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Business and Financial Policies and Procedures

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  • Open Comment Period: November 15 - December 4, 2019

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dyar@illinois.edu Dec 3, 2019 3:21 pm

I am pleased to see changes that would allow us to NOT list the individual attendees via the tool within TEM.  It is very cumbersome.  I am always happy to provide that information, and at one time was able to do it by simply listing names and affiliations in the notes and/or attaching an agenda that listed the same. 

Just to be clear, none of this would impact the per diem calculation, correct?  One person's comment seemed to weigh in on that, so I want to be sure of that when it is time to advise staff of any changes.

yrobert@uic.edu Nov 30, 2019 2:48 pm

Recently, guidelines had become stricter, requiring that someone outside of UIC (neither an employee nor even a student) be present at an event for the expenses related to that event to be reimbursable. This policy was incredibly harmful to students -- for instance, should we really no longer have conversation hours in German, Spanish, French, etc. because they are only intended for UIC students? -- and damaging to the sense of community that exists at UIC between students and faculty. If this proposed revision to the guidelines allows for a broader (and more accurate) definition of "business," recognizing the centrality of students in what we as faculty members do, then I enthusiastically support it.

yrobert@uic.edu Nov 30, 2019 2:47 pm

Recently, guidelines had become stricter, requiring that someone outside of UIC (neither an employee nor even a student) be present at an event for the expenses related to that event to be reimbursable. This policy was incredibly harmful to students -- for instance, should we really no longer have conversation hours in German, Spanish, French, etc. because they are only intended for UIC students? -- and damaging to the sense of community that exists at UIC between students and faculty. If this proposed revision to the guidelines allows for a broader (and more accurate) definition of "business," recognizing the centrality of students in what we as faculty members do, then I enthusiastically support it.

joyb2@illinois.edu Nov 27, 2019 2:01 pm

Our office would appreciate these changes going into effect. We agree with other offices that there would be less burden in entering ERs with these new rules, especially if we no longer have to add each person in as an attendee.

kjwallac@illinois.edu Nov 25, 2019 3:11 pm

I am very glad to see these changes. I am especially glad to see the elimination of attendee names. It is a very tedious process that add unnecessary time to each ER. If names are needed, a list in either uploaded or added as a note should suffice.

There should also be a category for students, or some clarification if they fall under the category of "employee" or 'non-employee" in regards to this policy. Currently, students technically fall under "employees and guests (including students)" but the policy is not applied evenly. 

alma@uic.edu Nov 22, 2019 7:20 am

I'm glad to see that the business meal policy is being reviewed.  While I do agree that providing the attendee information in TEM can be cumbersome, I do think it's necessary to justify the business purpose.   In regards to the attendee categories, I think they can be simplfied and categorized as:  employee, non-employee, student.  Thank you for you effort on this!

alma@uic.edu Nov 22, 2019 7:13 am

I'm glad to see that the business meal portion of the OBFS policy manual is being reviewed.  I actually think it's important to provide the information regarding the attendees that a business meal was purchased for.  While it can be cumbersome, I do think it's necessary to justify the business purpose.  Once you've already added an attendee to your list in TEM you're able to search for it and simply just add it which takes 2 seconds.  I also think the categories for attendees can be limited and my suggestion would be to limit it to:  employee, non-employee, student.  Thank you for your effort on this!

cglenn@uic.edu Nov 21, 2019 2:26 pm

Anything that removes restrictions from student-related activities would be helpful. If a student org is permitted to order food for a meeting or student-focused event and they meet the requirements set by their unit leader and budget, then we should make it easier to justify. The students are the reason that the institution exists and providing resources that keep them engaged, retained, and eventually graduating should be all of the justification that we need. I support eliminating the circumstance- and attendee-specific requirements for business meal expenditures. I also support eliminating the requirement to provide names of attendees. 

murbin2@uic.edu Nov 21, 2019 12:41 pm

Revising the requirement of documenting all attendees for each business meal in the current TEM system is a positive step as this is very time consuming process the way it is currently set up in the system. 

nmoruzzi@uic.edu Nov 21, 2019 12:02 pm

It would be very helpful if we can pay for refreshments for UIC students at student events. My understanding was that rules had been changed so that an outside speaker was required, which undermines support for student-centered UIC events. If this rew revision enables food purchase for student events (program recruitment, student support) that would be good.

benet@uic.edu Nov 20, 2019 11:22 pm

Aside from the cap, the current breakfast reimbursement amount of $5.50 seems unreasonable, as does the $6.50 for lunch. When you attend a conference, you are limited to a cup of coffee only for breakfast and just about the same for lunch. 

sahall@uic.edu Nov 20, 2019 9:56 am

Overall these are definitely moves in positive directions and allow us to run the kinds of programs and events that support the educational and research mission of the university with more ease. I agree that the reporting of individual names on the part of the submitter is burdensome and unnecessarily time-consuming, however I think a "snapshot" of attendance could still be required, ie "approximate number of attendees from UIC or outside, with breakdown of student, employee, non-employee if possible." It would remind event-planners to make every effort to track attendance without it being the business/finance staff who are dinged when their colleagues don't do so.

I think the categories of employee/non-employee are too limiting especially since there are many students who attend events who are some combination of both and no one is ever sure how to categorize them. Can student be added to this phrasing.

I appreciate that the new policy instills and communicates more trust in the units regarding their ability to steward their funds responsibly.

holman1@illinois.edu Nov 18, 2019 1:08 pm

I question the $75 cap and would like more clarification on if this includes tip, appetizers, and/or alcohol.  The administrative burden will definitely lessen with the itemized list of attendees, however I still think names should be provided for justification/allowability. Definitely maintain the 20% gratuity limit.  Unfortunately, we see excessive tips often. The allowable fund types to purchase alcohol recently changed this year but there was never a public announcement.

kcromwel@illinois.edu Nov 18, 2019 12:50 pm

Will self supporting funds no longer be allowed even if part of the registration fee for example is noted as being for the purchase of alcohol? 

alaynaw@illinois.edu Nov 18, 2019 11:52 am

The proposed changes sound like they will make TEM processing much simpler and faster. Thank you! 

khurley3@uic.edu Nov 18, 2019 8:15 am

I think changing the limit to $75 per person per meal is a welcome change.  And also not having to list each individual who is in attendance will take some administrative burden off of the person processing the expense report.

elswoods@uic.edu Nov 18, 2019 6:10 am

These seem like changes that will lessen the administrative burden, which are welcomed!  However, am I reading the policy correctly that the amount allowed for dinner actually goes down now since it was $60 plus the $20 for alcohol in the past?  Also not having a specific limit for alcohol in the meal could promote excessive drinking at business meals which I don't think is the intention of the University.

aber1@uic.edu Nov 15, 2019 3:35 pm

Eliminating the separate categories for attendees and the different limits associated with each group would make it easier to estimate costs for approved business meals.  Also, the reduced administrative burden for entering participant info in the TEM system would be a welcome change.

A few clarifications would be helpful:  (a) Will there still be a 20% limit for gratuities and will tips in excess of this amount paid on a T-Card be subject to deduction of the excess from the cardholder’s wages?  (b) Will there still be guidance on allowable fund types?  (c) In the current policy there is a link to 8.2.1 for meals to be reimbursed from personal funds.  It would be helpful to have that in the proposed 8.1.1, if it is still applicable.

mcharris@uic.edu Nov 15, 2019 3:07 pm
  • Replacing current meal/time-specific spending caps with a cap of $75 per person per meal (YES!!!)
  • Simplifying the required supporting documentation by changing attendee affiliation to either ‘employee or non-employee’ and eliminating the requirement to provide names of attendees (This will help simplify the process.  Glad to see the changes.)

 

kkenne4@uic.edu Nov 15, 2019 2:09 pm

The proposed changes sound as if they will help ease the burden of processing meal reimbursements and are all welcome!

bgottesm@uic.edu Nov 15, 2019 1:17 pm

I am glad to see the meal cap limit has been raised to $75. This is necessary for certain types of business meetings. I also think that the requirement to provide names of attendees was overly cumbersome and this revision will make the workflow process less tedious.

rdf@illinois.edu Nov 15, 2019 12:55 pm
  • There is a typo in here somewhere "Procedure: Purchasing business meals, refreshments, and alcohol for requires units to..."

Thank you for reviewing and updating this policy!

jhckers@illinois.edu Nov 15, 2019 12:45 pm

While I appreciate the simplification intended in your second bullet point - "Eliminating the circumstance- and attendee-specific requirements for business meals expenditures that exist in current policy" - it would be helpful to provide student specific guidance given U.S. Department of Education and IRS requirements for reporting scholarships/grants and prizes/awards, even if only to say something along the lines of, "This policy also applies to students."

jroman8@uic.edu Nov 15, 2019 12:38 pm

I am glad this is being reviewed. I believe the changes proposed are reasonable and would make things more flexible and less cumbersome. One suggestion is to make it more than employee or non employee. There are often business meetings with both employees and non employees; an example is two departments hosting an outside entity. There are also business meetings that sometimes include students as they may need to be informed or their opinion may be valuable in decisions made during business meetings.

cwharris@illinois.edu Nov 15, 2019 12:19 pm

It is a great idea to remove the categories for determining allowability.  Has the restrictions (no alcohol for employee only, max tips, etc) listed under each category also been removed?