Expense Management Improvements

Picture with graphs

Project purpose

The deployment of the expense management system (Concur), better known as the e-Travel project, took place in November 2015. Some improvements have been made since, including the introduction of e-receipts and a mobile app. However, users have asked for other improvements, including:

  • Simplification and standardization of uOttawa regulations related to reimbursements
  • Simplification and standardization of the system workflow
  • Easy, continuous access to experts on regulations pertaining to reimbursements
  • Regular information sessions and better tools for users

This project is part of Financial Resources’ Review of Financial and Human Resources Administrative Processes.

Objectives

The Expense Management Improvements project will focus on the system user experience and workflow, as well as the level of service and training offered by Financial Resources to the faculties and services. It also will incorporate changes to federal and provincial policies by adjusting administrative regulations related to reimbursements and to the expense management system. 

News and updates

May 2019

Changes to Policy 21

On May 14, 2019, the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors approved the new version of Policy 21, now renamed “Reimbursement to Individuals for University Business Expenses.”  The policy and related procedures take effect July 1, 2019. Improvements will also be made to the expense management system (Concur) to incorporate the changes brought on by the policy. Other improvements will take place in the fall.

Key changes

Key changes are described in the Project phases > Implementation > Changes to Policy 21 section.

June 2019

As part of the rollout of the changes, Financial Resources has scheduled briefings in the faculties and services. We are happy to confirm the dates of the briefings.

Faculty briefings

  • Arts and Telfer: June 11, 10 a.m. to 11: 30 a.m., DMS 4101
  • Science and Engineering: June 11, 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m., STEM 224
  • Social Sciences, Health Sciences and Education: June 12, 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., DMS 1150
  • Droit civil and Common Law: June 13, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., room 147, Fauteux Hall
  • Medicine and Health Sciences: June 19, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., amphitheatre A, RGN 2005

Service briefings

  • June 17, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., FSS 4004
  • June 19, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., FSS 4004

 

Policy 21 Changes Presentation (PDF — Bilingual)

Project phases

Implementation – Changes to Policy

Objectives

  • Incorporating changes by the Ontario government and the three granting agencies (the “Tri-Agency”)
    • In 2017, the Ontario government updated its regulations on travel expenses. One of the main changes concerned use of per diem meal expenses.
    • In 2018, the Tri-Agency encouraged universities to take part in a pilot project to eliminate guides on eligible expenses, replacing them with institutional regulations. This has led to many changes to Ontario universities’ regulations, which will come into effect in fall 2019.
  • Simplifying expense management at the University by grouping certain expense-related policies under Policy 21 (including Policy 60 on hospitality expenses and Policy 74 on the sending of flowers or gifts) and eliminating exceptions (one policy will apply to all) 
  • Improving the user experience
  • Laying the groundwork for:
    • Changes to the expense management system (Concur) such as the elimination of mandatory in-system pre-approval 
    • Implementation of the next phases of the expense management project

Key changes in effect July 1, 2019

Eligible expenses

The revised version of Policy 21 governs the following expenses:

  • Travel
  • Hospitality
  • Other business-related expenses

Inclusion of these expenses in the changes to Policy 21 has led to the repeal of the following policies:

  • Policy 60 — Hospitality, Receptions, Business Luncheons and Expenditures Chargeable to University Accounts
  • Policy 74 — Sending of Flowers or Gifts

Major changes related to travel expenses

  • All employees are now eligible for a per diem allowance and are no longer are required to provide meal receipts (except for professional expense reimbursement – PER – claims).
  • Pre-approval is no longer mandatory in the expense management system for support staff. However, anyone requesting reimbursement for travel expenses must provide proof of pre-approval (e.g. an email). 
  • Better controls of cash advances requests have been put in place such as the user of a travel card (“T-card”).
  • There is greater clarity regarding business travel combined with personal travel and expenses incurred before and after travel.

Accountability

  • Authorized approvers must be senior executives holding a position one or more levels above the individual making the request.
  • Accountability has been formalized for certain expenses, which are the head of unit’s responsibility.

Expense management system (Concur)

This system continues to be the tool of choice for travel expense reimbursement. Starting July 1, it will allow for entry of per diem allowances for non-APUO members and the pre-approval will be removed.

In the coming phases of the project, we expect that the system will be adjusted to enable reimbursements for the other expenses addressed in the changes to Policy 21. Until further notice, the current process must be used.

Ease-of-use

Objectives

  • Simplifying the expense management system – Concur – workflow and user interface
  • Establishing a central policy compliance service for services and faculties
Roll-out of the new service offer and training

Objectives

  • Introduction of an expense reimbursement service and training centre
  • Expanding policy compliance service

 

Committees and groups involved

Executive sponsors
  • Marie-Claude Fillion (Project Lead)
    Associate Vice-President
    Financial Resources
  • Elvio Buono
    Associate Vice-President
    Human Resources
  • Martin Bernier
    Chief Information Officer
    Information Technology
  • Marcel Mérette
    Deputy Provost
    Planning and Academic Budgets
  • Jules Carrière
    Vice-Provost
    Faculty Relations 
Steering Committee
  • Marie-Claude Fillion
    Associate Vice-President
    Financial Resources
  • Martin Bernier
    Chief Information Officer
    Information Technology
  • Mathieu Mainville
    Program Director
    Financial Resources
  • Silvana Gandolfini​​​​​​​
    Chief Administrative Officer
    Faculty of Engineering
  • Philippe-Thierry Douamba​​​​​​​
    Chief of Staff
    Office of the Vice-President, Research
  • Cynthia Irakoze
    Director, Administrative Services
    Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost
  • Valérie Michaud-Lal
    Change Management Specialist
    Human Resources
Project team
  • Mathieu Mainville
    Program Director
    Financial Resources
  • Hashim Bakuvi
    Manager, Financial Operations and Administration
    Financial Resources
  • Alexandre Gagnon
    Lead Analyst, Expense Reimbursement System
    Financial Resources
  • France Boucher
    Director, Research, Trust and Endowment
    Financial Resources
  • Maureen Castella
    Manager, HR Business Optimization
    Human Resources
  • Khoa Phan
    Senior Business Analyst, Financial Modeling and Analysis
    Financial Resources
  • Suzanne Arcand
    Application Manager
    Information Technology
  • Valérie Michaud-Lal​​​​​​​
    Change Management Specialist
    Human Resources
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