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How do I complete a travel expense report?

How to use Concur to submit a travel expense report

When you return from your trip, you must submit a travel expense report with the required documentation, receipts, cost object(s), and trip purpose. The report must be submitted in Concur within 60 days of your return. The purpose of the report is to request reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses and to reconcile charges made on the MIT Travel Card.


When to submit a travel report vs an RFP


Most travel should be submitted using Concur. However, there are a handful of situations where you may also use the RFP system:

  • Local trips in the Cambridge and Greater Boston area
    • Ride sharing services and taxis should use the g/l account 421600 — Trucking and Automotive

  • Local parking
  • Entertainment involving local travel
    • For example, rentals and transportation for events like bowling, escape rooms, and non-overnight retreats


Concur Accounts


All MIT employees and graduate students have access to a personal Concur account whether or not they have a MIT travel card. Departmental (aka Group or Guest) cards have a Concur account as well, but this account is not tied to a specific traveler.

  • Individual Concur account trip reports will have expenses reimbursed by direct deposit to the traveler’s bank account on file.
  • Departmental Concur account trip reports will need to specify the traveler for each report, and will reimburse by check unless otherwise specified in the report header.
Charges to MIT Travel cards cannot be moved between profiles. For example, if a faculty assistant books a conference registration for a faculty member on a Department card, but the faculty member uses their individual Travel card to buy meals while traveling, then separate Trip Reports will be required from each account. For this reason, it is not recommended to use Departmental cards to pay travel expenses for people who also hold an individual card.

The difference in the Report Headers for an individual account and a departmental account are below. On the Departmental account, the Trip Report header includes fields for the Guest’s Traveler type, Name, Address, City, Country, and postal code.

Individual Report Header. Click to enlarge.
Individual Report Header. Click to enlarge.
Departmental Report Header. Click to enlarge.
Departmental Report Header. Click to enlarge.

The travel report approval process


Travel reports are first reviewed by the travel office before they are routed to their respective departments for approval. Here’s a helpful chart that breaks this down:

Notion image
  1. You, as the traveler, or the faculty assistant submitting on your behalf as the delegate, or as the cardholder of a departmental (group) travel card, completes and submits the travel report
  1. Concur Detect automatically detects if there are easily identifiable issues with the report
  1. The report is reviewed by the Travel office
    1. If your travel report shows a status of “In Accounting Review”, it is not yet with DMSE and you should direct questions to
  1. The report is reviewed by DMSE
    1. The report may route to other DLCs if accounts from other DLCs were used
  1. The report, approved by both DMSE, other relevant DLCs (if any), and the travel office, is then processed for payment

Travel on sponsored accounts


Not all sponsors allow for travel on their projects. Some do not allow international travel, and some only allow travel if prior approval has been received. If traveling on a sponsored project, review your sponsor’s terms to make sure all required approval is received before the trip—otherwise, MIT may not be able to cover the cost of these expenses.


General travel report guidelines


For reports with more than one traveler

When completing a travel report for any transaction posting to a DMSE account, be sure to include in the main comment field:

  • The full names of all travelers. If the purchase was placed on your card, but you didn’t travel, it is very difficult to verify all of the people (even if it was just one person) who was traveling.
  • The full name of the all travelers who have been referenced in any included correspondence with a nickname. DMSE finance has no way of knowing the full name of a traveler if they are only referenced by a nickname, especially if their nickname or preferred name is very different from what they are officially known as in MITs systems.
    • This can be recorded as, “Hu Tao also goes by Sarah Tao,” or “Sarah Tao is is the preferred name of Hu Tao.”
  • The accounts each traveler is intending to spend on, if there is more than one traveler and more than one cost object used. Limitations of the Concur system make it difficult to track who is spending on which account.
    • This can be recorded as, “Mandy Smith, 6967446; Charles Johnson, 6935412 and 6954274.”
DMSE Finance is currently reviewing the travel report process to establish a list of best practices for creating reports. Finalized guidance will be announced in a future staff meeting. In the meantime, please regularly check for updates to this page.

Other common issues

  • Gas can only be claimed if there has been a car rental associated with the trip or if you used an MIT owned vehicle. For a personal vehicle, choose expense type: “Personal Mileage Car,” which will calculate the amount owed to you by the miles you drove for your trip.

How to use Concur


For detailed instructions, complete with screenshots, on how to use Concur, see the following guides provided by the travel office, which download as PDFs (VPF links are hidden behind Kerberos logins and may need to be clicked twice to access):


VPF also maintains more robust explanations for institute-wide travel polices on their websites, such as details on what is reimbursable, guides on how to submit mileage when using your car on MIT business, and more.


Introductory training video

Introduction to Travel and Expense Reporting is designed for those who travel on Institute business and prepare expense reports, or those who make travel arrangements and prepare expense reports on behalf of someone else. It includes information about MIT’s Preferred travel agency, airline, car rental companies, and hotels. The video provides an overview of the MIT’s Travel Policy, and an overview of Concur, MIT's online travel booking and expense reporting system.



  • 6:27 ~ 8:24 — Travel overview
  • 8:24 ~ 15:50 — Concur booking guidelines
  • 15:51 ~ 37:32 — Concur expense guidelines and demo (using Concur to expense your trip)
  • 37:33 ~ END — Additional resources and questions

Questions and assistance


All questions regarding how to complete a travel report, outside of questions regarding the DMSE-specific details noted above, should be directed to the travel office.


VPF hosts weekly drop-in sessions to help you with your travel expense reports on Wednesdays 10–11 am in NE49-3000. They can also be contacted at, or by phone at (617) 253 - 8366.

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