May 19, 2015

As the Office of the CFO and Campus Shared Services continue efforts to improve the campus' experience with travel and entertainment (T&E), we're pleased to report you're experiencing quicker reimbursement processing and we're offering tips to help you prepare for summer business travel.

We heard you.

You asked for quicker reimbursement processing.
Early results show improvement in the number of T&E submissions that are returned. That's thanks to your feedback about ways to improve your reimbursement experience. Campus Shared Services has streamlined their processes and formed teams dedicated to handling only T&E requests. Now your reimbursements are processed by staff trained in T&E practices and devoted to making your experience better.

You want an easier way to get reimbursed for travel entertainment expenses.
You told us you prefer to include your trip's entertainment expenses on your travel reimbursement request form, rather than submitting a separate entertainment reimbursement request form. Now you can.

  • When completing the Travel Reimbursement Request Form, list the entertainment expense in the "Special Circumstances" section.
  • Provide details: include guest names and their affiliation, event location, the date, and the business purpose for the expense. 
  • When you complete the "Daily Expenses" portion of the form, include the total entertainment expense amount so the form can include it in your estimated total expenses. 
  • For a breakdown of per-person meal reimbursement limits, check out the entertaining while traveling webpage.

You appreciate international travel tips.
As you gear up for the summer, check out these tips on getting reimbursed for foreign travel.

  • Daily Limits: Make sure you're aware of the maximum daily spending limit for lodging, meals, and incidentals when traveling internationally. Daily limits vary by location and are available on the US Travel Management website. We trust you to only request reimbursement for your actual expenses, which may be less than the full maximum daily limit ("per diem" on the US Travel Management website).
  • Receipts: It is necessary to submit receipts for air fare and car rentals, but you only need to submit receipts for lodging, meals, and incidentals if they exceed the maximum daily limit. 
  • Car Rental: When renting a car outside the continental United States, remember to purchase insurance for the vehicle and passengers from the rental agency. UC's insurance coverage does not extend outside the U.S. 

You have insights to share.
The information you've provided since the project launched is helping us prioritize our work as we focus on making your T&E experience better. We just completed our first round of focus groups and one-on-one interviews with faculty, students, and staff from across campus. We also held mock sessions to observe how and where travelers get information about T&E. In addition to these events, your emails, in-person conversations, and survey responses are also helping us improve various elements of the T&E experience such as processes, communications, systems, and training. Thank you for your input so far, and please continue to send feedback and ask questions via travel@berkeley.edu.

You want to save time at the airport. TSA Pre-Check enrollment event coming soon!
In the next few months, we'll be coordinating an on-campus opportunity for UC Berkeley faculty, staff, students, and their families to enroll in TSA Pre-Check. This program is honored by over 120 airports and allows flyers to skip the long lines at airport screening by leaving on their shoes, light jackets, and belts, and leaving laptops and compliant liquids in carry-on bags. Be on the lookout for more detailed information about the event soon.

Stay in touch.
Please be sure to sign up for Travel and Entertainment email updates to stay informed about future policy and process simplifications related to booking, lodging, international travel, entertainment, and more.

Thank you,

Rosemarie Rae, Associate Vice Chancellor of Finance & Chief Financial Officer
Peggy Huston, Chief Operating Officer of Campus Shared Services