Corporate Card Policy

The Travel and Expense (T&E) Corporate Card is a credit card used by authorized University employees to enable certain types of payments while performing University business. It is a method to pay for travel and business related expenses and must adhere to the University’s Travel and Business expense policies. All T&E Corporate Card charges are centrally paid by the University.

Concur Travel and Expense is the authorized system for all T&E Corporate Card activity substantiation, report submission, receipt retention, and approval.

This policy defines the circumstances under which an employee of the University may apply for and use the T&E Corporate Card. The card may not be used for personal purchases and expenses. An employee may only use the card while employed by the University; once the employee is separated from the University, the card will be cancelled.

The T&E Corporate Card may be used by employees for their travel and business expenses. Air or rail - must be booked via the University’s Business Travel Account (BTA) on file with our Travel Management Company or booked with a personal credit card.

The T&E Corporate Card may not be used to charge air and rail expenses for any other employee or guest. Air and rail expenses for other employees or guests can only be booked by a designated departmental Travel Arranger, and must be booked through the University's Travel Management Company (TMC) or booked with a personal credit card.  

Since our Business Travel Account (BTA) already covers air and rail, the Corporate card should only be used to charge air/rail expenses outside of our Travel Management Company in emergency situations. In such cases, the cardholder must provide a justification for using the T&E Corporate card for air or rail expenses.

Employees are not required to utilize the T&E Corporate Card. They have the option of using a personal credit card for University authorized travel and business related expenses and request reimbursement of those expenses.

Accounts Payable will review T&E Corporate Card statements and transactions for compliance with University policies and may terminate the card at any time for cause (i.e. violation of policy or failure to reconcile card transactions timely).

REASON FOR POLICY

This policy supports the use of the T&E Corporate Card for authorized travel and business related expenses, while ensuring that internal controls are in place to minimize the University’s risk of financial loss. It assures that the University and the employee are in compliance with Internal Revenue Service regulations that define the types of expenses that can be reimbursed. It assures that travel and business expenses charged to sponsored projects conform to the regulations and restrictions placed on the use of the funds by the sponsor, enables the University to protect its reputation and not-for-profit status by avoiding excessive or inappropriate spending and provides departments with the ability to control how their budgets are expended.

 

PRIMARY GUIDANCE TO WHICH THIS POLICY RESPONDS

This policy responds to Accounts Payable and Purchasing policy, as well as to the regulations of the US Internal Revenue Service, the rules established by the agencies and entities that sponsor research at Columbia University and the Federal and State laws that govern not-for-profit organizations.

 

WHO IS GOVERNED BY THIS POLICY

This policy governs the use and administration of the T&E Corporate Card program. Any University employees who participate in this program are governed by this policy. Some University departments have instituted more restrictive guidelines.  In cases where there is a discrepancy between this policy and a department, granting agency or donor policy, the more restrictive policy will apply.

 

WHO SHOULD KNOW THIS POLICY

The card holder should know this policy along with:

  • Senior Executive Officers
  • Deans
  • Senior Business Officers
  • Chairs of Departments, Directors of Institutes and Centers
  • Department Administrators
  • Divisional Administrators with financial responsibility and oversight
  • Program Directors
  • Principal Investigators
  • Faculty
  • Post-doctoral fellows
  • Graduate research assistants
  • Student Officers

 

 

Eligibility for T&E Corporate Card Issuance

University employees are eligible to apply for the T&E Corporate Card. The guidelines for eligibility are as follows:

  • The employee must have access to the Concur Expense Management System in order to reconcile and / or submit charges.
  • The employee plans to travel out of town five to six times or more annually (i.e. every other month) or plans to book non-air/rail travel on behalf of other employees and guests as a departmental Travel Arranger.

 

The School/department of the employee may also authorize the issuance of a card based on their own discretion and has the right to deny an application submitted by the employee. The Credit Card Administration team will review applications and monitor usage to ensure compliance with this eligibility guidance

 

The application process begins with a request for a T&E Corporate Card submitted by the employee via the Financial Systems Security Application (FSSA). The request must be approved by a DPAD (Departmental P-Card Administrator) and Accounts Payable. After receiving approval for the issuance of a T&E Corporate Card, the employee is required to complete a card application and request a monthly spending limit. The default monthly card limit will be $5,000.  A higher or lower monthly limit may be requested by the applicant in increments of $2,500 subject to DPAD approval e.g. a higher limit may be required for a Travel Arranger for booking Group Travel and Meetings. If the amount requested is greater than $15,000, justification and Central Procurement approval will be required.  Temporary limit increases can be requested via the application form. The applicant must also take a training course, including a knowledge assessment before the card is issued.

 

T&E Corporate Card Uses and Restrictions

Approved Uses

The T&E Corporate Card program at Columbia University provides employees with a convenient method of paying for University-approved travel and business related expenses including:

  • Lodging
  • Car rental
  • Ground Transportation (taxi)
  • Travel related meals and incidental expenses
  • Non-travel related food and entertainment expenses
  • Other specified allowable business-related goods and/or services (see appendix A for list)
  • Other employee/student/guest travel and business expenses (justification required)

 

Unallowable uses

  • Air or Rail - must be booked via the University’s Business Travel Account (BTA) on file with our Travel Management Company or booked with a personal credit card.
  • Personal purchases - If an employee accidentally uses the card for personal expenses, the amount charged must be reimbursed to the University when the expense report is submitted.
  • Non-travel related goods purchases, i.e. office supplies, if the cardholder has a P-Card or has access to a P-Card
  • Other specified restricted goods and services (see Appendix A for list)

 

Sales Tax

Cardholders should remind vendors at the time of purchase that according to the tax laws in some states, the University is exempt from sales tax. For a list of states that honor the University’s tax-exempt status please contact the Finance Service Center at 212-854-2122. The University’s tax exempt number is printed on the T&E Corporate Card and Cardholders should keep a copy of the tax-exempt form with them to present to the vendor at the time of purchase. To request a copy of the University’s tax-exempt form, please contact the Service Center at 212-854-2122. If a Cardholder is charged sales tax for a T&E Corporate Card purchase that should be tax-exempt, the Cardholder should contact the vendor directly and request a Credit.

 

Reconciliation of Card Charges

Cardholders must reconcile all T&E Corporate Card charges associated with their profile in the University’s Travel and Expense Management system, with the submission of an expense report or reports.

It is the cardholder and approver’s responsibility to review all transactions for accuracy, appropriate business purpose, accurate reconciliation with invoices/receipts/records, and sign-off on all card transactions as quickly as possible after purchase. It is strongly recommended that this be completed once a week, but must be completed by the monthly hard close  date, except in cases where the trip end date is after the monthly cut-off date.

If any outstanding transaction is not reconciled within ninety (90) days of the trip end date for travel or transaction date for business expenses, the Travel and Expense Management system will not allow submission of additional expense reports until the outstanding transactions are reconciled.

If any outstanding transaction is not reconciled within one hundred twenty (120) days of the trip end date or transaction date for business expenses, the outstanding amount will be reported to Payroll and will be treated as taxable income to the employee.

The T&E Corporate Card team has the ability to reassign transactions to a Senior Business Officer or delegate in such cases where the cardholder is no longer employed or not available to reconcile the expenses.

 

Misuse of the T&E Corporate Card

Accounts Payable reserves the right to suspend or revoke card privileges if the cardholder violates policy - see Appendix B for graduated penalties by infraction type. Fraudulent transactions will be submitted to Internal Audit for further review and may result in disciplinary action for the cardholder.

 

Personal Charges on the T&E Corporate Card

If personal expenses are charged on the T&E Corporate card either intentionally or inadvertently, the card holder has 20 days from the trip end date for travel expenses or 20 days from the transaction date for business expenses to reimburse the University via a personal check crediting natural account #66425. The personal check can either be deposited by the department using their Remote Deposit Capture (RDC) machine (if the department has one), bank mobile applications or directly with the bank at a branch.  Please contact [email protected] for policy, bank account information, and detailed instructions including utilizing Bank of America CashPro mobile application on a cellphone to make check deposits.

Reporting Lost, Stolen, or Compromised Cards

If the T&E Corporate Card is lost, stolen, or compromised, the cardholder must immediately notify the following:

  • The T&E Corporate Card Issuer by calling 1-888-449-2273
  • Their department
  • The T&E Corporate Card staff via the Finance Service Center at 212-854-2122

 

The account will be automatically closed and every effort will be made to have a new account opened within one week after notification. The University is liable for all unauthorized use of the card until the card issuer is notified.

 

Replacement Cards

Please be advised that the address you provided on the Corporate Card application serves as the primary address on your T&E Corporate Card account. This address is noted as your primary billing and shipping address within the banking system. This address will also be used by the bank when sending any replacement and renewal cards.

If you wish to change your address, this can currently be completed by calling 888-449-2273. This number is also noted on the back of your card.

 Please feel free to reach out to our team at [email protected] if you need further assistance.

 

APPENDIX A

The following is a list of allowable and unallowable items for reimbursement. The list is not all inclusive; if there are questions about whether or not it is appropriate to use the T&E Corporate Card for a purchase, please open an incident via the Finance Service Center.  The T&E Corporate Card is intended to be for Travel and Entertainment related business expenses.

Allowable Items

  • Lodging
  • Car rental
  • Ground transportation (e.g. taxi, etc.)
  • Meals/food eaten off campus
  • Food on-campus delivery
  • Minor equipment and supplies purchase $500 and under (for emergency purchases while traveling)
  • Registration for conferences and seminars
  • Subscriptions and memberships
  • Professional memberships and license fees
  • Postage
  • Newspapers, journals
  • Cell phone and pager charges (UwPA preferred)
  • Gifts

The following items are generally allowed on the Corporate Card unless they are charged to a Sponsored Award and the value is 10k or more which requires a PO.

  • Advertising (online)
  • Subscriptions (online)

 

Unallowable items for reimbursement

  • Air or rail - must be booked via the University’s Business Travel Account (BTA) on file with our Travel Management Company or booked with a personal credit card
  • Goods and service requiring governmental licenses or permissions or that are controlled under US export controls
  • Prizes and awards
  • Promotional items with CU Logo, trademark, or branded product not purchased through an approved licensed vendor
  • Maintenance and service agreements
  • On-site equipment repairs
  • Minor equipment purchase over $500
  • Cash advances, cash back on purchases, cash refunds on returns
  • Controlled substances
  • Live animals
  • Radioactive materials and specialty gases
  • Contracted services
  • Honorariums
  • Furniture
  • Leases/rentals
  • Insurance
  • Relocation
  • Charitable contributions
  • Online auction (Ebay/Craigslist)
  • Groupon
  • Courier service requiring HIPAA compliance
  • Cloud hosting, cloud storage, file sharing services
  • Non-UwPA vendor purchases where UwPA required
  • Printing
  • Rental Services

APPENDIX B

In an effort to ensure compliance with all BTA/Corporate Card policies and procedures, the Program Analyst will conduct monthly reviews and audits of all card transactions. This review is designed to ensure compliance, identify non-compliance and misuse, and through progressive corrective measures assist schools and departments with process improvements to improve compliance.

After completing the audit of card transactions, the Program Analyst will notify Cardholders and Departmental P-Card Administrators (DPADs) of any violations that occurred for that month by email. The Program Analyst will work with the department or school to ensure future compliance and will provide additional training if required.

Transactions made with the BTA and Corporate Card will be checked for compliance with the  Policy and violations will be tracked on a 12-month cycle. Depending on the severity of the violation, Accounts Payable may determine to suspend or revoke the BTA or Corporate Card sooner than outlined below.

The Card participant(s) identified in the audit will be required to complete a series of steps to reinstate their BTA/Corporate Card. Below is a description of each step of the reinstatement process. In all cases, the Cardholder is the subject of the corrective action because the Cardholder is ultimately responsible for ensuring that all policies and procedures are being followed in regards to their card transactions. Due to the fact that many Cardholders have more than one Approver or Reconciler, the Program Analyst will work with the DPAD to identify these individuals as needed for the appropriate corrective action. The DPAD also has the discretion to decide that BTA/Corporate Card privileges for any participant should be revoked and may contact the Program Analyst to assist them with next steps.

Areas of Review and Audit

Cardholder/Reconciler Sign-off

Cardholders/Reconcilers must sign-off on all BTA and Corporate Card transactions for the billing cycle by the Hard Close deadline. The Hard Close includes all card transactions with a Statement Billing Date of the 22nd of the month.

Failure to sign-off by the Hard Close will result in the following corrective action except in cases where the trip end or transaction date is after the cutoff date:

Approver Sign-off  

Approvers must sign-off on all BTA and Corporate Card transactions for the billing period by the Hard Close deadline. The Hard Close includes all card transactions with a Statement Billing Date of the 22nd of the month. 

Failure to sign-off by the Hard Close will result in the following corrective action except in cases where the trip end or transaction date is after the cutoff date:

Use of the Corporate Card for a Restricted Purchase 

A restricted purchase is when a Cardholder makes a purchase that is prohibited by policy with their Corporate Card. For a complete listing please review Appendix A. 

Cardholders who make restricted purchases will be subject to the following corrective action:

Use of the Corporate Card for a Personal Purchase 

Cardholders who make personal purchases will be subject to the following corrective action: