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Pocket fulla receipts [Sep. 29th, 2008|05:07 pm]
Arvind Narayanan
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Travel reimbursements can be a moral quagmire for me :-)

I try not to claim any more money than I'm owed, but there's a huge grey area. Part of the problem is that I always combine work with social visits. Figuring out how to get car rental/gas costs is hard enough as it is. And what if I visit a friend socially and end up discussing research? What if I attend a conference, visit friends over the weekend, and visit a colleague the next week, as I did on my most recent trip? I would have had to eat and sleep over the weekend anyway, so should I get that reimbursed?

It gets worse. My accounting department doesn't require food and taxi receipts (for which I cannot thank them enough. Taxi receipts are a joke anyway.) No matter how much I put down for food in the reimbursement form, I simultaneously feel it's too much and too little! At some point I decided to pick a fixed daily rate and always bill them that, no matter what.

As for cab fare, I use it as a "buffer." I usually have someone picking me up or dropping me off at least one way, so if I (say) lose my gas receipt I make up the difference in the cab category by charging for it both ways :-)

What do y'all do?

[User Picture]From: cubby_t_bear
2008-09-30 12:49 am (UTC)
Our department gives us a daily per-diem for the days we're at a covered event, and will pay for housing during those days. They have a preset limit to which they'll cover the actual travel costs. After that, you're on your own. It does make life much simpler.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2008-09-30 12:55 am (UTC)
in my case, the money comes from my advisor. if it was a faceless entity, i'd have far fewer moral qualms!
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[User Picture]From: countrycousin
2008-09-30 02:13 am (UTC)
So I presume your advisor knows that you are conscientiously saving energy and combating global warming by making your trips multi-purpose? Has your advisor complained or hinted of a concern?

I would think you would make an effort to split out the expenses, much along the way you, in fact, describe. If you make an honest effort and don't put your thumb one way or the other, you can let averaging take care of the rest and sleep well.
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[User Picture]From: arvindn
2008-09-30 02:19 am (UTC)
oh, totally. my advisor is totally cool, he has no problem with it at all. in fact, i go to considerable lengths to save him money; i have repeatedly refused to stay at expensive conference hotels even though he would have paid for it. if anything, i think he is occasionally amused by my efforts to save money.

it's purely a matter of living up to my own moral standards.
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[User Picture]From: countrycousin
2008-09-30 03:05 am (UTC)
You're the one you're going to spend the most time with; sounds good to me. And if things get tighter later (don't see how they won't), maybe he'll appreciate your frugality more. But realistically, it is your work he's most interested in.

Best wishes to your work!
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