Expenses / Reimbursement

Access to Funds

In general, the College discourages employees from carrying large amounts of cash.  The College has a corporate credit card program to provide a means of charging business expenses.  In the case where cash is required, employees can either use personal funds and be reimbursed, use petty cash, or request a cash advance.

When traveling internationally, it is recommended that employees access funds through ATM machines.  The ATM machine allows withdrawals in reasonable amounts of cash to be carried and often provide the most favorable exchange rates.  The Williams College corporate credit card does not allow cash withdrawals.  Therefore, employees must arrange for funds to be deposited in their US bank accounts and withdraw from those accounts with their personal ATM cards.  The College will reimburse the fee associated with the ATM withdrawals.  It is recommended that employees contact the credit card company and alert them to their travel plans to avoid their purchasing card being placed on hold due to concerns about fraudulent activity.

If the travel destination does not accept credit cards or the employee will not have access to ATM machines, the College encourages employees to purchase traveler’s checks. The fees to purchase traveler’s checks are reimbursable.  Employees should contact the Investment Office to see if an arrangement can be made to purchase traveler’s checks at a preferred rate through the College’s primary bank.  Discounts may also be available through AAA, credit union, or other personal or professional organizations.

Advances

When absolutely necessary, advances for the estimated cost of a business trip are available.  Advances may be made up to 30 days before expenses are anticipated to be incurred.  Requests should be made at least 14 days prior to the trip and the advance must be cleared within 14 days after returning from the trip.  No new advance will be given until the previous advance is cleared.  The IRS requires that advances must be cleared within 120 days or they are subject to taxation.

Advances should only be requested when it is not possible to charge business expenses to a credit card or have the College billed directly.  Advances should not be requested for small, miscellaneous amounts (i.e. cabs, tolls, etc.). Those expenses should be paid by the employee and reimbursed upon return from the trip.  Reimbursements less than $30 should be made through petty cash, not accounts payable.

To obtain a travel advance, complete a travel/cash advance request form on the Controller’s Office website.  Fill in all the fields requested.  The department head or direct supervisor must approve the advance.

Travel Expense Report

To obtain reimbursement for out of pocket travel expenses (those NOT charged to a College credit card or directly billed to the College) complete the Travel Reimbursement Form on the web.  Travel reimbursement forms must be completed within 14 days of the return date of your trip and submitted with the required documentation to the supervisor and Department Head.  Small receipts must be taped onto one page and attached to the travel reimbursement form. This eliminates the possibility of a lost receipt and reduces the cost of archiving supporting documentation.  The completed form with appropriate approval signatures should be submitted to the Accounts Payable office. When a refund is due to the College a check must be attached to the travel form.  When a refund is due to the employee a check will be generated within 14 days of receipt of the travel reimbursement form.  For departments with Petty Cash, travel reimbursements under $30 should be made from the petty cash fund.

Travel Funded by Grant

Faculty members with grants that provide support for travel expenses should adhere to the travel and business expense guidelines as outlined in their particular grant and in the OMB Circular A-21.  Unlike Williams College funded travel, travel funded by a grant is as follows:

A faculty member traveling for at least 30 consecutive days may elect to take a per diem reimbursement for food and shelter expenses.  The reimbursement rate is established by the IRS and varies from city to city for an extended period of time on a federal grant.

All travel and business expenses, regardless of dollar amount, must be documented and supported by original receipts.

Foreign travel is strictly limited.  Grants must be carefully reviewed to determine if foreign travel is allowed and/or if travel on a foreign carrier is allowed.

Addenda

The following important documents are attached:

  • Documentation of the Bank of America Purchasing Card Charges
  • Listing of agreements with Rental Car agencies
  • Cell Phone Policy

Bank of America Purchasing Card

The IRS requires all travel and business expenses, including those charged to Bank of America Purchasing Cards (Mastercard), to be documented and supported in accordance with an accountable plan similar to all other travel and entertainment reimbursements.  Therefore, purchasing cardholders are required to file a Expense Report each month with original receipts and the following information.  Bank of America Purchasing Card reconciliations should be submitted to the Controller’s Office, Hopkins Hall.  Failure to file these monthly reconciliation forms may result in the cancellation of the employee’s corporate card.

The College requires receipts for all expenditures.  The business purpose of all expenditures must be documented into PeopleSoft finance which will then print on the expense report.

The itemized bill from the restaurant is required for all meals.

When dining or entertaining, the following documentation is required (regardless of the amount):

  • List of attendees (self if alone)
  • Description of business purpose, topics discussed
  • The cost (supported by original receipt)
  • The location
  • The date
  • Description of meal (i.e. lunch, dinner)
  • Description of entertainment (i.e. theatre)

For overnight travel, the detailed itemized bill from the hotel is required.

For airline or train travel, the invoice from the travel agency and the e-ticket confirmation, boarding pass or passenger receipt is required.

Approvals

The signature of the department head is required on the monthly Bank of America Purchasing Card Reconciliation.   Department heads must obtain the approval of their senior staff member.

Disputes

If there is a charge on your statement that you do not agree with (incorrect charge, unauthorized charge, service dispute) please call Bank of America directly.  They will work with you to dispute the charge. The dispute form is found on the Controller’s Office website.

Reminders

  • The College Bank of America Purchasing card is never to be used for personal charges.
  • Report a lost card to Bank of America immediately.
  • Upon termination of employment with the College, the Purchasing Card must be returned to the Controller’s Office.
  • Inappropriate use of the College MasterCard may result in termination of employment as described in the agreement signed by the employee when the card is issued.