Business expenditure incurred by an employee should be claimed for reimbursement using an Expense Claim form. Petty cash must not be used to reimburse individual expenses. Where possible the amounts an employee will have to advance from their own personal monies should be minimised by the use of a University credit card or by arranging for the supplier to invoice the University directly.
The procedure for completing an expense claim is as follows:
- Complete the relevant expense form and attach supporting evidence of expenditure eg. receipts or bills.
- Declare on the expense form any outstanding advances.
- Ensure it is appropriately authorised either by the Head of Department or other authorised member of staff (see Authorisation of Claims).
- The department processes the expenses form on the University Financial System (UFS) and the claims will be included in the ‘Supplier’ payment run every Tuesday. The Finance Division will then pay staff members via BACS on the following Monday.
Guidance on how to process expense claims in UFS is given on the UFS web page.
Claims should be made regularly and:
- before the deadline for making claims against grants, donations or other funding sources; and
- within three months of incurring expenditure unless alternative arrangements are agreed with line managers.
- at year-end claims should ideally be processed prior to the close of the AP module for that year.
The process of accounting for the claims against advances must be completed within one month of the date of returning from the journey which has been funded through the advance. (See Financial Regulations).
Reimbursement of personal credit card expenses
When reimbursing personal credit card expenses, the University will not reimburse any interest or other penalties incurred by the cardholder.
VAT and expenses claims
Normally claims should be processed and items identified on UFS as being 'Outside the Scope of VAT' and a nil VAT value entered regardless of whether VAT is shown on the receipt. This is because the supply has been between the supplier and the individual employee and not between the supplier and the University.
The only exception is where a proper tax invoice addressed to the University supports the claim and a substantial amount of VAT is involved. For further details, see Outside the Scope of VAT of the VAT chapter webpages.
When expenditure is incurred in a foreign currency the aim is to reimburse the employee for the sterling equivalent of their actual costs. The exchange rate to be used on UFS is the "corporate rate", which is updated regularly and is the default rate in UFS.
For cash expenditure: convert back into sterling using the rate that was obtained by the employee in exchanging the currency. Receipts from banks and bureaux de-change should be retained to evidence the exchange rate. If these receipts have been lost then please contact the Cashier for the appropriate rate.
For credit card expenditure: use the credit card provider's rate as shown on the employee's statement.
Financial Regulations state that:
- No one shall authorise reimbursement of his or her own expenses.
- Claims should, whenever possible, be approved by an employee senior to the claimant.
- Where it is impractical for senior staff to authorise claims, the Head of Department can make appropriate alternative arrangements, which must be authorised in writing.
Departments should maintain a register of authorised signatories and their corresponding levels of authorisation, which should be made available to the Finance Division if required.
Claims should be supported by documentary evidence of expenditure e.g. receipts, invoices, bills. If these are not available, claims may be paid for items less than £5 provided there are not a significant number of such items. Otherwise they are not reimbursable except in exceptional circumstances and in that event will be taxable.