Pay Expenses Process

Expenses going online

The University is moving from the paper expense claims form to an online system, SAP Concur, for most expense claims.  For more information please see the eExpenses project webpages



pay expenses process flow diagram

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Focus Points

Claim forms should be fully completed to avoid queries.


To ensure compliance with University rules and HM Revenue and Customs tax regulations, it is essential that expenses are correctly submitted and appropriately authorised. The process applies to all individuals entitled to claim reimbursement of expenses incurred on behalf of the University (including staff, students, visitors and others), and to those responsible for reviewing and authorizing claims.

Pay Expenses takes you through each step: From the initial need for incurring expenses, to submission of claims, their authorization and ultimate payment.

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

Version Control

2013: Process updated in line with the R12 project changes. Forms updated January 2016. Previous versions are available on request.

Expenses - key process steps for quick reference.

Need for expense

  • Refer to the Expenses Policy and guidance for dos and don'ts, and tax implications, etc.

Incur expenses

  • Expenses must be in line with the Expenses Policy, and where relating to a research award, in line with the funder's terms and conditions.
  • Collate relevant receipts and supporting documentation.
  • Complete Expenses Claim Form (XLS) and submit for approval.

Authorise expenses

  • Check claim for completeness, validity and compliance.
  • If all OK, sign the form and submit to Payments team. The weekly deadline is Tuesday at 5pm.
  • On an ongoing basis it is important to review claims to ensure they are appropriate and correctly coded.

Handle claims (Payments team)

  • Check claim for completeness and validity.
  • Deal with any queries, returning any that are rejected.
  • Non-Taxable expenses handled via the Payments team.
  • Taxable expenses handled via the Payroll team.

It is the policy of the University that individuals are reimbursed the actual cost of expenses incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of their employment or work for the University.

The University does not expect staff to pay for goods or services on its behalf where it is possible for the University to pay for these items itself directly (via the use of purchase orders, payment requests, credit card, etc.).

Only where there is no alternative, it is important that staff who are likely to incur such expenditure familiarise themselves with the Expenses Policy and guidance as these are designed to ensure that no extra tax charges arise from the payment or reimbursement of expenses.

  1. Incur expenditure.
    Personal expenses incurred by an individual on behalf of the University must be in accordance with the guidelines set out in the Expenses Policy and guidance webpages.

    If the claim is to be met from a research award, it is also important that the claim is in line with the funder's terms and conditions.

  2. Obtain and collate receipts or supporting documentation.
    Original receipts or supporting documentation should always normally be supplied with a claim. However, claims may be submitted without such documentation. Please refer to the expenses section of the website for further guidance. This information is required to support the Expenses Claim Form  (XLS).
  3. Complete expenses claim form and submit for approval.
    You should complete an Expenses Claim Form and forward it along with the original receipts and where applicable, supporting documentation for approval to the departmental authorised signatory. Generally claims should be made within two months of the expenses being incurred.

Note: in the case where an advance payment has been made and is greater than the amount spent, the individual must pay back the balance to the department who will then arrange for the money to be forwarded to the Cashiers for receipting in Oracle Financials.

  1. Check claim for completeness, validity, and compliance.
    The Departmental Administrator (or PI) should check the claim for completeness, validity, and compliance with the Expenses Policy and guidance, ensuring that mandatory details, which may include supporting documentation for expenses coded to research projects, have been included.

    Note: It is important that research claims do not contravene any funding rules imposed by the sponsors.

    Where mandatory details are missing, the Departmental Administrator may be able to supply them. If not, the claim should be returned to the claimant.

  2. Authorise and submit to Payments Team.
    When the Department Administrator or Authorised Signatory is satisfied that the claim meets all rules and regulations, the form is counter signed and submitted to the Payments Team for processing. For reference, the Claimant should retain a copy of the completed form.

    Note: departments are NOT PERMITTED to input expense claims directly into Oracle Financials.

  3. Monitor expenses.
    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.
  1. Review claim.
    The Payments team will input the claim onto the Oracle Financials system, checking completeness and validity of the claim to determine whether it can be processed without delay or if it needs to be queried or returned.
  2. Managing expenses claim queries.
    Any queries arising from a submitted claim will be raised with the Department by the appropriate payments team responsible.
    Where possible a scanned copy of the claim will be returned electronically to the Approver with reasons for rejection or the original will be returned unprocessed. The claim should be amended as required and resubmitted to the Payments Team.
  3. Process acceptable claims.
    Non-taxable claims will be handled via the Payments team, as per the standard supplier invoice process.
    Where an expense is taxable, the Payments team will liaise with the Payroll team to ensure that PAYE and NI are appropriately deducted.
  4. Store paperwork.
    All relevant documentation will be stored electronically for future reference.

The controls that are embedded in the Pay Expenses process are listed below.  When following the Pay Expenses process, staff should ensure that all of these controls take place.

In counter-signing the claim, the authoriser always confirms that they have taken all reasonable steps to ensure that:

  • The sums claimed were incurred wholly, necessarily and exclusively in respect of business carried out on behalf of the University.
  • The claim complies fully with the Expenses Policy and guidance.
  • The costs can be justified in terms of the University’s Value for Money policy.
  • The form has been completed fully, accurately and is mathematically correct.
  • The expenditure codes provided are valid, and sufficient funds are available to meet the expenditure.
  • The claim is supported with detailed receipts or, in the exceptional cases where such receipts could not reasonably be obtained, a full and reasonable explanation has been provided. For claims relating to expenses in a foreign currency, evidence of the exchange rate used from one of the recognised sources has also been provided.
  • Where the claim is chargeable to an external funder (e.g. a research project), the claim does not contravene any funding rules.

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. This principle requires an adequate 'segregation of duties' when designing work flows. As an example, in the Expenses process:

Staff must not authorise their own claim forms or have their claim forms authorised by a close relative.
For further advice on this subject please contact Payment Services.

Related Links

Contact us

 : Payment Services
       Finance Division
       University of Oxford
       23-38 Hythe Bridge Street
       Oxford OX1 2ET
 :  01865 (6) 16016
 :  Team contacts