Financial & Travel


Business Office Purchasing Contacts

Chad Skemp

Purchasing Specialist


1123 Chemistry
Business Services

Contact for:

  • Purchases below and above $5,000
  • To authorize listing an additional project/fund number in Aestiva
  • Purchase Orders for events and travel
  • Policy

Hailey Johnson

Financial Specialist


1121 Chemistry
Business Services

Contact for:

  • Payments to Individuals (checks as payments or awards)
  • Direct Payments to Companies (under $5,000)
  • E-reimbursement
  • Compliance

Nicole Meyers

Financial Specialist


1121 Chemistry
Business Services

Contact for:

  • Invoice issues
  • Internal billing (inter-department billing and shops charges)
  • Purchasing Card use and questions

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

How do I order items?

If you need to have an order placed, start with our online purchase request system, Aestiva, at

  • You will need to have a chemistry account in order to gain access.
  • If you have never used the system, but have a chemistry account, send a request to Chad Skemp at cskemp@chem.wisc.eduwith the following information:
  1. Full name
  2. Email ( or
  3. Research group
  4. Phone number (so purchasing staff can contact you with questions about your request)

General purchasing guidelines

For purchases under $5,000

We can normally approve and process these requests without needing anything additional from the requestor. A business purpose is always required. There may occasionally be other barriers, such as the intended vendor being prohibited by the university, but this is rare. For questions on purchases in this area, contact Chad Skemp, purchasing specialist, at 608.262.1481.

For purchases from $5,000 to $49,999

We require one of the following:

  1. That the vendor and the items being purchased already be on contract with the university. Search vendors currently on contract.
  2. Simplified Bid: Three comparative quotes, from which the lowest responsible quote is chosen to make the purchase; or
  3. Proper justification to waive the need for the simplified bid/three quotes, submitted on the Non-Competitive Purchase Request Form(.doc).*

*Non-Competitive Waivers over $25,000 require a governor’s waiver, which is very time-consuming and often unnecessary. In these cases, it generally makes most sense to prepare the simplified bid. If three relevant vendors are contacted, but two of the three cannot provide the requested items with required specifications, those two still count as bids.

For purchases of $50,000 or more

Purchasing Services will prepare an Official Sealed Bid or a Request for Proposal (RFP) depending upon the type of items and/or services needed.

Our main contact for these is Jeff Whitman,

View a list of vendors who are not eligible to do business with UW-Madison.

Price Check Resources

Obtain pricing information through UW-Madison Materials Distribution Services (MDS). MDS provides access to several vendors, including Staples, Thermo Fisher, VWR, and Grainger. Please note this is a guide for pricing information only. Orders should be submitted through Aestiva.

To access MDS and view product and price options, go to MDS, then select “Been Here” and login using ID “guest” and password “guest1.”

Department Credit Cards and when to use them

Event Purchasing Card

Contact Pat Egan or Kayla Driscoll to use this card

  • For catering or other food for an event
  • For event venue reservations, such as conference centers
  • For event supplies

In-Store Purchasing Card

Contact Pat Egan to use this card

  • DoIT purchases
  • In-store purchases such as at grocery stores


  • All lab and office supplies should be ordered via Aestiva whenever possible
  • Only use the In-Store Card if there is an immediate need for the item

To use a department credit card, you must submit the following documentation:

  • Business purpose (e.g., conference schedule, to collaborate with [Name] on [Project, etc.])
  • Funding (A481500 or other UDDS, a fund such as a 144 or 233 and project such as PRJ1234)
  • Copy of the paid receipt
  • Pre-approval form signed by PI or your supervisor & Pat Egan

Expense Reimbursement

Expense Reimbursement

Quick Tips

  • Submit all expense reimbursement requests within 90 days of the expense. This includes travel, business meals, supply purchases, etc. Anything after 90 days is considered non-reimbursable.
  • Make sure you have the proper funding number for your trip before you submit your reimbursement.
  • Make sure to include all expenses, including prepaid items, so that your E-Reimbursement reflects the full travel picture.
  • Remember that a business purpose must include basic who, what, where, when, and why information about your travel & expenses.

Submitting an Expense Reimbursement Request

  1. To submit a request for expense reimbursement, visit the Accounting Services site and follow the instructions for E-Reimbursement. You will need to know in advance which fund number your expenses will be reimbursed from (e.g., grant number, departmental fund code, etc.).
  2. Business Services has a step-by-step guide that you can access here:
  3. If you need help with your reimbursement request, please contact your path coordinator or Hailey Johnson.
  4. Reimbursement requests are approved at the department level by Hailey Johnson and then reviewed and approved by College of Letters & Science staff. Please allow 2-4 weeks for your reimbursement to be paid out. If you haven’t received notice of your reimbursement within 4 weeks, please contact Hailey Johnson.

Reducing a Day Trip Meal Allowance in GET

Follow the detailed instructions for reducing your day trip meal allowance when using the GET tool.

Additional GET Resources from the DoIT KnowledgeBase.


When traveling for a work-related purpose, you must follow the university’s travel expense guidelines. Read these guidelines before traveling, booking flights, or making hotel reservations. Non-reimbursable expenses are the responsibility of the traveler.

To learn more about UW-Madison travel policies, visit the Accounting Services Travel Center.

If you haven’t made a reservation through the UW TravelWise/Concur booking tool before; if you need assistance; or if you need someone to make your travel arrangements, please contact the appropriate person for help.

Graduate students must contact their path coordinator prior to making travel arrangements.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Before you travel

  • Set up a UWTravelWise/Concur account online.
  • Ask your PI what funding number to use for your trip (e.g., 144-PRJXXYY). Please note that 101- funds cannot be used for travel.

Register for the conference/event

See your path coordinator to purchase your conference/event registration. Keep a copy of the registration invoice/confirmation and save it for your reimbursement documentation.

Make lodging/hotel arrangements

Once you have calculated the maximum hotel reimbursement rate for your travel destination, find and book appropriately priced lodging with your path coordinator. You may make hotel reservations in one of two ways: (1) book the hotel room directly through the conference website or by calling the hotel and requesting the conference rate; or (2) book the hotel room through UWTravelWIse/Concur either through the online booking tool or by calling Fox World Travel at 920.230.6467. You may not use any other hotel room reservation method (e.g., Expedia,, Kayak, Priceline, Airbnb, etc.), and you will not be reimbursed if you fail to use one of the two university-approved methods for booking hotel rooms. After you make your hotel reservation, keep your confirmation and save it for your reimbursement documentation packet.

Make transportation arrangements

  • Flying: Once you know your dates/times for travel and your funding number, book your flight through UWTravelWise/Concur with your path coordinator. If you will be arriving early, staying late, or combining business and personal travel, refer to the bottom of this page for more information about required documentation and cost comparisons.
  • Driving: Become a UW-Madison-authorized driver at least two weeks before you travel. Learn about Driver Authorization at the UW-Madison Risk Management website and fill out the appropriate authorization request form. Also learn about UW-Madison vehicle rental and gas policies. You must be a UW-Madison Authorized Driver in order to claim reimbursement for driving a personal or rental vehicle or parking a personal, rental, or fleet vehicle.

Meal and expense reimbursement planning

  • Look up UW-Madison reimbursement rates for lodging and meals for your destination city using the UWTravelWIse/Concur rate calculator.
  • If food is provided through the event (e.g., meals are covered through your conference registration fee) you may not claim reimbursement for the meals that are provided.
  • Travelers will only be reimbursed for up to 75% of the per diem rate for the first and last days of travel.
  • Some faculty members allow group members to claim the UW-Madison per diem rate for meal and incidental reimbursement. Other faculty members allow group members to claim reimbursement only for the amount of money actually spent on meals and incidentals while traveling, rather than the full per diem amount. Either way, please save your receipts while traveling. If you are unsure of your group’s policy, please ask your PI.

While you travel

  • Get a detailed invoice from the hotel when you check out. If sharing a room, make sure that each individual’s name appears on the hotel invoice in order for multiple travelers to use the same invoice for expense reimbursement requests.
  • Save any receipts over $25. To be on the safe side, save all of your receipts from the trip until your reimbursement has been processed.

After you travel


You must submit your reimbursement request within 90 days after your trip.

1.     Submit an online reimbursement request through E-Reimbursement. Be sure to include:

  • Short paragraph explaining the ‘business purpose’ of your trip. This explains how your trip will benefit the university. This paragraph must include who, what, where, when, and why information at the minimum. Please do not use acronyms (i.e., say ‘American Chemical Society meeting’ rather than ‘ACS meeting’).
  • Pdf of the conference/event website homepage or conference/event agenda or conference/event acceptance letter showing dates and location
  • Photocopy of event nametag or program (evidence that you attended)
  • Detailed hotel invoice
  • Registration fee invoice/registration confirmation
  • Copies of any receipts over $25
  • Full flight itinerary


  • Analytical and materials chemistry paths: Liv Farver
  • Chemical Biology path: Beatriz Lemire
  • Inorganic chemistry path: Kristi Heming
  • Organic chemistry path: Karen Stephens
  • Physical chemistry path: Mary Hanson
  • Academic staff and university staff: Kayla Driscoll

Travel Topics

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

Arriving early, staying later, or combining business and personal travel

When you are able to save money by adding a day or two to your trip, reasonable expenses for lodging and meals for the minimum necessary additional days may be paid if the total cost of the trip expenses (e.g., additional days of lodging, meals, parking, etc.) are less than the lowest airfare would have been without the additional days of travel. In these cases, you must provide a cost comparison to show that the additional days don’t add to the overall cost of the trip. This comparison must be given over the phone by a Fox World Travel Agent, and included with your reimbursement documentation packet later.

If you wish to combine personal and business travel, you must document a cost comparison to ensure that the university only reimburses for the business portion of the trip. To document your cost comparison for airfare, call a Fox World Travel Agent and ask for a flight comparison with the correct corresponding dates. The lower of the two airfare costs will be paid for or reimbursed by the university.

Valid cost comparisons: UWTravelWise/Concur or Fox World travel agents must be used for cost comparisons. Because of pricing and availability fluctuations, accurate cost comparisons must be done at the time of booking in immediate succession to be valid.

Learn more about this policy at

Checking hotel maximums and per diem rates for your destination

Use the UW-Madison lodging and per diem expense rate calculator to determine the allowable hotel and per diem rates for your destination. Please note that the university at large is now using a per diem model rather than reimbursing exact expenses for meals and incidentals. Some chemistry research groups use the per diem, others allow travelers to claim reimbursement for actual expenses only. Travelers are reimbursed at 100 percent for full days traveled and 75 percent for the first and last day of travel.

Driver authorization

In order to be covered by the university’s liability protection policy while driving on university business, all UW-Madison faculty, staff, student, LTE, and volunteer drivers must be approved through Risk Management prior to departing on university business. Regardless of whether you are driving your own personal vehicle, a fleet vehicle, or a rental vehicle, all potential drivers must complete the appropriate driver authorization request form. Two weeks prior to your trip, visit the Risk Management Driver Authorization webpage for more information and to apply.


For research groups that allow reimbursement of actual expenses only, maximum meal rates (as of Oct. 6, 2015) are shown below.

meal rates

Read the full policy from Business Services:

Mileage reimbursement rates when driving your own vehicle

According to Policy: 201.B – Privately Owned Vehicle Expenses, the standard mileage rate for personal vehicles is $.54 per mile. Any roundtrip mileage that exceeds 300 miles will be reimbursed at the Turndown Rate of $.375 per mile.

Non-reimbursable expenses (frequent examples)

  • Airline ticket upgrades for coach tickets with extra leg room, or for business or first class
  • Room service
  • In-room movies
  • Entertainment

Please see a comprehensive list here:

Purchasing airfares, hotel rooms, and car rentals

  • Use UW TravelWise/Concur or call a Fox World Travel agent at 866.230.8787 to book your flight, car rental, and/or hotel room. Any travel expenses (airfares, hotel rooms, car rentals) purchased on UW-Madison credit cards or reimbursed by UW-Madison must be purchased using UW TravelWise/Concur or by calling a Fox World Travel agent
  • The only exception is for hotel rooms booked through a conference hotel room block. Conference rates are not available in UW TravelWise/Concur; instead, reserve your room through the conference website or by calling the hotel and booking a room in the conference block.
  • When traveling on federal grant funds (e.g., NSF, NIH, DOE funding beginning with 144-), you must request special approval prior to booking your ticket if you need to use a foreign airline.
  • When booking flights with UW TravelWise/Concur, a confirmation email is sent first, followed by a final booking notification with the e-ticket number. Please print out the second email with the e-ticket for your reimbursement, rather than the first with the confirmation.


A receipt is generally required for all travel expenses. There are very few exceptions to this policy. Receipts for reimbursable expenses must be submitted via the expense reimbursement process as part of your reimbursement documentation packet.