Pre-Trip Travel Approval
Q: When is an individual not required to obtain approval (with cost estimates) prior to a trip; that is, when is an individual not considered in travel-status and, consequently, not required by policy to have this pre-trip approval?
A: Individuals are not considered in travel status when their expense eligibility is limited to miscellaneous reimbursements such as mileage, parking and tolls.
Payment of Per Diem
Q: Are receipts required for payment of eligible Per Diem allowances, i.e.: for meals not already provided by or paid for by the university?
A: No documentation whatsoever (including actual receipts) is required when the full Per Diem allowance is paid to the traveler for eligible meals, i.e.: for meals not already provided by or paid for by the university. Similarly, when travelers are reimbursed for less than the full Per Diem allowance for eligible meals, actual receipts are still not required, but a general description of what was purchased must be documented.
Q: Should departments be obtaining an “invoice” of sorts when paying honoraria?
A: Honoraria are payments made, as a token of the university’s appreciation, for one time teaching or speaking engagements to individuals (not companies) who are not employed by the university. Honoraria are not payments for purchased services; purchased services are typically contracted through the purchase order and invoicing process.
Business Purpose for Office Supplies
Q: Do I need an extensive business purpose for standard office supplies?
A: No, if you are purchasing typical office supplies (i.e. pens, paper, notebooks), you do not need a lengthy business purpose - just stating "standard office supplies" is acceptable. However you do need a specific business purpose for any unique office supplies which are not purchased regularly (i.e. DVD player, any other unusual not normally purchased item).
Receipt of Goods and Services
Q: Do I have to track down packing slips on small purchases?
A: For purchases of goods and services (from external or OSU internal vendors) costing $75 or less, packing slips or similar receiving documentation are not required. However, a college or VP unit may elect to require receiving documentation for some or all of these purchases, based on its risk assessments, prior audit findings or similar considerations. See Guidance on Confirming Receipt of Goods and Services for additional information.
Delivery Services and Office Supplies Contracts
Q:Is it safe to assume that if there are reasons for not using UPS and OfficeMax, that these should be documented and forwarded to Purchasing to help negotiate better deals with these vendors? And is it safe to assume that if UPS and OfficeMax are not used, that these do not require "exception" approvals?
A:Any requests to purchase materials “off-contract” for Delivery Services (UPS) or Office Supplies (OfficeMax), must go through the exception approval process. Exception approval requests for Delivery Services should be directed to Scott Braidic (292-9738) and exception approval requests for Office Supplies should be directed to Christine Cihon (688-8285).If the exceptions are approved, this information may be reviewed with the preferred suppliers (UPS and OfficeMax), to negotiate better pricing or improve product catalog offerings to the university community.
Q: Can you give some guidance on iPads?
A: • An iPad should be treated like a laptop. In accordance with the University Computer Security Standards, if restricted data is going to be stored on the device, then the device must be owned by the university and encrypted. If the device is university owned, then it must be tagged and tracked. If the iPad has a monthly connectivity fee, then the department may choose to give the employee a taxable allowance based on percent of business use vs. personal use for the connectivity fee. Due to the nature of how additional applications are purchased, a personal credit card must be used to support the default Apple account on the iPad. If an area wants the added flexibility and control of using a departmental PCard to purchase applications, a separate Apple account should be set up to enable the area’s IT Staff to make approved and password-protected purchases of applications. The password on the PCard supported account should not be shared beyond the area’s IT staff.
Q: Do we have to serve Coca-Cola products at University events?
A: Yes. As part of Ohio State’s Exclusive Beverage Agreement with Coca-Cola, all beverages (excluding hot coffee/tea brewed on-site) that are sold, distributed, dispensed, served or sampled on the campus, or by the university via off-campus catering, will be Coca-Cola branded products. This includes bottled water.
Cell Phone Tagging
Q: Do University owned cell phones need to be tagged or are they considered de minimis and therefore do not have to be tagged?
A: University owned cell phones and PDA's that will be taken off-campus must be tagged as they are considered theft-prone.
Q: Is a travler still eligible for breakfast per diem is they received a continental breakfast?
A: If a hotel or conference offers a continental breakfast, the traveler cannot receive per diem for that meal. The University has paid for this meal (via payment for conference registration or lodging) and cannot pay for the expense twice. This applies to both University and sponsor paid travel.
Q: How are exceptions to policy addressed?
A: Exceptions to policy need VP/Dean approval and are not to be automatically approved. They should only be allowable if an emergency or some extenuating circumstance caused the exception. The unit must have documentation that explains the violation and properly educate the violator to prevent future occurences. Exceptions should be few and far between and are not to be used to change policy.
Savings card in conjunction with University Purchase
Q: Can a savings card, such as a Kroger Plus Card, be used in conjunction with a University purchase?
A: If we can document a good business purpose for the expenditure, and we have a reasonable basis for buying from that store (location, convenience and price would count as factors), then grocery savings cards can be used, on an occasional basis, without concern about the perks.
Human Subject Payments
Q: If we pay OSU employees who participate in research, are we required to track that and report it to OSU HR (ie, record in PeopleSoft) if it exceeds $100? Or are payments to human subjects excluded form this?
A: Payments in excess of $100/subject/calendar year (for non-resident aliens and all subjects paid from university funds), or in excess of $500/subject/calendar year (for U.S. citizens or residents paid from sponsored research funds) must be paid through the University or OSURF Accounts Payable units. For payments processed through Accounts Payable, research subjects are required to complete an AP Compliance Form. University cash advances and OSURF Human Subject Cash Accounts may be used for payments up to $100/subject/year for all research subjects. OSURF Human Subject Cash Accounts may also be used for larger payments (up to $500/subject/year) for research subjects who are U.S. citizens or residents.