Contributed by: Kathy Jenisch, Records Manager, Sanitation District #1

The travel request process at Sanitation District #1 (SD1), the second largest public sewer utility in Kentucky, used to be paper-heavy and cumbersome. SD1 automated this process with Laserfiche Forms and Laserfiche Workflow, making it completely paperless from start to finish.

Travel request

To request approval for business travel, an SD1 employee submits a travel request in Laserfiche Forms. sd1_travel1 Once the form is submitted, it is saved in the Laserfiche repository. Laserfiche Workflow monitors the folder and sends an email to the employee’s immediate supervisor that there is a new travel request for approval. The supervisor can either approve or decline the request by updating the value of the “Immediate Supervisor” field accordingly. sd1_travel2 If the request is declined, the submitter is notified by email and the workflow ends. If the request is approved, an email is sent to the budget center head notifying him/her of a new travel request for approval. The budget center head can either approve or decline the travel request. If the request is declined, an email notification is sent to the submitter and the workflow ends. If the budget center head approves the request, an email notification is sent to the administrative assistant identified on the form for review. The administrative assistant attaches proper documentation, such as conference, meeting or hotel information, and enters the correct fiscal year into the template. Once the travel request is complete, an email is sent to the submitter advising that travel arrangements can be made. The travel request form and associated documentation is moved to the records folder, where retention is automatically applied. sd1_travel3 Shortcuts to the form and documents are created in the “Travel Forms” folder and the folder is named with the traveler’s name and date of travel so there is a separate “trip” folder for each travel instance. sd1_travel4

Cash advance

If an employee needs a cash advance for travel purposes, the Travel Advance Request form must be submitted after the travel request has been approved. sd1_travel5 Laserfiche Workflow picks up the form and routes it through the various parties for approval, similar to the travel request process outlined above. If the cash advance is for $25 or more, the accounts payable department is notified to cut a check. If the cash advance is less than $25, the accounts receivable department distributes the cash. The form and its attachments are then routed to the same records series as the travel request form with retention automatically applied. A shortcut is also placed in the “Travel Forms” folder in the same trip folder with the travel request.

Travel expense report

When the employee returns from the business trip, a travel expense form must be submitted through Laserfiche Forms. The form is set up in such a way that, when the employee enters daily expenses, subtotals and totals are automatically calculated. sd1_travel6 Pre-paid expenses are also automatically subtracted to calculate the actual reimbursement due to the employee. sd1_travel7 This is done using JavaScript in the Script section of the Laserfiche Forms Designer. Once the employee submits the form, Laserfiche Workflow routes it to the appropriate individuals to review, just like the travel request and travel advance request processes outlined above. After the report is approved by the budget center head, it is sent to either the accounts payable department (if the reimbursement is $25 or more) or the accounts receivable department (if the reimbursement is less than $25 or if the employee owes SD1 money). After the respective department processes the payments, the submitter is notified (via email) to pick up the check or cash or to submit a payment for the outstanding amount. The travel expense report and its attachments are then routed to the same records series as the travel request form and travel cash advance request form with retention automatically applied. A shortcut is also placed in the same trip folder inside the “Travel Forms” folder.

sd1_travel8

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Advantages of Laserfiche

Implementing the new automated travel request and expense reimbursement process with Laserfiche has resulted in the following benefits for SD1:

  • Documents are never lost or misfiled and requests are approved in a timely manner.
  • The records manager is confident that all documents have the correct retention applied while employees can still view their requests in a folder structure that is familiar to them.
  • No paper is printed or filed.
  • The new process is faster and more efficient than the legacy, paper one. Employees get reimbursed much quicker than before.

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