March 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

March, 2017 - Travel Services Trainings

Travel Policy & Procedures March 21st, 9:00am – 10:30am, Monroe Park Campus
Chrome River Hand-On Training March 28th, 1:00pm – 3:00pm, Monroe Park Campus
Christopherson Hands-On Training March 30th, 1:00pm – 3:00pm, Monroe Park Campus


Registration information is available on Procurement Service’s website, on the I Want To Receive Training/Take a Classroom Course page. Please email for questions or concerns.

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Budget and Resource Analysis

University Budget Redesign News

Work on the new university budget model is progressing. Here’s a quick update. Please visit the website for more detailed information and to provide feedback:

What’s been done? The UBR Task Force completed its two-year research and model recommendation process late last year, and produced over two dozen recommendations. The Steering Committee reviewed and acted on those after the winter break. These initial decisions cover the allocation of tuition and fee revenue, FACR, undergraduate financial aid, and central costs of the university. The University Budget Office is now analyzing the implications of these decisions, and will report its findings to the Steering Committee. Many decisions are still pending.

How will it work? A few UBR highlights. The 14 schools/college are the “revenue units” under the new model; all other units are “central support units.” The new model stops at the school/college central unit level, so each dean/director will decide how fiscal and budgeting decisions will be made at the departmental/sub-unit level. It will not change existing tuition rates and fees or how those funds are collected from students. However, under the model those revenues will be allocated directly to the schools/college and auxiliaries. Most FACR will be allocated to the earning units, except the portion required to be retained centrally by state law. Units will be charged for central supports (e.g., HR, OSP, IT, libraries) and space based on a small set of related, common metrics such as faculty/staff headcount, student FTE, assigned square footage, and grant expenditures. Central support units will continue to have base budgets that can be offset by internal and external revenue, and will be allocated a portion of central space costs.

How can I be involved? The University Budget Office team has held meetings with the business officers in all major academic units. We will be scheduling at least two meetings with each dean and business officer team over the spring semester. We’ll repeat this process with those in central support units. You’ll soon hear about UBR training opportunities to help you with the transition and prepare for more intensive use of Hyperion, a budgeting and data reporting system.

What’s next? UBR implementation will occur over the next three fiscal years. We will begin with parallel reporting in FY18. This means the current budget model will remain in effect, but units will receive information showing how their revenues and expenses would look under the new model. In FY19, the new model will be implemented on a “steady state” basis. This will give units a second full year to prepare for final implementation. We plan to go live with the new model in FY20.

Have questions or ideas? Read the FAQs and share your thoughts at the UBR website (, or contact Leslie Brown at

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Controller's Office

How to remove Chrome River Travel Encumbrances

Instructions to remove Chrome River travel encumbrances can be found on the Controller’s Office website: This link brings you to the Banner Finance job aids page and as you scroll down on the “how do I” listing you will find how to remove a travel encumbrance under the ‘Enter and Approve Transactions’ section.

The link on Procurement’s website had incorrectly lead Banners users to the instructions on removing other types of encumbrances. This is being updated to the new link above.

The removal of Chrome River travel encumbrances is different than normal encumbrance removals because they require a unique rule code and in most cases the dollar amount will be zero. The most common error is doubling the encumbrance instead of removing it. Other errors are being generated due to the use of incorrect rule codes on partial liquidations. Please check the results after your entry is posted to ensure your entry did what was intended.

Contact the Finance Help-Line with any questions: 828-0388.

Grants & Contracts Accounting/Effort Report Updates

FYI and further distribution:

March 2017 merit-based bonuses
Currently, based on university policy and federal guidance, bonuses cannot be paid with grant funds. Any bonuses which are initially paid from sponsored funds due to an employee's existing labor distribution at that pay period will need to be removed to a non-sponsored funding source. There is no guarantee when the university consultants will respond to the Controller Office questions regarding the interpretation of recent changes in federal guidance, so departments should expect to identify an appropriate non-sponsored funding source to perform PHAREDS to remove them as soon as possible after 3/31/17. Thank you for your understanding.

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).

Effort Reporting and ECRT Updates

Due to ongoing verification of clinical payroll data, the ECRT release of the semi-annual clinical period (06/10/2016 to 12/09/2016) did not open for certifications on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 as scheduled. We will keep you informed of any updates as needed, but we anticipate a new release date soon. Please feel free to contact the Effort Reporting team if you have any questions or concerns.

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

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

Semi-Annual certifications period 12/10/15 to 06/09/16 were due by 10-21-16

Semester certifications period 5-10-16 to 08-09-16 were due by 11-14-2016

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

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

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

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.

Effort Reporting’s website:
Helpful Tools

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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