Rice launches new travel and expense system

Rice employees and students who travel or report expenses will soon have a new tool at their disposal: Concur, a Web-based integrated travel and expense system, which will go live Oct. 20.

ConcurConcur handles travel booking, out-of-pocket travel reimbursement, purchasing card (PCard) reconciliation and cash-advance processing. It replaces the current “travel envelope” and reallocation processes in Webapps.

The travel system offers faculty, staff and students traveling on university business a better, faster way to book and manage travel and handle expenses for trips. The system features an online booking process and includes Southwest and all other major airlines.

“The goal is to provide a best-in-class experience for faculty, staff and students,” said Tessie Skulski, assistant controller of disbursements in the Controller’s Office. “Although use of the travel system is optional, it is strongly encouraged so that Rice can maximize pricing benefits.” Concur Expense must be used to process expense reports because the Webapps approval process will be phased out by Dec 3.

Christopherson Business Travel (CBT) will manage travel — including airline, hotel and car rental ticketing — for Rice and coordinate use of the new online booking and expense technology using Concur’s travel system. Using Concur will be similar to using other online travel tools such as Expedia. Employees are encouraged, but not required, to use CBT/Concur Travel and may find it especially helpful to contact CBT for international travel as well as travel with complex and unique requirements or restrictions, Skulski said.

Concur’s expense reporting tools make it easier and faster to be reimbursed and make paper expense reports a thing of the past, she said.

Expense reports are easy to file on Concur, and reimbursements will be direct-deposited to the employee’s bank account. The expense-report process offers preformatted reports with the option of uploading receipts from mobile devices.

“The university currently processes and stores expense reports in paper format, which is time-consuming and costly,” Skulski said. “Implementing a fully automated solution will meet Rice’s operational objectives of becoming more efficient, reducing paper and lowering costs.”

Concur also has companion mobile apps that will streamline business travel experiences and reduce the time required to prepare, submit and approve expense reports. Once Concur goes live, Rice employees can download and use the Concur apps.

With the apps, travelers can do the following:

  • Access itineraries all in one place.
  • Receive real-time flight status updates.
  • Add reservations for hotels, cars and restaurants.
  • Receive one-touch directions to hotels.
  • Capture out-of-pocket expenses on the spot.
  • Take images of receipts with the phone or tablet’s camera to eliminate scanning, faxing and mailing.
  • Select card charges and other expenses to create and submit reports.
  • Review expense reports, including attached receipts, and approve them from the phone or tablet.

Rice’s new travel and expense system was developed with input from members of campus. “We’ve been holding training sessions all spring and summer. Almost 200 people attended and helped test Concur,” Skulski said. “We’ve also created a website and blog to post information about Concur at Rice.”

CBT will be at Rice to conduct training on the travel tools, and Rice will hold training on use of the expense tool the weeks of Oct. 13 and Oct. 20. The session details are available at the Concur blog, where the link to Concur is available.

For more information on Concur, visit http://concur.blogs.rice.edu/ or email concur@rice.edu.




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About Jennifer Evans

Jennifer Evans is a senior editor in the Rice's Office of Public Affairs.