As the winter holidays approach and I near the beginning of my second year as the Associate Vice President of Procurement Services, I’d like to take a moment to reflect on the past and future of Travel Management Services (TMS) at IU.
2011 began with new management at multiple levels of our organization, ushering in a period of learning and transition for our entire staff. We launched a Business Process Review early in the year – focusing on IU’s travel policies, systems & procedures, contracts & savings, safety and customer service - with hopes of building a more streamlined foundation for the future. But the demands of the present soon required our full attention.
TMS receives between 1600 and 1900 reimbursement requests each week, providing a full weekly workload for every member of our staff. At one point last year we fell behind this demand and lapsed into unacceptable response times. To address the urgent needs of our travelers, we made quick changes to our customer service and telephone system and hired several new staff members. Through these measures, and the support of Vice President Theobald and University Administration, the backlog of reimbursements were resolved within three months.
TMS has since maintained reasonable response times, currently processing 250 to 350 reimbursements per day - and a total of more than 55,670 trips over Fiscal Year 2011. We are proud of this output and the challenges our team has overcome, and we intend to build on the experience in 2012
We will continue to develop an improved online travel system in the coming year, part of IU’s Kuali Financial System, while also making enhancements to the Travel Management Services and IU Travel Safety websites. In addition, we will resume the progress initiated by last year’s Business Process Review to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of travel processes and policies. With our management team and staff now firmly in place, I have high hopes for the results.
Thank you once again for your patience and assistance in 2011, and for your continued support as we pursue the exciting opportunities of 2012. On behalf of the TMS team, I wish you all safe and productive travels for the New Year.
Travel Management Services has published a new and expanded IU Travel Guide, featuring illustrated system instructions alongside helpful travel resources and guidelines. Click the “need help” link in the top right corner of any trip document, or visit the “Training” tab in the Travel@IU portal, to begin referencing this extensive guide.
If you have suggestions for additional subject matter, our training writer welcomes your feedback.
IU Travel Management Services - in conjunction with Risk Management, the Office of Overseas Study, and IU’s Public Safety & Institutional Assurance team – has launched a consolidated travel safety site to meet the needs of IU travelers: http://protect.iu.edu/travel.
The site provides a one-stop source for travel safety precautions, resources and tips. General best practices are presented alongside specific IU policies and procedures, facilitating safe and compliant travel for students, faculty, and staff alike.
Make a visit to the site before your next trip, and don’t forget to email your remaining questions to firstname.lastname@example.org for personalized travel safety answers.
Out-of-state trips created in the Travel@IU system are designed to encumber estimated charges against their accounts. The amount of the encumbrance is determined automatically by the trip’s duration, using a flat daily rate for lodging and per diem and a fixed airfare estimate. This total can be manually altered in one of two ways:
- The traveler or arranger can modify the encumbrance total while initiating a trip document.
- Click the Edit button in the “Cost Summary” section of the Trip Summary page.
- Revise the trip cost estimate fields as appropriate.
- Click Save.
- The fiscal officer can edit the encumbrance while approving the trip. Instructions are provided in the Trip Approvers Quick Guide (PDF).
If an out-of-state trip is cancelled after it has been created, Travel Management Services must close the trip to free the encumbrance. Email cancellation requests, including Trip ID numbers, to email@example.com.
Proof of lodging is required for every overnight Per Diem reimbursement. If the traveler is requesting lodging reimbursement, the original hotel receipt will meet this need. But if the lodging was prepaid through IU’s Hotels.com program, a copy of the Hotels.com confirmation email must be submitted.
For trips with other reimbursement expenses, simply attach the Hotels.com confirmation page to the Trip Coversheet along with its other receipts. If the reimbursement request does not include any other receipts, enter 1 in the Number of Receipts field found in the “Destinations” section of the Trip Summary page. This alerts the system that the trip includes additional documentation and provides access to a Trip Coversheet after the trip is routed. Generate the Coversheet and follow its instructions to submit the confirmation page.
Reimbursement processing will continue as soon as these documents are received.
NOTE: Proof of lodging for stays with friends or family members, or rooms shared with other IU travelers, is explained on page 20 of the Travel@IU user guide (PDF).
Ever wonder how TMS calculates the standard mileage between IU campuses? We use the official distances recognized by the State of Indiana, as shown in the following table:
|City||Bloomington||Columbus||Ft. Wayne||Gary||IUPUI||Kokomo||New Albany||Richmond||South Bend|
If claiming mileage in excess of these standards, due to a construction detour for example, be sure to provide an explanation. If no clarification is included with the request, the reimbursement will be processed for the standard mileage only.
The new Trip Approvers Quick Guide (PDF), available on the training tab in the Travel@IU portal, provides a single page of step-by-step instructions for the most common fiscal approver tasks, including:
- Editing account numbers, object codes, and other details for your accounts
- Setting limits for your accounts
- Setting encumbrance totals for your accounts
Fiscal officers and their delegates are encouraged to utilize this new resource when reviewing and updating trip documents, and to email firstname.lastname@example.org whenever new questions arise.