Pre-booked value

December 20, 2012

Like Iain Stevenson ("Hang the expenses", Opinion, 13 December), I often have multiple reimbursement claims totalling more than four figures. These can be repayments for carrying out a range of functions in several countries. Most institutions are excellent and repay quickly but others take much longer to reimburse (and require repeated reminders to do so). A range of excuses can be proffered, but more often than not no reason is forthcoming.

There is a better way, both for the individual and the inviting institution. When on sabbatical in Australia several years ago, I noticed that a seminar invitation came with a pre-booked travel ticket, paid accommodation and a number of taxi vouchers. This reduced the organisational and financial burden on the individual and meant that the institution could source cheaper advance travel tickets and take advantage of block booking in local hotels. Finally, rather than having to reconcile reimbursement claims after the event, all the administrative work was done up front.

This system is common in several countries I visit. Why isn't it more widely used in the UK?

Marcel Jaspars, Marine Biodiscovery Centre, Department of chemistry, University of Aberdeen

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