FAQs and Tips

DISCLAIMER:  Training material, information, and policies provided by the SSC are meant for all users across the entire VCCS.  This content is not intended to address every scenario or institution-specific policies and procedures.  If you have institution-specific questions or concerns, please refer to your institution approvers or business office personnel.

FAQs

Chrome River Delegates

Chrome River offers two types of delegation to allow users to create and/or approve reports for each other.

DELEGATE: Create (edit and submit) reports for another expense owner and access his or her Settings menu, Home screen and Inquiry Reports.  This type of delegate will receive copies of any email notifications regarding pre-approval report approvals, and returns, or adjustments of reports created for the expense owner.  However, this type of delegate will not be able to approve reports that are routed to the expense owner.

APPROVAL DELEGATE: Temporarily approve/return reports on the behalf of another approver.  This type of delegation acts as a vacation rule for those approvers who return/approve reports for others (either as an immediate supervisor, budget owner, agency head, etc.).

For instructions and information, please refer to the Chrome River Help page and/or Managing Chrome River Delegate Settings PPT instructional guide located on the SSC T&E Public Site.

 


Consecutive / Multi-city Travel Meals per Diem Locations

Determining the applicable location for Meals per Diem expenses during consecutive / multi-city travel events.

  • Meals per Diem rates are determined based on the physical lodging location
  • Meals per Diem location selection is also based on where the night was spent

 
Per CAPP Topic 20335, page 20, For trips involving multiple travel destinations, base the reduction rates in effect for where the night was spent as follows:

  • Departure Day: Where you will spend the night
  • Return Day: Where you spent the night before returning to home base

Interpretation:

It has been interpreted that if departing from base point (or Hotel A), select the physical lodging location for the hotel (Hotel A) you will be spending the night at within the Meals Per Diem line item(s).

 

If departing last hotel (Hotel B) and returning to base point, select the physical lodging location for hotel (Hotel B) you spent the night before returning to your base point. 

 

Example:

Scenario –

Jane Doe is traveling from 12/03/2018 – 12/07/2018, and will be staying in Hyatt Place Arboretum Hotel (Chesterfield County, VA) from 12/03 – 12/05.  Then Jane Doe will be staying at the Hotel Roanoke (Roanoke City, VA) from 12/05 – 12/07, returning home on 12/07.

 

  • 12/03 Meals Per Diem Location = Chesterfield County, VA (staying at Hyatt Place on 12/03)
  • 12/04 Meals Per Diem Location = Chesterfield County, VA (staying at Hyatt Place on 12/04)
  • 12/05 Meals Per Diem Location = Roanoke City, VA (staying at Hotel Roanoke on 12/05)
  • 12/06 Meals Per Diem Location = Roanoke City, VA (staying at Hotel Roanoke on 12/06)
  • 12/07 Meals Per Diem Location = Roanoke City, VA (stayed at Hotel Roanoke on 12/06, returning to home base on 12/07)

 


Department Code and Budget Owner Requests

Department codes that are available in Chrome River are considered to be valid and “Travel Eligible”.  Expenses must be allocated to a valid and travel eligible department code.

Some agencies have elected to incorporate Budget Owner approval requirements within Chrome River approval workflows. Budget Owners are assigned to specific Department Codes.

Requirements and Process for adding/updating Department Codes (and Budget Owners) in Chrome River:

  1. Requestor must provide the department code (XXXXXX-XX), description, and budget owner name (or EMPLID)*, if required, and approval from agency business office,
  2. SSC T&E Team will review and validate request,
  3. SSC Help Center sends request to Jami Nosar and CC Greg Lehman at the System Office via Salesforce.
  4. SSC T&E will validate whether the department code (or budget owner) uploaded successfully into Chrome River**,
  5. SSC Help Center will notify requestor when process is complete.

*Agencies requiring budget owners:

  • BRCC
  • CVCC
  • DCC
  • JSRCC
  • NVCC
  • PHCC
  • PVCC
  • RCC
  • SWCC
  • TCC
  • TNCC
  • VHCC
  • VWCC
  • WCC

**Generally, new and updated department codes will be available in Chrome River one business day following System Office completion.


Higher Lodging Guidelines

Higher lodging is defined as any daily actual (not average) room rate that exceeds the 100% applicable GSA rate.  The GSA allowable rate is based on the physical lodging location.

Excess lodging is defined as any daily actual (not average) room rate that exceeds the 150% applicable GSA rate.  The GSA allowable rate is based on the physical lodging location.

  • Higher lodging must be pre-approved by the Agency Head or Agency Head Designee.
    • Therefore, higher lodging requests are strictly routed in the Pre-approval Report only.
    • If the daily room rate exceeds 150% of GSA and allocated to State funds, travelers must seek pre-approval from Department of Accounts (DOA)**.
  • Chrome River is NOT designed to route for excess lodging requests exceeding 150% of GSA to DOA.
    • Therefore, travelers and the college business offices must coordinate and obtain pre-approval from DOA outside of Chrome River**. When DOA pre-approval is obtained, please attach the approval to the pre-approval report and expense report.
  • Travelers are strongly encouraged to make good faith efforts to secure lodging within the 100% GSA guidelines before requesting higher lodging exceptions.
    • Requests for such exceptions must include sufficient documentation showing alternative cost comparisons justifying the exception.  The cost comparisons must include the name and complete address of the hotels, including zip code, used for the cost comparison.

Pre-approval Report – Hotel Expense Details

The Estimated Daily Room Rate, entered by the user, is compared to the calculated Daily Room Rate in the Allowable Total Calculator screen.  When the Estimated Daily Room Rate is greater than the calculated Daily Room Rate, the Pre-approval Report will automatically route for Agency Head (or Agency Head Designee) higher lodging approval in Chrome River.  

At the time of Pre-approval Report submission, if the Pre-approval Report contains higher/excess lodging, the user will receive one of two orange warnings:

  • Warning #601 triggers when the Daily Room Rate is greater than 100%, and up to 150% of GSA allowable.
  • Warning #602 triggers when the Daily Room Rate is greater than 150% of GSA allowable.

Simply enter justification for higher lodging request in the “Add Response” section of the orange warning.


For additional information and resources, please refer to the Pre-approval Report Instructional Guide PPT and Higher Lodging Exceptions Reimbursement Requirements policy on the SSC T&E Public Site and CAPP Topic 20335 pages 13, 16-18.


Mileage Rate Reimbursement Options and Guidelines

Reimbursement Rate Options:

  • IRS (Higher) Rate
  • Fleet (Lower) Rate

Determining Reimbursement Rate Eligibility:

IRS (Higher) Rate Eligibility –

  • When a personally owned vehicle is cost justified, or
  • State and Car Rental vehicles are not available or accessible
  • Exception* documented and approved by Agency Head (or Designee)

Fleet Rate Eligibility –

  • When a personally owned vehicle is elected for the convenience of the employee,
  • If it is not cost beneficial to use a personal vehicle versus a State/Car Rental vehicle
  • If an agency policy requirement

*Exceptions:  If the IRS (higher) rate is used for reimbursement, the Agency Fiscal Officer is responsible for ensuring the appropriate justification has been documented and approved by the Agency Head (or Designee).  This documentation and approval must be attached to the Expense Report.

Mileage Expense Rate Entry Guidelines:

When the “Cost Beneficial to Use Personal Vehicle” box is checked:

  • If a traveler is traveling more than 200 miles in a single trip (day trip or overnight travel), and requesting reimbursement at the current IRS rate, a cost benefit analysis (OFMS Trip Calculator) and an explanation must be attached to justify the expense.
  • If expense is cost beneficial and justification is adequate, reimbursement is allowable at the IRS rate.

When the “State Vehicle or Car Rental not available or accessible” box is checked:

  • If a traveler is requesting the IRS rate and stating a State/Fleet Vehicle and Car Rental was not available, supporting evidence and an explanation must be attached to justify the expense. Supporting evidence may be a statement of non-availability, email from fleet management office, state vehicle calendar, etc.  
  • A rental car should be used if the cost of a personal vehicle is not cost beneficial compared to the estimated rental car cost.
  • If expense justification is adequate and supporting evidence is provided, reimbursement is allowable at the current IRS rate.

When both boxes are checked:

  • Follow instructions above.

If a state vehicle or car rental is available or accessible, and a personal vehicle is opted as a matter of convenience (i.e. traveling with family, personal comfort), the traveler will be reimbursed at the Fleet (lower) rate.

For policy guidelines, please refer to CAPP Topic 20335 and the VCCS Travel Policy – Personal Vehicle Use.  Both policies can be found on the SSC T&E Public Site.


New Horizons 2019 Chrome River Expense Reports Tips

The "New Horizons 2019 Expense Report Tip" guide was designed to offer general tips and information as VCCS employees complete Chrome River Expense Reports for New Horizons 2019 travel. The document may not cover any scenario for this event, so employees are encouraged to contact the SSC Help Center with any additional Chrome River questions and concerns.

 


View Previously Approved Travel

When you are logged into your Chrome River account, click on the 3 lines in the top left corner of your main Chrome River screen. A menu will populate under the 3 lines icon. Select "Inquiry", and then select "My Expense Items" in order to see your expenses or select "My Expense Approval Items" in order to see expenses for others in which you have approved. Within either of the screens, you will need to change the "Transaction Date" or "Action Date" to narrow your search to the date period which you are analyzing. Lastly, you can export your findings to excel. PDF attached for your reference.

For more instructions, please refer to the Inquiry Dashboard instruction guide on the SSC Public Site.

Travel & Expense Tips:

  • Expense Report Date Entries: Generally, expense line item date entries should reflect the date of payment/purchase or date of travel. There are some exceptions, such as itemized hotel expenses. Expense Date Entry Requirements and Guidelines PDF (includes examples)
  • Editing Returned Reports: DO NOT DELETE LINE ITEMS UNLESS INSTRUCTED TO. Simply select the expense line item that requires editing, then click the Edit button located at the top right of expense screen in order to make the requested corrections.  Deleted line items cannot be added back to reports that are in Returned status unless reset to Draft status. NOTE: All comments and routing history is erased when reports are reset to Draft status.  Editing a Returned Report PPT.
  • Pre-approval Reports: Include all anticipated expenses within the Pre-approval Report regardless if the expenses will be “Company Paid” or “Traveler” paid.
  • Split-allocating Expenses: Split-allocate itemized expenses between multiple department codes within the individual itemized expense line items to prevent excess data entry and duplicate expense compliance warnings from triggering. Split-allocating Hotel Expenses Demonstration PPT.
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