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From the Middle: Lead officer position approved, accounting policies, and a fac/staff lodging benefit

October 15, 2013

The college’s senior staff convened this week in a quiet Pearsons Hall for their weekly meeting.

Below is a run-down of the topics discussed:

Lead officer position approved
With a new opening in the security department, the division has decided to elevate one of the eight officer positions to a lead officer role. This position will serve as a backup to Assistant Director of Security Bruce Heine, in addition to normal officer duties and work supervising the evening security officers. Senior staff approved the position, which is expected to post later this week.

Expense reimbursement policies reviewed
Senior staff spent more than 90 minutes discussing a number of expense reimbursement policies and guidelines required by the IRS and created by Vice President of Finance and Planning Laurie Stickelmaier. The policies govern approved business expenditures and reporting practices for staff and faculty to follow when on college business (and spending college funds). Laurie pointed out that most of the policies just document the current practice with a few changes. Connie Truesdale will be organizing a session for administrative assistants and office coordinators to hear about the approved policies, and a website is being prepared as another resource. An overview of these detailed policies is included below. Stay tuned for new procurement policies, coming in the weeks ahead.  

Policies (a recap):
Employee Expense Reimbursements:
This policy documents current practice but sets the standard that all employee expenses should be submitted within 45 days of being incurred, and no later than 60 days, to meet the IRS code for a "reasonable" time frame. The standard can be flexible in regards to international travel programs, if needed. The "Late Reimbursement Form" allows late reporting of reimbursable expenses if one can document and substantiate a reason for delay. A surprising detail that came up during the discussion was that, due to IRS rules, same day travel meals are taxable. Also, all individual meals, or “working” meals between colleagues, during normal business hours (and when not on an overnight trip) are reimbursable but must be taxed. A process for supporting employees who must travel extensively as part of their jobs will be determined.

Travel, Meals, Telephone Policy: This policy outlines encouraged practices and sets guidelines governing approaches to booking  travel, reimbursements for travel to and from the airport, and tipping of cab drivers, hotel staff, and servers at restaurants (not to exceed 20 percent).

Rental Car Policy: When college employees are securing rental cars for reimbursable travel they should not sign up for insurance. Instead, they should secure the rental by signing their contract: “Beloit College by… (name).” This extends the college’s insurance to cover the vehicle.

“When Bad Things Happen…” Policy: These  guidelines provide direction on what is reimbursable when traveling and facing unexpected challenges (stuck in airport, lost luggage, etc.). They provide assurances on reimbursing an emergency hotel room, notes that any personal items lost or stolen while traveling may not be expensed, and offers direction on what to do when you have an accident in a rental car or fleet vehicle.  

"Missing Receipts Form:” These new forms make the reimbursement of expenses easier and reduces the time for processing employee requests that lack documentation.


One other thing (a reminder): Lodging discounts in Chicago and beyond for faculty and staff

As a part of the discussions at senior staff, faculty representative Diane Lichtenstein reminded the room of the Associated Colleges of the Midwest’s discounted Chicago lodging offer for all ACM staff and faculty, available for business and personal travel. The Club Quarters and Best Western in downtown Chicago have special ACM rates, available by mentioning the ACM rate at the time of reservation. The discount can make a room in the busy downtown convention area nearly half-off of regular price. Also worth noting: the Club Quarters discount is good at CQ properties nationwide.