Reimbursements

Reimbursements are mainly used for travel purposes. Reimbursements should only be used for supplies and services in the case of emergencies or when all other purchasing methods should be exhausted first.

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Policies & Best Practices

  • Cheapest Transportation: Policy requires that individuals traveling on University business choose the least costly method of transportation that meets their scheduling needs. 
  • Air upgrades, seat selection fees, baggage fees in excess of one bag, flight changes, etc., are generally not reimbursable without a documented approved business reason.
  • Flight Comparisons: Flight comparisons should be obtained at the time of the actual flight purchases. The comparison can be a screenshot that has the price, dates, and locations in view. Flight comparisons are required under two circumstances:
    • Anytime the flight to or from the conference is not from or to Minneapolis.
    • Anytime the flight dates are outside the range of business-related travel (within one day before the conference and one day after)
  • International Travel: All International travelers must register prior to departure at the GPS Alliance
  • Personal Travel: Personal travel before or after business travel is allowed but must be clearly documented in the justification. No expenses can be reimbursed for the days considered “Personal Travel”. 
  • Sponsored Travel: For travel on a grant, the justification must include the project name & number, the Principal Investigator (PI) and whether or not you have an effort on the grant. If you’re presenting research, you must provide an abstract or poster that credits the grant.
  • Receipts: When receipts are required, the receipts given must be itemized
    • Note: Meal per diems do not need receipts of any sort
  • Splitting Costs: Splitting costs (hotel/taxi/etc.) is allowed and encouraged to lower costs! If travelers choose to share rooms, each room must be within the maximum allowable lodging per diem. Each traveler should pay for their own lodging and request their own itemized receipt. In instances where one traveler pays entire lodging expenses and receives one itemized receipt, the traveler who pays should prorate the room costs, if practical, to properly reflect each traveler’s share of the lodging expense.  This allows for a more accurate cost split, especially for travelers funded by multiple sources.

Faculty and Staff Reimbursements

Chrome River is the system that Staff and Faculty (non-students) can use to process out-of-pocket reimbursements, Cash Advances, and Travel Card (TCard) transactions.

Reconciling

  • Navigate to Chrome River
    • MyU > Key Links > U Travel > “Chrome River Login”
    • On the U Travel page, you can also find Job Aids to help guide you through Chrome River.
  • Uploading Receipts in Chrome River
    • Website: Click on the three bars on the top left and go into "Receipt Gallery".
      • On the top right there will be a button that says "Upload"
    • Email: Email your receipts as attachments to receipt@chromefile.com
      • These emails MUST come from your @umn.edu email.
      • This method does take time to process since Chrome River will try to identify the characteristics of the receipt and pre-enter the date, dollar amount, and vendor. Make sure to double-check these characteristics for accuracy
    • Drag and Drop: When in Chrome River, you can drag and drop receipts from your desktop into the “Attachments” section at the bottom of your expenses.

Student Reimbursements

Students should submit the UM 1911 form (download) along with receipts to psyfin@umn.edu.

  • Lodging Per Diem: Lodging per diems are 150% of the online listed rate and are compared to the daily room rate only (not including taxes)
    • In Chrome River, the average room rate is what is compared to the Per Diem rate. If the room rate of a night is over the per diem amount, it does not have to be reduced if the average is below the Per Diem rate.
  • Travel Day Meal Per Diems: The first and last day meal per diems are 75% of the total rate
     

Reimbursements on a Grant

Traveling on a grant is scrutinized more closely due to the stricter budgets.

What to Provide

  • If the purpose of the travel is to present research done on the grant, provide an abstract or poster that credits the grant.
  • A detailed justification that includes the grant number/name, the Primary Investigator (PI), and an explanation of how the travel directly supports the grant. 
     

Justifications

Justifications are needed for all financial transactions.  While an expense may be perfectly legitimate, it can be flagged in an audit if it does not have a complete justification in the documentation.

Components of a Good Justification (5W’s)

The Writing Justifications Guide contains further explanations and examples.

A reasonable justification requires a who, what, where, when, and why/how (5W’s)

  • Who: Who is involved in the transaction? (Travelers, Stakeholders)
  • What: What exactly is being paid for?
  • When: For travel, when will the travel take place? For supplies/equipment, when will the items be used? For services, when will/were the services be provided?
  • Where: For travel, where is the destination? For supplies/equipment, where will the items be stored or used? For services, where will the services be provided?
  • How/Why: How does the purchase benefit the university? Why is the purchase necessary?

Other things to include

  • For Charges to Sponsored Projects:
    • identify the project (project number, study title, etc.), principal investigator (PI), and a detailed explanation of how the expenses directly support the aims of the grant.
  • For Subject Payments 
    • All identifying information should be removed and the statement "Documentation will be kept on file in the department, available for audit” should be included.
    • The identifying documents should be held in the lab in the case of an audit.
  • Any Oddities
    • Anything out of the norm should be included in the justification. Clarifications and extra details pertinent to the payment should be included.

Tipping

When providing a tip, please consider the following:

  • The maximum tip allowed is 20% of the purchase amount. If the service was poor, less than 20% is appropriate. 
  • Be aware of any tip (gratuity, service fee, etc.) automatically added to the bill by the restaurant, which is typical when large groups of people are being served. 
  • If purchasing a catering order, then use discretion or consult with the Psychology Accounting Team for guidance in calculating the tip.

Types of Catering and Tip Guidelines:

  • Simple Catering - When the food is prepared at the restaurant and dropped off at the event location and the tip is for the delivery person. For example, a $200 tip (20%) on a $1,000 catering order from Subway would be disproportionate. 
    • $0-100: Maximum 20% with an amount cap of $10
    • $100-$500: Maximum 10% with an amount cap of $25
    • $500 and above: Maximum 10% with an amount cap of $50
  • Partial Service Catering - When the food is prepared at the restaurant and delivered to the event location with the delivery person setting up and taking down the catering. For partial service, the delivery person is not present throughout the event.
    • Maximum 15% tip with no amount cap
  • Full-Service Catering - When food is prepared at the restaurant and delivered to the event location with the restaurant employee staying to provide services throughout the entirety of the event.
    • Maximum 20% tip with no amount cap
Sarah Jahn
Finance and Grants Manager
S253 EltH | 626-7975
swen0432@umn.edu
Kamran Motevaze
Finance Professional
S252 EltH | 626-8146
motev001@umn.edu
Angela Park
Finance Professional
S254 | 625-5429
park2265@umn.edu
Svena Saenvilay
Student Finance Assistant
psyfin@umn.edu
Anjeanette Roy
Grants Coordinator
N256 EltH | 626-0871
basti042@umn.edu
Kristen Abernethy
Grants Coordinator
S250 EltH | 624-4325
kharne@umn.edu
Elliot Skurich
Senior Grants Administrator
SPA
eskurich@umn.edu
Abby Roberts
Student Finance Assistant
psyfin@umn.edu
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