Finance Policy


1.   PURPOSE ........................................................................................................................1
2.   DEFINITONS ....................................................................................................................1
2.   POLICY ............................................................................................................................2
4.   AUDIENCE .....................................................................................................................12
5.   RELEVANT LEGISLATION ............................................................................................12
6.   LEGAL COMPLIANCE ...................................................................................................12
7.   RELATED PROCEDURES/ DOCUMENTS ...................................................................12
8.   DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT CONTROL .....................................................................13

1.       PURPOSE

To provide a statement of the University's requirements, procedures and
parameters for staff Travel and Entertainment Expenses paid for by The
University of Auckland.


         Entertainment                      Means approved Entertainment of non-University
                                            people undertaken for the purpose of a business
                                            discussion, fostering a business relationship,
                                            enhancing the reputation of the University or in
                                            furtherance of the University’s goals.
         Expense(s)                         Means work related costs necessarily incurred by
                                            staff of The University of Auckland in accordance
                                            with the parameters of this policy.
         FBT                                Means Fringe Benefit Tax.
         One over one                       Means consultation with and gaining the agreement
                                            of an individual one senior to the individual making
                                            the decision, or taking the action.
         Preferred                          Means suppliers managed by Financial Services
         Supplier                           (and/or approved by the Tender Board) with whom
                                            the University has entered into a formal Agreement
                                            for the supply of products or services. A list of
                             preferred suppliers is available on the Financial
                             Services website.
        Reimbursement        Means payment to a University staff member for
                             appropriate    Expenses    incurred   on  approved
                             University business in accordance with this policy.
                             The payment will generally be on the basis of actual
                             and reasonable expenditure supported by original
                             receipts. There are exceptions however, which are
                             specified in this policy. All Reimbursements will be
                             on the basis of a Staff Expense Claim approved in
                             accordance with this policy.
        Travel               Means pre-approved Travel for official University
        University           The University of Auckland including all subsidiaries.

2.      POLICY

2.1     The University expects to pay directly all its legitimate expenses through its
        normal processes, recognising that where there are cases where this is not
        possible, the University has a reimbursement policy.

        Payment, or liability to pay, of a Travel Expense or Entertainment Expense
        by the University must always be demonstrated by satisfactory means to be a
        University liability with, in all but emergencies, approval prior to incurring
        the Expense and be reasonably incurred for good and fair value by the
        University. It follows from this that:

2.1.1   Reasonable and appropriate Expenses necessarily incurred in undertaking
        approved University Travel will be paid, subject to the following;

2.1.2   The incurring of Expenses should ideally be approved in advance and
        Reimbursement of them will generally be made on the basis of evidence of
        actual and reasonable expenditure supported by original receipts or other

2.1.3   The University may reasonably decline to reimburse claimed Expenses not
        having prior approval, and will require evidence as a precondition of

2.1.4   Incurring Travel and Entertainment Expenses is always subject to a test, and
        precondition, that the incurring of those Expenses does not provide a
        personal financial benefit to staff. Financial benefit must be demonstrated to
        be for the University. Travel and Entertainment Expenses should not include
        compensation for a staff member's personal Expenses that they would
        otherwise reasonably incur on a day-to-day basis, as opposed to such
        Expenses as are directly attributable to the University's benefit.
2.1.5    Private (staff) vehicle usage for University purposes may be recoverable.
         See 3.10.6 (attention is drawn to The University of Auckland Motor Vehicle

2.1.6    Good and fair value connotes that Travel should be, within reasonable safety
         and time requirements and constraints, by the most direct route. Likewise
         good and fair value connotes that Travel and Entertainment expenditure
         requires a cost effective approach.

2.1.7.   Good and fair value means that where the University has identified a
         Preferred Supplier for Travel, unless there are identified reasons and specific
         exceptions referred to and agreed in an approval, that the Preferred Supplier
         should be used for all University staff travel. Claims for reimbursement of
         fares purchased from any supplier other than the Preferred Supplier are not to
         be approved without prior authorisation by the Director of Finance. Even
         where identified and specific circumstances are agreed, any approval shall,
         however, be at good and fair value for the University. Where there is a
         Preferred Supplier the rules, terms and conditions, booking protocols and
         online systems applicable shall be utilised.

2.2      All University international air Travel shall be approved one over one in
         writing by a properly delegated manager in the Faculty or Service Division
         (or budget holder) having the financial responsibility for the Travel. Budget
         holders may approve expenditure on their own domestic air travel. No travel
         commitments or reservations should be made without prior written (email)
         approval, and no travel commitments, reservations or approvals are to be
         made outside of this policy unless in an emergency situation where there are
         issues of personal safety or danger or extraordinary circumstances. Emails
         are "in writing" provided these are retained and accessible to audit.

2.2.1    No staff are to approve their own travel, or Expenses, even if within their
         delegated area(s) or amount(s).

2.2.2    Staff may use a Preferred Supplier for private travel but must not commit the
         University in any way by so doing, and must do so aware of the requirements
         of the Conflict of Interest Policy.

2.3      This policy applies regardless of the source of funding for the expenses, e.g.
         University budget, Head of Department account, research grant, etc.



         For approved conferences, staff may complete their own arrangements
         for conference registration and accommodation requirements, as it is
         common for conference organisers to offer these as a special package.
         However it is prudent to check the accommodation rates through the
      Preferred Supplier as they may be cheaper. Prior approvals and one over
      one are still mandatory. See clause 2.2.


      Cancellations and alterations are to be made through the Preferred
      Supplier wherever practical. This is to ensure a credit is received for the
      unused reservations and any fees.

      If it becomes necessary to cancel a reservation directly with the service
      provider (e.g. hotel or rental car company), staff should obtain a
      cancellation number to avoid the possibility of disputes later.

      No-show charges are not reimbursable, and any charges to the University
      may be claimed back from the person incurring the charge unless in
      extraordinary and genuinely unavoidable circumstances.


      Foreign currency can be obtained from the Preferred Travel Supplier on
      the City Campus. Because only a limited amount of currency is available,
      a few days notice may be needed.

      Foreign currency requirements funded by the University are to be
      reconciled as specified in paragraph 3.14.


      Travel to certain High Risk and Hot Spot Countries requires sign-off from
      a Dean (for faculty staff) or the Registrar (for other staff) and the Risk
      Manager should be informed in all cases. Further information can be
      found on the MFAT site for safe travel (


      All domestic air Travel and international Travel is to be economy class
      unless a higher class of travel is approved by SMT members as per the
      guidelines below or for health reasons.

      In the interests of cost-effectiveness, consideration should be given to
      the following when arranging air Travel:
        Travel at off-peak times
        The use of discounted fares such as Smart Saver fares for outbound
        Travel, and retaining maximum flexibility on return Travel.

      International Travel over 5 hours duration (i.e. scheduled flying time by
      the most direct route) by staff members who are on a very tight schedule
      may travel business class with the prior approval of SMT members.

      Economy class does not include premium economy class or equivalent.

      Personal air points may be used to upgrade a fare.

         Where a staff member of the University is accompanied by a friend or
         family member on official Travel, the University will not pay for any of
         the accompanying person’s Travel Expenses or other incremental costs.
         However, in exceptional circumstances and if it can be demonstrated that
         there is a benefit to the University, the Vice-Chancellor or the Vice
         Chancellor’s delegate may approve Travel Expenses for a person
         accompanying a SMT member.


         Downgrading Travel to provide a personal benefit is not permitted, and
         could be regarded as being fraudulent - see specifically 2.1.4.

         Changing a business class ticket for a lesser cost ticket to enable a
         spouse/ partner to accompany an employee on Travel is not acceptable.


         When University staff are required to be away from their home overnight
         on an approved business trip, the actual cost of reasonable
         accommodation will be paid. This should be by way of a charge-back to
         the University via the Preferred Supplier. Reservations wherever possible
         are to be made through the Preferred Supplier.

         Accommodation when travelling internationally may have to be pre-paid
         by the Preferred Supplier with a charge-back to the University.

         In general, hotel accommodation is to be of the mid or standard range.
         The use of suites or luxury accommodation is not regarded as good and
         fair value and should not be booked or approved.

3.8.1    Private Accommodation
         When University staff choose to stay privately when away on a business
         trip which necessitates overnight accommodation, they may be
         reimbursed at the rate of $80 per night away on business in lieu of
         accommodation and meal costs.

         A receipt will not be required for Reimbursement of this Expense but fair
         evidence of a cost paid for the accommodation may be requested
         consistent with clause 2.1.4.

3.9      MEALS

         The actual and reasonable cost of meals appropriate to the Travel will be
         reimbursed to an employee travelling on approved University business.
         Receipts must be obtained and submitted with the Staff Expense Claim
         Form. Per diems will not be paid for meals.

         The cost of lunch is only reimbursable when travelling outside the greater
         Auckland area or outside your home base if it is outside Auckland.

         See the Reimbursement section 3.15 of this policy for documentary
         requirements for receipts.


3.10.1   Rental Vehicles in New Zealand
         Rental vehicles may be used for Travel where that is the most cost-
         effective means of transport. Prior approval is to be obtained and
         reservations made through the Preferred Supplier.

         In general, vehicles up to 2.0 litres are to be hired, unless:
           There are four or more passengers including the driver
           The amount of luggage or equipment necessitates a larger vehicle.

         If rental cars used on approved University travel are re-fuelled, the cost
         is reimbursable, subject to the requirements of 3.15 being met.

         All charges relating to the return of rental cars must be minimised, e.g.
         vehicles must be returned to the rental company in a presentable
         condition and where possible fully refuelled.

3.10.2   Rental Vehicles Internationally
         In and around cities, rental vehicles up to 2.0 litres are to be hired.

         It is expected that outside cities, Travel by air or train will generally be
         more cost-effective having regard to Travel times.

3.10.3   Insurance on Rental Vehicles
         Rental vehicles hired in New Zealand for approved University business
         are covered under the University's insurance policy. Accordingly the
         rental company's insurance cover is to be declined.

         Rental vehicles hired internationally must be insured in the country of
         hire as the University's insurance covers only the excess up to NZD

3.10.4   Accidental Damage to Rental Vehicles
         For accidents to rental vehicles, see the staff intranet: Insurance

3.10.5   Taxis
         The use of taxis on official University business is permitted when no
         University vehicle is available or as an alternative to a rental vehicle
         when use of a taxi is more economical.

3.10.6   Private Motor Vehicles
         Staff may be reimbursed for authorised and approved use of their private
         motor vehicle when on University business. The use of a private vehicle
         for University purposes will be approved only in circumstances where a
         University pool vehicle is not an efficient option.

         Travelling between home and work will not be reimbursed.

         Approval must be obtained from an approving manager before a private
         motor vehicle is used on University business.

         When using a private motor vehicle on approved University business, the
         shortest route necessary for the purpose of the trip must be claimed for.
         Private motor vehicles used for University business must have a current
         warrant of fitness, registration, and be road worthy.

         Individuals using a private vehicle on University business from time to
         time must ensure the proportion of business use is reasonable and that
         their vehicle is fully insured.

3.10.7   Compensation Rates for Private Motor Vehicles
         Use of private motor vehicles will be compensated at Inland Revenue
         Department prescribed rates except where otherwise stipulated in
         relevant Collective Staff Agreements.

         These rates are compensation for all costs of running a vehicle including
         fuel and insurance. Receipts will not be required for Reimbursement of
         this Expense.


3.11.1   Frequent Flyer Programmes
         Frequent Flyer programmes or other reward schemes are a personal
         Expense and are not reimbursed by the University.

         Staff may retain frequent flyer points for personal use, including
         upgrading an economy class fare to premium economy or business class,
         but the use of such points is not reimbursable.

         No Travel arrangements or itineraries are to be created to the advantage
         of personal frequent flyer point accrual over the requirement to obtain
         the cheapest fare consistent with the objectives of the proposed trip.

3.11.2   Airline Flight Clubs
         Airline flight club membership is a private Expense and will not be
         reimbursed or paid for unless specifically provided for in an individual
         employment agreement. Personal air points may be used to pay Airline
         flight club membership. SMT members may approve Airline flight club
         memberships for frequent travellers (20 or more trips pa).

3.11.3   Airport Parking
         Airport parking fees will be reimbursed for vehicles used on an approved
         business trip. The cheaper alternative of taxi fare or mileage plus airport
         parking fees is to be used.

3.11.4   Excess Baggage
         Excess baggage costs for University-owned property required for a
         business trip are reimbursable.

3.11.5   Laundry
         Reasonable laundry and dry cleaning charges are reimbursable.

3.11.6   Visas and Inoculations
         Visas and inoculations required for business Travel are reimbursable.
         Visas and inoculations obtained for any private Travel undertaken in
         conjunction with business Travel are not reimbursable.
         Passport costs are not reimbursable.

3.11.7   Personal Telephone Calls
         Personal telephone calls of a reasonable level when away on University
         business may be reimbursed at the discretion of an approving manager.

         As a guide, one ten-minute call per day would be regarded as being

3.11.8   Hotel Broadband Costs
         Hotel broadband costs incurred on University business are reimbursable.
         When using a hotel's broadband facilities, staff should be conscious of the
         high charges some hotels impose for the use of the hotel's telephone

3.11.9   Alcohol
         Alcohol when travelling on an approved University business trip is
         reimbursable only when consumed in moderation with dinner.

3.11.10 Gratuities
         Gratuities will not be reimbursed except for countries where there is a
         strong culture of tipping for service.

3.11.11 Per Diems
         Per diems (i.e. daily allowances) will not be paid by the University, unless
         otherwise stated in existing staff collective agreements.


         Expenses of a personal nature are not reimbursable. Any such Expenses
         incurred are to be paid for directly to the service provider.

         The following are examples of Expenses which are not generally
         reimbursable (in addition to those referred to elsewhere in this policy):
           Mini-bar usage
           Fines for traffic and parking violations and towing fees
           Any illegal use of a motor vehicle
           In-room movies or video rentals
           Expenses for Travel companions or family members, including the
           Travel companion content of Travel, accommodation and meals
           Personal Expenses incurred as a result of being away on University
           business, such as baby-sitter fees, lawn care, care of pets (unless
           prior approval has been given by a Dean or Director for exceptional
           Barber or hairdressing services
           Luggage or briefcases, toiletries or clothing
           Other personal costs such as personal postage costs, recreational
           activities, sightseeing, cinema tickets or private Travel while on a
           business trip.


3.13.1   Policy
         Staff are expected to minimise their use of cash for reimbursable
         Expenses by charging Expenses back to the University via the Preferred
         Supplier wherever possible, e.g. air fares, accommodation and rental
         vehicles can all be paid for by this method.

         Out of pocket expenses are to be charged to a University Corporate Card
         (where one has been issued) wherever possible. This is to minimise
         dealing in cash and reconciliations.

         In instances where a temporary travel advance is necessary, this is to be
         applied for on a Temporary Travel Advance Request form.

3.13.2   Approval of Temporary Travel Advances
         Approval of temporary travel advances for business Travel will be on the
         one over one principle.

3.13.3   International Travel Advances
         The amount requested is to correspond with the likely amount of
         Expenses which cannot be charged back to a credit card, taking into
         account the length of the proposed trip and its requirements.

3.13.4   Domestic Travel Advances
         It is expected that a Travel advance for domestic Travel will rarely be
         needed. However in the exceptional circumstances where a temporary
         travel advance may be justified, approval is to be obtained on a one over
         one basis.

3.13.5   Payment Method
         Advances will be paid into the employee's bank account.

3.13.6   Reconciliation and Settlement of Advances
         All cash advances must be reconciled and settled promptly within 14 days
         after the traveller's return to work. Normally this will be via their next
         Staff Expense Claim. Any unused portion of the advance is to be paid
         into a University account by either EFTPOS or credit card and a copy of
         the University receipt is to be attached to the Staff Expense Claim Form.
         Reimbursement will not be offered where no GST receipt is supplied.

         Original receipts must be obtained for all expenditure from the advance
         over $20, and where possible for expenditure under $20 also and
         submitted with the Staff Expense Claim Form.

         If the advance was given in the form of foreign cash, unused cash is to
         be given to the Finance Manager of the staff member's department for
         safekeeping promptly after the staff member returns to work.
         Any foreign currency conversion rates required to settle the advance are
         to be at the rate at which the advance was initially given.

         Please also refer to section 3.14.5.


3.14.1   General Procedures
         Approved Travel and Entertainment Expenses incurred by staff are to be
         claimed for Reimbursement on the Staff Expense Claim Form. This form
         is also to be used to account for and reconcile any temporary cash
         advances staff have received. Staff issued with a Corporate Card are
         expected to comply with these procedures.

         The University reserves the right to reasonably decline Reimbursement of
         Expenses claimed more than 14 days after the traveller's return to work
         and where a reasonable explanation if called for is not supplied.

         Reimbursement will be on the basis of receipts, and a receipt is to be
         obtained and attached to the relevant Staff Expense Claim for all
         individual costs over $20, and where possible for costs under $20 also.

         Individual Expenses are to be itemised on the form, and an original
         receipt for all Expenses claimed is to be attached to the claim.

         Staff Expense Claim forms are to be signed by the person claiming

3.14.2   Receipts Not Required
         Receipts are not required for the Reimbursement of:
           Private vehicle usage. Details of each journey and the distance
           travelled are to be itemised on the Expense claim.
           Staying privately subject to 3.8.1.
           Incidental allowances as agreed in existing staff collective agreements.

3.14.3   Frequency of Expense Claims
         All costs of a business trip are to be on one Expense claim.     All other
         Expenses must be claimed on a monthly basis.

3.14.4   Small Expense Claims
         Wherever possible staff should avoid frequent small Expense claims.
         Minor Expenses under $200 in total can be accumulated and claimed on a
         monthly basis.

3.14.5   Documentary Requirements for Receipts
         Receipts for expenditure in New Zealand must meet IRD requirements for
         tax invoices.

         The practical effect of this is that credit card dockets by themselves are
         not adequate for Reimbursement purposes. The merchant's receipt
         showing what was purchased is to be obtained and attached to the Staff
         Expense Claim Form.
         Where invoices are greater than $50 and are not supported by a GST
         invoice it is reasonable for reimbursement to be declined.

3.14.6   Claims for Entertainment
         Entertainment payments may be subject to FBT, depending on the
         circumstances. Accordingly, all payments which attract FBT must be
         coded to the appropriate FBT accounts in the general ledger. See the
         FBT section on the staff intranet.

         For tax purposes, the name and business relationship, if applicable, and
         the organisation of the person(s) being entertained and a brief comment
         on the nature of the discussion must be recorded on the Expense claim.
         This is an IRD requirement so that the liability for FBT can be determined
         and hence any possibility of penalty tax avoided.

3.14.7   Foreign Currency Conversions
         Foreign currency conversions on Expense claims are to be at the rate at
         which the foreign currency, traveller's cheques or credit card payment
         was purchased or made. That rate will need to be supplied by way of a
         copy of the credit card statement, or receipt for the purchase of the
         traveller's cheques or foreign currency attached to the Staff Expense

3.14.8   Approval of Expense Claims and Corporate Card Reconciliations
         No one is to approve a claim of someone on the same or a higher level,
         and no-one may approve their own Expense claim.

         Expense claims which include entertainment may not be approved by
         anyone who has benefited from the entertainment.

3.14.9   Incomplete or Incorrect Expense Claims
         Incorrect or incomplete Expense claims will be returned to the person
         concerned for correction of the defect prior to Reimbursement being
         made. Examples are missing receipts, inappropriate signatures etc.

3.14.10 Payment of Expense Claims
         Payment will be made via Financial Services to the bank account
         nominated for the claimant's salary.

3.14.11 Coding
         PAC Accountants will review coding of expenditure and amend it where
         necessary to meet tax requirements.


3.15.1   Entertainment is reimbursable when it has the purpose of a business
         discussion, fostering a business relationship, enhancing the reputation of
         the University (e.g. with donors and other stakeholders) or in furtherance
         of the University's goals.
3.15.2   Entertainment will have at least one non-University of Auckland person
         as a guest, and by its nature will be what is reasonable in relation to the
         circumstances of the Entertainment.
3.15.3    Entertainment does not include normal Travel Expenses of staff such as
          meals and beverages where no outside guest of the University is in
          attendance. Staff Entertainment is covered in the Gifts Hospitality and
          Benefits Policy.
3.15.4    The University reserves the right to decline Reimbursement of
          Entertainment costs which it deems to be excessive or not appropriate to
          the circumstances, or not fair and reasonable value.
3.15.5    For all Entertainment paid for by the University, the most senior
          University person in attendance is to pay and claim Reimbursement.
3.15.6    Entertainment costs must be justified on the claimant's Staff Expense
3.15.7    Entertainment costs may be subject to FBT, depending on the
          circumstances.  See the paragraph Claims for Entertainment under
          Reimbursement of Expenses above.
          Please note that FBT will be charged back to the cost centre that
          incurred the tax.

4.        AUDIENCE

All staff of the University of Auckland.


Crown Entities Act
Education Act


If this Policy and the processes under it are breached this may:
             Expose the University to legal and other claims of misuse of funds
             Result in disciplinary proceedings against Staff members.


         Delegations Policy
         Financial Delegations Policy
         Procurement Policy
         Corporate Cards Policy
         Motor Vehicles Policy
         Conflict of Interest Policy
         Staff Expense Claim Form
         Temporary Travel Advance Request
         Travel Purchasing User Guide
         Sensitive Expenditure Policy
         Gifts, Hospitality and Benefits Policies

Prepared by:        Director of Finance
Owned by:           Director of Finance
Approved by:        Vice-Chancellor
                    Director of Administration
Date issued:        17 September 2009
Review Date:        Annually
Next Review Date:

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