Travel policies change for Rensselaer faculty

Rensselaer is currently in the process of implementing a new travel and expense process for those involved with the Institute and use Rensselaer as a travel manager. The goal is to make the entire process more efficient and provide analytics for the Institute that will allow for proper reimbursements and prevent excessive spending, saving RPI money in the process.

Assistant Vice President for Finance and Controller Kelli Hudson explained that the current process is “a paper one.” The current process requires that a traveler on business for Rensselaer, after returning to the school, must “fill out a paper expense report, submit that report for approval, and then will receive reimbursement for any out of pocket costs they incurred while traveling.” Hudson emphasized a need to move away from a paper process, stating that is was inefficient for all parties.

To achieve this goal, RPI has partnered with Concur—a travel agency based in Redmond, Wash., that focuses on web and mobile-based methods of managing travel expenses—to implement an online process, which would allow for both online travel booking and online expense reporting. The Institute has also partnered with Child Albany Travel—a travel agency based in Colchester, Vt.—to assist with Concur’s technological solution. The solution will provide RPI with business analytics that will allow for better estimations of costs. It will also provide travelers with a more user-friendly system that will allow them to more accurately fill out their expense reports.

The process is still in the implementation phase, but RPI is starting to test the new system. Hudson hopes that the full system will be available for use by September of this year. However, she mentioned, they need campus involvement to make more progress. As a result, the Financial Office held two information sessions on Tuesday on the second floor of Russell Sage Dining Hall regarding the entire travel process. She also advocates the use of the Concur travel management system and asks all travelers to set up a profile. Profile creation at this stage will affect who has access to the full system, allow for travel booking for all RPI travelers, allow travelers to complete their forms, and allow for online approval of these forms. The deadline for setting up a profile is May 1.

Hudson stated that more information will become available as the rollout date draws closer. Interested members of the RPI community can create profiles at https://login.agency-technology.com/enroll/new/412337045/. For more information, RPI members can contact Hudson at hudsok@rpi.edu.

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