Flexibility in Payment Methods — Because We Need Them

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» Posted by on Aug 14, 2014 in Payment Methods | 0 comments

Our government agency processes payments for several customers.  Therefore, it is common for us to receive a telephone call regarding a travel reimbursement.

We can issue reimbursements in four ways: electronic funds transfer (EFT), individually billed accounts (IBA), centrally billed accounts (CBA) and checks.  We also receive funds from travelers when they have been overpaid.  The flexibility is necessary to accommodate different travel situations.

The following scenarios show travelers going on the same trip.  All of the travelers need a flight on Tuesday from Washington, DC to Atlanta, GA for a three day conference.  Each traveler will take a taxi to and from the airport, stay in the same Atlanta hotel and eat the same meals, but their method of reimbursement will be different.

Traveler 1 will start to work at his government agency on Monday.  Since he needs to fly out on Tuesday morning, his agency does not have time to get him an individual government credit card (IBA).  Therefore they charged his airfare and hotel to their CBA.  Traveler 1 will pay for all of his meals and taxi cab expenses.  When Traveler 1 vouchers for his trip, we will reimburse the agency’s CBA and the traveler’s bank account.  Both reimbursements will be made by EFT.

Traveler 2 is a government employee who has been issued a government credit card.  Therefore, his airfare and hotel will be charged to his IBA.  He will pay for some of his meals in cash and charge the rest of his meals and taxi cab to his government credit card.  When Traveler 2 vouchers for his trip, we will reimburse his IBA for his airfare and hotel.  The reimbursement for his meals and taxi cab expenses will be based on how he enters them into the E-Gov Travel System.  For instance, he can have the travel system reimburse him for all of the meals and taxi expenses and then he would be responsible for paying the IBA for the meals and taxi.  He could also change the method of reimbursement on his voucher to have us pay for the specific meals he charged to his IBA and then submit the balance to his bank account.  Both reimbursements will be made by EFT.

Traveler 3 is a government employee.  Due to his personal credit history, he is not eligible to receive an individual government credit card.  His airfare and hotel are charged to the CBA so he doesn’t have any out of pocket expense, but he still needs cash for meals and the taxi to and from the airport.  Traveler 3 can request his agency give him an advance for 80% of the meals and incidental (M&IE) per diem and estimated taxi expenses he has on his authorization.  His agency will send an email to our Travel office requesting we add the advance to Traveler 3′s authorization.  Five days before Traveler 3′s trip, the requested advance will be deposited by EFT into his bank account.  When Traveler 3 returns from his trip and vouchers, he will be reimbursed by EFT for the amount of his M&IE and actual taxi expenses less the amount of the advance he had already received to cover the expenses.

Traveler 4 is not a government employee.  He lives in a foreign country and is in the United States giving speeches.  He does not have a bank account in the United States.  Since his last speech was in Washington, the government agency agreed to pay for his flight from Washington, DC to Georgia to give a presentation at the conference.  The agency will charge the airfare and hotel to their CBA.  Traveler 4 will be responsible for paying his expenses on the trip and will be reimbursed after he signs a paper voucher.  Since his foreign bank is not affiliated with a bank in the United States, we will reimburse him by check for his meals and taxi.  The CBA method of reimbursement will be by EFT and the check will be mailed.

Sometimes travelers forget to update their travel voucher to the amount they actually incur.  This can result in an underpayment or overpayment.  If the traveler needs to be reimbursed for an additional expense after he has voucher, then he can create a supplemental voucher.  Travel will reimburse the additional expense amount according to the method selected in the voucher.  If the traveler over estimated an expense and forgot to update the amount on the voucher, then he can send a check to his agency for the amount of the overpayment.

Why the flexibility in payment methods . . .  because we need them.

By: Dean Ann Cox

“The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect any position of the Government or my agency.”

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