System revamp stalls NASA travel reimbursement

It's a good thing astronauts don't file for mileage expenses while in space.

If they did, they wouldn't be able to submit expenses for reimbursement between Jan. 17 and March 10. NASA headquarters is implementing a new core financial module of its Integrated Financial Management Program based on software from SAP America Inc. of Newtown Square, Pa. As a result, the agency is suspending travel voucher payments for headquarters employees while specialists install the new software and convert data from legacy systems to the new accounting system.

NASA staff 'are saying it could be an inconvenience,' according to Pam Fetters, project manager for travel systems at NASA headquarters. 'People are anxious because they want to pay their [credit card] bills on time,' she said. 'They are expressing concern whether they will get funds in time to be reimbursed.'

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., already has converted to the new travel reimbursement software. NASA managers expect to roll out the SAP system across the entire agency by the end of the year, Fetters said. She explained that while systems specialists verify data that they are converting from legacy systems to the new financial management system, employees will not have access to the travel reimbursement software. When it becomes operational, the new system will eliminate some paper processing of travel reimbursement, according to a NASA memo.

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