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Travel & Expense Frequently Asked Questions

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System Access and Notification
How will my security be assigned in the OAKS Travel and Expense module?

The Travel and Expense module is part of the OAKS Financials (FIN) system. Access is automatically assigned to all state employees based on your position in the OAKS Human Capital Management (HCM) system.

I received a password error. What Should I do?

If you receive a user ID or password error message when you attempt to login to OAKS Financials, please call the OAKS Help Desk at 1.614.644.6625 or 1.888.644.6625.

How do I access the OAKS Travel and Expense module?

To login, please go to the myOhio.gov Homepage https://myohio.oaks.ohio.gov/ .

  1. On the myOhio.gov Homepage, enter your user ID and Password.
  2. Once you have logged in, click on the myTravel link under Self-Service Quick access.
  3. From the Travel and Expense Center Page, under Travel Authorization, click on the Create link.
To which email address are Travel and Expense notifications sent?

The Travel and Expense module uses the Business Email Address field in the OAKS Human Capital Management (HCM) system for status and approval notifications to employees and supervisors. These are customer service features of the module, which provide visibility into the status of expense reimbursements. It Is strongly recommended that a state issued email address be used whenever possible.

What if I don't have a state email address?

A personal email address may be entered as the Business Email Address If the employee so chooses. If the email address field is left blank, the reimbursement process will continue, however, you will not receive the email notifications.

How can I verify my profile information in T&E?

Travelers are strongly encouraged to review their email address and their assigned supervisor listed by using the My System Profile link within the T&E module. For more information, please refer to the Travel and Expense for Travelers training course.

When updates are made to employee information in OAKS Human Capital Management (HCM), when will the new information appear in the Travel and Expense module?

Changes made to employee information such as email address, supervisor, bank account, and employee combo code will be updated the next business day.

General Information
Do I have to use OAKS Travel and Expense for my travel reimbursement?

Yes, state travelers must use OAKS Travel and Expense to submit travel reimbursement requests.

Where can I find quick step-by-step instructions for the travel process?
Where can I find the OBM Travel Rule?

The Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Travel Rule can be found on the OBM Website at in the Find It Fast section of OBM.ohio.gov the homepage.

How can I receive training on OAKS Travel and Expense for reimbursement?

A traveler can access the Travel and Expense process online through the OAKS FIN Online Process Manual at http://fin.help4u.obm.ohio.gov/ . Reviewing these procedures is necessary in order to understand the OBM Travel Rule and to know how to use the OAKS Travel and Expense module.

Can someone else submit the travel authorization and expense report for me?
  • Yes, a traveler can delegate entry authority in OAKS Travel and Expense to another individual (proxy).
  • For detailed instructions on setting up delegate entry authority, view the Travel and Expense process via the OAKS FIN Online Process Manual at http://fin.help4u.obm.ohio.gov/ .
What is the definition of a travel period?

The travel period is defined by the traveler in the OAKS Travel and Expense module as the number of days from the start date through end date of travel.

I will be traveling using a state vehicle. Do I still need to submit a travel authorization for mileage?

No, if the travel includes reimbursement claims for lodging, car rental, airfare, or international travel, a Travel Authorization is required. However, the employee would still need to follow his or her agency's guidelines for receiving authorization to travel by state vehicle.

I'm not a state employee but incur travel expenses on behalf of the state. How will I be reimbursed?

Travel reimbursements for non-state employees are not processed through the OAKS Travel and Expense module. These reimbursements would be processed as supplier payments through the agency's fiscal office.

Are travelers required to use the OAKS T&E module if there is no cost to the state for the travel (i.e. all travel costs are 100 percent paid by a federal agency or other source)?

If reimbursement of travel expenses is due to the traveler by the agency, the traveler is required to use the OAKS T&E module. If travel expenses are prepaid and/or reimbursed directly to the traveler by a federal agency or other source, then the traveler is not required to use the OAKS T&E module.

Do I need to record expenses which are prepaid by my agency?

Expenses prepaid by the agency should still be entered on expense reports. However, when entering the line item, the payment type "State Prepaid" must be selected. This will deduct the amount of the prepaid expense from the total amount reimbursable to the employee.

What is meal per diem?

Meal per diem is an allowance for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and incidental expenses while on travel status and differ by travel location. Meals and incidental expenses are authorized for state travelers only when overnight lodging is required. These rates are in accordance with the per diem rates established by the U.S. General Services Administration (www.gsa.gov).

How do I access travel reimbursement information for tax or other reporting purposes?

All state travelers have the capability of searching the travel module and obtaining a list of the travel documents that they have submitted.

  1. Once you have logged into OAKS Financials (https://myohio.oaks.ohio.gov/ ), click on the myTravel link under Self-Service Quick access.
  2. From the Travel and Expense Center page, select Expense Report, and then view.
  3. From the "Search by" dropdown, select "EmplID"; then enter your employee ID in the "begins with" field. Your expense reports will appear.
Reimbursement Request
Do I have to submit a travel authorization before I travel?

Yes, if the travel includes reimbursement claims for lodging, car rental, airfare, or international travel, travelers must obtain authorization from their supervisor.

Where can I find quick step-by-step instructions to request travel reimbursement?
I'm a frequent traveler. For what period of time should I submit travel authorizations?

Travelers have flexibility when determining the length of the travel period; however, it is recommended that the length not exceed two weeks. If the travel includes reimbursement claims for lodging, car rental, airfare, or international travel, a Travel Authorization is required. Travelers can only reference one travel authorization per expense report, and cannot divide one travel authorization into multiple expense reports.

Is a Travel Authorization still required for travel which occurred under emergency circumstances?

Yes, a Travel Authorization must still be submitted for the emergency travel even after it has already occurred. The system will only accept Travel Authorization dates in the future, so the TA must be future dated. When submitting the Expense Report, the document must be corrected to show the actual dates of travel. The reason for the emergency travel should be fully explained in the comments box of the Travel Authorization and Expense Report to explain the discrepancy in dates.

What if I don't know the exact cost of the travel when creating my travel authorization?
  • The travel authorization is an estimate of a traveler's expenses that may be incurred during travel.
  • The traveler will have a chance to record the actual reimbursable expenses incurred when creating the expense report.
I incurred an unexpected expense that I did not account for in my Travel Authorization. Do I need to go back and modify my Travel Authorization prior to creating an expense report?

No, the traveler cannot revise an approved travel authorization. When creating the Expense Report, a traveler may enter additional expense lines not reflected on the original Travel Authorization.

I submitted my Travel Authorization but need to delete it. How can this be done?
  • Note: If the Travel Authorization is denied, it will be closed and it cannot be used for any future travel.
  • If you have saved but not submitted your Travel Authorization, you can delete using the following path: Employee Self Service > Travel and Expenses > Travel and Expense Center > Travel Authorization > Delete
  • If you have submitted your Travel Authorization, ask your supervisor to "Send Back for Revision." Once your Travel Authorization has been sent back to you, you can delete using the following path: Employee Self Service > Travel and Expenses > Travel and Expense Center > Travel Authorization > Delete.
  • If your Travel Authorization has been approved, you can cancel your Travel Authorization using the following path: Employee Self Service > Travel and Expenses > Travel and Expense Center > Travel Authorization > Cancel. The Travel Authorization will remain in the system in "Closed" status.
When am I eligible for meal reimbursement?

The OBM Travel Rule states that a traveler is eligible for meal reimbursement when he/she travels overnight. The overnight stay must be documented in the expense report. The start time of the first day of travel and the end time of the last day of travel must be accurately recorded so the reimbursement can be properly pro-rated. Travelers who travel out of state by air and return the same day are also authorized to claim meal reimbursements. However, the meal and incidental expenses will be pro-rated.

Do I have to deduct my normal commute miles?

Yes, the OBM Travel Rule states when a traveler has been authorized to use a privately owned automobile for state business; a traveler's normal commute miles are not eligible for reimbursement and therefore must be deducted.

Is there a maximum reimbursement amount for lodging?

The maximum rates for lodging expenses are established in accordance with U.S. General Services Administration's (GSA) Continental United States (CONUS) rates, and are based on location. Travelers may claim up to the maximum amount allowed and cannot exceed the actual amount of expenses incurred. For more information visit the GSA Website (www.gsa.gov)

Can conference travel be requested using the Travel and Expense module?

The traveler should select the expense type "conference" for conference-related travel expenses. The employee is still required to follow his/her agency's specific guidelines for conference-related travel. When the traveler submits an expense report for conference travel, he/she must also submit a copy of the conference agenda and other supporting documentation along with any required receipts to Ohio Shared Services.

What if my conference lodging exceeds the CONUS maximum lodging rates?

Travelers may exceed the CONUS maximum lodging rate if approved by their agency and the hotel is identified in the conference materials. To exceed the CONUS maximum lodging rate in the Travel and Expense module, the expense type "Conference Lodging" must be selected.

Submitting Expense Reports and Receipts
What if the amount of my expense report is higher than the approved Travel Authorization?

Any Expense Report that exceeds the original travel authorization estimate by 20% will be routed to the supervisor for approval.

Do I have to prorate my meal per diem on partial days of travel?
  • Yes, when creating an Expense Report you must prorate the meal per diem on days of departure and days of return.
    • Click the detail link of the meal per diem expense for the date of departure and modify the start time; this will reflect the actual time of departure; then
    • Click the detail link of the meal per diem expense for the date of return and modify the end time; this will reflect the actual time of your return.
  • These modifications will automatically prorate the per diem for that day based on the length of time you were on travel status. For more information, please refer to the Travel and Expense for the Traveler training course.
What expenses require receipts?

Receipts are required for expenses over $10 with the exception of meal per diem and personal auto mileage expenses.

How do I submit my receipts?

All documentation and receipts must be attached directly in the Expense Report. Do not submit any receipts or documentation to Ohio Shared Services via e-mail, mail or fax.

Should I photocopy my receipts and keep a copy for my records?
  • Yes, it is strongly recommended that travelers photocopy all of their expense receipts being submitted, in the event that any receipts need to be resubmitted.
  • Loose receipts smaller than 8.5 x 11 should be taped to an 8.5 x 11 sheet of plain paper.
I submitted a travel authorization/expense report but my manager is out of the office, can someone else approve it?

Yes, if a traveler's manager did not assign an alternate approver during his/her absence, the traveler may contact the agency's Fiscal Office and they will work with Ohio Shared Services to reroute the documents for approval.

When do I have to submit an expense report?

A traveler has 60 days from the last day of travel to submit an expense report. In no case shall an employee be able to submit a request for reimbursement after 120 days.

Can I check the status of my expense report?
  • Yes, a traveler can connect to the OAKS Travel and Expense module and view the status of his/her expense reports.
  • For detailed instructions to view the status of an expense report, view the Travel and Expense process via the OAKS FIN Online Process Manual at http://fin.help4u.obm.ohio.gov/ .
How do I know if my expense report has been paid?
  • When Ohio Shared Services processes the expense report for payment, an email notification will be sent to the traveler.
  • The reimbursed amount will appear in the traveler's bank account within two business days of the email notification.
Can a traveler establish a separate bank account for deposit of his/her OAKS Travel & Expense reimbursements?

No, all reimbursements for travel expenses will be deposited via electronic funds transfer (EFT) to the primary (balance) bank account within the OAKS HCM module established by the employee for receipt of his/her paycheck.

How should provided conference meals be deducted from my meal per diem? How is this calculated?

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) provides a breakdown of each meal per diem rate. The meal per diem rate differs by travel location. First, view the per diem rate for your primary destination to determine which meal per diem rate applies, then deduct the associated meal(s) from the per diem. The total amount of deductions made will not cause you to receive less than the amount allowed for incidental expenses. Visit the GSA Website at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/21287

Supervisory Approvals
What is the supervisor approval structure in the module?

The T&E module will rely on the first level supervisor specified in OAKS HCM (in the "Reports To" field) for travel authorization and expense report approvals. The first level supervisor has the ability to designate an alternate approver; however the alternate approver must also have the Manager role, assigned to him or her either automatically as being identified as a supervisor in HCM or manually through the OAKS Agency Financials Security Application.

Can someone else approve the travel authorization and expense report for me?
  • Yes, a manager can designate an alternate approver in OAKS Travel and Expense; however the alternate approver must also be assigned to the Manager role, assigned to him or her either automatically as being identified as a supervisor in HCM or manually through the OAKS Agency Financials Security Application.
  • For detailed instructions on designating an alternate approver, view the Travel and Expense process via the OAKS FIN Online Process Manual at http://fin.help4u.obm.ohio.gov/
What if a traveler's supervisor is not in "active" pay status?

When a travel authorization or expense report is submitted and the traveler's supervisor's position is either vacant or has an employment status other than "active", the document will be automatically routed to the supervisor's supervisor for approval. This automatic rerouting will only happen for one level within the organizational hierarchy. If the second level supervisor's position is vacant or has an employment status other than "active", a travel authorization and/or expense report cannot be submitted, and the traveler will need to contact his or her HCM Administrator to correct the issue.

If entry authority is delegated to a proxy, who will receive the travel documents for approval?

Regardless of who creates the travel documents, travel documents will route to the traveler's supervisor as specified in OAKS HCM.

Creating Travel Authorizations and Expense Reports as a Proxy
If a proxy enters a travel document, who will receive the email notifications?

If a proxy enters a Travel Authorization and/or Expense Report on behalf of a traveler, all email notifications for that document are still sent to the traveler. Proxies should regularly check the status of open Travel Authorizations and Expense Reports they have created by opening the documents in "View" mode.

Fiscal Office
How can Travel and Expense security roles be requested?

Agencies' Chief Fiscal Officers and/or security designees can request any changes or additions to the travel and expenses security roles by accessing the OAKS Online Security Form.

What functions can the Fiscal Budget Analyst (FBA) role perform in the system?

The Fiscal Budget Analyst role grants the user access to perform the following functions:

  • View and print all travel documents for their agency
  • Correct travel documents with budget exceptions
  • Make necessary chartfield changes to travel documents
  • Has access to PS Query Viewer to run queries within the Travel and Expense module
  • Designated as a proxy to enter Travel Authorizations and Expense Reports for all employees within their agency or a specified department • Create Journal Expense Reports

The FBA role does not grant the user access to any other standard Fiscal Office functionality in the OAKS Financials module.

What access does the Travel Viewer role provide?

Read only access to the Travel and Expense module to view all Travel Authorizations and Expense Reports in the system. • Has access to PS query viewer to run queries within the Travel and Expense module.

How is the encumbrance created?

An encumbrance is automatically created in OAKS when a travel authorization is approved and has a valid budget check. The encumbrance is created using the same chartfield combination, identified as the employee's combo code, as used in the OAKS Human Capital Management (HCM) system for payroll processing.

When is an encumbrance cleared?

The encumbrance is fully liquidated when an expense report is budget-checked.

How can I obtain a list of my agency's funds encumbered for travel expenses?

To obtain a list of travel authorizations for your agency, the "Aging Travel Authorizations" report may be run using Reporting Tools>Query Viewer. For more information on running T&E reports, please refer to the OAKS FIN Manual.

Can the Fiscal Budget Analyst (FBA) delete Travel Authorizations or Expense Reports?

Individuals with the FBA role can do the following:

  • Delete Travel Authorizations and Expense Reports in "Pending" status
  • Cancel Travel Authorizations and Expense Reports which are in "Approved" status. The "Cancel" clears the encumbrance; however the Travel Authorization will remain in the system in "Closed" status.
When can chartfield coding be changed?

Chartfield coding on expense reports can be changed during the five-calendar-day window which starts when the expense report is approved for payment by OSS.

How can individuals with the Fiscal Budget Analyst role locate travel expense reports which are within the five day window?

To obtain a list of expense reports for your agency which are within the five day window, the "Pending Expense Reports Detail" report may be run using Reporting Tools>Query Viewer. You may also search for expense reports in the "Fiscal Budget Analyst Review" section of the T&E module. For more information, please refer to the OAKS FIN Manual.

If chartfield changes are made on a travel expense report, does the reimbursement timeline change?

If changes are made by a Fiscal Budget Analyst to chartfield coding during the five-day- window, the expense report will continue the normal process and no additional time is added to the expense reimbursement timeline.

Account Code 523600 appears on Travel Authorizations and Expense Reports. Why can't I change it?

The Account code 523600 was a standard code established to be used by fiscal offices for their budget reporting purposes.

Can a payment to an individual employee be placed on hold?

Agency fiscal office staff can contact OSS and request that a payment hold be placed on an employee's identification number. Placing a hold on an employee will only suspend payments; it will not affect all other Travel and Expense module activities. It is also the responsibility of the agency to contact OSS when the payment hold should be released.

Under the new travel process, how should public records requests be handled?

Agencies will remain responsible for public records requests. Agency fiscal office staff with the Fiscal Budget Analyst (FBA) role will be able to view and print all Travel Authorizations and Expense Reports and any receipt or documentation attachments.

Who can run travel expense queries?

Individuals with Manager, Travel Viewer, and Fiscal Budget Analyst roles can run queries in the T&E module.

Will travel and expense data be available in the OAKS Enterprise Performance Management (EPM) data warehouse?

No, travel data is available through the Business Intelligence (COGNOS) system.

Can expenses still be prepaid by agencies (i.e., airfare)?

Agencies still have the ability to prepay expenses through the Accounts Payable module or Pcard. The traveler should still enter the prepaid expenses on the travel authorization and expense report for tracking purposes; however, the payment type "State Prepaid" should be chosen. Expense types (airfare or lodging) marked as "State Prepaid" will not be reimbursable to the employee and will not be included in the travel encumbrance.