Travel Services Frequently Asked Questions

 

General  Booking Travel 
Expense Claims  Claim Coding 
 Credit Cards/Expenses Cash Advances 
Concur Profiles   

 


Have a question as to whether something is in policy or not? Read this FAQ to see if we've answered your question.

Remember that your first point of reference should always be to check the Travel and Business Expense Claims Policy and its related Procedure.


GENERAL

1. Who do I contact if I have a question?

If you need help with Concur system navigation or interpreting the Travel Policy and Procedures, please call (204)480-1001 extension 1 or email travinfo@umanitoba.ca.

If you have questions about system access, please contact Aurora Finance at (204)480-1001 extension 3 or email aurofin@umanitoba.ca.

If you require clarification regarding the details of a returned claim, please contact the processor dealing with your expense report. Their contact information is included in the comments section of your returned claim. 

To inquire about claim payments, please contact Supplier Payment Services. Your department contact will be listed here

 

2. Why do we need a Report Number (RN#)?

An RN# is a six-digit number used to differentiate between trips and travelers in the Concur system and FAST.  Every flight/trip for each individual should have its own reference number.  The RN# always needs to be entered in the titles of your reports.  This is how we file each expense claim and its backup.

Note:   If you book a flight under one RN# and use a different RN# for your expense report, you will run into issues when reconciling to FAST.  FAST will show the flight charge and its RN#, but you will not be able to locate the backup documentation in Concur as it is listed under a different RN#.  For your expense report, please ensure that you use the same RN# that you booked your flight under.

Note:  The same RN# should be used if multiple claims are filed for the same trip.


BOOKING

3. What types of flights do I need pre-approval for before I book them?

You need to get written pre-approval (or request an exception from the Travel Policy) from a Vice-President to book a flight that:

• Costs up to the greater of $100 more or is 10% above lowest available airfare around the time you want to fly;
• Is not economy class; or
• Is booked outside of the Concur system or CWT, even if the flight is cheaper than what Concur and CWT offer.

The written pre-approval must be attached to the related expense claim. If you do not obtain this exception, you may be responsible for paying for the flight costs out-of-pocket.

Note: When travelling in remote areas in a foreign country, you may book airfare directly with an airline (not using Concur or CWT) without the requirement to obtain an exception.

Note: Your supervisor should be aware well in advance of any flights you will be booking, whether or not they require an exception approval. Your department may require that certain other people be made aware of your intent to travel, such as the Department Head or Dean. We encourage you to contact your Business Manager for the requirements of your department.

 

4. The Travel Policy/Procedure requires travelers to use Concur or CWT to book airfare. Why?

Using the Concur system and Carlson Wagonlit Travel has several benefits not only to individual employees, but for the University as a whole. These benefits include:

1. Giving the University access to discounted flights, even for complicated flights or Northern travel.
2. Allowing the University to track frequently used airlines and negotiate better rates.
3. Offering our travelers 24/7 access to CWT for aid with bookings, cancellations, or troubles while on the road (by calling 1-866-855-9850).
4. Keeping University members traveling safe by giving the University the ability to know the location of our travelers through CWT's traveler tracking.
5. Flight bookings can be made for guests or employees through the same easy online booking tool or with a phone call.
6. Having a specific travel service provider, CWT, who is familiar with our unique institutional needs and who do their best to help us meet them.
7. Eliminating the need for travelers to go out of pocket to pay for a flight.
8. Flight purchases at the University's expense are more transparent and easily trackable for approvals and reconciliation purposes.

 

5. Why do I need to include the purpose of the trip when I book my flight?

A description detailing the specific purpose of your flight needs to be included with every flight booked. It should be clear as to why the trip was taken and if the trip was taken for research purposes, as well as how it related to the research you are conducting. Without this description on the booking and in your claim, you may be requested to provide additional information when you submit your expense report. Claims processors need to know the reason for the flight so they can facilitate the processing and payment of your claim.

You can include the purpose of your trip in the field called "Trip Description" in your booking, and in the "Business Purpose" in Concur. Extra context can be added in the comment and exception explanation fields on each expense.

 

6. I have a whole group of people I need to arrange travel for; can I use the same RN# for all of them?

No. Each traveler requires a unique RN#, even if they are all traveling to the same place on the same flight. Each traveler's ticket requires a unique RN#, so they can be differentiated between during various reconciliations. FAST (the GL) will show the RN# that was given during the booking, and the RN# for the report in Concur (or on a paper claim) must match this. Travelers are identified in some cases by their RN#.

 

7. What is the GDS, and what does that have to do with me booking a flight?

GDS stands for Global Distribution System. It's the database where almost all flights are housed. When CWT pulls up a flight to book for you, they're pulling it from the GDS. Concur functions the same way. All airlines and most ticketing websites also pull all of their tickets from the GDS. If they haven't, they've purchased them in bulk from the GDS already and are reselling them, often as part of travel packages.

What does this mean when you're booking a flight? It means you should always be searching in Concur first - if you look up a flight on Travelocity, find a ticket you want, put it on hold, and then try to find it in Concur, you're not going to find it. You've pulled it from the GDS, so it's unavailable to anyone until you leave that webpage, releasing the ticket. Always search in Concur first. Expand your flight search criteria in order to find the cheapest flights, or narrow it down to find a more convenient flight that fits your schedule. This will ensure you find the most reasonable flight to suit your needs.

 

8. I've found a flight that is $50.00 cheaper outside of Concur. Why doesn't Concur have the cheapest flight?

Because we have negotiated prices with Air Canada and WestJet, it is most likely that Concur does in fact have the cheapest flight available. It is important to always check Concur first. If a flight approximately $50-$100 cheaper (in Canadian dollars) is found outside of Concur, it is almost always because the external travel agency or website has not yet included all applicable fees and taxes in the posted price. The ticket price will climb once you have committed to buying the ticket. Flight prices listed in Concur already include all fees and taxes. To ensure you are seeing the cheapest flight in the system, we suggest expanding your search criteria to include all available flights for the days you've chosen to travel. Make sure when you search in Concur you haven't looked for the same flight on another site at the same time - this pulls the ticket out of the GDS (Global Distribution System) and will stop you from being able to see the flight in Concur. Please see this question for more information on the GDS. If you find a flight that is a lot cheaper outside of the system (and you're sure you're searching properly in Concur - call us to confirm!), see this question.

 

9. I found a flight that is a lot cheaper outside the system ($100 or more). How can I book it?

Before you seek approval to book outside the system, there are a couple of steps you need to take first.

1. Save an up-to-date screenshot of the cheaper flight you've found.
2. Send the quote to CWT via email (the email address is uofmywg.ca@contactcwt.com). They have price-matching capabilities in many cases and may be able to book the flight for you at the cheaper price. If it's a legitimate booking (it won't contain additional fees to jack the price once you've committed yourself to buying, which happens more often than not) and is available via the GDS (where almost all travel agents pull their tickets from), they will book you the cheaper flight you've found.
3. If the flight is significantly more expensive ($100 or more than your other flight) through CWT, ask them to email you the flight quote; you'll need it for a VP exception.
4. If they are not able to price match and the flight you have is significantly cheaper, then you will need a VP approval to book out of policy and outside the system. This cannot be booked on the Travel card (travel card icons need to be reconciled within 20 days, but flights can't be reconciled until after they've been taken).
5. This flight can be paid for personally and then reimbursed through the Concur system once it's been taken, with the VP approval attached. The VP's office will need to see a flight quote for the price of the flight from CWT and the flight quote for the price you've found. They are quick with their approvals as they know the urgent nature of booking flights at specific fares.
 

 

10. How do I select my seat?

At this time seat selection, while an allowable expense, cannot be done in Concur. If you want a specific seat, you may call the airline directly or go to the airline's website (where available) to request one after your flight has been ticketed (usually within 24 hours of booking). You may also contact CWT at 1-866-855-9850, though for domestic flights their service fee will be applied to your unit.

Please note that:

• Seat upgrades are not an allowable expense.
• It is not an allowable expense to book a more expensive flight in order to gain free seat selection.

 

11. Pre-selecting my seat will ensure I can't be bumped from my flight, right?

Wrong. Pre-selecting your seat does not guarantee your seat on a plane. However, checking in 24 hours before your flight will reduce your chances of getting bumped. The sooner you check in, the better. Typically, the last people who  check in will be bumped first should the flight be overbooked. Pre-selecting your seat does not give you any better chance of not being bumped from a flight should the airline have to bump someone (unless the flight is severely overbooked). CWT sends you an email 24 hours prior to your departure to remind you to check in. Their email contains a link to the check-in website.

 

12. I want to pay for an upgrade to my flight at my own expense. How do I do this?

You can personally pay for an upgrade to your flight (or example, a seat upgrade, an extra layover or an additional flight) without requiring VP approval from a Vice-President. Step-by-step instructions for the process can be found here.

 

13. I'm going on a personal trip and notice the hotel rate on Concur is lower than what I can get anywhere else. Can I use Concur to book my hotel and pay for it personally when I am there?

No. When you are booking a business-related trip, you are permitted to add extra nights to your hotel stay at your own expense. However, strictly personal travel cannot be booked through Concur. The specially negotiated rates are for corporate travel only and cannot be applied to personal travel.


EXPENSE  CLAIMS

14. What is a "comprehensive claim"?

A comprehensive claim is an expense claim that includes all the elements of a trip taken, such as travel, accommodations, meals, conference registration fees, and any other expense incurred relating to the trip. A comprehensive claim must include all supporting documentation when it is submitted, which should include original receipt, the purpose of the trip, dates and destinations, details of daily claims for expenditures relating to those visits, details of any vehicle used, hotel bills, car rental agreements, original air travel ticket receipts and boarding passes, travel itineraries, conference agendas or any other documentation that supports the travel expenses claimed. If any airfare quotes are required to claim mileage for trips over 500km, that must also be included to be deemed comprehensive.

All University staff are required to submit a comprehensive claim for each trip taken.

 

15. I keep encountering issues with Concur when I'm viewing or attaching receipts and loading travel booking pages. Is there something wrong with the system?

If you are encountering errors with Concur or the system is acting funny, your browser may not be compatible with Concur. Try changing the browser you are using to the most up-to-date version of Firefox. If the problem persists, please contact Travel Services.

 

16. I booked my flight directly with CWT and when I went to create my travel expense report, the flight icon didn't appear. Did I do something wrong?

Concur should automatically populate an icon for all airfare booked in the system or with CWT, but due to various reasons, sometimes this doesn't happen. If you have booked a flight and do not have an icon, you still need to reconcile the flight in your expense report. You will have to create a manual airfare expense (attach the itinerary as the receipt), mark it as prepaid, and include a comment indicating there was no icon to import. 

 

17. When should I reconcile my expenses?

There are a few different types of expenses in Concur. This is when they should be reconciled:

1. Travel card charges must be reconciled within 20 days of appearing in Concur.
     a. You can set your email preferences in your Concur profile to notify you when new charges appear, for your convenience.
2. Flights should not be reconciled until after the flight has been taken. Want to know why? See this question.
3. Conference registrations paid for out-of-pocket in advance can be reconciled before the conference has taken place but all other expenses, with case-by-case exceptions, should be reconciled once the trip has been completed.
4. All other expenses (per diems, accommodations, out-of-pocket expenses, etc.) should be reconciled after your trip has been completed.

 

18. Why can't I reconcile my flight before it's been taken?

If a flight is cancelled but has already been reconciled, it causes problems not only for reporting (by reconciling a flight in Concur you are saying it has been paid for and taken) but in FAST. It becomes extra work for you to sort out the charges and reconciliations - if you wait to reconcile until after a flight has taken place, it's much easier to report a cancelled flight. Reconciling flights before they're taken can also cause problems when duplicate or subsequent flight icons appear in your profile (because of itinerary updates or changes). It's easier for you (and for us!) to sort out duplicate icons before any of them have been put in a report and reconciled.

 

19. How do I avoid warning flags in Concur when I'm doing my expense claim?

The University has preset warning flags in the Concur system to alert claimants that certain documentation needs to be included with the claim, depending on the types of expenses you're claiming. Whenever a warning flag appears, please ensure you provide all additional information before submitting your claim.

Here is how to avoid getting some of the most common warning flags:

When claiming mileage in remote areas, include your odometer readings in the comments and an explanation of your trip in order to account for the mileage claimed. You may wish to use the mileage calculator in Concur or include a copy of a google map, if possible. We use this information to asses and confirm the reasonability of your claim.
Flying is the University's preferred method of transportation. If you choose to drive to a destination that one would typically fly to (and claim mileage), please include a copy of a flight quote showing what the airfare charge would have cost if you had flow instead (remember that the cost of the flight is your reimbursement cap), along with the reason why driving was the more reasonable or necessary choice.
Attach your conference agenda to any claim relating to a conference, even if it doesn't include the conference registration fees.
Attach the signed Vice-President Exception form for any expenses that required pre-approval.

Note: Keep in mind that some warning flags will not disappear when the necessary information is provided. This is because it stays visible so that approvers and processors know to look for your added documentation.

 

20. I know that I need to include comments or descriptions with my expense claim. What do I say? 

It is important to remember that while you know exactly how your expenses relate to your job or research approvers, processors, and especially third-party auditors do not have access to this information if you don't tell them. Be concise, but be specific about the nature and purpose of your charges. The more detail you provide, the better! This will help facilitate the processing of your claim and help avoid requests for further information.

While you are limited to a certain number of characters in some comment fields in Concur, you are encouraged to attach additional documents containing expanded explanatory comments with your claim. You can do this by attaching the document at the report level. To do this, follow these steps:

1. Click on the Receipts menu and choose "attach receipt images".
2. Do not click on any of the available expense lines listed in the pop-up window. This will attach it directly to the expense, which is where the primary receipt needs to be housed.
3. Browse for and attach the document.
4. To view the additional document and ensure it has been attached, you will need to click the Receipts menu and choose "view receipts in new window". If you have not yet clicked this option in your report, it may also say "check receipts".
 

Your comments should include:

If a traveler is not the Researcher (PI) and the travel is being charged to a research grant, then the affiliation of the traveler to the research project must be included.
If your trip is research-related, a clear description of how the travel is directly related to your research. The purpose of the trip should always be stated in the header of your claim. Again, be specific! When it coms to research or program expenses, it never hurts to attach an abstract of your project to the claim in order to provide additional context for auditors.
Explicitly state in the comments or exception explanations of your expenses how they relate to your research or your job duties.

 

21. When do I need to use a missing receipt affidavit?

Missing receipt affidavits can be submitted for expenses when an original, itemized receipt has been lost or cannot be obtained. For example, if you are claiming a meal with receipt but only kept a visa slip and not the itemized receipt, you will have to complete a missing receipt affidavit. However, if you are trying to claim multiple meals for meals with receipts and do not have receipts, you will have to claim per diem.

Missing receipt affidavits cannot be accepted in lieu of hotel folios or Cashier's Office receipt slips. If these are missing, new copies must be requested from the hotel and/or the Cashier's Office.

 

22. What is an approval flow?

An approval flow is the approval path that your claim must take in order to be processed. Your claim is likely to be subject to several levels of approval.

Many departments have a designated "pre-approver". This is someone who will review your claims before they go to your one-over-one or any other approvers. If your department has a pre-approver, you may have to set this person as your "default expense approver" in your Concur profile. Check with your unit's Business Manager to see if you need to do this. Otherwise, the person approving your claims should be your direct one-over-one.

Even if you have to send your claims to a pre-approver, your direct one-over-one still needs to approve your claim. Your pre-approver may forward it to your one-over-one and add any additional approval steps, or may require you to add them. Check with your pre-approver or one-over-one for the procedure you'll need to follow.

Please note that:

• The signing authority for any fund used in the claim needs to be added to the approval flow. For example, if you are doing a claim against a research grant, you will need to include the Researcher, who is the primary signing authority on that research grant, to approve it.
• Certain exceptions in your claim (for instance, hospitality and meals with receipts exceptions) require specific approvals be obtained within the claim. If Dean or Vice-President approval is required for an expense, they will need to be added to the approval flow.

Note: Please do not add the expense processors in Financial Services to the approval flow of your claim. If they are put in the approval flow as a user-added step, the claim will encounter system errors and cause a delay in processing.

 

23. When can I use a blanket approval?

If you think a blanket approval may be helpful to your unit, please contact travinfo@umanitoba.ca, or call (204)480-1001 extension 1.

Blanket approvals are useful for providing a Dean's approval for the expenses associated with hospitality events that are being planned. When there are a series of events that will have hospitality expenses (such as recruiting or standard departmental events requiring multiple hospitality charges), a blanket approval can be signed by a Dean that will apply to all the associated expense claims. The blanket approval document must be attached to each reimbursement claim associated with those events, eliminating the need to route the expense report to the Dean each time.

A blanket approval must have the conditions of the approval clearly articulated, and must be reviewed by Travel Services before use. A template we recommend can be found on our Travel Processes page. After submitting your claim that has been approved under a blanket approval, Travel Processors may still require further approval from a Dean if it is not clear whether a blanket approval applies to an expense, or if the conditions of the blanket approval were exceeded. The Dean can issue this subsequent approval to the Travel Processors via an email or through the approval flow of the claim in Concur.

Blanket approval timelines must be within one fiscal year.


CODING

24. When do I use itemization vs. allocation when an expense has to be split between accounts or different people?

While allocation is a feature that the Concur system offers, we require that you always itemize. There are cases where allocation cannot be used under any circumstances (such as for personal or alcohol expenses). Also, the allocation feature does not have comment options like itemization does, resulting in incomplete claims and delayed processing as expense processors will need to reach out to you for additional information. Itemization also presents more clearly in the back up documentation that Concur produces than allocation does. There are circumstances where processors will need to return your claim to request expenses be itemized if they are allocated. If you have questions on the use of itemization or allocation, please contact travinfo@umanitoba.ca.

 

25. I can't find the account code I need to use in Concur. What do I do?

If you're looking for an account code and can't find it, try a different expense type. Account codes in Concur are filtered by expense type, so depending on which one you've chosen, you'll be shown a different list of available accounts. If you still cannot find what you're looking for, please contact Travel Services at travinfo@umanitoba.ca or (204)480-1001 extension 1 and we'll help you pinpoint the problem and outline a solution.

 

26. I need to change my account code, but I'm getting an error. Why?

The expense type and account code fields in a Concur report work in tandem - your available account codes are filtered by the expense type. So, when you change your expense type, you have to also select a new account code. For example, if an expense is listed under the expense type "meals (with receipts)" and you need to code it as "hospitality", you need to first change your expense type from "meals (with receipts)" to "hospitality", and then choose a new account code (from "713301 - Meals/receipts - Domestic (Excl Wpg) (713301)" to "713313 - Meals/Receipts - Hospitality (713313)"). If the system will not allow you to select an account code, you will need to reselect the expense type to update the filtered account code list.

 

27. I need to repay the University for a personal expense that the University paid for me. Can I mark this expense as "personal" and "pre-paid" in Concur?

No, you cannot. You can only mark personal expenses as either 1) "Pre-paid" or 2) "Personal" and "Cash". Otherwise, system errors occur.

If you are reimbursing the University for a pre-paid expense (i.e. a flight), please leave it marked "pre-paid" (as the University has already paid and so it is an expense), with the flight account code given during your booking. Add a comment that you reimbursed the University and include a copy of the receipt slip from the Cashier's Office when you submitted your Departmental Deposit Report.

If you are reimbursing the University for a personal expense that was put on the T&E card, please mark the expense as "cash" and "personal", and use the personal expense account code (9999991). Add a comment indicating the date that you paid USBank directly.

 

28. How do I get reimbursed for the food I eat while traveling?

Regarding the reimbursement for your meals while traveling, you have two options that you need to be aware of before you travel.

A) Meals with receipts:
The "Meals with Receipts" expense type is used for meals you ate during University-related business travel. In order to claim under "Meals with Receipts", you must provide itemized restaurant receipts (not just the credit card slips) with your claim. You may claim "Meals with Receipts" up to a daily limit. If you have gone over the daily limit, it is possible to obtain additional approvals to have higher amounts deemed reimbursable. Check the daily limits by clicking here.

B) Per Diem:
Claiming a "Per Diem" does not require receipts. You are entitled to $50 maximum per day during University-related business travel in Canada, and $60 maximum per day during travel outside of Canada. There are no exceptions to claim a higher "Per Diem" rate. If you need to claim higher amounts, you need to keep your receipts, claim "Meals with Receipts" instead and obtain certain approvals in order to claim a higher amount.

Note: If a meal is provided for you on a flight or during a conference/event you are attending, you cannot claim a "Per Diem" amount for that portion of the day. If you claim "Per Diem" on a day where you receive a meal as part of a flight of conference, your "Per Diem" will need to be adjusted accordingly.

Note: You can't use both "Per Diems" and "Meals with Receipts" or "Hospitality" within a single day of travel. While you may have a day that has a "Meals with Receipts" charge and a "Hospitality" expense, you may not use "Per Diem" with any other meals expense type.

 

29. Can I charge my meal as "Hospitality" if I take out a colleague from another University while I'm out traveling?

The "Hospitality" expense type is used for meal expenses that you have covered for someone else other than yourself, even if it is during University-related business travel. If you pay for another person's meal, the whole charge for the meal must be charged as "Hospitality". This expense type also allows for additional approvals to deem higher amounts reimbursable.

In order to claim hospitality charges, you are required to submit itemized restaurant receipts (not just credit card slips) with your claim, and your guest's (or guests') name(s) must be included in the claim.

Note: All "Hospitality" claims need to be approved before they will be reimbursed. Depending on the amount of the "Hospitality" expense being claimed, you may need approval from a Vice-President. Check what approval is needed for your claim by clicking here.

Note: "Hospitality" is generally not an eligible expense that can be charged to a research grant. Please confirm with your Research Accountant whether or not a "Hospitality" expense is allowable before it is incurred.


CREDIT CARDS AND EXPENSES

30. Do I have to use the Travel and Expense (T&E) card when I travel on University-related business?

No, using a T&E card is not mandatory. Obtaining and using a T&E card is an option offered to you by the University through USBank for your convenience. It is meant to eliminate the need for employees to go out of pocket for travel expenses. It is important to keep in mind that using the T&E card comes along with responsibilities, including timely reconciliation and payment of any late charges incurred, so this is something to consider when applying for a card.

 

31. Why did I get charged interest on my Travel and Expense (T&E) card charges?

In order to avoid being charged interest on any balances on your T&E card, you need to reconcile your T&E card charges. T&E card charges need to be reconciled within 20 days of the expenses appearing in Concur. After 30 days, you will be sent a reminder to reconcile your outstanding expenses. After 60 days, you will receive another notification, be charged late fees, and your T&E card will be suspended.

Note: Late fees are the responsibility of the cardholder, not the University of Manitoba or your department. Delays in claim processing need to be accounted for - allowances cannot be made for late fees if a claim takes longer to process than expected. Ensure your claim in complete, and put your claim in as soon as possible to give it the time it needs!

 

32. Do I have to use Concur to book car rentals and hotels?

No. For your convenience, the Concur system gives you the ability to book your hotels and car rentals at discounted rates at the same time as your flight. You are free to book directly with a hotel or car rental company and include these charges in your Concur expense report at the end of your trip.

 

33. I need to purchase a sponsorship. How do I do that?

Sponsorships should be purchased through the Epic system. If you have erroneously purchased a sponsorship using a T&E card or you've gone out of pocket to pay for it, please contact Travel Services at travinfo@umanitoba.ca or (204)480-1001 extension 1 and we'll help you find a solution.


CASH ADVANCES

34. What should I name my cash advance request?

Your cash advance request should have an RN# and a title that includes the recipient's  name, purpose of the cash advance, or both. Please note that there cannot be any special characters (like #, %, &, etc.) in your title as they cause system errors. An example of a good naming convention would be "RN123456 Jane Smith child teething study".


CONCUR PROFILES

35. Can I upload my Nexus Pass to my Concur Profile?

Currently, the Concur system does not offer the option to upload a Nexus pass to your profile. We have requested that it be added as a new feature. We will communicate with everyone if this becomes an option!


 

If you have any suggestions for FAQs you'd like to see here, please contact Kristy Hourd at (204)272-1659 or Kristy.Hourd@umanitoba.ca.