Expenses process

Expenses going online

The University is moving from the paper expenses claim form to SAP Concur eExpenses for most expense claims. Social Sciences Division departments will be early adopters of eExpenses, to allow for a review before it is introduced more widely, with a provisional go-live date of 15 March. eExpenses is expected to go-live for other departments and participating colleges from 29 March (date to be confirmed), with individual departments choosing when to start using it and when to stop accepting the current paper expenses claim form (within the window until its retirement at the end of September 2021).  Please check with your departmental or college admin or finance team when you should start using eExpenses. 

  1. Need for expense
  2. Incur expense
  3. Submit expense: Staff and students or People external to the University
  4. Review and authorisation
  5. Payment
  6. Monitor expenses
  7. Process controls

Introduction

To ensure compliance with University rules and HM Revenue and Customs tax regulations, it is essential that expenses are in line with the Expenses Policy and the principles, are correctly submitted, and appropriately authorised.

The process and associated financial controls have been written in support of the University's Expenses Policy and link to the Financial Regulations.

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The University does not expect staff to pay for goods or services on its behalf where it can pay directly (via a purchase order and invoice etcetera). Before claiming via expenses, careful consideration should be given to whether this is the best way to pay or whether the University can pay directly. The method of payment can also affect the tax treatment of an item.

Expenses incurred by an individual on behalf of the University must be in accordance with the principles set out in the Expenses Policy:

  1. Value for money is achieved. Costs should be modest and reasonable, and any cost which an external observer might regard as being unnecessary or excessive use of public/charitable funds must be avoided. “Reasonable” expenses are those that are cost effective when weighed against the purpose of the activity. Reimbursement in full is not guaranteed if the claim is not considered to be value for money. Please refer to your departmental finance or admin team if further clarification is required.
  2. Expenses should only be used when it is not possible and/or practical for the University to pay for the goods or service directly by raising a purchase order or receiving an invoice (as opposed to the individual incurring the expense and being reimbursed.).
  3. Costs incurred are for business purposes only, and the individual does not receive a personal benefit (see information on taxation on the main on the main Expenses page).
  4. Only actual and evidenced costs are reclaimed on a timely basis and claims are authorised by someone other than the claimant or a related individual. Claimants should note that an expense is not considered legitimate until authorise.

If the claim is to be met from a research award, it is also important that the claim meets any additional funder terms and conditions.

There is guidance available for to show how these principles are expected to apply in different situations:

  • HMRC requires that expense claims are supported by evidence

  • In addition, some research funders may require additional documentary evidence of any expenditure incurred (for example a flight boarding pass). Wherever possible a receipt or supporting documentation should be obtained when making the purchase for inclusion with the claim

  • Credit slips or copies of bank statements alone are not considered sufficient evidence to support a claim as they do not include itemised detail of the transaction. These should only be used occasionally in circumstances when receipts could not be obtained

  • Any claims submitted without receipts or reasonable explanations may be rejected
     

  • Staff and student expense claims (with the exception of certain taxable items) should be submitted via the SAP Concur eExpenses system with supporting documentation attached
  • Certain expenses deemed by HMRC to form a taxable benefit are paid via payroll. These are highlighted in the guidance and flagged in the eExpenses system. They should be submitted via the offline Taxable Benefits Expenses Claim Form

 

Further information:

Claimants external to the University, for example visitors, research participants and interview candidates, should complete the Expenses Claim Form (Externals), attach receipts or supporting documentation, and submit it to the relevant department for approval.

 

Further information:

  • All claims are reviewed to confirm that they meet the expenses principles and any additional funder requirements, and approved by an authorised signatory with delegated authority to commit spend on behalf of the University
  • Claims submitted electronically via eExpenses are approved online via a system workflow. Approvers are set up in the system and receive email notification when a claim is ready for review. Please note that approval is a key control and departments should consider carefully when delegating responsibility
  • Offline claims (Expenses Claim Form (Externals) or Taxable Benefits Expenses Claim Form) should also be carefully reviewed and approved via a manual process

 

Further information:

Once a claim is approved, the Finance Division arranges payment via a weekly payment run (usually on a Friday with payment received the following Wednesday).

  • Claims submitted via eExpenses: approved claims are transferred into Oracle Financials via an overnight process. Claims should submitted by Thursday for a Friday payment run
  • Expenses Claims Form (externals) should be submitted to the Payments Team for input into Oracle Financials (see BCP arrangements for details of the submission process) Claim should be submitted by 5pm on Tuesday for inclusion in the Friday payment run

Departments are not permitted to input expense claims directly into Oracle Financials

 
  • Taxable Benefits Expenses Claim Form should be sent to the Payroll Team and will be paid in the next payroll (please note that payroll deadlines may mean that the claim is paid in the following month)
     

The Finance Division teams will raise any queries arising from a submitted claim with the department’s Finance Team. 

Claimants are responsible for maintaining their bank details in eExpenses, If a payment fails due to incorrect bank details, the Payments Team will contact the department to request updated bank details to make the payment. Please note that the claimant should also update their information in eExpenses for future claims.

It is important that departmental expenditure via expense claims is reviewed on a regular basis to ensure expenditure is appropriate and correctly charged to departmental accounts or projects.

  • A monthly Expenses Dashboard is issued to departments, providing high-level information on all claims (staff, student and externals) paid via Oracle plus more detailed information on transactions in eExpenses. This dashboard includes the underlying reports and provides departments with information on all transactions charged to their cost centres and projects. Please see the Expenses Dashboard pages for information about gaining access and working with the dashboard
  • Departments can run reports directly from eExpenses using BI Manager* responsibility. This enables reporting on transactions of claimants belonging to their department (not all transactions charged to their department). These reports will therefore not reconcile with the dashboard. Information about gaining access to the reports and using the reports is available
  • Completed transactions are included on Oracle transaction reports and the Project Status Activity Report

 

* A single BI Manager can be set up for each department (or college) and can be assigned via a service request form (a link to which will be made available in due course).  This form must be completed by an Authorised Signatory for granting access to Oracle for the department codes for which the BI Manager is being requested. 

Expenses policy, principles and guidance

The University has an Expenses Policy and set of principles in place underpinning management of expenses.

Segregation of duties

One of the key financial control principles to be adopted in all University finance processes is the need to ensure no single member of staff completes all stages of any particular process. Within the expenses process, claimants must not authorise their own claim forms or have their claim forms authorised by a close relative.

Delegation of authority

Claims should be approved by an appropriate signatory with delegated authority to commit the University to expenditure. The authorised signatory is responsible for confirming that an expense is in line with the Expenses Policy and principles, and can be reimbursed. Departments should consider delegations of authority carefully, including when setting up approvers in eExpenses, to ensure that approvers have sufficient seniority to challenge claims if appropriate.

Monitoring

Retrospective review of reports to confirm compliance with the Expenses Policy and principles, and to confirm that authorised signatories are fulfilling their responsibilities.

 

For further advice contact the Financial Assurance Team  
 

EXPENSES CLAIM FORM (XLS) for use until eExpenses live

LINK TO SAP Concur (when eExpenses live)

University code for downloading mobile app (when eExpenses live)

 

Downloads and related links


Guidance and support


Help


Using eExpenses: SAP Concur 24/7 support (details available when eExpenses live)

Payment query: payments@admin.ox.ac.uk