July 2017

Published monthly, the Fiscal Administrators' News is where you can find the latest information regarding the Office of Procurement Services.

Table of Contents

Procurement Services

Hertz Car Rental Contract

VCU is now able to access a VASCUPP contract for car rental with Hertz, giving us a second option alongside Enterprise. The Hertz contract has very aggressive rates for rentals originating in Virginia, so Procurement Services strongly recommends using Hertz for in-state rentals. Rates and ordering instructions are available on the VCU Procurement website: http://procurement.vcu.edu/i-want-to/travel/learn-about-transportation-options/#rental-vehicles


Changes to Pending Queue in Works

Effective Monday, June 19th, Bank of America Works implemented a date filter on the pending sign off screens. Cardholders and Reviewers are now required to change that filter in order to see any charges older than 30 days from today. Step by step instructions on how to change the filters are available on our website here.

If you have any questions, please contact corpcard@vcu.edu.


Billing Address Changes in Works

CorpCard will systematically change the billing addresses from “P.O. Box” to “Box” to for all cards in the Bank of America Works system. These changes will take effect July 1st. Please begin using the “Box” address at that time to avoid potential card declines for address mismatches.

If you have any questions, please contact corpcard@vcu.edu.


Updated Exception Request Form

The updated Request for Exception Form is now available on the website. Please begin using this form immediately.

If you have any questions, please contact corpcard@vcu.edu.


Travel Card Policy Changes

All current travel cardholders and their supervisors must complete and sign the new Travel Card Employee Agreement and email it to corpcard@vcu.edu by close of business Friday July 14, 2017.

This requirement is to acknowledge the changes in terms and conditions:

  • Cardholder’s limits will no longer be associated with their personal credit history.
  • The standard limit on current travel cards has been raised to $5,000. Cardholders with greater limits will not be affected.
  • Accounts that are delinquent past 60 days will be submitted to Payroll to deduct the delinquent funds from the cardholder’s paycheck.

Cardholders who do not submit the new Travel Card Employee Agreement by the due date will have their cards cancelled.


Importance of Properly Entering Orders in eVA

It is important that all VCU departments do their part to ensure that all purchases are properly documented in eVA. Proper documentation not only provides VCU with an accurate historical record of what was purchased, but it also allows for more effective data analysis which can be used to discover new purchasing efficiencies for all of VCU. Please encourage employees who enter requisitions to type in an accurate description of exactly what is being purchased (please do not just enter a quote number in the description field!), enter the contract number if applicable (very important), and select the most accurate commodity code possible. We greatly appreciate your assistance with this, as accurate, usable data is of tremendous value to all of us.


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Controller's Office

Grants & Contracts Accounting/Effort Report Updates

FYI and further distribution:

Advance Index Requests
To best assist departments in the post award process, we request department’s assistance with completing all of the required fields of the Advance Index Request. This also includes providing all available proposals numbers (PT, PD, SC, and FP numbers) and the VID of the Principal Investigator. It is also helpful if a copy of the RFP or announcement can accompany the advance index request to aid in the grant establishment process.

90 Day Notices
An administrative action may be required in Rams-Spot, when selecting options 1. Additional years/Additional funding, 2. Supplemental funding, and 3. No-Cost Extension only. In the event the department is aware that the new year of an award will be assigned a new award number (by the Sponsor), a new FP may also be needed in Rams-Spot.

Transferring Principal Investigators (Internal and External-Prime Sponsor)
Grants and Contracts Accounting (G&C) requests your assistance with alerting both G&C and OSP when the department receives notification that an internal Principal Investigator and/or an external (prime) Principal Investigator is separating/transferring. This form of separation may impact the awarding period of performance and/or the University’s ability to be appropriately reimbursed by the Sponsor. If assistance is needed, we are happy to partner with you to navigate these instances.

What should we do, if a Sponsor sends an award directly to the principal investigator and/or department administrative staff? Per the Sponsored Programs Award Review, Negotiation, Acceptance and Notification Policy, “Only an Authorized Official may execute agreements on behalf of VCU. Please forward the agreement to the Office of Sponsored Programs via the RAMSā€SPOT system for review and negotiation.” Additional guidance is provided in the link below.
Sponsored Programs Award Review, Negotiation

What should we do, if a subawardee notifies the University and/or Principal Investigator that additional funding is needed to meet the objectives of an existing award? The Principal Investigator should not obligate University funding without having the appropriate subaward agreement from the Office Sponsored Programs.

Per the Sponsored Programs Award Review, Negotiation, Acceptance and Notification Policy, “Only an Authorized Official may execute agreements on behalf of VCU. Please notify Office of Sponsored Programs if a modification of an existing agreement needs to be considered. Additional guidance is provided in the link below.
Sponsored Programs Award Review, Negotiation

Cost Transfers on Sponsored Projects – Focus of increased audit review:
Effective immediately, all cost transfers to sponsored programs are subject to be reviewed for detailed documentation. You should ensure that your department has established written internal controls to minimize questionable cost transfers, as well as other non-compliant post 60-day cost transfers, and that the internal controls are documented in your department’s ARMICS measures. Federal regulations require additional documentation to support ALL cost transfers to sponsored program indexes. Costs may not be shifted to other research projects or from one budget period to the next period solely to cover cost overruns. Cost transfers based on funding considerations are prohibited (i.e., cannot transfer costs to use up remaining funds).
G&C Cost Transfer Procedures


Effort Reporting and ECRT Updates

Starting in May G&C, Effort Reporting staff, and Huron Inc., the software providers for the ECRT system, kicked-off our upgrade from release 4.1 to release 5.2. The upgrade will take place from May 22nd through the end of July 2017. VCU employees from central administrative areas, school/department/division level directors/administrators will be invited to participate in varied roles which may include on the Steering Committee (including technical staff), Project Management Team, and Training Team.

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

Quarterly certifications period 12-10-16 to 03-09-17 were due by 06-14-17

Semi-Annual certifications period 06/10/16 to 12/09/16 were due by 04-21-17

Semester certifications period 08-10-16 to 12-24-16 were due by 03-21-2017

Quarterly certifications period 03-10-17 to 06-09-17 are due by 09-14-17

Semester certifications period 12-25-16 to 05-09-17 are due by 08-14-2017

Semi-Annual certifications period 12/10/16 to 06/09/17 are due by 10-21-17

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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