New Purchasing Card and Travel & Expense reconciliation processes to launch in October

Todd Gilchrist - 09 September 2021

Updated September 23 to include training dates

As part of the University of Alberta for Tomorrow (UAT) initiative, the Procurement team has been tasked with reviewing and redesigning the reconciliation process for Travel and Expense and the university Purchasing Card program. Over the past year, and in consultation with the campus community, the Procurement team has performed a review of both of these processes to streamline the current process, reduce complexity, and minimize cost.

The process redesign for corporate procurement card (PCard) reconciliation, expense claims and travel claims are currently in the final stages of their redesign and are planned for implementation this coming October.

To support this change, reference materials are being updated including associated UAPPOL policies and respective U of A web pages. We will be holding information and training sessions PCard holders on October 7th and October 14th, in partnership with Shared Services, to provide an overview of what is changing, demo the new process, and to answer questions. Please register here if you are interested in attending.

Read on for an overview of the changes and what to expect.

Corporate Procurement Cards (PCard) Reconciliation

The current paper-based process has been redesigned to shift all PCard reconciliation to an electronic process within PeopleSoft. Reconciliation will be completed using a newly established “Credit Card Statement” for the PCard and the central pay Diner’s Card (travel).

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Proposed Changes to Corporate Purchasing Card Procedure

UAPPOL proposed changes include:

  • Responsibilities of Finance, Procurement and Planning and Shared Services are outlined.
  • The Site Coordinator role has been removed.
  • My Wallet (electronic storage of credit card transactions) functionality is introduced. 
  • Unit Approver role is introduced, (this is an employee assigned by the Faculty General Manager and/or Chief of Staff to approve the issuing of Corporate Purchasing Cards and changes to credit limits and card use. This can include Finance Partner or delegate). 
  • Reconciliation requirements are outlined. Shared Services will follow up with you to determine the reconciliation of your monthly credit card statement and remind you it needs to be completed. All card holders must reconcile in a timely manner. The card will eventually be shut down if a pattern of not reconciling PCard in a timely manner continues to occur.
  • Cardholders may delegate the requirement of reconciliation. The cardholder will be required to submit the information once the delegate reconciles the expenses. 
  • Approval requirements are outlined. 
  • Dispute resolution process is identified. When a ticket is logged it will route to the Staff Services Center in Shared Services.
Cardholder Reconciliation

Cardholders, or their delegate, will receive an email after the monthly billing date (17th of each month) requesting them to reconcile outstanding credit card transactions.

The cardholder creates a new “Credit Card Statement” expense report, copies outstanding credit card transactions into the report, assigns SpeedCodes and attaches receipts electronically which then route to the budget owner.

Note: Credit Card Statements created by a delegate will first route to the cardholder.

Budget Owner Approval

The budget owner receives a notice by email to approve the statement, similar to current travel and expense approval notifications. To approve, the budget owner will sign into PeopleSoft, review the activity on the card and can either return for chartfield correction or complete the final approval.

The claim cannot be denied. All charges are reconciled against a university clearing account. Any disputes are resolved through direct interaction with the credit card company, Shared Services or the employee. 

Note: Reconciliation for budget owners that hold PCards does not route to the One-over-One.

Record Retention
The electronic receipts in PeopleSoft become the original; filing and paper retention of receipts is not required.
Audit and Compliance
Central Compliance within Finance, Procurement and Planning (FPP) will randomly complete audits on credit card activity after the reconciliation in PeopleSoft is complete.

Expense Claims

The redesign will include the following approval structure and will be managed in Shared Services:

  • When operating dollars less than $2,000 are claimed, one approval is required by the new Shared Services unit who will review and approve each claim.
  • When operating dollars greater than $2,000 and for all research spends, two approvals are required: (1) by the new Shared Services unit, and (2) by the budget owner, One-over-One approver, or project holder.

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Proposed Changes to Expense Reimbursement Procedure

UAPPOL proposed changes include:

  • Outline of the threshold requirements for Expense Reimbursement, (less than $500/line item).
  • Outline of the rare occasions that an expense line item can exceed $500. This includes registration, memberships, remote location activities, hospitality and hosting and emergency situations.  
  • The Summary statement has been updated to describe the rules relating to an expense reimbursement process.
  • The role of Shared Services for central compliance review and approval is described. 
  • Once the receipt is attached in PeopleSoft, the original is no longer required and does not need to be retained. 
  • The claimant is required to ensure expenses are adequately documented, supported, legitimate and in support of U of A business.
  • All claims are subject to further review by the Finance, Procurement and Planning.
Claimant Requirements
The changes to both the travel and expense process will not affect the requirements of the claimant. The claimant will continue to process these claims in the template they currently use today. Once they have created the claim and attached their receipt, they will submit. The claim will route to Shared Services for review and processing as identified above.
Budget Owner/One-over-One Approval

The approval process for the budget owner and One-over-One approver will be identical. The claim will route to them based on the rules described above. They will review and approve or deny the claim.

Not all claims will route to them and they can expect to see a reduced amount of claims in the future. Research claims remain the same and the logic described above for operating spend will be implemented.

Travel Claims

The redesign will include the following approval structure and will be managed in Shared Services:

  • When operating dollars less than $5,000 are spent, one approval is required by Shared Services, who will review and approve claims.
  • When operating dollars greater than $5,000 are spent and for all research spends, two approvals are required: (1) by Shared Services and (2) by the budget owner, One-over-One approver or project holder.
  • The role of the independent reviewer has been removed. 
  • The Finance, Procurement and Planning completes audits on travel and expense claims.

Expand content for additional details:

Proposed Changes to the Travel Processes and Expense Procedure

UAPPOL proposed changes include:

  • The use of daily meal allowance rates is required; receipted meals will not be accepted. This does not apply to hospitality, where a U of A traveler is hosting non-employees as a matter of courtesy or to facilitate university business. This can include visiting speakers, donors, business, industry and public representatives and prospective employees. Receipted hospitality meals can be used in lieu of meal allowance rates where applicable. 
  • Incidental allowance rates have been combined with meal allowance rates.
  • For those employees who currently have a university issued cell phone. The procedure outlines your requirements while traveling. You are required to either add a roaming package, purchase and replace a local sim card or remain on airplane mode while traveling to reduce or eliminate additional charges. 
  • Within Shared Services, central compliance review and approval of all travel and expense claims will occur. This group will review the claim for accuracy, eligibility and compliance with applicable policy. The requirements of this unit will be outlined in the UAPPOL procedural update.
  • The claimant is required to ensure expenses are adequately documented, supported, legitimate and in support of U of A business. Employees who commit an act of fraud or irregularity will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment and prosecution if appropriate.

Oversight of these activities will move to Shared Services in October

In mid-October, oversight of these processes will transition from the Finance, Procurement and Planning team to the Shared Services unit. Staff will direct questions through the Staff Service Centre, requests will be triaged, and the team will collaborate with faculties and units, HR Service Partners, and Centres of Expertise to problem solve. Policy oversight and strategic planning will remain with the Finance, Procurement and Planning team.

Questions & Feedback

If you have a question or suggestion about procurement, processes, travel or supplier management, please leave comments through our feedback form.

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