Expense Reimbursement Improvements

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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 the Administrative Processes Modernization Program.

Objectives

The Expense Reimbursement 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

February 2020

New “Conquering Concur” community of practice

To better support its users, Financial Resources is creating a community of practice (CoP) for compliance officers and contact points who work in faculties and services. This CoP is a meeting series concerning the reimbursement of expenses related to the Concur expense management system and the application of Policy 21—Reimbursement to Individuals for University Business Expenses. These meetings are intended to allow knowledge sharing and assistance among employees with similar compliance and user support functions; they are not training sessions.

Who can be part of this CoP

The CoP is for administrative employees in faculties and services with a compliance officer or contact point role wanting to:

  • Better guide Concur users in their sector
  • Learn about tips and tricks used by their fellow employees or find out about their challenges with Concur and the application of Regulation 21
  • Learn about the latest developments on the reimbursement of expenses and Concur at the University

CoP meetings schedule

It is intended to hold them every two months. The format of the meetings may vary over time. Some will be more presentation-oriented while others will be round tables.

The meetings are by invitation only. The first meeting will be on Wednesday, March, 4, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., room 083, Tabaret Hall.

Background

These meetings are part of the Expense Reimbursement Improvements project, which aims, among other things, to improve user support. The project started last spring with the revision of Policy 21 and is part of the Administrative Processes Modernization Program.

Questions and comments

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send an email to the Financial Operations and Administration team, Financial Resources.

October 2019

Policy 21 additional briefings

As part of the rollout of the changes to Policy 21, Financial Resources has scheduled additional bilingual briefings for faculties and services. If you attended one of the briefings in June, please note that the same information will be discussed at these additional briefings.

  • October 23, 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Roger Guindon Building, room 2005 (Amphitheatre A)
  • October 30, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., STEM Building, room 117
  • November 4, 9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Desmarais Building , room 4101

New central Policy 21 compliance service

Effective October 1, 2019 — Financial Resources is responsible for ensuring that travel expenses are compliant with Policy 21 — Reimbursement to Individuals for University Business Expenses for all services under the Office of the Vice-President, Resources. Since 2015, faculties and service employees, along with a Concur expense management system compliance officer, have been responsible for compliance.

Financial Resources plans to expand this new service to other faculties and services in the coming months. This change is transparent to travellers and only concerns travel expenses. 

More information about the new central Policy 21 compliance service.

June 2019

Policy 21 briefings

As part of the rollout of the Policy 21 changes, Financial Resources has scheduled briefings for faculties and services.

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)

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.

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

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

Project Sponsor
  • Mathieu Mainville (acting Project Sponsor)
    Program Director, Administrative Processes Modernization Program
    Financial Resources
Steering Committee
  • Philippe-Thierry Douamba
    Chief of Staff
    Office of the Vice-President, Research
  • Silvana Gandolfini
    Chief Administrative Officer
    Faculty of Engineering
  • Cynthia Irakoze
    Director, Administrative Services
    Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost
  • Diane Landriault
    Project Manager — Administrative Processes Modernization Program
    Financial Resources
  • Mathieu Mainville (acting project sponsor)
    Program Director
    Financial Resources
  • Josée Maisonneuve
    IT Manager — Administrative Processes Modernization Program
    Financial Resources
  • Valérie Michaud-Lal
    Change Management Specialist — Administrative Processes Modernization Program
    Financial Resources
  • Daniel Trottier
    Senior Director, IT Solutions
    Information Technology
Project Team
  • Suzanne Arcand
    Application Manager — Administrative Processes Modernization Program
    Financial Resources
  • France Boucher
    Director, Research, Trust and Endowment
    Financial Resources
  • Alexandre Gagnon
    Lead Analyst, Expense Reimbursement System
    Financial Resources
  • Scott Himes
    Project Manager, Business Analyst — Administrative Processes Modernization Program
    Financial Resources
  • Gabriel Kameni
    Benefits Administrator
    Human Resources
  • Diane Landriault
    Project Manager — Administrative Processes Modernization Program
    Financial Resources
  • Mathieu Mainville
    Acting Manager, Financial Operations and Administration
    Financial Resources
  • Andrej Markovinovic
    Compliance Officer
    Financial Resources
  • Valérie Michaud-Lal
    Change Management Specialist — Administrative Processes Modernization Program
    Financial Resources
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