Travel & Reimbursement

University Policies
Employee travel and reimbursement transactions must be managed to meet operational needs and compliance requirements. Travel expenses must comply with University policies and procedures. These policies should be applied consistently to all travelers.

Employee reimbursement transactions must also comply with IRS accountable plan rules regarding substantiation and timing. Certain expenses are personal in nature and are not reimbursable or are reimbursable only when specific criteria are met and financial dean or equivalent approval is obtained.

Risks commonly associated with travel and reimbursement:

  • Allocating Harvard assets for personal expenses
  • Non-compliance with terms of sponsored awards
  • Incurring excessive costs if the traveler does not use preferred vendors

Best practices include:

  • Local units should contact your tub finance office to arrange Travel and Reimbursement Policy training
  • Employees should comply with University Travel and Reimbursement Policies
  • Frequent travelers should use the Corporate Card (AMEX)
  • Travelers should book airline travel through the Harvard Travel Center or one of Harvard’s preferred travel agencies
  • Local units should have a process to approve employee travel and reimbursements
  • Reimbursements must be submitted within 60 days from date of expenditure. Exceptions require approval of the financial dean or equivalent.
  • Travel expense reports should be reviewed for accuracy and reasonableness including accurate coding of transactions
  • Original receipts and other supporting documentation must be submitted for all transactions greater than or equal to $75. Tubs may set a lower dollar threshold.
  • Support for meals should included a detailed bill from the restaurant
  • Missing Receipt Affidavits must be competed where applicable and signed by both the traveler and approver Business purpose must be documented and include who incurred the expense, what the expense entailed, why this is a Harvard expense, when the expense occurred, and where the trip took place
  • Travelers do not use first class travel without prior written approval from the President, Dean or Vice President
  • Travel advance requests should be necessary and reasonable
  • Travel advances should be settled in a timely manner
  • Administrators should review and reconcile detailed listings monthly