June 2018

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

Table of Contents

Controller’s Office

Beginning in June, the upgrade to the Banner Administrative User Interface (formerly Banner Forms) will be rolled out to departments in phases until the full transition is completed prior to winter 2018. More detailed information will be sent to departments via email as rollout dates are solidified around operational and technical schedules.

Please keep in mind Banner 8 will still be available until the Winter 2018 so if the implementation schedule is inconvenient for your unit you many continue to operate in Banner 8. However, it is important to remember that everyone must transition once Banner 8 is no longer supported by the university, which is slated for Winter 2018. The more time you can spend becoming accustomed to the new navigation the easier the transition will be.

Highlights of the new version include:

  • No Java Required
  • Use Any Browser*
  • New Look and Feel
  • Updated Navigation
  • Clearer System Messaging
  • Responsive Design and Tablet Friendly

To prepare for the new interface, you are encouraged to read through the materials on the site listed below including the Frequently Asked Questions, Keyboard Shortcuts and Navigation Guide. The upgraded interface has many new, helpful features. Navigation and some keyboard shortcuts have changed. Please hold any questions until you have received specific instructions concerning your access to the new Banner Administrative Pages interface. Participants in the first phase of the rollout have already been notified. The timeframe for the next phase has not yet been determined.

Banner Administrative Pages Resources:

*If you use ImageNow and have questions about ImageNow integration with Banner Administrative Pages, please contact imagenow@vcu.edu

Grants & Contracts Accounting

Year End FY 2018

June 22nd will be the last day for G&C to create new funds and orgs for FY 2018

Advance Index Request

Please continue to use the Advance Index Request form located on G&C’s website. Originally, the Advance Index Request, was scheduled to be included in May’s RAMS-SPOT patch. This addition will be added to a future RAMS-SPOT patch/maintenance.

Advance Index Request form is available from the Controller’s website in PDF, linked here:

G&C Snapshot (RAMS-SPOT)

The Grants and Contracts Award Snapshot, in RAMS-SPOT, was recently updated to include a text field for F&A Waivers and the PI’s VID. These fields are informational only and does not require action from the department. G&C appreciates the efforts made to assist us in the grant establishment process.

Effort Reporting Updates:

ECRT Access Update

Effective immediately, departments may begin accessing the ECRT system via https://go.vcu.edu/ecrt. The existing link for ECRT remains available for use, but will be replaced in the near future with the new url. Additional details will be provided by Effort Reporting at a later time. Please feel free to contact Effort Reporting (effortreport@vcu.edu) directly if there are questions. Thank you.

Your assistance is needed with current and upcoming effort reporting deadlines:

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

Quarterly certification period 12/10/17 to 03/09/18 will be released on 04/15/18, and certifications will be due by 06/14/18.

Semester certification period 12/25/17 to 05/09/18 will be released on 06/15/18, and certifications will be due by 08/14/18.

We want to thank everyone for your assistance with certifying periods that closed recently:

Quarterly certifications for the 09/10/17 to 12/09/17

Semester certifications for the 08/10/17 to 12/24/17

We appreciate your assistance and we look forward to partnering with you. Thank you!

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Procurement Services

FY 2018 Closing Updates

FY18 close schedule is available through the VCU Controller’s website at the following link:

Travel Services FY18 Close Reminders

In order to guarantee processing in FY18, Chrome River reimbursement requests and food/travel related invoices must be complete with all required business justifications & supporting documentation, and received in our queues no later than close of business Friday, June 15th. Requests received by us after that time, or returned for missing information/documentation, will be processed as time allows. Questions? Please email travel@vcu.edu.

So You Want to Know….Who Should Review This Contract?

Procurement Services is a big, busy office. Sometimes it is a little confusing to figure out who the right person is to handle your contract.

The question to ask is: What is the dollar value of the contract? Or put another way, how much money are you going to spend?

The email, contracts@vcu.edu, is used for submitting contracts valued at $10,000 or less, as this threshold falls within delegated authority. In almost all instances, there are three individuals who monitor contracts@vcu.edu. Those three individuals are Jamie Holcomb, Wini Campbell, and Stephen Hedley. Jamie Holcomb handles event-related purchases and other purchases that fall within her duties as the Small Purchase Manager. Wini and Stephen are Contracts Managers and directly review contracts valued at $10,000 or less. Additionally, Wini and Stephen assist Category Managers and Buyers with contract review for purchases in excess of $10,000.

When a PR valued at $10,001 or more is created, it is assigned to the appropriate Category Manager and Buyer here in Procurement Services. The Category Manager and Buyer will assist in completing the procurement process by determining whether your purchase qualifies as a sole source or requires the competitive process. As necessary, the Category Manager or Buyer will submit your contract to one of the Contract Managers for review.

See below for clarity:

If the PR is $10,000 or less------------------------------------>send it to contracts@vcu.edu

If the PR is $10,001 or more----------------------------------->attach all contract documents to the PR in eVA and work directly with a Category Manager or Buyer to complete the procurement process.

Visit the Procurement services web site for more information: https://procurement.vcu.edu/i-want-to/make-a-purchase/

Uniform Guidance/Procurement Standards Updates:

Uniform Guidance Overview

Uniform Guidance (“UG”) is a set of regulations (located at 2 CFR 200) that consolidates federal guidelines impacting research administration. Per the OMB website, this guidance “supersedes and streamlines requirements from OMB Circulars A-21, A-87, A-110, and A-122 (which have been placed in 2 C.F.R. Parts 220, 225, 215, and 230); Circulars A-89, A-102, and A-133; and the guidance in Circular A-50 on Single Audit Act follow-up.”

Goals of Uniform Guidance

UG significantly reforms federal grant making to focus resources on improving performance and outcomes. The intent is to reduce administrative burdens for grant applicants and recipients and reduce the risk of waste, fraud, and abuse.

Procurement guidance is specifically located in sections 200.317-200.326. This guidance focuses on increased competition and transparency in the procurement process.

Impact to the VCU community

Since VCU, to minimize administrative burden, has traditionally followed State regulations, changes to procurement practices should be minimal under UG. The procurement standards in the UG will be effective for VCU on July 1, 2018, however, ongoing review will be conducted as new purchasing policies and procedures are developed to address current policy gaps. Procurement Services has partnered with the Office of Sponsored Programs to collaboratively communicate and coordinate the execution of any new requirements.

VCU procurement areas of focus to ensure compliance with UG are listed below with other areas to be determined for later development with key stakeholders:

Micro-purchase Threshold (MPT)

For the first version of UG, the MPT was $3,000. However, Congress recently passed a statute into law, changing the definition of MPT from $3,000 to $10,000. This revised definition results in no changes to how the University community purchases goods and services $10,000 or less as this threshold also matches the current VCU threshold for micro-purchases. This generally refers to the non-contract purchase of goods and services. No purchases which require a vendor-supplied contract may be made directly by departments -- all associated contracts must be reviewed by contract review staff in Procurement Services.

Sole Source Procurement

UG has limited the use of sole sources to four distinct justifications. Those are:

  1. Product/service is only available from a single source
  2. Public Emergency Procurement
  3. Federal Awarding Agency Authorization (the awarding agency specifically authorizes a non-competitive procurement after a written request from the Non-federal entity);
  4. Inadequate competition after solicitation of multiple sources

These changes will result in increased scrutiny of all sole source justifications. The most significant change to the sole source section of UG (from the OMB circulars) is that the “continuity of research” justification is no longer an acceptable sole source.

Additionally, every sole source will require a price/cost justification and will require the University to negotiate profit with the vendors for those sole sources.

Questions about the current or new procurement standards can be directed to Mark Roberts, VCU’s Interim Director of Procurement Services, at mroberts8@vcu.edu or (804) 828-0033.

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