Federal Travel Regulations

» Posted by on Feb 25, 2014 in Electronic Travel Systems, Industry Postings, Payment Methods, Travel Professional Resources, White Papers | 0 comments

Post payment auditing is a service we provide to our customers. These audits are performed using the Federal Travel Regulations (FTR). Our goal is to make sure that the travelers are reimbursed in accordance with the FTR. The Post payment auditing that we perform is on the voucher in the E-Gov Travel Service System and our accounting system. We conduct the audits using a Statistical sampling checklist, which is used on each voucher that is sampled. The amount of audits conducted can vary from month to month. This is determined by the number of vouchers that were paid the previous month.

The vouchers are reviewed using the Statistical Sampling Checklist, which outlines multiple items to ensure the voucher is in compliance with the FTR. The voucher is checked to make sure that required receipts have been provided. This would include ticketed transportation receipts, lodging receipts, and any expense over $75. Many times travelers have forgotten to attach receipts or are not sure exactly which ones need to be attached to the voucher. This causes us to have to request receipts or use sites to obtain a traveler’s information. We use a site called virturallythere.com to obtain airfare receipts.

Transportation receipts that are needed include airfare and train fare. Travelers try to submit itineraries and boarding passes, however, these are not acceptable receipts. The receipts must show the amounts that the traveler was actually charged. The price must be clearly shown and it needs to be an invoice. Lodging receipts must show each night of lodging and have the breakdown of expenses charged. A reservation confirmation is not a valid receipt because the reservation can still be cancelled. Any expenses over $75 require a receipt. Travelers tend to lump there taxi receipts together. If they total more than $75, they have to provide all the receipts. Rental Car receipts also must be provided if they are more the $75. However, some of our customers have stricter policies and receipt a receipt for Rental car no matter how much it is. If the travelers are unable to provide a receipt for any of their expenses that required one, they must provide a full explanation on the travel voucher. However, the inconvenience of obtaining receipts will not be considered as a valid explanation.

There are many more items that we verify to ensure the voucher has been paid in compliance with the FTR. They include, but are not limited to:

• The document being signed and routed properly in the ETS System.
• Was a mode of transportation selected?
• Was lodging and M&IE expenses claimed correctly?
• Was ticketed transportation claimed correctly?
• Were City Pair Fares used? If not, did the traveler provide a justification for a non-contract carrier?

The document has to be signed in order to start the routing process. Our agency makes sure it was routed properly from start the finish. Mode of transportation has to be selected in the ETS system because there is no way to determine how a traveler got from one destination to another without it. If no mode of transportation is selected, the voucher would be written up with an FTR error. Lodging and M&IE expenses have to be entered correctly. Many times travelers forget to reduce their M&IE when meals have been provided. They are also only allowed to claim 3/4 per diem on the first and last days of the trip. The receipts for lodging must match the dates and amounts reimbursed in the ETS System. Ticketed transportation is check to see if the TMC/ETS were used for making reservations. If they were not used, a justification is needed. In addition, if airfare is claimed, a City Pair fare should be used.

The reimbursement in the ETS System is also compared to our accounting system. These two systems should have the same expenses for the voucher being audited. If there is a discrepancy found, it is reported so that a correction can be made.

Once the post payment audits have been completed, any errors found are documented. The errors are then communicated to the traveler and agency contacts for review. The travelers have an allotted time frame in which they can dispute the errors. The agency can approve collections for overpayment or underpayments, as well as, waive collection all together. If collections are approved, travelers are notified of the collection through a billing document email. Agencies also receive quarterly reports that show if these repayments have been resolved. The reports also help to show if there is a need for additional training in certain areas.

By: John Duncan

Disclaimer: The contents of this message are mine personally and do not reflect any position of the Government or my agency.

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