21.4 Acquiring Goods and Services Abroad
To the maximum extent possible, arrangements for goods and services needed while abroad should be paid directly to the vendor from the General fund account and/or Agency account established for the study abroad program. There are, however, situations where payment for goods and services abroad must be rendered at the time they are acquired. In these situations, institutions may utilize several methods to make payments while abroad.
Any of the following (or a combination of) can be used for purchases and expenses associated with a studies abroad program:
- Corporate card
Bank account in foreign country
Note: Please refer to Section 9.1, Banking, for the appropriate process.
Procurement card (PCard)
Note: The PCard may be used for the following:
- Student food, lodging and travel (Agency accounts)
- Entrance fees to educational venues (Agency accounts)
- Operating Expenses and Supplies (Agency accounts)
- Fuel for rental vehicles (Agency accounts)
- Emergency situations
- Check request
- ATM card
- Stored value card
- Traveler’s check
- Cash advance/petty cash advance to an authorized institutional representative
- Direct payment by an authorized institutional representative from personal funds, with a reimbursement request to follow
Study abroad programs should comply with all applicable BOR and institution policies regarding procurement and use of these payment methods.
The State Accounting Office and the Department of Administrative Services encourage faculty and university employees to use a personal credit card to pay for their travel expenses, whenever practical, and then to utilize travel expense reimbursement procedures.
Each institution will have the authority to determine the best way to handle payment of purchases and expenses for its study abroad programs. A petty cash fund may be established to pay for goods/services while in a foreign country. However, due to the risks and responsibilities associated with petty cash, its use should be limited to those situations where other payment alternatives are not an option.
Institutions using petty cash will need to have the following in place:
- Petty cash application and approval process
- Procedures for opening a petty cash bank account
- Reconciliation guidelines
- Closeout guidelines
- Management, record-keeping, and reimbursement procedures
Many foreign countries offer refunds of sales taxes, often called value-added taxes or VAT, for purchases of goods and services associated with study abroad programs. Institutions should actively pursue these options, in order to reduce program costs to participating students.