July 2015

Table of Contents

Procurement Services

Prompt Pay

The Code of Virginia for prompt payment of bills by state agencies reads that every state agency that acquires goods or services, or conducts any other type of contractual business with nongovernmental, privately owned enterprises shall promptly pay for the completely delivered goods or services by the required payment date. As a state agency VCU is required to comply.

In order to pay invoices in a timely manner, receiving must occur and should be done when the product is delivered or the services incurred. Failure to enter receivers also compromises VCU’s relationships with its vendors.

Please review your departments receiving reports weekly and also respond to email requests from the Accounts Payable staff. Both of these exercises are being done to ensure that our obligations are being met and compliance is achieved.

If you have any questions, please contact Procurement Services at 804-828-1077 – prompt 1 – option 7.


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Controller’s Office

Research Dashboard

As you know, the Office of Research has launched their exciting new system, RAMS SPOT, for submitting proposals. Currently, the information from this new system does not feed data into the VCU Research Dashboard. Plans are underway to update the feeds to include information from this system, but it will take a few months to get this process in place and tested. Meanwhile, all of the award data continues to provide the latest information. It is only the pending proposal section of the dashboard that does not have any information on proposals entered in RAMS SPOT. We appreciate your patience as we manage the change associated with a new system implementation.

If you have any questions, please contact the Finance Help Line at 828-0388.


Grants & Contracts Accounting/Effort Report Updates

FYI and further distribution:

Employee departures - Gloria Foote has resigned from her position as Associate Director in Grants and Contracts Accounting to be effective July 3, 2015. For numerous years she has taught part-time at Bryant and Stratton, and has now decided to accept the opportunity afforded to teach full-time at Bryant and Stratton. Gloria began her career at VCU in July of 1990 and has witnessed the growth of VCU into a prominent national urban research institution. Her presence and contributions within G&C and at VCU will be missed by many at VCU.

Tricia Kelly will be departing Grants and Contracts Accounting effective July 9, 2015. Tricia has accepted employment as an HR Business Partner for the VA and New Jersey Region for a private corporation in the Richmond area. Tricia began her career at VCU in September 2010 as an Accountant in the Effort Reporting section of G&C, and was later promoted to Effort Reporting Supervisor. During her time at VCU she has contributed mightily to compliance and improvements in effort reporting training. We wish her well in her new career path.

2015 G&C Customer Satisfaction Survey Results Summary:
The Grants and Contract Accounting (GCA) Customer Satisfaction Survey was conducted through the facilities of the Survey and Evaluation Research Laboratory (SERL), a unit of the Center for Public Policy in the L. Douglas Wilder School at Virginia Commonwealth University. Invitations to complete the survey were e-mailed to 275 individuals. Thank you for your valuable feedback and suggestions. The Final Summary is provided:

The findings from the GCA Customer Satisfaction Survey show that overall customers are satisfied with GCA staff and services. Of the 112 respondents surveyed, 2 out of 3 were able to name their GCA customer service team (64%). In addition, the majority of respondents (67%) reported that new grant, index or fund numbers were created within the appropriate timeframe of three business days (67%). No difference in assigning numbers was found among teams.

Overall GCA staff was rated “excellent” and “very good” on timeliness and knowledge. Staff were rated most helpful with extensions, closeouts or release controls, post award changes, and program income. They were rated as less helpful in cost overruns, cost sharing, and unallowable costs.

Effort Reporting staff were rated as “excellent” (49%) or “very good”(37%) by the majority of respondents. However, respondents reported being significantly less satisfied with the ECRT system (“excellent” (21%), “very good” (30%)). Questions about the ECRT system were reported to be “always” resolved in a timely manner by a majority of respondents (64%).

Use of Banner Finance and the Reporting Center was high (daily use reported by 69%), with the majority of respondents reporting they did not require assistance from GCA staff (95%). The majority of respondents report reconciling the funds they are responsible for on a monthly basis (80%). In addition, most respondents report using ePrintreports to assist them in their reconciliation of funds (76%).

Almost all respondents were aware of the VCU Reporting Center (96%), and the majority reported using the reports provided by the Center on a regular basis (80%). An overwhelming majority of respondents report they are “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the reports they receive from the Center. Those who are dissatisfied mention it is difficult to navigate and read reports. Twenty-two respondents made requests for additional reports that they would like to have access to (see Table 47).

Only 3 respondents were not able to rate the user friendliness of the website. Most of those who did rate the friendliness of the website, gave a rating of “good” (45%). Roughly 28% reported the user friendliness as being “very good” or “excellent”, while 23% gave a rating of “fair” or “poor”. Three primary reasons were given for dissatisfaction with the website: 1) Issues with Forms, 2) Not easy to navigate or find things, 3) Information is not clear and concise.

Finally, 38% of the respondents reported that they are “very satisfied” with GCA overall, with an additional 48% reporting that they are “satisfied”. If these two ratings are combined, the level of satisfaction has increased by almost 20% since the last customer survey was conducted in 2012. Only 5% of respondents reported being “dissatisfied” or “very dissatisfied” with GCA. The rate of respondents who provided a neutral overall rating of GCA (not satisfied or dissatisfied) dropped from 32% in 2012 to 13% in 2015. In depth and detailed comments were left indicating that the survey was completed in a thoughtful manner by participants.


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 12-25-14 to 05-09-15 are due by 08-14-15

Quarterly certifications period 12-10-14 to 03-09-14 were due by 06-14-15

Semi-Annual certifications period 06/10/14 to 12/09/14 were due by 04-21-15

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

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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