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UCD Bursar's Office

Oifig an Sparánaí UCD

Bursar's Memo to all Staff regarding Staff Expenses

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To: All UCD Staff
From: Bursar
Re: Staff Expenses
Date: 1-1-2014

This memo provides guidance on the main issues which arise in relation to staff expenses. While the memo cannot provide information on every scenario which may be encountered in the preparation of expense claims, the most common and frequently occurring issues are covered. The overriding principle should always be that only valid business costs are claimed and that such costs are kept to a minimum.

If a staff member has a query re the reimbursement of a particular expense item, it should be queried and cleared in advance with the Bursar’s Office rather than submitted in the hope that it will be passed for payment.

Claims are processed quickly and payment is made within seven days directly to the claimant’s bank account. Payment delays can be encountered for various reasons including incomplete or illegible authorisation, lack of supporting documentation, coding errors and the claiming of ineligible expenditure.

It is important that each staff member is familiar with the University’s expense payment policies and procedures and is aware of the importance of submitting accurate and fully documented claims. As a basic requirement, expense claims should be clearly presented, fully vouched and properly authorised. Information on specific expense related issues is detailed below for your information. Further details are also available on the Bursar’s Office web-site.

University’s Travel Policy
The University’s travel policy is available in the Policies Section of the Bursar’s Office web site at (www.ucd.ie/bursar) and provides detailed guidance on all matters relating to the reimbursement of travel expenses including the following:

  • Business class or premium economy class travel approval
  • Travel advances
  • Payment of expenses to non- staff members
  • Subsistence
  • Mileage
  • Travel insurance

Prior Approval
Staff members intending to travel abroad on University business should formally request prior approval by e mail from the officer to whom they report in respect of all planned absences.

Value for Money
Staff members should make every effort to ensure that the value of their expense claims is kept to a minimum and represent value for money. Where possible, travel within Ireland should be by public transport rather than private car and business class travel should not be used except in accordance with the University’s travel policy.

Authorisation of Claims
All expense claims must be authorised by an appropriate signatory. The general principle is that expense claims should only be authorised by the staff member to whom the claimant reports.  Individuals are not permitted to authorise their own expense claims. Unauthorised or incorrectly approved expense claims are returned by the Finance Office for further authorisation.

Expense incurred by Authorised by
President Chair of Governing Authority
Vice-President/Principal President/Registrar
Head of School/Support Unit Principal/Reporting Officer
School Staff Member Head of School
Research Account Manager Head of School
Research Staff Research Account Manager

Staff authorising claims should be aware that by approving expense claims, they are confirming that the expenses claimed are appropriate and relate to University business. If you have any concerns about authorising a particular expense claim, you should delay signing until you are satisfied with all aspects of the claim.

Supporting Documentation for expense claims
The most common reason for the return of expense claims by the Finance Office is the lack of supporting documentation attached to the claim form. It is not sufficient to detail “Research Trip” or “Business Trip” on the front of the claim form without providing evidence supporting the trip. This evidence could include conference booking forms, attendance lists, meeting agendas, e mails, invitations, itineraries or any other third party evidence. It may also be useful in some cases, to attach a brief memo detailing the purpose of the visit. All itemised expenses claimed on the expense form should be supported by a receipt or proof of payment.

Km/Mileage claims
In addition to providing the details required on the claim form relating to distances, destination, etc, km/mileage claims should also be supported by evidence confirming the reason for the trip undertaken. This evidence could include meeting agendas, e- mails, invitations, itineraries or any other third party evidence. In some cases, where no such material exists, a memo explaining the background to the claim should be attached.  This evidence, which should be attached to the claim form, is particularly important for high value mileage claims.

Mileage claims for journeys which start from home should always be based by reference to the distance from home or normal place of work, whichever is the shorter. 

Time Limit
Expense claims must be submitted within twelve months of the date of expenditure. Claims submitted after this cut-off date will not be paid.

Ineligible Expenditure
Only expenses which are “wholly, exclusively and necessarily” incurred in the performance of employment duties may be reimbursed on a tax-free basis. If a claimant or claim authoriser requires clarification in relation to whether a particular expense item can be claimed, they should, in the first instance, contact the Bursar’s Office for guidance.

Clamping Fees/Fines
Clamping fees or parking fines will not be reimbursed by the University.

Gifts/Retirement presentations
The cost of any gifts/presentations for staff members should not be claimed from central university or research funds.

Charging of Personal Expenditure to Departmental & Research Accounts
Staff members should be aware that no personal expenditure should be charged to research or departmental accounts or any other university account.

Payments to Individuals
Claims requesting reimbursement of funds paid by them to individuals for work undertaken will not be paid. Staff members should not pay individuals directly and then submit an expense claim for the payment. All such payments must be processed through payroll under deduction of the relevant payroll taxes.

Purchase of Equipment/Personal Computers/Consumables
Equipment such as personal computers and other consumables should be ordered through Eprocurement and processed through the University’s creditor payment system rather than claimed through the expenses. This ensures that the University complies with its procurement, VAT and other purchasing policies.

Travel Insurance
Staff members travelling on University business are covered by the University’s insurance policies. The cost of any additional policies taken out by staff members will not be refunded.

Hospitality & Entertainment
When submitting a claim for hospitality or entertainment, the claim should clearly state the reason for the entertainment and the names of the guests attending. Any such expenditure should always be necessarily incurred and moderate in cost.

Expense Claims Chargeable to Research Accounts
It is important to ensure that claims chargeable to research accounts comply with the regulations attached to the funding contracts. Some contracts do not permit conference travel, travel to certain countries, entertainment expenses, purchase of equipment, etc. The E.U. and S.F.I. do not allow any expenses in respect of entertainment or alcohol to be charged to their contracts.  Expenditure which is not reimbursable by a funding agency should not be charged to a grant. Any expenditure deemed ineligible by a funding agency is chargeable to the relevant School/Unit.

Submission of a False or Exaggerated Claim
The staff expense payments system is open to audit by the University’s internal and external auditors and by the Revenue Commissioners and the Comptroller & Auditor General.

The submission of a false or exaggerated claim is a serious matter which may lead to disciplinary action being taken by the University. In addition, the University auditors, under the Criminal Justice (Theft & Fraud Offences) Act, 2001, are required to inform the Garda of any cases of fraud, irrespective of value, which come to their attention. In addition, all expense payments are subject to requests received under Freedom of Information legislation.

Following the above guidelines and querying any payment issues before claim forms are submitted for payment, will ensure that your expense claims are processed without delay. If you have any queries in respect of any of the issues raised in this letter, please contact John Kenny at 7161605 or at John.Kenny@ucd.ie

Gerry O’Brien
Bursar

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