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Understand Responsibility and Authorization

Responsibility

Travel expenses paid for by the university for individuals on official VCU business must be reasonable, necessary, and represent an efficient use of resources. Furthermore, travelers and travel planners should seek ways to reduce the cost of travel. Travel expenses for individuals (spouses, friends, etc.) or employees not on official business for the University are not allowed on state or grant funds. The State relies on the honesty and integrity of its employees to prevent excessive expenditures and reimbursements. Travel expense accounts are open to the public and must be able to sustain the test of public review. Any falsification of expenditures constitutes fraud and will be treated as such. VCU should communicate their travel policies, regulations and procedures to anyone who travels on University business. VCU assumes no obligation to reimburse employees, students or non-employees for expenses that are not in compliance with policy.

Responsibility of the Schools/Department:
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Schools or departments may, at their discretion, impose greater control than required by VCU travel policy, but never less. It is the responsibility of the various schools to ensure that anyone traveling or entertaining on behalf of the University is aware of and will abide by the University’s policies and procedures. It is the responsibility of each school to assign a hierarchy of responsibility with reference to the preparation and approval of travel requests for payment and/or reimbursement based on VCU’s policies. Each school is also responsible for choosing an approval flow option within Chrome River that best suits their specific approval requirements, as well as ensuring departments within that school are aware of, and understand, the selected Chrome River approval flow.

Responsibility of the Traveler:
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Individuals traveling on behalf of the University should exercise good judgment with respect to incurring travel expenses and are expected to spend the University’s funds prudently. Travel related expenses will be paid by the University if they are deemed to be reasonable, appropriately documented, properly authorized and within the guidelines of these policies. It is the responsibility of the traveler to comply with the University’s policies governing travel. The traveler is also responsible for approving their Chrome River Expense Reports when prompted by the Chrome River Expense Approval email, as well as for tracking their own Pre-Approvals and Expense Reports in Chrome River.

Responsibility of the Authorized Approver and Fiscal Approver:
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At VCU, an Authorized Approver may be an employee’s supervisor or an employee delegated the responsibility by the responsible Dean or Vice President. While approvals must be made at the levels required by policy, approvals should always move up the chain of command from the expense owner, not down, to prevent the situation of a subordinate approving a supervisor’s expenses.

The Authorized Approver must verify that expenses meet all of the following criteria:

  • the travel expense was/will be incurred while conducting official University business
  • the expenses are necessary and consistent with University policies
  • the information contained in the Pre-Approval, Expense Report, and/or in the attached documentation is accurate
  • the expense meets any and all sponsor guidelines, if applicable
  • receipts provided are valid and reconcile with the claimed expenses

Fiscal Approvers must verify that expenses meet all of the following criteria:

  • expenditures are charged to the appropriate index(s) and are properly categorized
  • receipts provided are valid and reconcile with the claimed expenses
  • claimed expenses are in compliance with University policies and procedures

Pre-Approval and Expense Report Approval Flows in Chrome River

There are two processes within Chrome River that require approvals: Pre-Approval and Expense Report. Pre-Approval is required for trips for VCU employees in which expenses exceed $500. Expense Report is the process to submit for reimbursement of personal, travel and business meal expenses.

Each employee has a profile within Chrome River that is tied to a specific school. The school designation drives the approval flow for both the Pre-Approval and Expense Report. There are three (3) approval flow options. During implementation, each school chose one of the following options:

Option

Pre-Approval

Expense Report

1

AA

FA

2

FA, AA

FA

3

AA, FA

FA

 

When prompted in Chrome River to choose an approver, the appropriate Authorized Approver (AA) for the expense owner must be selected. The Fiscal Approver (FA) is tied to the index code chosen for the expense and is automatically included in the approval flow depending on the approval flow option chosen by the school. Fiscal Approvers should never be selected when prompted to choose an approver unless the expense owner’s FA is also that person’s AA.

When submitting an Expense Report in Chrome River, the approved Pre-Approval, if required, associated with that trip must be attached to the Expense Report prior to submission. Since the AA approved the expenses on the Pre-Approval, the system will not prompt you to choose the AA prior to submitting the Expense Report. If the Pre-Approval is not attached to the Expense Report (i.e. expenses are under $500 or recipient is a non-employee), Chrome River will prompt you to select the AA prior to submitting the Expense Report because the system knows that an AA did not approve the estimated expenses on a Pre-Approval. Therefore, if a Pre-Approval is not attached to the Expense Report, both the AA and FA will be involved in the Expense Report approval process.

If a Pre-Approval is attached to the Expense Report and the Expense Report dollar amount is within 10% or $100 of the Pre-Approval dollar amount, the Expense Report will route only to the FA of the index code(s) listed for each expense.

If a Pre-Approval is attached, but the Expense Report dollar amount is >10% or >$100 of the Pre-Approval dollar amount, Chrome River will prompt you to select the AA prior to submitting the Expense Report. In this case, the system will include the AA in the approval process because there are more expenses on the Expense Report than what was originally approved on the Pre-Approval.

If…

Then…

The Pre-Approval is attached to the Expense Report and the Expense Report dollar amount is within 10% or $100 of the Pre-Approval dollar amount…

You will not be prompted by Chrome River to select the expense owner’s AA prior to submitting the Expense Report. Only the expense owner (if report submitted by a delegate) and FA will approve the Expense Report.

The Pre-Approval is attached to the Expense Report and the Expense Report dollar amount is >10% or >$100 of the Pre-Approval dollar amount…

You will be prompted by Chrome River to select the expense owner’s AA prior to submitting the Expense Report. The expense owner (if report submitted by a delegate), AA and FA will approve the Expense Report.

The Pre-Approval is not attached to the Expense Report (i.e. expenses <$500 or non-employee)…

You will be prompted by Chrome River to select the expense owner’s AA. The expense owner (if report submitted by a delegate), AA and FA will approve the Expense Report.

 

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