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Expense Reimbursement Improvements

The project focuses 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. 


News and updates


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 Services 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. 


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
  • Paul St-George
    Associate Vice-President
    Financial Resources
Project 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
  • Mathieu Mainville
    Program Director, Administrative Services Modernization Program
    Financial Resources
  • Daniel Trottier
    Senior Director, IT Solutions
    Information Technology
Project Team
  • Suzanne Arcand
    Application Manager, Administrative Services 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 Services Modernization Program
    Financial Resources
  • Diane Landriault
    Project Manager, Administrative Services 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 Services Modernization Program
    Financial Resources
  • Judy Prud'homme
    Administrator, Pension Plans
    Human Resources

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