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August 2014

Table of Contents

Procurement Services

Updated Allowable & Non Allowable Business Expenditure Charts

Procurement Services worked with the Office of the Provost, VP of Health Sciences, and the VP of Finance & Administration to modify several areas of the Allowable and Non-Allowable Business Expenditure charts. The areas with the most substantial change are Employee Business Meals, Employee Recognition Expenditures, and Regalia (purchases & reimbursements). These changes will help ensure equitable application of the guidelines throughout the university.

http://procurement.vcu.edu/i-want-to/make-a-purchase/know-what-you-can-and-cannot-buy

If you have questions, please contact Sarah O’Neill at 828-5056 or sdoneill@vcu.edu.


Tuition Reimbursement Policy

Departments are reminded that fulltime faculty and classified employees may only be reimbursed for job-related courses taken at other educational institutions provided the courses are not offered at VCU and are directly related to the employee's job.

  • Employees must receive approval from the Department Head prior to registering for classes. http://www.hr.vcu.edu/media/hr/documents/Reimbursement_Certification_Form.pdf
  • Department Heads that approve a tuition reimbursement are certifying the courses are not offered at VCU and are directly related to the employee’s job.
  • Employees will not be reimbursed for courses taken at other institutions if both qualifying parts of the policy are not followed.

Please review the entire Educational and Training Opportunities policy at:http://www.assurance.vcu.edu/Policy%20Library/Education%20&%20Training%20Opportunities.pdf

If you have questions, please contact Sarah O’Neill at 828-5056 or sdoneill@vcu.edu.


Christopherson Business Travel

VCU’s new Travel Management Company, Christopherson Business Travel, went live on Monday July 7. University travelers can now book travel via full-service agents or the customized online booking tool.

Christopherson Business Travel hosts training webinars each Thursday from 12pm – 12:40pm for the “My Travel” dashboard and the online booking tool. Register for a training session by logging into Christopherson Business Travel and select “Training Webinars” under “My Travel.”

Procurement Services will be hosting training webinars. Dates for training will be released starting in mid-August. Please check the Procurement training page for upcoming dates. This procurement webinar will be recorded and posted on the Procurement Services website.

Departments are reminded that university support was garnered for this Travel Management contract to be mandatory-use for VCU employees purchasing airline and rail tickets for official business using University funds.

For more information including updated FAQs, visit: http://procurement.vcu.edu/i-want-to/travel/book-travel/

If you have questions, please contact Nick Fetzer at nfetzer@vcu.edu or 828-3409.


Agency Travel Card (ATC) to Book Air and Rail Tickets

Effective July 7, 2014, an Agency Travel Card (ATC) will be available for new travel bookings through Christopherson Business Travel. Departments will have the option to purchase air and rail tickets using the online booking tool or full agent assisted bookings. http://procurement.vcu.edu/i-want-to/travel/understand-methods-of-payment/

To utilize the ATC card for air and rail bookings, departments are required to supply the 12-digit Chrome River Pre-Approval number and the authorized departmental Banner index number via the online booking tool or to the Christopherson travel agent. Pre Approvals are required for all ATC charges including guest travelers and trips under $500.

If you have questions, please contact Ashley Verdecchia at aeverdecchia@vcu.edu or 628-2887.


Cash Advance Reminder

Travelers requesting cash advances are reminded that the reconciliation and/or repayment of the cash advance must be completed within 30 days of the last date of travel. The reconciliation and repayment is the responsibility of the traveler. Payroll deductions are requested after 45 days and should not be seen as a convenience for the traveler. Procurement Services will charge an administrative fee of $50 to the department for all delinquent balances that must be referred to Payroll.

For questions, please contact Ashley Verdecchia aeverdecchia@vcu.edu.


Chrome River Pre-Approval - New Country Field Required

Chrome River users who fill out pre-approvals will now be required to select the destination country for their travel from a drop down menu. If a high-risk country is selected an automatic, additional approval will be required from the Office of Research.

VCU has an obligation to ensure that university travelers are in compliance with federal export control laws, which govern the transfer of certain information, items, or technologies to foreign countries to protect national security, trade, foreign policy or to comply with international agreements.

For more information, please contact Ashley Verdecchia at aeverdecchia@vcu.edu or 628-2887


Changes to Moving and Relocation Procedures

In an effort to streamline Moving and Relocation reimbursements, Procurement Services has overhauled the paperwork and procedures involved with these reimbursements.

A new excel workbook will help departments track the moving and relocation expenses of their new employees, as well as more easily keep track of multiple reimbursement requests. Once completed, departments will now be able to submit the entire reimbursement request package electronically by scanning receipts and emailing them with the new excel workbook to moverelocate@vcu.edu.

Detailed instructions on the new documents and procedures can be found on the Procurement Services Website: http://procurement.vcu.edu/i-want-to/plan-moving-relocation

Procurement Services will be hosting a training session on the new documents and procedures on Wednesday, August 6 at 10am. It will be held in the West Grace North Residence Hall at 830 West Grace Street. The building is at the corner of Grace Street and North Schafer Street, and the training session will be held in room 1030J.

You may register for these training sessions here: http://training.vcu.edu/default.asp

For more information, please contact Nick Fetzer at nbfetzer@vcu.edu or 804-828-3409.


Department Transaction Reports, Available and More Helpful than Billing Statements

If you’re tired of manually typing out each transaction in your billing cycle, then consider using the Department Transaction Report.

The report can be found in Works under Reports > Spend Reports. Under “Report Template” choose the “Department Transaction Report.” This report can be downloaded as an Excel document and it gives you all of your transaction information, including vendor information and comments.

Using this report could save you time by replacing the old log sheet, a form no longer required by VCU. The report even lets you know if your reviewer has or has not signed off on a purchase taking the mystery out of online reconciliation.

If you have any questions, please contact corpcard@vcu.edu or call Lena Massie at 828-3407 or Lauren Katchuk at 828-4232.


Procurement Services Classes

Procurement Services offers many different classroom and online training opportunities. A full list and brief description of each class can be found on the Procurement Services website under Training and Support Services. http://procurement.vcu.edu/i-want-to/receive-training/

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 Blackboard, 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/Effort Report Updates

FYI and further distribution:

Non University-wide bonus and recognition payroll charges on sponsored projects -- At VCU generally as a best practice, these type of bonuses and recognition awards should not paid from sponsored programs because of the increased compliance risks associated with the difficulty to document and justify allocability. University-wide bonuses and raises are not questioned because of the consistent application. During the recent VCU Office of Grants and Contracts Accounting/Effort Reporting audit by the Office of Assurance Services, there were bonus-type transactions that were questioned and required detailed explanation to satisfy the allocability of the costs. Additional communication will be forthcoming.

Final Expenditure Reports (FER) -- FERs issued by G&C Accountants and forwarded to Principal Investigators or Administrators for certification satisfy the required review of the final financial activity of the budget year or project year. The FER used by G&C Accountants has been recently revised to identify carry-forward (if applicable) to be requested by the P.I. on budget year awards where not already specifically allowed by sponsor award type. The FER certification is required on all federal projects, and is consistently applied to all sponsored projects as verification that all expenditures charged to the sponsored project are for the purpose of the award, and in accordance with the agreement. Non-compliance risks are greatly increased when an FER is not returned to the Accountant in a timely manner.

  • Reminder – Post Doc and Graduate stipend/scholarship/award payments from sponsored projects cannot have all lines (all pay dates) on the purchase order “received” at the same time. The payments due from the P.O. on sponsored projects must be partially received to ensure that the resulting expenditure that posts in Banner based on the receiving action is not more than the actual stipend payment/s to be issued by VCU Accounts Payable on or near that date. Additionally, when establishing the payment schedule for the Trainee with Accounts Payable, the schedule should only be established initially to the end of the awarded budget period. This way the incorrect budget year index will not be erroneously charged.

Effort Reporting and ECRT Updates

All departments in ECRT must have an established Primary Effort Coordinator. This access is limited to one (1) Primary Coordinator per department. Additional Secondary Coordinators may be added as needed with viewing and reporting access only. Please utilize the ECRT Access Request form found on the Controller's Website when requesting new access or submitting updates/changes as necessary.

Your assistance is needed with the upcoming and past due effort reporting deadlines:

Semester certifications period 12-25-13 to 05-09-14 are due by 08-14-14

Quarterly certifications period 03-10-14 to 06-09-14 are due by 09-14-14

Semi-Annual certifications period 12/10/13 to 06/09/14 are due by 10-21-14

Quarterly certifications period 12-10-13 to 03-09-14 were due by 06-14-14

Semester certifications period 08-10-13 to 12-24-13 were due by 03-21-14

Semi-Annual certifications period 06/10/13 to 12/09/13 were due by 04-21-14

Remember to conduct proactive reviews (especially before grants close-out), communicate frequently with your faculty to verify the accuracy of their commitments, and to complete the processing of all ECRT cards assigned.

Other Effort Links:

ECRT URL: https://ecrtprod.asauxweb.vcu.edu/ecrt
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

Grants and Contracts Accounting/Effort Reporting extends our gratitude to you for all that you do to assist our office and to minimize non-compliance risks on sponsored programs at VCU. Please don’t hesitate to contact a G&C/Effort Reporting staff member if at any time you have questions that cannot be answered by content on the Controller/G&C website.


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ePrint Budget Reports

FGRBDSC and FGRODTA reports are now available on e~Print at https://eprint.asauxweb.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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