Travel & Expense

Travel & Expense processes and audits expense reports for agency employee travel. The Travel & Expense unit:

  • Provides guidance and training to travelers and their supervisors.
  • Answers questions regarding troubleshooting in SFS, travel policies, guidelines, and reimbursement rates.
  • Audits and approves expense reports.
  • Issues announcements on travel guidelines including rate changes, SFS changes, etc.

How do I contact the BSC Travel Unit to ask a question?

Please email Travel & Expense at OGSTravel.Unit@ogs.ny.gov or contact us by phone at (518) 457-4272.

Travel and Expense FAQs

Airfare and Mass Transit

  • Q.
    What is mass transit?
    A.

    Mass transit is transportation that carries multiple people to destinations on regularly scheduled runs.

    -City trains, subways, buses and ferries are considered mass transit
    -Travel cards may be used if accepted
    -Taxis and car services are not considered mass transit

  • Q.
    The traveler indicates they can get airfare cheaper on-line via expedia.com and other web-based companies. Can the traveler book their flight with one of these companies?
    A.

    The traveler should utilize a state contracted travel agency to book all airfare. The state entities obtain discounts from centralized contracts. On the current contract, there are three exceptions to mandatory use:

    1. An emergency
    2. Non-contract fare saves $200 or more per round-trip ticket
    3. Contract flights would require unnecessary overnight lodging cost.

    When an exception occurs, the Air Travel Services Contract Exception Authorization Form must be completed and approved by the agency‘s Finance Officer then forwarded to the OGS Travel Coordinator at Travelcoordinator@ogs.ny.gov.

    The traveler must also use the state travel card issued in their name to pay for all airfare.

     

Budget Bulletin - B1184

  • Q.
    What is a B1184 approval?
    A.

    A request submitted under Division of Budget Bulletin B1184 which requires all in-state travel expected to cost $500 or more, regardless of business purpose (Attachment B) and all out of state travel, regardless of cost and business purpose (Attachment A), must be pre-approved.

    When using Attachment B, approval of the agency head or their designee is sufficient for in-state travel $500 or more.  When using Attachment A, approval of the Executive Chamber is required for all out-of-state travel, regardless of cost.

  • Q.
    When do I need B1184 approval?
    A.

    B1184 approval is required when:

    -The total estimated cost of a trip for in-state travel will be $500 or more (Attachment B)
    -All out-of-state travel, regardless of cost (Attachment A)

  • Q.
    How does the traveler get a B1184 approval?
    A.

    An agency’s travel liaison or Finance Office requests the B1184 on behalf of the traveler.  The travel liaison or Finance Office will submit the B1184 form (Attachment B) to the head of agency or designee for in-state travel or electronically to DOB (Attachment A) for all out-of state travel to obtain approval.  If travel is approved, a B1184 number/code is issued and the traveler is to include this code in their Expense Report.

  • Q.
    How long will it take to receive the B1184 approval from DOB?
    A.

    When possible, travelers should allow at least six to eight weeks for B1184 approval.

  • Q.
    For high frequency travelers, are multiple B1184 approvals required?
    A.

    If you are a high-frequency traveler, a blanket B1184 or individual approvals are accepted.

  • Q.
    <p>Often there is a major time lag between getting B1184 approval on a blanket basis for standard trips and the trip itself.<br>How does the BSC intend to handle lack of a blanket waiver for a period of time yet necessary agency trips (i.e., program reviews, site visits) must occur and the cost is over $500?</p>
    A.

    The BSC cannot approve an expense report with missing information.  If a report is missing information, it will be returned to the traveler‘s work list to be completed.  Agencies need to plan ahead when requesting B1184 approvals.

Citibank Corporate Credit Card

  • Q.
    If a traveler will be traveling on official state business, how do they obtain a corporate travel card?
    A.

    The new traveler application form is available on the BSC website.

    1. Section I - Employee Information is completed by the employee and forwarded to the Proxy (or Supervisor/Approver if no proxy)
    2. Section II - Completed by Proxy and forwarded to the Supervisor/Approver
    3. Section III - Completed by Supervisor/Approver and forwarded to the Agency Liaison to the BSC
    4. Section IV - Completed by Agency Liaison to the BSC and sent to the BSC via email at BSC.CC.Applications@ogs.ny.gov or mailed to:

    Business Services Center
    Attn: Credit Card Team
    1220 Washington Ave.
    Building 5, Floor 6
    Albany, New York 12226-1900

    Only the Agency Liaison may send the completed application to the BSC.

  • Q.
    How long does it take to receive a travel card?
    A.

    Travel cards are issued within 6 to 12 business days from receipt of application.

    IMPORTANT:The Corporate Travel Card is to be used for official state business only and within established guidelines in order to reduce out-of-pocket expenses when traveling.  The travel card is not to be used for personal business or shared amongst co-workers.  Failure to follow established rules and regulations may result in the suspension of the travel card and possible disciplinary action. 

    For further information, please contact the BSC Credit Card Team at 518- 457-4272.

     

Delinquent Travelers

  • Q.
    What does the BSC do concerning delinquent travelers?
    A.

    The suggested best practice for timely submission of an expense report is within 30 days after a trip.  The BSC will follow up directly with the traveler concerning unreconciled travel card charges via email, with a carbon copy to the traveler‘s supervisor and proxy (if applicable).

  • Q.
    How does the BSC deal with an employee's failure to reconcile the T-Cards against TEs?
    A.

    Each month the BSC will run an outstanding travel card charges report and remind the traveler (and cc their supervisor) that a travel expense report must be completed.  In addition, the BSC will provide the agency‘s BSC liaison with a monthly listing of all travelers with unreconciled credit card charges more than 30 days old.

Expense Reports

  • Q.
    What is the travel expense process?
    A.

    Employee follows OSC/agency rules for travel authorization (including B1184 approval, if required)

    ·         Employee creates travel expense report in SFS

    ·         Agency supervisor reviews and approves expense report, or returns for further information

    ·         Agency Travel Unit and/or Budget Approver reviews expense line coding as appropriate and approves or denies expense report

    ·         Approved expense report becomes available on the BSC travel work list

    ·         The expense report is audited by the BSC

    ·         If approved, BSC submits the expense report to OSC for audit and disbursement

    ·         If denied, the expense report is returned to the employee and an email is sent to the traveler and/or supervisor (and proxy, as appropriate)

     

  • Q.
    Will a travel expense be audited by the Travel Unit after a supervisor approves and before it goes to the BSC?
    A.

    BSC auditors (Approver 2’s) perform the final audit of expense reports.  However the agency’s Travel Unit role will still need to be mapped at the agency level in order for the expense report to advance. While a complete audit is not necessary, if an error is detect by this approver it may benefit the traveler to deny the report for editing to reduce any delays with reimbursement.  (The BSC suggests that agencies map the Travel Unit role to the same employee(s) that hold a Budget Approver role, effectively merging the two into one approval). 

  • Q.
    How does the traveler create an expense report?
    A.
    • Note:  for full details see the Traveler SFS Overview Creating Expense Reports (Self-Serve) on the BSC website at:

    https://bsc.ogs.ny.gov/sites/default/files/Taveler_SFS_Overview_Creating_ER.pdf

    To create an expense report:

    • Log into SFS at:  https://fin.sfs.ny.gov/
    • Enter your user ID and password
    • Check the SFS Online Terms of Service (do not check the Enable box)
    • Click on Sign in
    • Click on Employee Self-Service
    • Click on Travel and Expenses
    • Click on Expense Reports
    • Click on Create/Modify
  • Q.
    How do you save an unfinished expense report?
    A.

    Click the "Save for Later" tab on the right top section in the report.

  • Q.
    How does the traveler get back into an expense report to edit the report?
    A.

    To edit an expense report in SFS:

    -Click on Main Menu
    -Click on Employee Self Service
    -Click on Travel and Expenses
    -Click on Expense Reports
    -Click on Create/Modify

    -Click on Find and Existing Value

    -Enter the Report ID or traveler’s last name, last name, first name w/no spaces (if the proxy) then click on Search

  • Q.
    Can a proxy enter an expense report on behalf of a traveler?
    A.

    Yes.  However, as the traveler must verify the contents of the report being submitted are true, accurate, and in accordance with established guidelines, they should submit their own expense reports.  If the traveler is unable to submit the ER then the proxy may do so only after attaching a completed and traveler signed an AC 132-S to the ER.

  • Q.
    How does the traveler set up a proxy?
    A.

    If a traveler needs to set up a proxy, they should contact their agency‘s Employee Data Administrator (EDA).

  • Q.
    How does the traveler know who the Employee Data Administrator (EDA) is?
    A.

    The traveler should contact their Agency‘s Finance Office or Agency Liaison to the BSC.

  • Q.
    The traveler is trying to create an expense report but their travel card charges are not showing up in My Wallet.
    A.

    When charges are made with the travel card, the vendor has to submit the charges to Citibank.  Citibank then transfers the charges to SFS.  SFS will then download them into My Wallet.  It may take four to five business days, depending on the vendor, for the charges to show in My Wallet.  If charges are not in My Wallet a week after a trip, contact the BSC Credit Card Team  at (518) 457-4272 to verify if the traveler‘s travel card information is role-mapped properly in SFS.

  • Q.
    Does the traveler need to itemize their hotel bill if it contains other charges?
    A.

    Yes, the bill would need to be itemized according to expense type. For example, if a hotel bill contains room service charges, these charges would need to be itemized as "return to state" charges.  Remember, only hotel bills are itemized; all other types of receipts such as rentals must be split.  For full details on how to itemize or split receipts, please see the BSC Traveler SFS Overview Creating Expense Reports (Self-Serve) at: https://bsc.ogs.ny.gov/sites/default/files/Traveler_SFS_Overview_Creating_ER.pdf

     

  • Q.
    Does the traveler need to split the vehicle rental invoice if it contains other charges?
    A.

    Yes.  Charges are to be split according to expense type (i.e. fuel would need to be recorded as "fuel for travel").

  • Q.
    After pulling My Wallet charges into the expense report, the report summary shows a balance owed to the state. Why?
    A.

    There may be a few reasons why a balance owed to state occurs: 1) Certain expenses, such as meals ("return to state charges"), need to be offset with an actual expense (per-diem meal) even though the travel card was used; 2) An expense incurred is non-reimbursable by the state; or 3) The traveler spent over their allotted per-diem and owes the state money.  If a balance is due to the state, the traveler should contact the BSC Travel Unit for further instruction.

  • Q.
    How does the traveler attach receipts to an expense report?
    A.

    The traveler electronically links their receipt to the report by using the attachment feature in SFS.  Click on the "attachment" link (top right of the report) and upload the file using the "browser" button.

  • Q.
    Where will travel expense back-ups be retained for post audit and inquiries from OSC or other authorities?
    A.

    It is recommended that the traveler retain expense report back up in case of an audit.

  • Q.
    How does the traveler check on the status of their expense report?
    A.

    To check the status of an expense report:

    •  Click on Main Menu
      -Click on Employee Self Service
      -Click on Travel and Expenses
      -Click on Expense Reports
      -Click on “View".  From here the traveler can monitor the status of their reports.
    • Supervisors/approvers should regularly monitor their work lists for incoming reports.
  • Q.
    The traveler indicates their expense report is not in the supervisor‘s work list. Why?
    A.

    Possible reasons:

    • The traveler may not have actually submitted their expense report and it is still in their queue.
    • The traveler may not be role-mapped to the correct supervisor. Contact your agency‘s Employee Data Administrator (EDA).
    • The supervisor may not be role-mapped properly in SFS. Contact your agency‘s Agency Security Administrator (ASA).
  • Q.
    The traveler noticed a mistake after they submitted their expense report. Can they make a change?
    A.

    Yes, however an expense report (ER) can only be modified once the report is back in the traveler's queue.  The traveler needs to check in Employee T&E Center under "expense report" "View" status to see exactly who has the report (either HR supervisor, Business Aapprover 1 or Business Approver 2/BSC).  If the HR supervisor still has the ER the traveler can click on “withdraw”.  However, if another party/approver has the report they have to notify that party to deny the report back to the traveler for the necessary modifications.

  • Q.
    With SFS, will the traveler receive a check?
    A.

    Travel reimbursements will mirror your paycheck.  If the traveler has direct deposit, their travel reimbursement will be deposited in the same account where the balance of their check goes.  If the traveler receives a paycheck, the traveler will receive a travel check.

  • Q.
    I lost my travel reimbursement check. What should I do?
    A.

    Contact the BSC Travel Unit and provide them with your payment information so a lost check application can be submitted.

  • Q.
    Where do I find my payment history information?
    A.

    In SFS under Employee Self Service:

    • Travel and Expenses
    • Review Payments
    • Enter correct information and click on Search
  • Q.
    Does the supervisor or approver get notification that a report has been submitted to their worklist?
    A.

    No, there are no electronic notification options currently in SFS.

  • Q.
    How does a supervisor or approver access their worklist?
    A.

    For full details, please refer to the Travel Supervisor for SFS EE1 (Self-Serve) at: https://bsc.ogs.ny.gov/content/travel-expense

    To access a worklist; once in SFS:

    • Click on Main Menu
    • Click on Manager Self Service
    • Click on Travel and Expense Center
    • Click on Approvals
    • Click on Approve Transactions
    • Select the preferred tab; either expense reports or travel authorizations
  • Q.
    How does a supervisor approve a report?
    A.

    The process to approve a report:

    • Ensure all information is correct and completely filled out in the expense report
    • Review any error warnings (yield signs)
    • Ensure all required documentation and receipts are attached
    • Once report is OK to process, click on the "Approve" tab
  • Q.
    If a supervisor is trying to approve a report and is getting a budget check error or budget status not valid, what does this mean and what steps should be taken next?
    A.

    Budget check in SFS runs approximately every two hours on the hour beginning at 8 AM.   The report may not have gone through a valid Budget Check cycle.

    Next steps:

    • The accounting default codes entered in the report may be incorrect and need to be changed by either the employee or budget approver.  Check with your Agency Budget Office/Unit for guidance.
    • Check the accounting defaults.  Verify all mandatory fields have been entered (department, program, fund, account, and budget reference).  If mandatory fields were properly entered and the account defaults were properly entered, the traveler should check with their agency Finance Office for further solutions.  If mandatory fields were not complete, the supervisor should deny the report back to the traveler for the proper fields to be completed.
  • Q.
    How does a supervisor return a report for corrections or editing?
    A.

    To return a report for alteration:

    • Enter the reason why the report is being returned in the Comments box under Action History and click "Deny".  This will send the report back to the traveler‘s queue.

    Remember:

    • Approve – sends the report to the next SFS approval role for the next step in processing
    • Deny – to modify, sends the report back to the traveler for modifications
    • Reject – deactivates the report and it is returned to the traveler.  The report cannot be edited or modified and when necessary, may need to be re-created.
  • Q.
    What training mechanisms are available for travel topics?
    A.

    The BSC has traveler and supervisor self-serve training materials at: https://bsc.ogs.ny.gov/content/travel-expense

  • Q.
    Is travel insurance an allowable expense?
    A.

    The travel card provides full insurance coverage when renting a vehicle.

    If the travel card is not used or additional insurance is required, travelers should check with their agency’s travel coordinator or finance office for the reimbursement policy on this expense.

    The NYS Contract for purchasing airfare includes cancellation insurance.

    Train insurance, i.e. AMTRAK $3.50, should not be purchased; please follow the guidelines for train purchases and cancellations at:  http://www.ogs.ny.gov/BU/SS/Trav/Amtrak.asp or refer to the AMTRAK section listed in BSC announcement “Travel Updates Revised, March 10, 2015” at:   https://bsc.ogs.ny.gov/announcements .

  • Q.
    Is the rental of a Global Positioning System (GPS) an allowable expense?
    A.

    Yes, as long as it’s an approved business expense; management approval is sufficient.

  • Q.
    Is Plate Pass acceptable when renting a vehicle?
    A.

    Yes, in certain circumstances. There are certain roads that do not accept cash payment in New York City. Agencies should still be ensuring that when Plate Pass is used, the expenses are in the best interest of the State. Travelers should not opt to purchase Plate Pass in northern and western areas within NYS due to additional fees incurred with the cost of the rental.  When using Plate Pass outside of NYC, travelers are to include a travelers are to include a justification in the description area in the expense report.

  • Q.
    What receipts are required for reimbursement?
    A.

    Most receipts are now required for reimbursement. The full breakdown on receipt requirements can be found in the OSC Travel Manual at: https://osc.state.ny.us/agencies/travel/manual.pdf and in the BSC Travel and Reference guides at: https://bsc.ogs.ny.gov/content/travel-expense.

  • Q.
    When a traveler is in travel status and for business reasons the trip requires a weekend stay, does the trip need the approval of the agency's Finance Office for the weekend allowance or is management approval sufficient?
    A.

    Management approval is sufficient in order for an employee to be eligible for the weekend allowance reimbursement.

  • Q.
    Where can I find information on moving expenses?
    A.

    For full details and required information including maximum rates allowed, refer to Guide to Financial Operations XIII.8 on the OSC website at: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/agencies/guide/MyWebHelp/ .

General Travel & Expense Questions

  • Q.
    During the end of the federal fiscal year we usually have a time when we are waiting for the new federal funds and we need to change coding. Does the agency notify travelers not to process travel expense reports or will the BSC?
    A.

    Both. The BSC website will contain important announcements and deadlines for agencies and travelers. The BSC website is located at: https://bsc.ogs.ny.gov/. Also, the BSC sends agency liaisons notifications of any important issues to forward to their travelers.

  • Q.
    Where can I find general information on the State's Travel Policy?
    A.

Lodging

  • Q.
    Can the traveler exceed the government rate for lodging without prior approval by the agency?
    A.

    No, If the traveler needs to exceed the government rate they need prior approval from their agency‘s Finance office.  Pre-Approval and justification would consist of the following and must be attached to expense reports:

    • Agencies using TAs in SFS should submit a TA to obtain pre-approval prior to travelling
    • Written permission from the traveler’s Finance office to exceed the rate and why the traveler needed to exceed the state rate
    • Written or email confirmation when over the maximum rate lodging is booked through one of the state contracted travel agencies
  • Q.
    Do the state's contracted travel agents only book flights?
    A.

    No, they are full service travel agents.  In addition to booking airfare, they make AMTRAK/train reservations, charging a minimal agent fee.  State contracted travel agents can assist travelers with any other reservations associated with a trip including lodging and car rentals at no additional costs to the state.  They can assist travelers having difficulty finding lodging within the state rate or closest to the max rate.

  • Q.
    Is the traveler required to pay New York State Sales Tax fees when lodging?
    A.

    No, the traveler should not pay sales tax fees when lodging in New York State.  The traveler must submit an Exemption Certificate (ST-129) at time of check-in; the ST-129 can be found at: https://www.tax.ny.gov/forms/.

  • Q.
    If the traveler did not submit the ST-129 at the time of check-in and was charged sales tax fees, what should they do?
    A.

    The traveler must contact the hotel management and obtain a credit.  The traveler should scan or fax a copy of the ST-129 to the hotel so the tax fees are credited to their hotel bill and travel card account.  The traveler is not to submit an expense report until all sales tax fees credits have been obtained and appear in their SFS My Wallet account.  A revised lodging receipt reflecting the credit should also be obtained and attached to the expense report.

Meals and Eligibility

  • Q.
    When is the traveler eligible for meals?
    A.

    The traveler must be in official travel status (35 miles or more from both home and official station) and meet time eligibility requirements.

    Note:

    • For day trip meals and overnight extra meals, the traveler must note the time eligibility requirements in the details section in the expense report.
    • When in overnight travel status and eligible for per-diem overnight meals, the amount of the meal per-diem is based on where the traveler lodged (expected to lodge in or around the county of assignment).
  • Q.
    Can the traveler (in Official Travel Status) earn both reimbursement for meals and overtime meal allowances?
    A.

    No, the traveler is eligible to claim one or the other, not both.

  • Q.
    Where do the meal rates come from?
    A.

    The GSA determines and sets the meal per-diem allowances.  NYS follows the rates set by the Federal Government.  To view the rates, go to: http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877.

     

  • Q.
    Is lunch reimbursable?
    A.

    No, only breakfast and dinner allowances are reimbursable.  Even though the Federal Government reimburses lunch to their employees, NYS does not.  The NYS meal per-diem allowance is the same as the federal government allowance but split 20% for breakfast and 80% for dinner.

Official Travel Status

  • Q.
    When is a traveler in Official Travel Status?
    A.

    A traveler must be 35 miles or more from both their home and their official work station.  A single trip (regardless if multiple days and several destinations assigned) starts once a traveler departs their home or official station and ends when they return back to their home or official station.

  • Q.
    Can the traveler claim any travel expenses between their home and official station or at their official station?
    A.

    No, travel between home and official station is considered commuting by the IRS and not reimbursable.  No expenses, such as parking, will be reimbursed at one‘s official station.

Reimbursements

  • Q.
    How does an employee get reimbursed for an expense on behalf of the agency?
    A.

    The employee fills out an expense report in SFS and attaches the receipt (and agency required documents).  The expense report is approved at the agency level and is processed by the BSC.

  • Q.
    Are garnishment reimbursements through travel expenses processed by the BSC?
    A.

    No, the BSC does not process these types of travel expense reports.

Rental Cars, Personal Vehicles and Trip Calculator

  • Q.
    When may a traveler rent a car?
    A.

    A traveler may rent a car only for official state business.  A car may be rented when a state car or mass transit is not available or reasonable for the trip taken.  For rental vehicle frequently asked questions visit:  http://ogs.ny.gov/purchase/snt/awardnotes/7200122273FAQ.pdf .

  • Q.
    Can a traveler use any rental agency?
    A.

    No, travelers are to use the rental agencies currently under NYS contract.  They are Enterprise/National and Hertz.  More information on vehicle rental contracts can be found on the OGS NYS Procurement website at: http://ogs.ny.gov/purchase/snt/awardnotes/7200122273can.HTM.

  • Q.
    If a traveler does not have a State Corporate Travel Card, can they use their own personal credit card to rent a vehicle?
    A.

    Yes, if they do not have a State Corporate Travel Card they may use a personal credit card and submit for reimbursement.  Travelers should still rent from a statewide contractor and present their NYS Identification badge.  It is recommended to carry an AC 946 tax exemption form in the event the agency will not exempt taxes for personal fund payments.  This form can be found on the OSC website at: http://osc.state.ny.us/agencies/forms/ac946_f.pdf 

     

  • Q.
    If a traveler does not have a travel card but a co-worker does, can the co-worker rent a car for another employee?
    A.

    No, travel cards are not to be shared for any expenses, especially vehicle rentals due to reporting and accident and insurance liabilities.

  • Q.
    The traveler rents a vehicle when traveling on state business. Does the traveler need to attach a trip calculator?
    A.

    No, a trip calculator must only be attached when utilizing your personal vehicle for mileage claims of 100 miles or more per trip.

  • Q.
    Can the traveler use their personal vehicle if the cost of the rental is less expensive?
    A.

    Yes, the traveler can opt to use their personal vehicle.  However, if the traveler uses their personal vehicle and it would have been more economical to rent a vehicle, they will be reimbursed travel expenses at the cost of a rented compact vehicle.

     

  • Q.
    Can the traveler rent a car if use of their personal vehicle would be less expensive?
    A.

    Yes, the traveler may rent a car even if using their personal vehicle is less expensive.

  • Q.
    What is the trip calculator?
    A.

    The trip calculator is a tool used to determine the most efficient mode of travel.  It determines whether it is more economical to rent a vehicle or claim your personal car mileage.  The trip calculator can be found at: http://ogs.ny.gov/BU/SS/Trav/Calculators.asp .

  • Q.
    When a traveler is in overnight travel status and travels several days in a row and using their personal vehicle, should they use the full travel period in the trip calculator equation to determine their PCM reimbursement?
    A.

    Yes, when completing the trip calculator, use the total travel period to determine your PCM reimbursement.

Statewide Financial System (SFS)

  • Q.
    If the traveler forgets their password, who do they contact?
    A.

    If the traveler has set up Forgotten Password Help, they can have a new password e-mailed to them.  They go to the SFS home page at http://www.sfs.ny.gov/ and click on the blue Agency Portal Login button.  From the password login screen, they click on the "I forgot my password" link.  If they need further assistance, they should reach out to their agency‘s Agency Security Administrator (ASA).

  • Q.
    How do I find the Agency Security Administrator (ASA) for my agency?
    A.

    Contact your agency‘s Finance Office or Agency Liaison to the BSC.

  • Q.
    What if SFS access is denied?
    A.

    If the traveler cannot access SFS at all, they may not be properly role-mapped within SFS and/or have a SFS account established.  They should contact their agency‘s ASA. If the traveler cannot access travel reports, they may be selecting the wrong SFS menu option. The traveler needs to enter travel and expenses via the Employee Self Service Center under the Search Menu and not through Travel and Expenses. For further instructions, see Expense Reports section.

  • Q.
    How does a supervisor open a report to review?
    A.

    Click on either the Description or the Transaction ID link in the worklist.

  • Q.
    How does the traveler access SFS?
    A.

    The SFS website is http://www.sfs.ny.gov/ and then select Agency Portal Login.

Travel Authorization

  • Q.
    What is travel pre-approval?
    A.

    Travel that must be pre-approved prior to making travel arrangements.  All travel must be approved by a supervisor or authorized agency official.  For situations such as trips that cost $500 or more, additional approvals must be obtained.  These methods of travel pre-approval are at the discretion of each individual agency‘s Finance Office.

  • Q.
    What is a Travel Authorization (TA)?
    A.

    The TA is a Statewide Financial System (SFS) document submitted electronically and used to obtain agency/Finance Office pre-approval for future travel.  Use of the TA option in SFS is at the discretion of each individual agency.  Not all agencies use the SFS electronic form for travel pre-approval.  For verification of the agency method of travel pre-approval, travelers should check with their agency Finance Office.

  • Q.
    When is pre-travel authorization mandatory?
    A.

    While the BSC is not involved in the approval process with existing state directives/policies, BSC staff will expect some type of authorization (TA or agency specific Finance Office approval) to be attached to any expense report that includes:

    • Travel to a conference or seminar
    • Travel expenses totaling $500 and over
    • Over the maximum rates for lodging
    • All out-of-state travel regardless of cost
    • Agency specific waivers that differ from OSC and/or established guidelines
  • Q.
    As the BSC will not be handling Travel Authorizations, how does the BSC ensure travel expense reports are appropriately completed?
    A.

    The BSC does not review or approve travel authorizations.  However, when auditing expense reports the BSC will ensure that travel follows the rules and regulations established by OSC and the traveler's agency.

  • Q.
    How does a traveler submit a TA request?
    A.

    TA requests are submitted electronically in SFS through Employee Self Service; Employee T&E Center; Travel Authorization. Once the TA is accurately entered into the system, it is submitted electronically and will go through multiple levels of approval.

    OR

    Some agencies may use interagency memorandum, email notifications, separate documentation, etc. Travel pre-approval procedures are at the discretion of each individual agency and their Finance Office. Any approval documentation is to be attached to the expense report upon submission.

  • Q.
    If the traveler is called out due to an emergency situation by their supervisor or agency official, and they must leave immediately without time to obtain pre-approval documentation, what do they do?
    A.

    Emergency travel situations and how they are handled is up to the discretion of each individual agency.  The traveler should contact their agency‘s Finance Office.  When the traveler returns and submits an expense report, agencies may require separate documentation detailing the emergency that must be electronically attached to the expense report in SFS.  Agencies may want travelers to prepare an Emergency expense report that mirrors the approval flow of an electronic TA in SFS.  Travelers are to be reminded that for an emergency situation the cost of travel would not be known prior to travel.  The method of travel should be in best interest of the state and the most economical method that does not adversely impact the ability to properly respond to the emergency.  After travel is completed and if travel costs are $500 or more, the B1184 approval must be obtained from the Division of the Budget (DOB) before an expense report is submitted.

  • Q.
    What is the procedure if the traveler‘s supervisor is on vacation and the traveler needs a TA approved?
    A.

    When a supervisor or manager is going to be out for a period of time, it is suggested they set an Alternate User electronically in the SFS system. They should contact their agency EDA to initially set up an alternate.  Once initiated, the supervisor can go into "My System Profile" and edit the dates for future absences.  When a supervisor has failed to set an alternate user, the BSC Travel Unit can arrange for a temporary re-direction of a TA.  The request must come from a Division Director or an authorized Agency Liaison to the BSC.  The request must include the name of the person the TA will need to be redirected to and the time frame that TA‘s will continue to go to the alternate designee.

  • Q.
    How long will it take for the traveler‘s TA to be approved?
    A.

    Depending if B1184 approval is required, travelers should allow up to at least eight (8) weeks for the full approval process.

  • Q.
    How will the traveler know when their TA is approved?
    A.

    The traveler should monitor the status of their TA in SFS under Employee Self Service; Employee T&E Center; Travel Authorization; then View.  If a TA stalls in workflow, the traveler will be able to locate the TA and contact the approver to take action.

  • Q.
    Blanket Waivers – related to Travel Authorizations: Will blanket waivers for certain staff be permitted? For example, Hearing Officers who regularly travel to NYC for court hearings and have travel expenses that amount to more than $500. Can an agency blanket waiver be put in place whereby a Travel Authorization is not required for Hearing Officers whose in-state travel exceeds $500?
    A.

    Blanket authorizations are allowable but they must be attached to each relevant expense report (one report per overnight trip).