Travel Project Redesign and Implementation Plans
Travel Process Simplification Team
Summary Status Report
Mission and Goals
The Travel Process Simplification Team (Travel team), formed in July
1995, was charged with the tasks of: evaluating the reimbursement policies
and procedures for travel-related expenses and reimbursements including
the TAN process and pre-approval for travel; assessing the enhanced
use of petty cash; identifying opportunities to improve the paper flow;
evaluating post audit review mechanisms and authorizations; and recommending
methods of automation where appropriate.
Through departmental focus group meetings, the Redesign team identified
six central issues relating to the current travel process:
Note: for detailed information on these problem areas, please refer
to pages 7 - 12 of the "Travel Project Plan."
- the travel planning and reimbursement process is too complicated;
- the approval process is cumbersome;
- the time required to complete the reimbursement form and receive payment
is too lengthy;
- the process is always changing and it is difficult to keep up with
the new rules and limits;
- travel agencies do not always provide the lowest fare; and
- state mandated limits do not cover the cost of travel.
Based on its review of the University travel process and of information
obtained from five other universities about their travel processes,
in April, 1996 the Redesign team presented the following recommendations
to the Administrative Services Process Owners Group (ADMINPOG):
- Design and implement one form that manages all travel related activities.
- Implement a pre-trip approval process whereby travelers make travel
arrangements, estimate the total cost of the trip, document these estimated
expenses on a new travel authorization and claim form, and obtain approval
for the trip budget. Additional (post-trip) approvals would only be
required if the actual expenses exceeded original estimates by more
than 10%, or if expenses requiring additional justification were incurred.
- Implement an automated travel authorization, claim, and reimbursement
process (an electronic Travel Authorization and Claim Form) in a user-friendly
way such that a novice would understand how to use it without extensive
- Develop a travel web site containing travel policies and procedures,
meal and incidental expenses rate charts, lodging limit charts for domestic
and foreign travel, information on obtaining approval and receiving
reimbursement, and other useful travel tips.
- Provide departments that incorrectly apply travel related transactions
to grant accounts with one warning (as opposed to four) before OSP takes
- Develop a procedure for Accounts Payable to post-audit 15% (or some
appropriate percentage) of travel claims as opposed to a 100% pre-audit
of all paper travel documents.
Note: For a complete list of and detailed information on the above listed
recommendations, please refer to pages 26 - 31 of the "Travel Project
Some of the anticipated benefits resulting from these recommendations
The ADMINPOG endorsed the Travel teams recommendations, and in
June 1996, a Travel Implementation Planning team (Implementation team)
was formed to review and develop a work plan to carry out the recommendations
set forth by the Travel team.
- simplifying the travel planning and approval process;
- automating the travel process;
- producing time savings for the travelers and the travel processor;
- decreasing the turn around time to receive reimbursement by streamlining
review points and moving toward a post audit process for central administration;
- improving customer satisfaction; and
- increasing departmental accountability for the validity of travel
Travel Implementation Team
Mission and Goals
The Implementation team was charged with the tasks of examining the
Redesign teams recommendations and implementing the new travel
process. Several of the recommendations outlined in the Redesign teams
report (e.g., implementing a pre-approval process) required approval
from the State Department of Accounts (DOA). Therefore, one of the Implementation
teams first steps was to write to DOA requesting exceptions to
specific state policies.
Note: For more information on the Universitys request to DOA and DOAs
response, please refer to Appendix A of the Travel Process Simplification
Teams March 6, 1997 "Implementation Plan."
The response provided by DOA, subsequent changes to DOA policy, and
a more detailed review of the status of E-forms projects have impacted
the work of the Travel Implementation team. Specifically:
- DOA did not accept the Universitys request to post-audit travel
claims though a random sampling of completed forms.
DOA officials did state, however, that they would be willing to revisit
the Universitys request once the electronic
process is in place and has been proven to be successful at catching
errors up front.
- Key issues surrounding the use of a travel e-form, such
as multiple data entry points and allowing for electronic attachments,
have yet to be resolved.
- The re-negotiation of the travel agency contract (due to occur
in the Summer of 1997) may affect the overall process,
depending on new services that the vendors may provide. These issues
will be addressed by the Implementation at the appropriate time, and
the team will make the necessary changes to the implementation plan
in order to accommodate new travel policies and procedures.
After extensive analysis, the Implementation team has determined that
this Process Simplification project will be most successful if it is
done in three phases. The implementation team is currently pursuing
the initiatives described under Phase 1 of the project:
Note: for more information on the above listed recommendations, please
refer to pages 5 - 10 of the Travel Process Simplification Teams
March 6, 1997 "Implementation Plan."
- Define and establish the necessary organizational structure to support
the new travel process. A Travel Coordinator/Administrator, who will
be ultimately responsible for maintaining the revised travel procedure,
will be designated. Also, a Travel Council, composed of representatives
from the departmental travel experts, may be formed to provide ongoing
feedback on the travel process.
- Design, pilot and implement an improved process for handling transactions
related to pre-travel planning and post-travel reimbursements. Categories
of travel that will be impacted by this new process include day travel,
overnight travel and foreign travel.
- Design and implement a new Travel Authorization and Claim form that
will be made available in an electronic spreadsheet format. This new
form will be made available in various mediums including diskettes,
as a download from a UVa Travel Web-site, and as a printable document.
- Design and implement a UVa Travel Web-site that makes traveling planning
and execution easier for everyone. The Web-site will contain information
on: travel policies and procedures; travel tips; links to other travel
web pages; information about dealing with contracted travel agents;
frequently asked questions; and the process for obtaining approval and
reimbursement for travel.
- Incorporate any new features and functions provided through the negotiation
of a new travel agency contract.
- Conduct a marketing effort to inform the University community about
the revised travel process, provide updates on changes in travel policies
and procedures, and solicit feedback about the new travel program.
- Conduct the necessary training to develop and educate departmental
"travel specialists" who will, in turn, educate and support
University travelers. This is consistent with the recommendations made
by the Enhanced Employee Training team.
The timeline proposed for implementation of Phase 1 of this project
is approximately 11 months, with core team members time commitment
ranging from 5% to 25% over this period. The work plan for the project
includes designing and testing the travel authorization form in spreadsheet
format, developing and implementing the travel web-site, identifying
the appropriate individuals who will assume ongoing responsibility of
all aspects of the travel process, planning and conducting the internal
pilot of the new program, identifying opportunities to communicate the
new travel program, evaluating and revising the new process as appropriate,
and obtaining final executive commitment.
Phase 2 and Phase 3
During Phase 2, the team will develop and pilot test an electronic Travel
Authorization and Claim form in the Universitys E-Forms System,
and will produce the training and marketing materials required to deploy
the e-forms process throughout the University. In Phase 3, the team
will evaluate the effectiveness of the e-form process, and petition
DOA to authorize the establishment of a random sample post-audit review
process for travel claim forms. The timeline for Phases 2 and 3 will
be determined at the appropriate time.
The Implementation team has succeeded in incorporating the essential objectives of the
design plan while adjusting to the actual implementation details and
timing to fit the changing nature of the many factors impacting the