Frequently Asked Questions

Before You Travel

When do I need a TA (Travel Authorization)?

Anytime you are traveling non-locally on University related business, even if you are not requesting reimbursement. All travel needing reimbursement, even local travel, requires a Travel Authorization.

For local official business travel that will not result in a reimbursement, divisions and/or departments should implement their own approval requirements that should include, at a minimum, verbal pre-approval of the travel by a traveler’s supervisor. A travel authorization in TEM is not required for this.

Travelers who do not obtain prior approval as required may be responsible for any unauthorized expenses and may jeopardize other support provided by the state for travelers in official travel status.

What is a Blanket TA and how do I get one?

A Blanket TA Form may be used for frequent regular travel, such as travel from Bellingham to Everett for frequent meetings. One-time travel incidents, such as a conference, will require a separate Travel Authorization.

We are required by the state to limit the Blanket TA’s we allow. To that end, we require an exception request webform to be approved before we can approve a blanket TA in TEM. So:

Step 1: Please fill out a TEM Blanket Travel Authorization Exception Request

Step 2: When the Exception request is approved, please Create a new TA (Travel Authorization) in TEM but mirror the dates and information from the webform.

Where can I find travel webforms?

What expenses can be reimbursed before travel?

Original receipts are required for reimbursement of

  • Registration expenses
  • Airfare expenses that have been purchased on a WWU Corporate Travel Visa

Contact Travel Services if you have a question regarding a type of expense not listed here.

What if there are no estimated expenses?

If there is not any estimated expenses, please include a $0 Miscellaneous Expense with funding and note in the description that there are no expected expenses. This prevents TEM errors.

What if I am only needing to be reimbursed for Registration for a Conference?

A TA will be required to travel to a conference. Reimbursements for any travel-related expenses would be done via TEM.

While You Travel

What kind of receipts do I need to keep from my trip?

Original receipts are required for reimbursement of

  • lodging (hotel),
  • rental cars, and
  • fuel (when actual fuel expenses will be reimbursed rather than privately owned vehicle mileage).
  • miscellaneous expenses over $50

Receipts are not required for reimbursement of

  • privately owned vehicle mileage,
  • per diem meals,
  • taxi, or
  • ferry fares.

Contact Travel Services if you have a question regarding a type of expense not listed here.

If an original receipt is lost, please complete an Affidavit of Lost Receipt.

Would you claim per diem for breakfast when your motel provided Continental Breakfast or for meals provided on airlines?

Yes. SAAM 10.40.20 states “Meal payments are not required to be reduced or eliminated due to meals served on airlines. Similarly, meal payments are not required to be reduced for continental breakfasts which may be included in the lodging rate or registration fee of a meeting, conference, convention, or formal training session. Agencies should review IRS tax regulations regarding the taxation of these payments.”

“Continental Breakfast” is defined as: Either (1) a breakfast generally consisting of juice, bread, fruit and a hot beverage (typically coffee or tea), or (2) a light meal defined in agency policy.

After You Travel

What if I don't need reimbursement?

Please add one reimbursable $0 Miscellaneous Expense with funding to prevent TEM errors.

What if my receipt has someone else’s name on it?

Receipts must be in the name of the person seeking reimbursement. If you will be splitting an expense, please try to obtain a receipt for your half of the purchase. If that is not possible, obtain a memo from the person named on the receipt. The memo needs to indicate that you (the payee) covered a specific dollar amount for a specific item/service and that the person named on the receipt (and writing the memo) will not seek reimbursement from WWU for the expense. The memo should be signed by the named person. Example: Victor Viking paid $125.93 for my lodging on 8/13/2015 and I will not seek reimbursement. Signed ~ Traveler Tom

Can I use air miles for my airfare and receive reimbursement?

WWU will reimburse you for actual dollars spent on your airfare. If you use air miles you may not be reimbursed for them.


General System Questions

What do all of the “Status” titles in TEM mean?

  • In Process: Started but not submitted. May still be deleted. May still be edited.
  • Pending Review: Sent by a delegate to the traveler but not submitted. May not be deleted. May still be edited.
  • Submitted: Submitted by the traveler. You may see who is approving under “Status History” on the “Workflow Approvals” tab. May not be edited at this status.
  • Returned for Correction: The document is with the traveler to make requested changes. Does not affect original submission date for 60 day taxable window.
  • Approved: Good to Go! This document is completely approved. No edits possible.
  • Denied: Document is ended. Comments will be supplied in the email and are available under “Status History” in TEM.
  • Ready to Pay: Will pay out the next check run date, usually Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Paid: Document is ended and paid out.
  • Error: Something went wrong! Contact the Travel Desk.

How do encumbrances work in TEM?

When a TA is fully approved, TEM creates an encumbrance in Banner for the total amount of the estimated reimbursable expenses that were listed on that TA. That encumbrance will then be automatically reduced as reimbursements are filed against that TA. The encumbrance can also be liquidated if a Traveler indicates that the expense report they are submitting is the final expense report they plan to submit for their trip. If the traveler does not click “Yes, this is my final expense report” and funding was changed from the TA to the TR the encumbrance will not be liquidated and it can be done by a traveler or delegate.

How to Release an Encumbrance

How are encumbrances affected by multi-day trips?

If these trips were only for a certain period and occurred on an unscheduled basis or were very frequent during that period, it would be possible to issue a Blanket TA for a given traveler for that time period, and submit periodic expense reports as each trip occurs. In any case, an encumbrance would be created by the system when the TA was created, and it would be reduced by the various Expense Reports made against it until it was liquidated by the system.

How will the new system handle travel that is no cost to WWU? Would we still need to fill out a TA for that?

It is still important to place travelers in travel status from a liability and audit standpoint, so a TA would be necessary. If you are unsure whether you need a TA for your trip or not, it’s always a good idea to check with Travel Services first.

I don’t always have all the details of my trip when I’m filling out my TA. How do I update my trip information and expense to show what really happened?

If you don’t have all the specific details of your trip when you fill out your TA, don’t worry. In most instances, certain details of your trip will be unknown or uncertain before you actually travel. For these items, do your best to estimate or approximate them on your TA. It might also be a good idea to identify what aspects of your TA are estimates using a description field or comment box. The estimates entered on a TA are meant to help you and your approvers plan for an upcoming trip and provide a sort of template for any Expense Reports you may fill out for that trip. When you do fill out an Expense Report, that is when you will update your trip information to show actual trip details and expense amounts. TAs show estimates, and TRs show actuals.

What kind of reporting capabilities does TEM have?

TEM really only has one reporting feature built into it. You are able to print – or save as a PDF – a report for each of your Travel Authorizations (TAs) or Expense Reports (TRs) that outlines the details of that particular document. However, since TEM is fully integrated with Banner, it is possible to create virtually any custom report based on information in TEM, Banner, and Millennium. If your area has a travel-related report they would like to have made, please contact Sharon Colman 650-3479 in Business & Financial Systems.

Do I need a Travel Justification anymore? Where would I put it in the new system if I did?

A brief description of the business purpose for the trip is required. To include more detail, you may add travel justification under the Comments section. A justification could also be saved to a separate document (like a Word or PDF document) and attached to the TA.

I accidently submitted by TA/TR and there’s information missing on it. How do I get it back so I can fill in the missing pieces?

Any time you submit a travel document in TEM, the first place it goes for approval is Travel Services. If you accidently submit your document (or submit it and realize you left out critical information) and need it returned to you, contact Travel Services 650-3341 and ask them to return your document for correction. You’ll get an email notification when your document gets returned to you.

I’m a Delegate and my list of Travelers that I can act as needs to be updated. How do I update that list?

The process you need to take to update the list of Travelers assigned to you (as seen on your Delegate tab) depends on whether you need to add people to your list or remove people from your list. If your list is missing a Traveler, you can contact that Traveler and ask them to set you up as their Delegate (see the section of the Traveler & Delegate User Guide called, “Setting up Someone to be Your Delegate”). You can also submit an eSign TEM Delegate Maintenance Form, but the first method is generally faster.

If you need to remove a Traveler or multiple Travelers from your list, send an email toTravel Services stating that you need to stop being the Delegate for certain Travelers in TEM and give the names of those Travelers as they appear on the list on your Delegate tab.

How do encumbrances work in TEM?

When a TA is fully approved, TEM creates an encumbrance in Banner for the total amount of the estimated, reimbursable expenses that were listed on that TA. That encumbrance will then be automatically reduced as reimbursements are filed against that TA. If the encumbrance is reduced to zero, the encumbrance is liquidated. The encumbrance can also be liquidated if a Traveler indicates that the Expense Report they are submitting is the final Expense Report they plan to submit for their trip. The Traveler indicates this by responding to an automatic prompt by the system. Again, encumbrances liquidated this way are done automatically by TEM.

Budget approvers need a way to reference the amount authorized to travel when approving a reimbursement to make sure that reimbursement doesn’t exceed the Traveler’s funding allocation. Does TEM provide a way to do this?

Yes, any approver reviewing a reimbursement is able to reference the reimbursable amount originally authorized on the TA connected to that reimbursement. It would stand to reason that a traveler would not be authorized to use funding that would exceed their maximum allocation, however, we are currently developing reports that would allow an approver (or anyone else able to run the report) to see how much funding a given traveler has used in a specified period.

How can I manage the email notifications the TEM system is sending to me?

The easiest way to manage incoming email notifications would be to apply filters to your incoming email. The Quick Sheet Setting up Email Filters for TEM/Workflow Notifications walks you through creating a kind of catch-all filter for TEM-related notifications. You can also contact Travel Services 650-3341 or Sharon Colman 650-3479 for additional assistance setting up email filters.

Why is there a NSF warning on the funding summery page of my travel document? Is this a problem?

Since TEM is a Banner product, it performs automatic NSF (non-sufficient funds) checks against the funding stings you’re using on your Travel Authorization or Travel Reimbursement. This kind of warning is primarily for funding approvers who are authorizing use of the funding stings you have on that document. Seeing this warning does not necessarily mean something is wrong, and both Travelers and Approvers can submit/approve documents where the warning appears with no trouble.

Page Updated 10.05.2015