eExpenses information for approvers

The approvals hierarchy will be set up within eExpenses.  Academic departments, UAS sections, Continuing Education, GLAM and colleges that are adopting eExpenses will provide details of the individuals who will be approvers for their projects and cost centres to ensure each claim is forwarded to the appropriate person for checking and approval. The approval levels within eExpenses are as follows:

  1. Budget holder review (approval limit is zero): budget holder (for example the task manager, PI, supervisor or other manager) for the GL (optional) or project code (mandatory) checks and approves the claim to progress through the system to the next level 
    [In some instances this approval level might not be required]
  2. Approval level 1 (approval limit is 1 pence): finance officer (or equivalent) checks and approves the claim to progress to the next level (mandatory)
  3. Approval level 2 (approval limit up to £1,000): finance manager (or equivalent) checks and approves all claims.  Provides final approval for claims of up to £1,000 and approves claims of more than £1,000 to progress to the next level (mandatory)
  4. Approval level 3 (approval limit up to £10,000): senior departmental approver or Divisional Financial Controller checks and provides final approval for claims of more than £1,000, up to £10,000 (mandatory)
  5. Once all relevant approvals have been obtained, the Central Finance Division payments team make any required checks and process claims for payment via Oracle 

Expense claims for very senior staff follow a specific workflow as outlined in the University expenses policy (PDF).  For example, final approval of Heads of Department claims will be by the appropriate Head of Division, Divisional Secretary or Divisional Finance Controller.

Approver responsibilities

BUDGET HOLDER

  • Confirms that the activity has taken place and is legitimate to charge to their budget
  • Considers any relevant restrictions (for example, funder, donation, trust fund or any departmental terms and conditions)

APPROVER LEVEL 1

  • Checks that the expense is in line with the expenses principles as outlined in the University expenses policy (PDF). Checks include confirming receipts are correct and explanations are reasonable. [Many checks will be built into eExpenses, for example do the numbers add up, is the claim signed?]
  • Confirms the claim is coded appropriately
  • Considers any relevant restrictions (or example, funder, donation, trust fund or any departmental terms and conditions)

APPROVER LEVEL 2

  • Confirms compliance with the expenses principles as outlined in the University expenses policy (PDF), taking assurance from the claimant and the budget-holder declarations that the costs are legitimate business expenses
  • Takes overall responsibility for confirming this is a legitimate expense to be refunded
  • Authorised signatory for claims of up to £1,000

APPROVER LEVEL 3

  • Confirms compliance with the expenses principles as outlined in the University expenses policy (PDF), taking assurance from the claimant and the budget-holder declarations that the costs are legitimate business expenses
  • Takes overall responsibility for confirming this is a legitimate expense to be refunded
  • Authorised signatory for claims of up to £10,000

 

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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No.  eExpenses does not allow for 'self approval' so there are rules in place so that someone who submits an expense claim is then not in the approval chain for that claim

Some fields will be automatically populated in eExpenses, which means checking of individual expense claims by the Central Payments team within Finance Division will be significantly reduced.  This will free up their time to investigate problems or queries, and to undertake post payment analysis of claims using the eExpenses reporting capability

  • The individual expense items will be routed to the appropriate approver
  • The claim will only move forward to the next approval level when all the relevant project or GL code items have been approved

Funder rules will not be checked automatically by the system.  However, we have built rules into eExpenses to display messages and guide behaviour for claimants and approvers

  • The claimant will need to enter the coding for GL or project codes in order to create their claim.  Only cost centres and / or projects relevant to the department selected can be entered
  • As an aid, the most recently used cost codes are visible at the top of the drop down boxes
  • However, as an approver you can correct errors on a claim but it is recommended that you try to educate claimants to get this information right first time by returning the claim for the claimant to correct
  • A budget-holder approver can change the cost code (project or GL cost centre code). If they do so, they will be forced to acknowledge the change and add a comment saying that the update will change the approval workflow. The claim will then be routed to the budget-holder approver of the new cost code
  • If the level 1 approver changes the cost code (project code or GL cost centre) the claim will progress through the workflow to the level 2 approver of the original cost code.  In order to ensure the claim is checked by the correct budget-holder approver, the level 1 approver has two options:
    1. The recommended method is to return the claim to the claimant asking them to update the code (this can be done by adding a comment) and to resubmit it so that it then flows to the correct budget-holder approver
    2. The level 1 approver can also update the code themselves and then use the ‘approve and forward’ button to forward it to the budget-holder approver for the updated cost code.  To do this they will need to know who that approver is so they can select the correct name from the list
  • You can reject it by selecting the 'Return to Employee' button which means it will be sent back to the claimant for further explanation, with a message explaining why it has been sent back to them 
  • As a Level 1, 2 or 3 approver (but not as a budget-holder approver), if you want another approver's opinion, you can use the 'Approve and Forward' button and select the appropriate person
  • No, not as such. As a budget-holder approver, you can add delegate approvers. This is useful to cover absences 
  • The delegate would act in lieu of the approver, rather than as an additional step in the process
  • Additional steps cannot be built into eExpenses at this stage
  • There is an 'Approve and Forward' function that can be used to help with this if you are a level 1, 2 or 3 approver
  • Otherwise, we will help make it work for your department

Yes, the claim and receipts can be printed if required.  The printed claim shows all the information held on the system and receipts can be printed individually

  • Yes, the claim name will be loaded to R12
  • Additionally, a Claim Key will also be loaded to R12, so there will be more than one way of locating the claim in both systems
    [The Claim Key is a system generated number, unique to the University]

There are two ways departments can access reports:
 

  • Distributed Expenses Dashboard – this brings together data from Oracle (claims made via SAP Concur eExpenses and claims made via paper forms) and data from eExpenses (more detailed information about staff and student transactions). It provides departments with information about all transactions charged to their cost centres or projects via eExpenses.
  • Reports from SAP Concur eExpenses – departments can run reports directly from SAP Concur by setting up a “BI Manager”. Please note that there is a limitation: departments are able to report on claimants that belong to their department, not on transactions charged to their department. For example, if a Chemistry academic legitimately submits an expense claim to be charged to a project in the Physics department, the details of that transaction are approved by Physics but it will appear on reports run by the Chemistry. (Physics will receive details of the transaction via the distributed reports).

Heads of Administration and Finance (HAFs), or equivalent, have been asked to nominate a BI manager, if required  by 7 December.  Note:

  • Only one BI Manager can be set up per department
  • BI Managers are assigned at the departmental level (there is no hierarchy in SAP Concur eExpenses to link units to subdivisions). For example, NDORMS should not submit one form for NDORMS 127, but three fields (fields 3- 5) for NDORMS – BX, Botnar – HF and KIR – AZ.

Bi managers can be requested after go-live via an online request form if the deadline is not met. All departments will receive a distributed monthly Expenses Dashboard which includes the underlying reports

An approver (and their delegates) can view and access all the claims they have approved

Yes built-in warning messages occur when the system detects a potential problem.  For example, a warning message appears for both claimants and approvers should any class of travel other that Economy be selected