GAP 200.034, Expense Reports - Workflow

  1. Overview
  2. Workflow Routing
  3. Workflow Best Practices

I. OVERVIEW

Workflow associated with expense reports ensures designated departmental and funding source approvers have the opportunity to thoroughly review expense reports prior to Employee Travel and Reimbursement (ETR) receiving the reports for audit and posting to Duke’s general ledger. Departments must understand and maintain workflow on a routine basis to minimize workflow breakdowns.

II. WORKFLOW ROUTING

Workflow routing is the same for each type of expense report; however, workflow varies slightly depending on whether the expense report was created by the employee who incurred the expense or by an initiator on behalf of the employee. Every expense report requires a departmental and a funding source approval. The departmental approver level allows the department that owns the position the employee holds to approve the Duke business purpose of the expense. The funding source approval level allows the owner of the funding source to confirm the Duke business purpose and that expenses are allowable, allocable, and reasonable based on the funding source selected.

Based on a department’s preference, departmental approval can occur by individuals specifically designated by the department or based upon the supervisor relationship maintained in SAP. For Duke University (Company 0010), funding source approval occurs based upon the master data information associated with the cost object. For Duke University Health System, funding source approval occurs based upon the organizational unit where the cost object is assigned.

Workflow for expense reports created by the employee (pdf) route for department, funding source, and then ETR approval prior to posting to the general ledger.

Workflow for expense reports created by an initiator on behalf of an employee route (pdf) for department, funding source, employee and then ETR approval prior to posting to the general ledger.

For each workflow, the department owning the funding source may set optional approval thresholds. Additionally, ETR flags certain departmental leaders when management center approval of expense reports is required.

In the event an expense report includes more than one cost object as the funding source, workflow can only route to the funding source approver for one of the cost objects in the report. Workflow is configured to route to the most restrictive cost object included in the expense reports regardless of the dollar value of the expenses charged to that cost object. This diagram (pdf) explains the hierarchy of funding sources used to determine workflow routing with the most restrictive code listed at the top.

In the event an expense report is split between cost objects at the same level (for example: two federal grants), the expense report will route to the cost object incurring the highest dollar amount of the expense.
In the event an expense reports is split equally between cost objects at the same level, the expense report will route to the cost object listed first in the expense report.

The approvers at the funding source approval level are determined based upon the master data associated with the funding source. An exception to this is the organizational unit designee which is based upon the ETR Decision Point Spreadsheet. Workflow varies slightly based upon whether the funding source is a cost center or a WBS element. Workflow will route to the first field populated based up Workflow Routing – Funding Source diagram (pdf).

III. WORKFLOW – BEST PRACTICES

Adhering to the following best practices helps to ensure workflow consistently moves expense reports effectively and efficiently through the approval process.

  • As employees cannot approve their own expense reports, have at least two employees listed as approvers at each approval step.
  • Departments using the department designee model for departmental approval should work with their TRaC Rep/Business Manager to update the ETR Decision Point Spreadsheet and make changes to departmental approvers.
  • Departments using the supervisor model for departmental approvers should work with their Department Payroll Representative to update the supervisor relationship as necessary.
  • Duke policy states employees should not provide departmental approval for others to whom they report directly or indirectly. To support this policy, the senior most staff member in the departmental approval bucket should be noted on the ETR Decision Point Spreadsheet. The specific individuals who should approve the senior person’s expense reports should also been identified on the spreadsheet so that workflow can be routed appropriately.
  • If an individual is identified as the departmental approver and the funding source approver, workflow will only route to them as the departmental approver and will skip the funding source approval.
  • Funding source approval is based upon Duke Unique Identification Numbers of the employees assigned to the approvals and must be updated when employees change positions or responsibilities change. Funding source approval when using Travel 1&2 or Responsible Financial Person 1&2/Grant Manager 1&2 is maintained at the departmental level by updating master data for cost centers or master data for WBS elements.
  • Funding source approval for the Organizational Unit Designee is position based and is maintained using the ETR Decision Point Spreadsheet.