SFU Archaeology Quick Guide to Completing Employee Expense Claims & Common Oversights

Step 1:

  • Log onto fast.sfu.ca
  • Press Enter to view all your accounts
  • Determine the correct account number

Step 2:

  • Log onto fins.sfu.ca
  • Go to Expense Report > Create > Add

Step 3:

Complete ALL of the following fields for research project claims:

  • Report Description:  Enter a short description of the purpose of your claim (30 characters max). Important! Each claim should be a separate event or theme.
  • Business Purpose:  Select the most appropriate option from the pull-down options.
  • Reference (mandatory for research claims):  Describe how the expenses relate to the research being funded, including the names of collaborators.  Note:  You are allowed 250 characters, however, only what appears in the box will print.  If you have information that has been cut off, copy and paste it onto a separate sheet and attach it to your claim.
  • Default Location:  Change the location if you travelled outside of BC.  Important!  The location you choose drives taxes and per diem rates.
  • Default Accounting for Report - Important!  Check this to be sure your expenses are charged to the correct project.  You may also use this screen to charge a percentage of the entire claim to more than one project.  If you wish to charge specific expenses to a project other than the default project, see the instructions under "Detail Tab" below. Important! You must enter the appropriate account info - see example to right. Use project alias to input your project number for ease of saving and account input issues.

Chartfield Name


GL Unit (5)


Object (4)

5264, Advertising and Promotion  

Fund (2)

31, Research Grant

Dept (4)

3910, Archaeology

Program (5)


Project (6-8)

R869477, SSHRC

  • Apply Cash Advance(s):  If you are clearing a Cash Advance, click on this link, click on the spyglass to get a list of your advances, and select the advance you are clearing. Please provide the Cash Advance number in your notes.

Step 4:

  • Enter Expense Lines Section:  This is where you will enter your expenses.  The basic information for each expense is entered on the "Overview" tab. If you have notes (ie: attendees for dinner) please list them all in the note associated with the line item.
  • Use the “+, -” to add or delete lines for more complex expense claims.  Important! Please order receipts in date order.

Step 5:

Upload your scanned documents as ONE PDF, with the receipts in the same order as your Expense Lines, and then submit the claim online. The claim will then be reviewed and approved online.

Important! You can save a claim and come back to it.  To find a saved claim, after you login to fins, click the “Find an Existing Value” tab located at the top, otherwise, the system will default to adding a new claim.  You can find the save button on the top right corner above actions box or bottom right corner below total claim amount.

Common Issues Encountered

1.      Lines and Corresponding receipts

Common accounting practice is to have your expense claim lines corresponding to the receipts included in your claim.  Please write the correct line number on the corresponding receipt you provide.

2.      Mileage maps

If you are claiming mileage, please include a Google map of the route you travelled and highlight the mileage associated with the travel.  Use this mileage estimate for the claim.

3.      Default Accounting Codes and Billing Types

Ensure that you are using the appropriate grant or account number and corresponding object code on each line ie. General Travel vs. Field Travel.  For each expense line, you will need to click on the spyglass in the column to the right of "Billing Type".  This will bring you to the "Accounting Detail" page.  Remember, you will need to do this for each line of your claim that pertains to Field Travel.  See above for an example of coding.

4.      Timely submission

Finance reserves the right to refuse claims that exceed 30 days of the expense being incurred.  However, in most cases as long as the claim is within that fiscal year, reimbursement should not be a problem. If you submit an expense claim over a year old it will likely be denied.

5.      Claim Management-Submission by project, sub project, conference

Please do your best to keep expense claims manageable.  You can do this by splitting up larger projects into smaller sub projects and submitting claims as they relate to these smaller projects.  For example, you should not submit a claim that has several conference visits lumped together, or an entire field season that was spent in several different locations on different field projects.  Claim management will generally help you get more money back, faster with less errors to fix.

6.       Supporting Documentation

Credit card statements should be submitted with invoices not marked "paid" or showing a zero balance owing.  These are also important if the currency conversion amounts are not in Canadian as they are derived from the default location field and house rates.  Note:  The exchange rate on your credit card statement is the most accurate.

Hotel/Lodging - Statement from hotel that includes dates of stay as well as room rate and any food or other charges. Reminder, food charges must be itemized to include on a claim. If your receipt shows >1 person, please explain who they are, why they are travelling with you, and why you are paying for them.

Conference Registration Fees - Attach copies of one or two pages from the conference program to show 1) title, dates and location of the conference,  and 2) that the purpose of the conference relates to the research being funded (usually an abstract or agenda).

Meals (with receipts) - Itemized receipts only.  If alcohol was charged, it must be deducted from the total.  If the expense is for meals for more than just you, the names of all attendees and their relationship to the project must be listed either on the face of the receipt or beside the receipt on the paper to which the receipt is attached.  If the restaurant doesn't provide an itemized receipt, see above credit card/debit card statements and submit a lost receipt declaration.

Flight Itinerary & Boarding Passes - Supply us with both a flight itinerary and original boarding passes.  Electronic passes are acceptable, but must clearly state they are electronic and have a barcode as proof you were given them.

Lost Receipt Declaration - Please print and sign this form for all lost receipts such as boarding passes, meal, and gas receipts.