I’ll admit it. I resisted for a while.
We had a system for keeping track of reimbursements. We wrote our ministry and medical mileage in a notebook we kept in the glove compartment and I put all our reimbursement receipts in a folder. My husband would then use the folder every few months or so to submit a reimbursement. We’d occasionally miss something that was older than the ninety-day limit.
Then, Mike started using the online reimbursement function on the Staff Web after it came out. A year or so later, he asked if I would submit our reimbursements online. Well, I didn’t want to change what we were doing and thought it would be “one more thing for me to do.” Now, it’s my preferred way to submit reimbursements and I’ve been using it for many years. We rarely go past the ninety-day limit any more. Also, when our reimbursement total reaches just under $500, we simply submit the reimbursement and don’t even need to get a signature.
I’m actually the one who probably knows what needs reimbursing, so it made more sense for me to track our expenses. At first, I would enter our mileage and expenses online soon after they occurred instead of trying to remember everything later. I don’t do that anymore because the date for the online reimbursement shows up as the date I start entering data. I prefer for the date to be closer to the submission date.
So, pull out that folder of receipts and submit a new reimbursement online:
- Log in to the Staff Web
- Click on Staff Services in the left sidebar
- Scroll down to the shortcuts on the left and click on “Reimbursements”
- Click on “New Reimbursement” in the box in the upper left.
- You’ll start in the blue box above “your reimbursement”. This box has two options: “add line” and “enter mileage log.” (The instructions to the left of the “Reimbursement Actions” changes for “add line” and “enter mileage log” and will help you.) Fill in the information for each item and then click the “add” button in the lower right of the blue box to enter each item on your reimbursement. The mileage log allows a maximum of ten trips so you may need more than one log per reimbursement.
- If you’re just adding expenses, click on “save, but not submit” at the bottom of the page on the right. I always click this because Mike does the actual submission when he’s at the office, but if your reimbursement is ready, click on “continue to submit” and follow the instructions.
Edit items any time while working on your reimbursement or if you want to come back later to edit or add more items before you submit it. If you’re coming back to add more to a reimbursement:
- Do steps 1 to 3, above
- You’ll see your reimbursement at the bottom of the Reimbursements page with “stored” next to it. Click on “View details” which takes you to see your reimbursement.
- Click on the “edit this reimbursement” button underneath the reimbursement in order to add more items.
- Continue with steps 5 and 6, above
Use Google Maps to figure out your mileages, especially if you’re adverse to logging miles in a notebook. (This is the only way I do it anymore.) Just put in the beginning and ending street addresses. I also use online toll calculators. (See NOTES for some links.)
I hope you’ll try online reimbursements if you haven’t already. I also have a great spreadsheet which I recommend you use along with your online reimbursement. See Free Reimbursement Spreadsheet and How to Use It.
- If you need help, look for “Questions” at the top of the reimbursement main page. Click on the Financial Policy Manual link or contact someone through their email or 800 number.
- “Reimbursements that total less than $500 and do not require any receipts may be submitted electronically with no other steps involved. For reimbursements that total $500 or more and/or require receipts, the online reimbursement will need to be printed and mailed to the Reimbursements Team with the appropriate receipts and/or approvals.” (quoted from the Staff Services site)
- Here’s toll calculators for central Florida:
- Photo credit: o5com on Flickr.