Finance and Operations > Travel

Print Friendly

Travel

All travel through University resources – state, grant, overhead, auxiliary funds – is required to adhere to the USF Travel guidelines as stipulated in the travel manual. All travel is processed through the on-line FAST Travel Module.

Travel through DSO funds – USF Foundation, USF Research Foundation, and HPCC – should follow the travel guidelines of each DSO.

The below FAQ's were developed to help COPH faculty, staff and students navigate the travel process. For specific questions about travel, please contact your department administrator.

USF Travel Manual
Travel Office Training Powerpoint

Forms

COPH Travel FAQs



How do I stay on top of all the changes in USF Travel?
If you travel frequently, I would encourage you to add the USF Travel webpage (http://usfweb.usf.edu/controller/travel) to your favorites.  You can also subscribe to the Travel list serve, and keep your eye on the Fast module Bulletin Board at http://listserv.admin.usf.edu/archives/travel.html.
 
What is a TAR and when do I have to submit it?
The TAR, Travel Authorization Report, is the Traveler’s permission to incur expenses and to travel.  A TAR must be entered into the FAST Travel Module and must be approved in the FAST workflow by the Fiscal Approver and Supervisor before any expenses are incurred or any travel occurs, consistent with USF policy and State of Florida statues.  (With the exception of mileage only travel –refer to travel manual).
 
How do I access FAST?
You can log into FAST through MyUSF 
 
I need to travel, but reimbursement will be mileage only. What do I need to do?
For mileage only expenses, or mileage with incidentals (i.e. tolls, parking), prior approval is required, but may be documented and stored at the unit level. Individuals should have written approval for this travel, but are not required to submit a TAR in the FAST Travel module. In this case, only the TER must be prepared electronically.

What happens if I don't get my TAR entered into FAST before I must leave on my trip (i.e. emergency travel)?
Emergency travel is defined as travel that must commence with less than 24 hours notice to the traveler. In this case, a memo is required indicating the details of the travel and the circumstances that prohibited adherence to the normal TAR process, including evidence that the situation was out of the traveler's control. This memo must be signed by the employee, the employee's supervisor and the appropriate Vice-President. The notation "Post-Travel Authorization Memo attached" must be entered into the comment field of the Expense Report page in the Travel module.

Please note that you must provide evidence that the request was less than 24 hours before the travel for it to be considered emergency travel. The following circumstances are not grounds for an exception, and will require approval of the USF Expenditure Policy Committee in addition to Vice-President approval:

  1. Any travel with more than 24 hours notice
  2. Ignorance of the requirement for prior authorization
  3. Circumstances of the delay that fall under the control of the traveler or department administrative staff
  4. Exception requested solely because a traveler is already out of town when an additional destination is added to the itinerary.
  5. A required Approver fails to approve the Authorization prior to the date of travel.

Repeated instances by an individual or department may be forwarded to the University's Controller's Office or the USF Expenditure Policy Committee for review, and may result in delay or denial of reimbursement.

My travel will last more than 30 days. Do I have to take any special steps?
Travel lasting over 30 days requires approval and signature of the President of the University. Before requesting authorization in the system (TAR), the Traveler should obtain written approval in memo form from the President's Office, clearly indicating dates of travel, destination, business purpose, and benefit to the University. This must be included as part of the receipt package.

I have seen the workflow document from Travel, which highlights roles called Expense Manager, Reviewer and Project Supplemental Approver. Who are they, and what do they do in the travel process?
The Expense Manager is your Account Rep at COPH who will verify that there is funding available for the anticipated trip, and that if the travel is grant related, that the charges are related to the project identified. During the review of the TER, the Reviewer (your Account Rep) will review the submitted expense report to ensure that the identified chartfields are correct and that the travel complies with USF policies and procedures.

For travel funded by grants/contracts, after the PI and HR supervisor review and approve the TAR and TER, the Project Supplemental Approver (the Research Office at COPH) will provide one last review to verify that travel is allowable on the external funding source.

Will I know the status of my TAR and TER?
The traveler will always have the ability to sign in to FAST (or via their delegate if there is one) to track the status of their request.

With the understanding that most individuals don't work in FAST on a regular basis, travel has developed an email notification system. The system is intended to notify the traveler when a travel is submitted on their behalf by a delegate; upon final approval of a TAR or TER; and when the reimbursement has been paid. If there is an assigned delegate for the traveler, they will also be notified at each of the above steps.

How are PCard charges processed in the FAST Travel Module?
All travel-related PCard charges will be imported into the Travel module.  The Travel Department will initially move obvious charges like hotels and airfare to the PCard holder's wallet.  After that, a request to the Travel Helpdesk will have to be made to move any travel-related PCard charges still on the queue side.  This will be done by the COPH Finance Department when prompted by the submittal of your receipt within 3 business days of making the charge.

If charges are made by a Delegate on behalf of another traveler, the actual charge will have to be reassigned to the traveler's wallet. This can be done by going into FAST's Reassign My Wallet Charges and moving that charge to the correct wallet.  You must have an approved TAR number in order to do this.

When preparing the TER, it will be the responsibility of the Delegate and/or Traveler to pull charges from the Traveler's wallet into their expense report.  In the middle of the Expense Report Entry page, under the Details section there is a box that says, "New Expense".  Click the drop down and select, "Expenses from My Wallet". 
 
What are the allowable PCard charges when traveling?
See the USF PCard Manual for allowable travel expenses on your PCard.
 
What is the expected timeline for this electronic process? How quickly will my requests move through the system?
Our goal will be to move all TARs and TERs through the FAST system as quickly as possible.
 
TARs are generally reviewed within 24 hours by the initial reviewer.  Approvals after that point typically move quickly as well.  To ensure this process moves as quickly as possible, please make sure all receipts and required documentation are submitted timely.  Once all the required back-up for your expenses has been submitted, our goal within COPH is to process this as quickly as possible.  Travelers who submit travel expense reports with no problems or questions from COPH or USF Travel are typically being reimbursed within two weeks.

 
I am traveling on a grant. Do I need to take any extra steps?
Travel related to sponsored research projects must include a brief explanation as to how the travel will provide a direct benefit to the goals and objectives of the project. This information should be entered in the Comments section of the TAR and TER. Should a TAR be submitted without this justification, it will be returned to the traveler for completion prior to moving the request forward through the FAST system.

If travel funds for non-USF employees have been approved by the sponsor, the TAR and TER may be entered by a USF employee who is identified as their delegate.

All TARs and TERs are reviewed and approved by a Reviewer (the COPH account reps), the Expense Manager (Principal Investigator) and Supervisor (as noted in GEMS). In addition, COPH Research Administration will conduct a compliance review on all grant travel, which will occur after the review and approval by the Expense Manager and Supervisor.
 
Can I receive a cash advance for my upcoming trip?
Cash advances are requested through the TAR process and are issued only in the following situations:

• Travel is to a remote area where credit cards are not accepted
• Travel is performed for an extended length of time (30 days or more)
• The traveler has been denied a credit card
• The traveler is a student
• The traveler is incurring expenses for students accompanying traveler on the trip.

The cash advance must be settled no more than 10 business days from the travel end date.
 
I am traveling at the expense of another organization outside of USF. Do I need to enter my Travel in the FAST Module?
No. If your travel is being covered completely by another organization (NIH, Gates Foundation, etc), you will not need to do a TAR & TER in the FAST Travel module. You must, however, make sure your supervisor is aware of your travel and approves it in advance.

We have a guest speaker/candidate/non-USF employee coming in for a visit. How do I manage their travel process?
First, you must complete the Non-Employee Travel Profile form. During this process you will have to identify who the delegate will be for the traveler (i.e. who will prepare and enter the TAR and TER) and who will be identified as the supervisor (i.e. who will approve the travel requests). All requests to add an individual traveler should also include the addition of Faye Maciaszek as the delegate. Please make sure to include her on your request to Travel.

Once the individual has been added to the FAST system the TAR can be prepared and PCard charges associated with this travel can be made. Please remember that no charges can be made on behalf of this travel until the TAR has been approved, so please plan accordingly.

The form can be found at the following link: http://usfweb2.usf.edu/proced/fiscal/uco/travel/nonemployeeadd.doc

Our department is going to pay for a student to travel to a conference. What do we need to do now?
First, you need to determine if the student is or has been a USF employee. If so, and the student has a GEMS ID, you can proceed as with any other TAR.

If the student is not or has never been an employee of USF, then you will need to complete the Non-Employee Traveler Profile form before any travel arrangements or PCard charges can be made. The form can be found at the following link: http://usfweb2.usf.edu/proced/fiscal/uco/travel/nonemployeeadd.doc

Once the student has been added, then you can proceed as normal with the travel process.

We are approving a travel for a fixed amount of dollars. Do we need to do anything differently?
Should a unit decide to set a dollar limit on the amount a traveler will be reimbursed for specific travel, the limit should be agreed to in advance with the traveler and documented in writing prior to submittal of the TAR. This signed document must be included with the receipt package submitted later with the Expense Report.

My TAR has been approved and I have just reserved my airline tickets on my PCard. What do I have to do next?
A copy of the receipt should be sent to the COPH Finance & Accounting office within 3 days of the charge being made with the PCard user's name clearly identified.  The original receipt will need to be submitted with the TER  package.
What happens to any comments I make in the system?
At several points in the travel module, travelers and/or approvers have the ability to enter comments into designated fields. These comments become part of the permanent record for the travel in question, and will be part of the documentation in perpetuity. So, think before you write!

When must my TER be submitted?
Expense reports should be submitted within 30 calendar days of the last date of travel. Reports submitted more than 60 calendar days after the last day of travel require a Dean level approval. Within COPH, TERs more than 60 days must include a memorandum explaining why the TER was not submitted within the expected 30 days after the end of the trip.

Expense reports submitted over 6 months from the last date of travel will not be processed. Similarly, expense reports for travelers terminating employment with USF submitted over 30 days after their termination will not be processed.

If a Cash Advance has been issued, an Expense Report must be submitted within 10 business days of the last date of travel.

I am the Chair/Director/PI, and I am going to be out of the office for an extended period of time. Can I reassign my responsibilities?
In developing this travel program, USF has made the decision that the approval of a travel authorization request and expense report can only be made by the HR supervisor of the traveler. In general, this process can not be delegated or reassigned to other personnel within your unit or the College. If for some reason you will be unavailable to respond to travel requests for an extended period of time, you can reassign your responsibilities by completing a Workflow Temporary Reassignment Form at least 3 days in advance of the anticipated absence. The form can be found at the following link: http://usfweb2.usf.edu/proced/fiscal/uco/travel/tempworkflowreassign.doc

I am the PI on a COPH grant, and I and my collaborators will travel extensively on it. What are the expectations on me as the principal investigator?
The COPH Research Administration office will conduct an initial compliance review of TARs and TERs and will contact the PI should questions arise during the compliance check.

The PI will perform the role of the Expense Manager and is responsible for reviewing, budget checking, and approving all TARs and TERs to be charged to their respective sponsored research projects. The PI should ensure that the individual is authorized to travel on behalf of the project, the purpose of travel is in compliance with the project scope of work and the sponsor approved budget and budget justification, and sufficient funds are available for the requested travel. If foreign travel is requested, and is not included in the sponsor approved budget and budget justification, prior written sponsor approval is required. If the PI is responsible for more than one project, it is important to ensure that travel costs are assigned to the appropriate project accounts.

The PI may also be identified as the traveler's supervisor in GEMS. If so, the PI will review and approve as both the Expense Manager and the Supervisor.

So we have a paperless system. Do I need to keep my receipts?
Yes, we still are required to maintain, and submit, all the documentation that we have in the past. Once you complete your electronic TER, you will need to print out the signature page and attach that to all the back-up documentation from your trip (see below for helpful hints about required documentation). The College will submit those documents to travel on your behalf and maintain the paper copies until the TER is approved and paid.

What type of documentation is required for my travel expenses?
A more detailed list of expectations can be found in the USF Travel Policy Manual linked above. Below is a summary of some of the more common issues:

Submission of TER

  • A cover sheet must be sent with the Receipt Package. The sheet is generated through the system when the Expense Report is submitted and must be signed by the traveler.

Emergency Travel

  • Post Travel Authorization Memo in the case of travel that prohibits submission of Travel Authorization before travel occurs.

Travel for more than 30 Days

  • Memo of approval from President’s Office for any travel lasting longer than 30 days.

Travel on a Sponsored Project

  • COPH requires an explanation of how the travel is related to and benefits the sponsored project being charged. This detail should be included in the Comments section of the Expense Report.

Reimbursement of a Flat Amount

  • Document, signed and dated at the time of the Travel Authorization, showing agreement of traveler and Department Head when total reimbursement amount is being capped.

Travel Expenses Paid in Addition to Consulting Fees

  • A copy of the purchase order showing payment of service fee or honorarium

Registration Expenses

  • A registration receipt showing amount paid, method of payment.
  • A full agenda or schedule at a glance for all conferences, conventions, formal meetings.
  • If membership fee is paid with registration, a statement as to how the membership benefits the University must be included.

Airfare

  • A receipt for the airfare must be included with the receipt package.
  • In the case of a flight or cancellation fee, a memo with business justification and appropriate signature approving the additional expense.

Mileage

  • A record of miles must be accurately maintained and shown on the expense report.
  • Print out Map Mileage travel must be obtained from an appropriate source.
  • If driving long distance, advance airfare quotes for comparison purposes must be included with the Receipt package

Car Rental

  • An itemized receipt for all rental car expenses
  • A receipt for all gas expenses associated with the use of a rental vehicle

Other Ground Transportation

  • Taxi or shuttle expenses for any amount (tip up to 15%)
  • Bus, Train, or other public transportation
  • Parking or tolls in excess of $25 per transaction

Incidental Expenses

  • Parking, storage, tolls in excess of $25 per transaction
  • Supplies for events (limit $100)
  • Communication expenses
  • Photo copies needed for business purpose
  • Passport or Visa
  • Travelers Checks or Currency Exchange Fees
  • Laundry expenses (when official travel extends beyond 7 days)
  • For foreign incidental expenses, conversions to US dollars must be printed for each expense and included with the Receipt Package.

Domestic Lodging

  • An itemized lodging receipt showing zero balance due
  • If a department/unit purchases a block of rooms to accommodate a large group of travelers, the PO may be provided but must include itemized documentation of traveler’s name and nightly room rate

Foreign Lodging

  • An itemized lodging receipt showing zero balance due
  • Conversions to US dollars must be printed for each expense and included with the Receipt Package

Cash Advance

  • Print out and sign form for Cash Advance in FAST Travel Module
  • Sign and submit form agreeing to payroll offset
Who will submit my TER to Travel (the paper part of it)
When your Receipt Package, including signed cover sheet, is completed, it should be submitted to your Account Rep for review. They will ensure all required documentation is included in the package. Once your TER has been approved electronically, Dean's Office staff will scan the package to USF Travel as well as store the documentation electronically. 

How and when will I get my travel reimbursement?
The goal of Travel is to approve travel expense reports within a few days of receipt (after all of the approvals at the College level), assuming there are no questions upon audit.

For all USF personnel, your travel reimbursements will be made via direct deposit. For our guests/visitors, they will have the opportunity to choose either a direct deposit or have a check cut and mailed to them.

Other Travel Links

Compass Travel