminal prosecution, if fraudulent activity has occurred.
- Any other recovery action deemed appropriate, as permitted by law.
Note that any action taken will be subject to the same procedural standards that apply to any disciplinary action.
5. Controls & Compliance
The Corporate Card is to be used for University business purposes only. Charges to Corporate Cards are a corporate liability whereby statements for the Corporate Cards come to the University and are paid by the University.
Corporate cardholders are required to reconcile their transactions in the university’s travel and expense management system Concur in a timely manner (see Travel Expense Reporting, VI.B. and Non-Travel Expense Reporting, VI.C.).
The use of Corporate Cards is subject to the requirements of all applicable APLs, in particular:
- APL Section II-B Motor Vehicle Administration and Guidelines
- APL Section IV-B Travel, Expense, and Corporate Card Procedures
- APL Section IV-C Signature Authority
- APL Section IV-I Use of University Funds
- APL Section IV-H Moving Expenses
- APL Section VII-A.2 Purchasing Procedures
- APL Section VII-B Procurement Standards of Conduct
- APL Section VII-E Sales Tax
- APL Section VII-H Determining Employee vs Independent Contractor Status
The following practices establish the minimum level of controls necessary for the proper use of Corporate Cards. The universities are free to adopt additional controls to regulate Corporate Cards in their respective environments.
a. The CBO at each University will have the ultimate responsibility for the use of Corporate Cards at his/her University, including making decisions as to which persons will be provided with a card. Each appointed CBO designee and their specific responsibility shall be documented in writing and kept on file.
b. The card is identified as a Corporate Card and the University of Maine System’s name, as well as the cardholder’s legal name, will be printed on the card. The cardholder is responsible for using the Corporate Card in accordance with this APL, for safekeeping the card, and is accountable for all purchases made using the card.
c. Renewal of expired cards will be automatic if the card has been used within the last 22 months.
d. All cardholders will be held personally responsible for using a Corporate Card solely for allowable transactions for University business. The card must not be used for personal purposes, regardless of the intent to reimburse the University. It is the cardholder’s responsibility to ensure that all personal travel expenses are separated from business expenses and paid by a means other than the Corporate Card. Use of the card for personal purposes will result in the actions described in section Disallowed & Prohibited Actions, VII.B.4.
e. A maximum single dollar transaction, and a maximum monthly spend credit limit will be established for each card. The CBO at each University has the responsibility for approving the initial limits and any changes to the maximum transaction and spend limits for each card. Approved documentation must be retained on file. In the University CBO’s or the CBO’s designee’s absence, the following individuals, in the order presented, will be authorized to make changes and document cardholder limits; University President, the System Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration or designee.
f. University CBOs, in consultation with the Procurement Cards Administrator, should consider whether card spending limits remain appropriate and should assess whether cards with minimal use should be discontinued.
g. Prior to termination or retirement, cardholders must promptly notify the Procurement Cards Administrator so that the card can be canceled, then surrender their University Corporate Card to the Procurement Cards Administrator, or to their supervisor, who immediately destroys and disposes of the Corporate Card. As a secondary control, the UMS Procurement Cards Administrator shall obtain from the UMS Office of Human Resources a monthly list of employees who have left the University System to verify inactive employee accounts have been closed.
h. Periodically, the UMS Procurement Cards Administrator will notify the applicable University CBO regarding transactions not yet authorized in the reconciling system which exceed the aforementioned limits. Cardholders whose transactions are not reviewed and authorized in a timely manner will be subject to suspension or cancellation of their Corporate Card. If transactions remain unauthorized after 30 days, the UMS Procurement Cards Administrator may force approval of any outstanding transactions to the cardholder’s default chartfield combination, unless the outstanding transaction is in dispute or otherwise noted as an exception. Documentation about forced transactions, if any, will be kept on file so that any further appropriate action may be taken.
C. Review/Audit & Reconciliation of the Corporate Card Program
The liability for each University’s Corporate Card program will be posted to the respective University’s Card liability account in the general ledger. The UMS Quality Assurance Analyst/UMS Accounting will reconcile these liability accounts each month within 10 business days of the card statement date.
The UMS Procurement Cards Administrator and UMS Travel Administrator, in consultation with the University CBOs, shall perform documented periodic reviews of the Corporate Card program including, but not limited to, reviewing for properly maintained supporting documentation and forms, timely and properly completed reconciliations, and evidence of supervisory review.
The UMS Travel Administrator and UMS Procurement Cards Administrator will monitor the program to ensure compliance with this APL. If deficiencies are not corrected, cardholders will be considered to have breached their signed Cardholder Agreement and their cards will be subject to suspension or cancellation. Appeals to the suspension or cancellation policy will be made to each University’s CBO.
VIII. Related Forms and More Information:
- This Administrative Practice Letter has been approved by the Treasurer of the University of Maine System.