July 2012

Table of Contents

Procurement Services

Travel RFPs Update

Procurement Services is excited to announce that significant improvements to the VCU travel program are coming soon! The Evaluation Committee has selected firms for negotiations for both the travel management services contract and the automated reimbursement solution. Negotiations will be held in July with anticipated award of contracts in August. Implementation will begin as soon as possible after contracts are finalized with campus-wide roll-out to be completed in 2013.

The resulting contract for travel management services will have many benefits for VCU travelers including:

  • Ability to locate VCU travelers at any time in case of catastrophic accident, natural disaster, or political unrest requiring action;
  • Reduced transaction fees;
  • Ability to book travel using an intuitive online booking tool configured with VCU policy;
  • Replacement of current paper Travel Authorization process with an electronic process, including the ability to authorize directly through email;
  • Ability to access online booking tool with existing University eID;
  • Access to travel itineraries through mobile devices;
  • Ability for travelers to continue to collect airline frequent flyer miles.

VCU will also be able to leverage aggregate travel spend to negotiate lower airline, train, hotel, and car rental pricing for all VCU travelers.

The automated reimbursement solution will replace the current paper process which will benefit VCU travelers in the following ways:

  • Policy configuration within the solution will improve compliance to promote complete and accurate expense report submissions;
  • Decreased reimbursement turn-around time;
  • Ability to utilize mobile devices for receipt submissions;
  • Ability for approvers to review and approve expense reports directly through email;
  • Ability to access automated reimbursement solution with existing University eID;
  • Departmental access to robust reporting on travel spend patterns.

Stay tuned for updates on the implementation process and campus-wide roll-out! Please contact Mary Lou Bulger at 8-0904 or David Zoll at 6-2886 with any questions related to the travel project or visit our website at http://www.vcu.edu/procurement/travel/comingsoon.html.

Travel Advance Reminder

Employees who have received a travel advance must submit their travel reimbursement paperwork to Procurement Services within thirty (30) days from the last date of travel. If travel reimbursement paperwork is not received in our office and the travel advance remains unsettled forty-five (45) days from the last date of travel, Procurement Services will initiate payroll deduction for the entire advance amount. Additional travel advances will not be issued to any individual who has an unsettled travel advance or who has had a payroll deduction due to an unsettled travel advance. Each employee who agrees to accept a travel advance signs the repayment agreement and must adhere to the timeframes. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Sarah O’Neill at 828-5056 or sdoneill@vcu.edu.

Department’s Request For Paperwork

Departments are reminded to retain copies of all travel related paperwork prior to sending originals to Procurement Services. The travel area receives requests daily to locate and send copies back to departments. The Travel area will not be able to accommodate these requests because it is adversely impacting travel reimbursement processing times. If the need is urgent, please contact Sarah O'Neill as sdoneill@vcu.edu or 828-5056.

Office Supply Contract

Procurement Services is utilizing data available from the past year of the contract to identify purchase trends. The information will be used to revise and renegotiate pricing on the Core Item lists to reflect lower prices on the items most commonly purchased across the university. Therefore, departments are encouraged to purchase supplies from the Core Item lists. Information on accessing the Core Items lists is available on the website: http://www.vcu.edu/procurement/purchasing/contracts/universitycontracts/officesupply/core.html

For the new fiscal year, here are some other cost saving and sustainability tips to consider:

  • Purchasing Remanufactured Toner: On average, remanufactured cartridges are 38% less expensive than name-brand cartridges. In Ball and Guy Brown’s punchout catalogs, remanufactured toner cartridges are displayed as alternate or suggested products when a name-brand toner is searched. Departments can also look up remanufactured toner part numbers by using the “Machine Matching” function on the Ball website.
  • Consolidating orders: Departments are encouraged to consolidate orders when possible to reduce administrative expense and time to generate a purchase order. Placing fewer orders will also help support campus sustainability efforts in the reduction of corrugated boxes and fuel used for deliveries. If you have any questions in regard to the Office Supply contract, please contact Lauren Franks at lfranks@vcu.edu or 828-5063 or Mary Lou Bulger at mlbulger@vcu.edu or 828-0904.

Cooperative Contracts

The contracts section of our website has been revised to add information about accessing other cooperative contracts. When obtaining quotes for your requirements, you should ask the vendor to provide you with a quote based on the best contract price available for use by VCU. The information on other cooperative contracts is located at: http://www.vcu.edu/procurement/purchasing/contracts/othercoopcon.html. You may contact any member of the buying staff for information or guidance regarding these contracts.

Procurement Services Classes

The Office of Procurement Services offers many different classroom and online training opportunities. A full list and brief description of each class can be found the Procurement Services website under Training and Support Services. http://www.vcu.edu/procurement/training/training.html

To register for available classroom classes, go to http://training.vcu.edu/. Choose "Office of Procurement Services” under "Sponsor". Select the appropriate class and follow the instructions to register. Please note: Registrants are encouraged to keep an eye on their e-mail in the week preceding a class. Low registration numbers will result in a class cancellation.

To access classes available on Black Board, go to http://blackboard.vcu.edu/ using your VCU eID and password and click on the “Courses” tab in the top row. Search by the class title.

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Controller’s Office

Grants & Contracts Accounting Updates

  • Please join all the staff in the office of Grants and Contracts Accounting in welcoming Sharon Johnson as our newest Grant Accountant, and member of the Alpha Customer Service Team. Sharon was previously employed by VCU Treasury Services, as well as formerly in GCA. Sharon replaces Tiffany Mason (now our Cash Compliance Coordinator), and will be responsible for all grants/contracts formerly administered by Tiffany. A complete listing of the GCA Customer Service Teams with the various departments/schools serviced can be found on our website at: http://www.controller.vcu.edu/grants/gc-admin/CustomerServiceTeams.pdf.
  • GCA is currently preparing for the VCU FY 2012 audit by the Commonwealth of VA Auditor of Public Accounts (APA). The audit includes a comprehensive review of research expenditures (including labor), transfers, and effort. Your assistance is requested to respond timely to several upcoming requests for supporting documentation which will assist in minimizing audit non-compliance risks. Please be sure that you utilize the available reports in the VCU Reporting Center and in ECRT to monitor your department/school/center sponsored agreements for compliance with the award agreement.
  • Grants and Contracts continues to receive a large number of requests to transfer costs (payroll and non-payroll) which occurred beyond 60 days after the Banner/ePrint month end report reflecting the erroneous posting. Departments that consistently demonstrate the lack of monthly reconciling to avoid such noncompliant risks for the University, jeopardize future funding efforts not only within their department, but also for all faculty at VCU.  Labor reports should be reviewed every payroll to verify the accuracy of posting, and to ensure that any needed changes in assignments due to new funding or termination of awards have been made to the individual PAFs as needed in a timely manner. The late receipt of an official award from a sponsor is not justification to allow an employee's labor to be charged to an index that does not reflect where their effort is being performed.
  • An award's conditions and the sponsor's financial reporting requirement determines how GCA Accountants setup new and continuation awards in Banner. It is a established procedure that when the sponsor requires financial reporting based on a annual budget period, and requires carry-forward approval, a new index will be established in Banner for each budget period. Agreements that do not have financial reporting requirements, or where the sponsor financial reporting requirement is cumulative based on the total project costs, a single index must be established and used for the competitive segment or project term. This procedure is expected to continue, although new budget entry procedures are currently under review that will aid budget period reporting in the research dashboard. If new funding is expected but has not been officially executed by the sponsor or OSP, and the award type requires a new Index for each budget period, an Advance Banner Index may be requested through your G&C Customer Service Team by completing and emailing the form at: http://www.controller.vcu.edu/grants/gc-admin/G&CBannerNumberRequest.pdf. This measure will also assist in minimizing non-compliant transfers.
  • Please remember that the Fiscal Administrator's Handbook is available as a very useful reference to assist with your required monthly reconciling of all Banner Indexes. The below link is provided: http://www.controller.vcu.edu/handbook/
  • Upcoming G&C Accounting Training Session scheduled dates; August 22, September 19, October 17, and November 14. All training sessions will be held in the G&C Accounting conference room. If you have specific training needs that may be of a more advanced nature, please contact Gloria Foote at 804828-5758.
  • Remember...Compliance is every employee's responsibility. THANKS!
  • GCA including Effort Reporting personnel contact information can be found at: http://www.controller.vcu.edu/grants/grantsstaff.htm

Effort Reporting and ECRT Updates

  • GCA and Effort Reporting will be upgrading ECRT to release v4.1. The planning phase has begun and will continue into the Fall 2012. Effort Coordinators should have received a survey seeking responses that will assist Effort Reporting in the planning phase to determine capabilities needed to assist them with their coordinator responsibilities. Training is scheduled to take place during the Fall 2012. Updates regarding the status of the upgrade will be provided as they are available. Some of the enhancements with the upgrade will be: Improvements with displaying data and items requiring action; system generated emails and alerts; improved reporting; and inquiry/look-up.
  • Your assistance is needed with the following upcoming effort reporting deadlines:
    • Quarterly certifications (period 12-10-11 to 3-09-12) were due by 06-14-1
    • Semester certifications (period 12-25-11 to 05-09-12) are due by 08-14-12
    • Semi-Annual certifications (period 12/10/2011 to 6/9/2012) are due by 10-21-12
  • Remember to conduct proactive reviews, communicate frequently with your faculty to verify the accuracy of their commitments, and to complete the processing of all ECRT cards assigned.
  • ECRT’s updated URL is: https://effort.ts.vcu.edu/ecrt/initWelcome.do

Other Effort Links:
Effort Reporting's website: http://www.controller.vcu.edu/grants/effort.htm
Helpful Tools: http://www.controller.vcu.edu/grants/ECRThelpfultools.html
FAQs: http://www.controller.vcu.edu/grants/ECRTfaq.html

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Budget Office

Updates and Reminders

  • FY 2013 Budget will be loaded and available on Monday, July 2, 2012.
  • Budget Implementation Summaries will be provided the first week of July, 2012.
  • If you have keyed any permanent budget transactions after March 31, 2012, please remember that you will need to re-key them after July 2 for FY 2013.
  • Find out what is new in the Budget Process Transformation by clicking on the following link: http://www.budget.vcu.edu/transformation/index.html
  • o If you have any comments or questions, you can use the “Comments” link or directly email to GOTBUDGET@vcu.edu
  • Are you a new fiscal administrator and need some one-on-one guidance and tutoring from the Budget Office? Or, if you have been around for a while and would still like some one-on-one time with your budget analyst to discuss topics/projects/questions/suggestions, please contact your budget analyst to schedule a time where we can come out and visit you!

ePrint Budget Reports

FGRBDSC and FGRODTA reports are now available on e~Print at https://eprint.adm.vcu.edu/cgi-bin/eprint.cgi.

As you review the reports you may have questions concerning the data contained within them. Please briefly outline your questions on a Financial Inquiry and forward directly to the appropriate department via e-mail, fax, or campus mail. Remember that you can check the status of deposits or disbursements through the on-line inquiry screens.

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