Faculty and Staff Resources - Business Office - Christopher Newport University

Business Office

Faculty and Staff Resources

All travel will be processed through Chrome River.

Chrome River

The university uses Chrome River to process prior approval to travel, travel cash advance requests and travel and other expense reimbursements.

Use your CNU Connect credentials to login.

  • Web-based application: you can access your expense reports and approvals anytime.
  • Easy to use: Chrome River is customized for CNU - Chrome River has been customized to route both the prior approval and travel expense based on the needed approval for your travel situation and will prompt you for necessary items or explanations.
  • Mobile: you can capture your expense receipts as you travel and send them to Chrome River electronically.
  • Electronic approvals for both Prior Approvals and Travel: you can track your submissions and always know where they are in the process.

Chrome River offers a variety of training material on its site, including a walkthrough as soon as you sign on the first time. Additional training will be available from Accounts Payable as we go live.

Prior approval to travel is required for all travel, to include recruitment travel, that meets any of the following conditions:

  • Total travel expenses will be greater than $1,000
  • More than three people are going – either for daily or overnight travel
  • Lodging expense is over the allowable state rate and up to 50% over that rate
  • Lodging is other than a hotel – must provide comparison and justification – use of Airbnb and other such providers is not allowed
  • International travel

Chrome River has getting started guides accessible once you log in, including Getting Started, Creating an Expense Report, Adding Receipts and Approving Expenses. Chrome River also has live sessions for users: Chrome River Training Camp.

Under the Help section are sections for Creating Expense and Pre-Approvals. Accounts Payable will offer training via Google Meet, or you can request specific departmental training by emailing Erin Gray at erin.gray@cnu.edu.

Chrome River Frequently Asked Questions

Chrome River is the university’s travel management system. It can be accessed using your CNU ID number. Chrome River is used to process travel pre-approval for employee, student and guest travel. Pre-approvals must be submitted and approved before travel expenses are incurred (for Travel $1000). Chrome River is also used to submit and approve all travel (employee, student and guest) and employee non-travel reimbursements.

Chrome River is intuitive and user-friendly. It features automated approvals, which allow for tracking, and built in edit checks that verify compliance before submission. Employees can easily upload receipts directly into Chrome River, eliminating potential lost receipts, and speeds up the reimbursement process. Chrome River is set up using both the state and CNU’s travel policies.

Once a travel pre-approval is approved, the user can print a PDF of the approved document for attachment to the SPCC charge (like conference registrations or airline flights). A prior approval for a candidate can be attached to an expense report for faculty and staff for recruitment/visitor meals.

Chrome River is accessed using your CNU ID and password.

Since students and visitors do not have access to Chrome River, you will need to submit the prior approval and travel reimbursement requests under your name, using the visitor dropdown. Before you can do that, please contact Accounts Payable for Chrome River access. For most students, this is as simple as emailing apinvoices@cnu.edu and asking the student be set up in Chrome River. For candidates and other visitors, Accounts Payable will need a COVA W9 from the person to set that person up in both Banner, Chrome River and possibly Cardinal (the state payment system).

On Pre-Approval reports, once you select Recruitment or Non-employee, you will be prompted to add the name of the person (so you can enter the pre-approval even when the student or visitor is not in Chrome River.

On Expense Reports, the name of the student or visitor is required. Once they are added in Chrome River, the student or visitor will be available from the dropdown.

Users cannot edit pre-approvals or expense reports that have already been approved. Users can “recall” and edit if the pre-approval or expense report has not been finalized. Also, an approver cannot edit a pre-approval or expense report. The approver must reject the pre-approval or expense report and add a comment stating the reason. The pre-approval or expense report will then be routed back to the employee for correction and resubmission.

Chrome River has getting started guides accessible once you log in, including Getting Started, Creating an Expense Report, Adding Receipts and Approving Expenses. Chrome River also has live sessions for users: Chrome River Training Camp.

Under the Help section are sections for Creating Expense and Pre-Approvals. Accounts Payable will also offer training via Google Meet.


Requirements for Prior Approval

Travelers must prepare a prior approval for overnight travel expected to exceed $1,000 (this is a change from the previous threshold of $500). The other requirements, such as more than three people attending the same event, lodging over state limit, lodging other than hotel/motel and international travel remain the same.

Mileage rate

For distances up to 200 miles, employees can be reimbursed at the IRS rate of $0.625 per mile for 2023 and $0.67 per mile for 2024. For distances greater than 200 miles, a cost-benefit analysis must be completed before the trip and included with the reimbursement. The employee should visit the Office of Fleet Management Services website (at least 24 hours in advance of the trip) and use the trip calculator in the Enterprise rental car section, to determine the cost for the trip. If cost-beneficial, the employee can be reimbursed at the IRS rate.

Examples of other factors that can be considered in the cost-benefit analysis are:

  • Distance to the nearest Enterprise location and the hours of operation
  • Administrative time required to obtain the Enterprise rental car
  • The type of vehicle required and the number of travelers

In emergency or rare cases, the IRS mileage rate may be reimbursed when the use of a personal vehicle is not considered cost-beneficial to the state. The president’s designee must approve the reimbursement in advance of the travel event, when practical, and this approval must be included with the travel voucher.

Unused hotel room

In an emergency or unavoidable situation the president’s designee may approve reimbursement as long as every reasonable effort was made to recoup or avoid the cost of the room.

Faculty and administrative staff must prepare an estimate of the total cost of any proposed travel with a Pre-Approval through Chrome River if any of the following apply:

  • Proposed overnight travel is expected to exceed $1,000
  • More than three individuals will attend the event (daily and overnight travel)
  • Lodging expense is up to 50 percent over the state lodging rate
  • Lodging other than hotel or motel (e.g., apartment)
  • International travel
  • Recruitment

Total cost includes lodging, meals, transportation, conference registration, course fees and any other travel costs. Costs of the trip that may be direct-billed must also be included in the cost estimate. University funds must not be committed before the Pre-Approval through Chrome River has been approved. Please see per diem rates below for current rates.

If an agency has any agreements with individuals under contract to conduct business with the commonwealth, these expenses should be paid with an Accounting Voucher. When entering into such contracts, agencies should adhere to the dollar limitations outlined in this section or clearly document the business case for any deviations. If there is no contractual agreement specific to travel and travel expenses (hotel, air fare, meals, mileage, etc.) are incurred, the dollar limitations and documentation requirements outlined in this section are applicable.


The Pre-Approval through Chrome River, when required, must be completed and signed before expenses are incurred and before the first day of travel.


  • CNU business travel vehicle arrangements are made through Parking and Transportation Services. Vehicles are provided by Enterprise Rent-A-Car under state contract rates.
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car contract rates are only available for business travel; reservation bookings must be made through the Parking and Transportation Services. Please write the reservation number on your Prior Approval to Travel Form and send a copy to Accounts Payable.
  • With the use of an Enterprise rental car or university-owned van, faculty and staff are provided a Voyager Fuel Card. This fuel card enables faculty and staff to purchase fuel at a substantially reduced price.
  • For information concerning the use of an Enterprise rental and/or university-owned van, vehicle rate quote and/or reservations, visit Parking and Transportation Services or dial extension 4–8421.

Lodging costs for your guest(s) can be direct-billed by any of the approved hotels from the list below.

Please complete and submit the Direct Bill Approval Form for Guests (see below) prior to your guest’s arrival.

Newport News Marriott at City Center
740 Town Center Drive
Newport News, VA 23606
Phone: (757) 873-9299
Fax (757) 873-9298
Notes: Honors state per diem rate of $98 per night.

Candlewood Suites of Newport News
329 Commonwealth Drive
Yorktown, VA 23693
Phone: (757) 952-1120
Fax: (757) 952-1121
Notes: Offers direct billing for CNU. Ask for CNU rate ($98 + tax) at manageryorktown@candlewood.com

Holiday Inn Express - Hampton Coliseum Central
1813 W. Mercury Boulevard
Hampton, VA 23666
Phone: (757) 838-8484
Fax: (757) 826-0725
Notes: Complimentary breakfast; ask for CNU rate

Comfort Inn - Patrick Henry Mall
12330 Jefferson Avenue
Newport News, VA 23602
Phone: (757) 249-0200
Fax: (757) 249-4736
Notes: Offers direct billing for CNU. Includes complimentary hot deluxe breakfast. Complimentary shuttle to airport and CNU. Contact nikunj.patel@stayatchoice.com

Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites
943 J. Clyde Morris Boulevard
Newport News, VA 23601
Phone: (757) 596-6417
Fax: (757) 596-6199
Notes: Breakfast included; Free parking; Free Wi-fi

Holiday Inn Newport News City Center
980 Omni Boulevard, Newport News, VA
Phone: (757) 223-2110
Fax: (757) 223-2114
Notes: Offers direct billing for CNU

Days Inn - Oyster Point
11829 Fishing Point Drive
Newport News, VA 23606
Phone: (757) 873-6700
Fax: (757) 873-3755
Notes: Complimentary continental breakfast

Omni Richmond Hotel
100 South 12th Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 344-7000
Fax (804) 344-7256

Hilton Richmond Downtown
501 E Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 344-4300
Fax: (804) 344-4375
Notes: Valet parking; Complimentary shuttle

Richmond Marriott
500 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: (804) 643-3400
Fax (804) 649-3725

Holiday Inn Express - Hampton Coliseum Central
1813 W. Mercury Boulevard
Hampton, VA 23666
Phone: (757) 838-8484
Fax: (757) 826-0725
Notes: Complimentary breakfast; ask for CNU rate

Please review in-state, out-of-state and international per diem rates before completing your Prior Approval to Travel Form.

Travel Within the Continental U.S.

  • The General Services Administration (GSA) sets the rates. Please use the search criteria on the GSA website to obtain the rate for your lodging destination. The standard rate applies if a location is not listed. The lodging rate does not include taxes or fees charged by the hotel.
  • The lodging rate for Newport News is $96 plus tax. Meal limits:
    • Breakfast: $13, Lunch: $15, Dinner: $26

International Travel

  • The Department of State sets the rates. If a specific city is not listed, use the “Other” rate shown for that country. The lodging rate includes taxes charged by the hotel. The M&IE portion of the maximum per diem rate covers the cost of meals and incidental expenses.

Travel to Other U.S. Territories

  • The Department of Defense sets the rates.
  • Please contact General Accounting at general.accounting@cnu.edu if you have questions.

Faculty and staff are to use Chrome River to request reimbursement for travel and any other expenses. Please contact the Business Office before using the attached travel expense reimbursement voucher.

If you have questions or need additional information, please contact:

Erin Gray
Manager, General Accounting/Accounts Payable
(757) 594-7293


The Code of Virginia Prompt Payment Act requires vendors be paid within 30 days after receipt of an itemized invoice or 30 days after receipt of the goods or services, whichever is later.

The university is required to achieve a compliance rate of at least 95 percent to meet state management standards.

What you can buy:

  • Your Small Purchase Credit Card (SPCC) must be used for official CNU business purchases only.
  • You may never use your card for personal expenditures, for cash advances or to obtain “store credit.”
  • You may not use the card to purchase restricted items.
  • You may not use the card to purchase commodities marked as restricted for the card on the Goods & Services Procurement Guide.
  • Resident assistants may only purchase from a list of approved vendors.

Small Purchase Reconciliation

The Monthly Certification and Monthly Purchase Log are due to the Business Office the first workday of the month, along with the original receipts for each item purchased in the billing cycle.

It is the cardholder’s responsibility to ensure vendors have not charged tax on purchases. If tax has been charged, the cardholder must contact vendors to request a credit of the tax amount.

For more information about SPCCs, please contact the Office of Procurement.

Fixed Assets / Inventory

Contact Ellis Woodruff at (757) 594–8858 or via email at ewoodruf@cnu.edu with any questions.

Fixed asset accounting includes the following:

  • Acquisition of property
  • Transfer of property
  • Departmental inventory
  • Surplus of property

Please see the capital asset policy for detailed information.

Fixed assets include land, land improvements, infrastructure, buildings, building improvements, construction in progress, furniture and equipment, software, library books, works of art and historical treasures.

  • Assets can be purchased by placing an eVA order. Please see Office of Procurement Policies, and then paid for by credit card, if under $5,000, or with a university check, if over $5,000.
  • If an asset is donated to the university, please complete the donation form.
  • To transfer an asset from one department to another, please fill out an equipment transfer form.
  • If equipment will be on loan to an individual, please complete the equipment relocation form.
  • If equipment will be on loan for a long-term period off campus, please complete the long term off-campus relocation form.

A fixed asset inventory is required to be done by each department every year. Inventory procedures include:

  • A listing of fixed assets will be sent to each department for verification of their inventory each year.
  • The department should check off that each item listed on their inventory is accounted for.
  • The inventory work sheet should be used for any items that were transferred, sold or surplussed.
  • Any items that are reported on the inventory worksheet as missing, lost or stolen will be researched by the business office.
    • The business office will file a police report for the missing items.
  • If during the inventory it is determined that an asset is impaired, please complete the impairment of asset form.
  • Be sure to use the intangible assets form to inform the business office of any intangible assets.
  • The department manager must sign off on the inventory once it is complete and forward it on to the business office.
  • If during the inventory it is determined that an Asset Retirement Obligation exists, please complete the Asset Retirement Obligations Form.

If a fixed asset needs to be disposed of, a non-IT surplus property disposition request form should be filled out and submitted to the warehouse. The warehouse will then schedule the item to be picked up.

Surplus of technology (computers, hard drives, flash drives, copiers, printers, etc.) is handled by IT Services via the helpdesk.


  • Dining, catering and room rentals contracts/invoices are sent to the business office.
  • Internal contracts are reviewed for accuracy and forwarded to the department with a copy of the banquet and catering contract form and instruction sheet. External contracts are mailed to the customer.
  • The department completes the banquet and catering contract form and returns it the business office for payment.
  • Contact Erin Gray, AP and general accounting manager, at (757) 594–7293 or via email at generalaccounting@cnu.edu.

The Office of Sponsored Programs governs grant applications and management. All funds received for sponsored programs are under the fiscal control of the Business Office. These funds must be receipted in accordance with university policy, as well as state, federal and sponsored program regulations (including the federal Office of Management and Budget).

Contact Ellis Woodruff, grant manager, at (757) 594–8858 or via email at ewoodruff@cnu.edu.

An Individual Services Contract and COVA W–9 are required for all individuals contracting with the university. Contact Vicki Covington at 4–8068 or vicki.covington@cnu.edu for more information.

quick edit report a problem