Changes to SMU’s Travel and Entertainment Policies Approved

The OE2C Steering Committee has reviewed and approved recommended changes to SMU’s current travel and entertainment policies. These policy changes were developed by the OE2C Travel Initiative with representation from various offices across campus. Over the past three months the Travel Initiative has spent time conducting a complete review of existing policies; engaging other campus members through meetings, demonstrations and focus groups; and benchmarking current policies against more than 20 peer and aspirant universities. The approved changes are the result of this effort and represent the “best practices” identified during their review. These policy changes will be enacted in conjunction with the implementation of the Concur Travel & Expense management system beginning in spring 2015.

From this framework, a new Travel & Entertainment Policy will be finalized in the coming months. In addition to finalizing the new policy, the Travel Initiative will be reviewing our current travel management company. As always we will be seeking input from our SMU colleagues as an important piece of this review.

Please look for more details on the TMC selection process in the coming weeks.

Download Travel and Entertainment Policy Changes

Travel and Entertainment Policy


  • Combine travel and entertainment policies
  • University policy applied consistently across schools and divisions

Policy vs procedure

  • University policy will not include procedures
  • Procedures will be posted and maintained on Controller’s website

Approval process

  • Pre-approval required by supervisor with budgetary authority (expenditures and risk management);  pre-approved budget may be required by departments
  • Use Concur to monitor trip expenses and note exceptions for post-travel approval
  • Post-travel approval by supervisor with budgetary authority
  • Additional approval by Financial Officer is not required
  • Utilize Concur to track travel commitments

Method of payment

  • Direct billing by travel management company
  • Out-of-pocket expenses reimbursed after trip
  • University-issued credit card

Per diem or actual

  • Per diem rates based upon destination will be linked in Concur to GSA rates
  • Departments can establish per diems which are less than, but not greater than, GSA per diems
  • Traveler using University credit card could not elect per diem

Booking of travel

  • Mandatory use of travel management company within Concur for centralized booking for hotel, airfare, and rental car
  • Exceptions will be made for conference bookings and in bookings where there are other savings not available through the travel management company

Settlement of accounts

  • Settlement within 30 days after travel is completed or consequence to traveler
  • Possible consequences depending upon severity:
    1. Loss of use of University credit card
    2. Expenses reported as taxable income
    3. Possible loss of reimbursement
    4. Disciplinary action
  • Travel advances allowed for group travel and individual travel with appropriate approval and pre-travel justification


  • Threshold amount set at $25 for requiring receipt
  • Detailed receipt is required for expenses over $25, along with credit card slip when applicable
  • Receipts will be scanned into Concur and it is not necessary to keep original
  • Hotel receipt with detailed listing of charges required even if per diem is used


  • Alcohol purchases reimbursable only if there is an SMU business or entertainment purpose
  • Business meals which include only SMU employees must have a documented business purpose
  • Required documentation will be maintained in Concur

By Aayush Chandra

SMU Meadows Marketing & Communications