NEWSLETTER: Winter 2019

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UPCOMING TRAINING

The Travel & Expense Management team hosts a quarterly Lunch & Learn series to review information and expand training topics related to the travel and expense management programs. The PantherExpress Travel & Expense Management team is committed to ensuring that the community feels comfortable and confident with the new travel and expense management tools, the Travel Card, and Concur system. The next trainings will be

  • Tuesday, April 9, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the William Pitt Union, University Ballroom
  • Thursday, April 11, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the William Pitt Union, University Ballroom

Both sessions will cover the same topics and provide time for questions and answers. Click on the date link above to be able to download the event from the University Calendar onto your personal calendar.  Attendees are encouraged to bring their lunch; food will not be provided.

Have a topic you’d like to see covered? Submit your request to Emily Duchene, Travel Program Manager by emailing educhene@cfo.pitt.edu.


NEW & EXCITING

Vincent for Gift Cards and Student Allowances

The University has a new, preferred payment method for gift cards and research study participant payments. Vincent Payment Solutions is replacing the WePay system for all research study payments. Vincent can also be used in place of a gift card for an award or used for student activities and reimbursements. Advantages of Vincent include allowing payments to be made in a controlled, auditable environment with complete accounting to General Ledger and with minimal risk and exposure to staff or clients.

Information about Vincent, including training and access forms can be found on this website.

The University Travel Card should not be used to purchase gift cards. Gift cards or other cash equivalents require exception approval for reimbursement at any value amount and those that do not meet the IRS's de Minimus rules may be taxable.

 

PEXT Travel Fair, March 19

Join the PantherExpress Travel and Expense Management team on Tuesday, March 19 for its first Travel Fair. The event, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the University Ballroom of the William Pitt Union, will feature University preferred travel vendors such as airlines, car rental services, hotels, travel visa services, and University Signature Venues used for conferences and events. Anthony Travel International (ATI) will also be in attendance. All University faculty and staff who travel or arrange travel and events are encouraged to attend.

 

 

 

Payment Status Inquiries

The PantherExpress Payment Processing department processes all payments in the order in which they are received. Due to a higher-than-usual volume of Expense Report submissions from November through early January, University travelers and Concur users have been experiencing longer-than-normal processing times for Expense Report payments. Payment Processing is reviewing and submitting payments as quickly as they are able to while maintaining necessary auditing and quality standards.

Payment Processing regularly updates this PantherExpress web page with information about payment processing. Queries about reports submitted on or before the "Received On" date should be made to the PantherExpress Customer Service team by submitting a web inquiry or calling 412-624-3578. For reports submitted after the "Received On" date, please rest assured that Payment Processing is working through Expense Reports as quickly as they are able to.

Individuals can also verify where the Expense Report is in the approval process by opening the report, clicking the "Details" drop down, and selecting "Audit Trail." This will indicate whether the Expense Report is awaiting department approval or whether it is awaiting Payment Processing review before payment and on what date it was sent to Payment Processing.

 


Government Shutdown Impacts on Travel in the United States

Some airports are starting to experience delays and cancellations due to the government shutdown's impact on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Most airports report wait times within the normal range, but as the shutdown extends, concern about longer security wait times increases.

TSA offers the ability to check the status of airport wait times through the MyTSA mobile app which you can download from their TSA website or by searching in your app store. The University also offers TripIt Pro in connection with Concur. When your itinerary is loaded into the TripIt Pro app, you will receive updates regarding delays, cancellations, or gate changes. Information about registering for mobile apps is in this Quick Reference Guide.

No delays have been reported for other travel services. According to the U.S. Department of State website, they will continue to offer passport services during the government shutdown. You can still apply for a U.S. Passport Book or Passport Card at all passport agencies and centers and renewals will be processed by mail. Processing times remain 4-6 weeks for routine services and 2-3 weeks for expedited services.

Travel Document Services is advising there are no issues in getting a visa for other countries and that the shutdown does not affect any of the embassies. They are not reporting any delays in getting a US visa, as the US embassies and the State Department are fully funded.

Travelers should always allow ample time to receive the necessary travel documents. Anthony Travel can advise travelers with an appropriate timeline.

REAL ID Updates

Pennsylvania residents have a REAL ID enforcement extension until until October 1, 2020. Penn DOT will begin to offer REAL ID compliant licenses and identification cards in March 2019.

The REAL ID-compliant licenses will be an optional upgrade to your license and will require a one-time fee of $30, in addition to the regular renewal fees. Many residents will need additional documentation that may take time to acquire you do not already have it when applying for a REAL ID-compliant license. Please use this PennDOT website to review what documents are required.

Travelers that do not have a REAL ID compliant license after 10/1/2020 may use a passport or other acceptable form of identification for verification at airports and federal buildings.

If you are not a resident of Pennsylvania and do not know if your identification is REAL ID compliant, this DHS website provides information by state. This website was last updated on 12/21/18 and is not being actively managed during the government shutdown so you may need to contact your state department of transportation to confirm until appropriations are enacted.

Travel Program Savings

October through December, 2018 was the first quarter in the history of the travel program that our University average price for airfare was higher than an industry average.

 domestic travel - plane over usa - icon The University's average cost of domestic airfare October-December 2018 was $381, 1% higher than the industry average.*
global travel - plane and globe - icon The University's average cost of international airfare October-December 2018 was $1,636, 30% less than the industry average.*

One easy way that travelers can reduce costs at the University is by booking travel at least 14 days in advance. Travelers making bookings 14-21 days in advance, rather than 7-13 days in advance, could have saved the university $23,792 in domestic travel expenses during the second quarter of FY19.

*Industry averages provided by TOPAZ International

UPDATES 

ExpenseIt Concur App Integration

Effective December 31, 2018, Concur has integrated the ExpenseIt mobile application and the standalone app is no longer supported. All ExpenseIt features are now included in the Concur app to allow users a more seamless experience.

The camera icon within Concur mobile app is now labeled "ExpenseIt" and should be used to take pictures of receipts and the receipt functionality has been enhanced to allow capture of multi-page receipts. The Concur app requires a mobile pin for initial setup which can be set in the Concur web system by going to "Profile" and then "Profile Settings."


FAST FACTS!

American Airlines Preferred Seating

American Airlines is a contracted vendor with the University of Pittsburgh and offers Group 5 Preferred Seating to University of Pittsburgh travelers. To receive this seating benefit travelers must be enrolled in AAdvantage program by going to aa.com/enroll. The AAdvantage membership number must then be loaded into the Concur travel profile by going to "Profile" and then "Profile Settings."

Travelers eligible to receive a higher boarding priority based on ticket class or AAdvantage elite status will still receive that higher priority boarding.


REMINDERS

Expense Subcode Lookup

Expense subcodes that may be used for Concur Expense Reports are included within the Concur system and can be found by typing the name or scrolling through the expense options in the system.

list of available expense subcodes for Concur Expense Reports is also available on our website on the Expense Reporting page under "Expense Management."

 

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