Travel is an integral part of the University in its mission of education, research and outreach. Connecting with the University’s many constituencies, whether it be within our 500 mile state-wide campus or executing on our national and global initiatives, is vital to our success – as is investigating, learning and sharing worldwide. At the same time, we must be cognizant of the need to wisely use resources and have a system that is easy for our people to use, helps monitor traveler safety, and achieves accountability objectives.
What’s Happening Now
President Bounds called together business and finance personnel from each campus who oversee travel, to identify immediate and longer term strategies for cost-saving. The team, led by senior vice president and NU chief financial officer David Lechner, proposes a combination of travel policy changes, rate reductions and streamlining processes – all looking to tighten oversight and controls while supporting faculty/staff in their work for the university.
The first phase of the changes for the travel implementation team were announced Aug. 2 and identify a way to save the university as much as $550,000 per year: by reducing the mileage reimbursement rate for employees driving their personal vehicle for university business. This rate reflects the actual cost of the university for vehicle transportation.
The team proposes fully utilizing the Concur travel portal for booking travel, and adding a new expense-management module to streamline and automate travel expenses. Full implementation, pending board approval, will not occur until end of FY 2017-18. The team continues to look at policy and process changes for future phases.
Cost Savings and Strategies
We anticipate approximately $630 thousand in cost savings through the following strategies developed by the Travel BRT team. These strategies have been approved by the President and Chancellors. For more detailed information, see the document below.