Business Procedures Manual

Essential business procedural components for University System of Georgia institutions.

21.4 Acquiring Goods and Services Abroad

(Last Modified on February 21, 2019)

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 the DS&S account established for collection of the Program Charge for the study abroad program. A contract should be created with vendors when arranging goods and services abroad and should be reviewed and approved by the institution as stated in Business Procedures Manual section 3.4.1. Payments should be made in accordance with approved contracts. There are, however, situations in which payment for goods and services abroad must be rendered at the time they are acquired. In these situations, institutions may use several methods to make payments while abroad.

Any of the following (or a combination) can be used for purchases and expenses associated with a study abroad program:

  • Bank account in foreign country (BOR Policy Manual section 7.5.1 and Business Procedures Manual section 9.1)
  • Procurement card (P-Card)
    Note: Each campus has submitted a P-card plan to the Office of Planning and Budget and Department of Administrative Services (DOAS) detailing approved use. P-Card holders should review their institution’s individualized P-Card plan to ensure they are in compliance. A P-Card may be used for the following (See Business Procedures Manual section 3 for full explanation):
    • Student food, lodging and travel
    • Entrance fees to educational venues
    • Operating expenses and supplies
    • Fuel for rental vehicles
    • Emergency situations
  • Check request
  • ATM card
  • Stored value card
  • Traveler’s check
  • Cash advance/petty cash advance to an authorized institutional representative (excessive cash advances should be avoided)
  • 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 DOAS encourages faculty and university employees to use a personal credit card to pay for their travel expenses, whenever practical, and then to use travel expense reimbursement procedures. When practical, faculty and university employees should utilize direct billing for airfare, ground transportation, and long-term housing to assist managing expenditures occurred abroad.

Each institution will have the authority to determine the best way to handle payment for 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 in accordance with Business Procedures Manual section 4.8. However, due to the risks and responsibilities associated with petty cash, its use should be limited to those situations in which other payment alternatives are not an option.

Institutions using petty cash must 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.

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