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One Less Hoop Is Always A Good Thing

, , , , | Working | January 24, 2023

I recently attended a conference for which I had won a scholarship from the hosting university that would cover some of the travel and accommodation costs. However, the “scholarship” was not provided to me before the conference; rather, I had to pay for everything out of pocket and then apply for a reimbursement through the university administration once I returned.

To do so, that meant I had to keep all my receipts. Because it’s 2022, all of my receipts ended up being digital, i.e., I booked my travel online so I was emailed a digital receipt, I booked my hotel online so I was emailed a digital receipt, and so on and so forth.

After the conference, I had to email the university’s finance manager with a digitally-signed form detailing all of my expenses, as well as a copy of all of my digital receipts.

After doing so, I had this gem of an email conversation with the finance manager.

Finance Manager: “Hi, [My Name]. I received your digitally-signed form and digital receipts — thank you! I will submit your claim form to our host institution. Please note that it usually takes three to four weeks to process an expense claim form. In addition, can you please physically mail me your digitally-signed form and digital receipts to the below address? I need physical copies for audit purposes.”

I was about to do as she asked when something occurred to me, so I emailed her back.

Me: “Hi, [Finance Manager]. Just to clarify, you want me to print the digitally-signed form and digital receipts and mail them to you? Is it possible to… just print them on your end, rather than me printing them and mailing it? I think you’ll find the end result would be the same, but it would save us a couple of steps.”

Finance Manager: “Hi, [My Name]. I will print it out from my end. Thank you.”

I had a good laugh after. I guess it hadn’t occurred to her that my printing the forms and receipts and mailing them to her doesn’t make them any more “authentic” than if she just printed them herself.

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