November 2017

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

Table of Contents

Finance and Administration

Staff Holidays and Celebrations


As we enter the holiday season, many departments and units will be holding holiday celebrations to recognize and celebrate the staff during this time. This communication serves as a kindly reminder to remain responsible stewards of University resources and departments do not consider institutional funds (all ledgers) to pay for these activities. However, informal social events such as pot luck meals and desserts are certainly encouraged as appropriate ways for colleagues to share the holiday spirit. The use of other non-institutional funds for these activities should be considered with prudence.

The official University sponsored celebration will be the annual holiday reception from 3 to 5 pm hosted by President Rao at the University Student Commons on the Monroe Park Campus on December 1, 2017.

Thank you.

Karol Kain Gray
Vice President for Finance and Budget

Gail Hackett, Ph.D.
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

[Back to Top]

Procurement Services

Limitations on Receiving Vendor/Contractor “Gifts”

Vendors and contractors at times seek to express their appreciation for the University's business through gifts, especially during the holiday season.

As a public institution, VCU and its employees are required to follow assorted rules and policies governing procurement, conflict of interests, ethics and receipt (and reporting) of gifts. It is the general practice of VCU and its employees “not” to solicit or accept gifts of any kind from vendors or contractors, not only throughout the holiday season but throughout the entire year.

If vendors or contractors have sent gifts in the past, we highly encourage departments to send a notice, similar to the notice at 2017 Notice to Vendors Gifts and Entertainment Restrictions, to preclude mishaps during the upcoming holiday season. In addition, any gifts that are received should be politely and promptly returned with similar notice to the vendor or contractor.

If you have any questions about soliciting or accepting gifts from vendors or contractors, please contact Brenda Mowen, the Director of Procurement Services at or 828-3361.

Winter Closing Payment Processing Schedule

Winter Close is fast approaching and the countdown has begun! Please make every effort to insure that receivers have been completed in Banner for invoices to process in a timely manner. If you have any questions regarding Procurement Services’ Winter Closing deadlines please contact us at (804) 828-1077 or direct your inquiries to the email addresses as noted on the below schedule.

Cutoff Date and TimeTransaction TypeBy What Means 
Dec 01
04:30 PM
Requisitions for Purchases Between $10k - $50k eVA
(Fully Approved Requisition)
Requisitions for purchases between $10k - $50k must be received by this date to ensure PO processing prior to winter break
Contact with questions
Dec 01
04:30 PM
Moving & Relocation Reimbursements Email to
(Successfully Delivered)
Moving and Relocation reimbursement requests received by this date with all necessary documentation will be submitted to Payroll
Contact with questions
Dec 08
04:30 PM
Invoices Invoices received via USPS or Email to
(Successfully Delivered)
Invoices received "after" this cutoff will ONLY be processed as time permits
Contact with questions
Dec 08
04:30 PM
Travel & Personal Reimbursements Chrome River
(Fully Approved Transaction)
Requests received "after" this cutoff will ONLY be processed as time permits
Contact with questions
Dec 15
P-Card P-Card Transaction
(Fully Approved by Vendor)
Bank of America (BOA) transactions posted from 11/14-12/15/17 will be processed before close
Contact with questions
Dec 20
04:30 PM
P-Card P-Card Allocations Allocations must be completed by close of business in order for Banner upload to be completed
Contact with questions

How Do I Submit a Contract for Review?

Procurement Services is committed to providing your department the most thorough and efficient review of a contract. Over the next few months, Procurement Services will publish a three part informative series discussing Preparation, Submission, and Signature of a contract. Here, part one will discuss how to prepare a contract valued at $10,000 or less for review.

Part 1 of 3: Preparing a Contract for Review

First, gather all necessary documents such as the quote, terms and conditions, and any document “incorporated herein by reference.” Moreover, be sure to gather documents that may be referenced in a hyperlink or located on a website. Often, vendors will place this language in fine print at the end of a document or buried amongst other language.

Second, ensure material terms are included in the above documents such as dates, prices, quantity, and correct party names. The material terms mentioned are only a handful of the necessary terms to create a valid binding contract—but the terms mentioned herein should be analyzed by your department.

Finally, once you have gathered the proper documents—read the terms and conditions. Due to the intimate relationship with the goods or services, your department can offer practical advice and assistance throughout the review of a contract.

Stay tuned for part 2 of 3 when we discuss—Submitting a Contract for Review!

Corpcard Updates

Corpcard Turnaround times
Please allow two business days for processing of all requests submitted to Oftentimes the Corpcard Administrators are able to complete requests in a shorter timeframe. However, departments are encouraged to submit requests as soon as needs arise avoid any delays or disruption in service. Please note that requests are addressed in the order in which they are received.

Bank of America Works Recommended Settings
Bank of America Works is optimized for Firefox. Google Chrome and Internet Explorer are not supported Browsers. Using either browser will negatively impact sign on, receipt imaging, reporting and various other functionalities. Please be sure to use Firefox when accessing Works.
Please note: clearing out cookies and temporary internet files periodically will improve the performance of Works in Firefox.
If you have further questions, please contact

Approver Receipt Imaging
Receipt imaging is now available for P-Card approvers in Works. It now allows both card holders and approvers to upload and maintain their P-Card documentation. For more information and training about how to utilize this feature, please see the Online Reconciliation Guide

November Training Dates

Basic eVA Purchasing & Banner Receiving – Tuesday, November 7th, 9:00am – 12:00pm, Monroe Park Seating is limited. Please register in advance

[Back to Top]

Business Services

VCU Mail Services’ Thanksgiving Schedule

The university will be closed on Thursday, November 23 and Friday, November 24, 2017. VCU Mail Services will observe the same university holidays. On Wednesday, November 22, 2017, both satellite operations (VCU Medical Center and Monroe Park Campus) will close at 12:00 noon. The main processing facility located at 1622 Ownby Lane will close at 1:00 p.m.

[Back to Top]

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 RAMS‐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


I hope those who use the ECRT (Effort Reporting) system were able to participate in our recent training series which provided an overview of the ECRT upgrade (5.2). If you were unable to attend, the training materials have been posted to the University Controller's website and can be accessed at the links below.

ECRT Training Presentation

ECRT Upgrade Quick Guide

ECRT Upgrade - Icons and Statuses

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

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

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

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

Quarterly certifications period 06-10-17 to 09-09-17 are due by 12-14-17

Semester certifications period 05-10-17 to 08-09-17 are due by 11-14-2017

Semi-Annual certifications period 06/10/17 to 12/09/17 are due by 04-21-18

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:

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.

[Back to Top]