October 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

Annual eVA & Banner Purchasing Test Reminder

The Annual eVA & Banner Purchasing test needs to be completed by close of business Friday, October 12, 2018.

To complete the course requirement:

  1. Log in to Blackboard using your VCU eID and password.
  2. Go to the My Blackboard tab and you will see the course listed in your Course List.
  3. The course title is “Annual eVA & Banner Purchasing Course 2018.” Please review the items on the resources tab to help in completion of the test.

If you have any other questions please contact evapurch@vcu.edu or 828-1077.


[Back to Top]

Grants and Contracts Accounting

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 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, Acceptance and Notification: https://policy.vcu.edu/sites/default/files/Sponsored Programs Award Review, Negotiation, Acceptance and Notification.pdf


Account Create Memo/Grant Establishment:

G&C request your assistance with ongoing reviews of the data attributes identified on the account create memo. In addition to this information, we request that you review the program code assigned during the grant establishment process in Banner. The descriptions of each of the program codes are available via the link below. Additional guidance is provided on the form itself. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

Program Codes: https://controller.vcu.edu/banner-/banner-program-codes/


ECRT Maintenance In September; Some Certification Periods Updated

ECRT underwent some necessary system maintenance in September, and was unavailable for several days. Due to the unavailability of ECRT, we adjusted certification periods as follows:

(1) For the Fourth Quarter Term (03/10/18 through 06/09/18), the deadline for effort certification was extended to 09/21/18. Please encourage your certifiers with outstanding statements to certify as soon as possible, and please process any certified statements you may have in your queue. Our office continues to follow up on these as well.

(2) For the Summer Semester Term (05/10/18 through 08/09/18), the certification period was released on 09/24/18, with a certification deadline of 11/25/18.


Certification Period For Second Semi-Annual Term (12/10/17 - 06/09/18)

VCUHS data for the Second Semi-Annual Term (12/10/2017 through 06/09/2018) was uploaded into ECRT toward the end of September. Official pre-review for this term is available from 10/01/18 through 10/05/18. The period will be released for certification on 10/08/18, with a deadline of 12/07/18.


Your Assistance Is Needed - Current & Upcoming Effort Reporting Deadlines

Spring Semester Term (12/25/17 to 05/09/18) was released on 06/15/18, and certifications were due by 08/14/18. Please encourage your certifiers with outstanding statements to certify as soon as possible, and please process any certified statements you may have in your queue. Our office continues to follow up on these as well.

First Quarter Term (06/10/18 to 09/09/18) will be released on 10/15/18, and certifications will be due by 12/14/18.

If you have any questions or need assistance with Effort, please feel free to contact Effort Reporting at effortreport@vcu.edu.


[Back to Top]

Procurement Services

Changes To VCU's FedEx And UPS Contracts

Effective October 1st, VCU will be migrating to new contracts with both FedEx and UPS. The good news is that these new contracts have lower rates than our existing agreements, meaning VCU departments will save money on shipping. For existing VCU accounts: no action is needed, your account(s) will be automatically migrated to the new contract(s), and you can continue to use FedEx and UPS as you currently do. For new VCU accounts: if you do not currently have an account and need to create one, the enrollment process for each company is now slightly different than before. Please visit the Procurement Services website for more details if you are a new customer and need to create a new account with either FedEx or UPS: https://procurement.vcu.edu/i-want-to/make-a-purchase/buy-express-mail-and-delivery-services/


RealSource Info-Sessions

A series of one-hour info-sessions on RealSource will be held in October and November on both campuses. The purpose is to provide basic information about the RealSource project and answer questions. Sessions are open to all employees, however, content will focus on employees who currently interact with supplier on-boarding, eVA, Banner receiving, and/or VCU purchase agreements. Due to space limitations, registration is required and additional sessions will be added if needed. Sessions will be promoted in TelegRam and via email listservs, however, your help in spreading the word about the sessions (https://training.vcu.edu/) and the project website (https://realsource.vcu.edu/) would be greatly appreciated.


FY19 Per Diem Rates

The GSA (General Services Administration) has released the per diem rates for FY19; these rates will apply for all travel and business meal expenses beginning 10/1/18 through 9/30/19. Chrome River is in the process of updating the rates in the Per Diem, Business Meal and Lodging widgets; we usually see the rates updated early to mid-September.

Updated rates can be found on the GSA website: https://www.gsa.gov/travel/plan-book/per-diem-rates, until 10/1, you will need to change the Fiscal Year drop down menu from the FY2018 to FY2019. Please email travel@vcu.edu with any questions.


So You Want to Know….How Can I Expedite A Contract Review?

So you have a purchase that falls under your department’s delegated authority; i.e., $10,000 or less, and the vendor has provided you with terms and conditions. What does your Contracts Team in Procurement Services need to get your contract reviewed quickly and efficiently?

When you submit a contract to contracts@vcu.edu, we require certain information and documents before we can begin reviewing your contract. Therefore, you should obtain the following prior to submitting your contract:

  1. All necessary documents, such as the quote, agreement, and any terms and conditions referenced in vendor documents presented via hyperlink(s) to the web. You will have to go to the vendor web site and copy and paste the terms and conditions into a Word document.
    1. Providing a Microsoft Word version of the terms and conditions will expedite the review process. If the terms and conditions you received from the vendor are not in a Word document, please request a Word version from the vendor.
  2. Ensure essential information is included, such as dates, prices, and party names.
  3. Obtain any necessary pre-approval(s) such as University Relations for advertising, IT for sensitive data, or Facilities for renovations, and send written approval to contracts@vcu.edu.

Once you have the information and documents outlined above, you should:

  1. Submit an email to contracts@vcu.edu--not a personal email account;
    1. In the subject line, list "Hotel/Event" if applicable.
    2. In the body, include the PR/PO/PCO and provide information that may be helpful for the reviewer, such as a brief description of the purchase, status of negotiations, and departmental concerns

If you have met the above requirements, it may take up to 10 business days for an ordinary review. If the vendor won’t accept VCU’s standard terms and conditions, a review may require more time to allow for negotiations and revisions.

The Contracts Team is here to help departments purchase what they need while making sure agreements are consistent with Virginia law and VCU requirements.


Tales From The Travel Side

Welcome to a new series from Travel Services, highlighting Frequently Asked Questions received from our customers (that’s you!). Please feel free to share this information with employees in your unit!

Dear TFTS: I need to book a flight and my supervisor told me to contact Travel Services to get my access set up for Chrome River and Christopherson Business Travel. I need to get my ticket booked as soon as possible, can you set me up?

Dear Frequent Flyer: Oh, how I wish we could! Chrome River and Christopherson profiles are created when your employee file rolls over from Banner, once HR has completed your employee file. Many times, we see profiles show in Chrome River or Christopherson within 1-2 weeks of an employee’s date of hire. This time frame, however, can be extended during heavy on-boarding periods such as August and January when new faculty are reporting. If it has been more than 2 weeks, and you still do not have access, you will want to follow up with your department’s PA (personnel administrator), who can ensure all necessary information has been provided and your employee file is complete.

If you are not a new employee, but have changed jobs recently, you may see your access de-activated; it will be re-activated once your new position begins and your employee file has been updated.

In the meantime, you will want to check with your supervisor to see who may be able to assist by submitting a pre-approval for you as a non-employee and booking your ticket through Christopherson Business Travel as a guest traveler.

Contact travel@vcu.edu for any questions or concerns.


Pcard Storage On Mobile Devices

As of September 5, 2018, P-Cards must not be stored in cardholders’ mobile devices or any type of digital wallet such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, etc. The updated terms and conditions of the Corporate Purchasing Card Agreement will reflect this change.

Please note: Corpcard will no longer accept the out of date applications. For questions regarding this policy, please contact Corpcard@vcu.edu.


November Classroom Training

The last P-Card classroom training for 2018 will be held on Thursday, November 1st. New cardholders and approvers are especially encouraged to attend. Please register on training.vcu.edu using the keyword “pcard.”


Update On Supplier Diversity Initiatives

Improving supplier diversity, or the percentage of total funds spent with small certified women-owned and certified minority-owned businesses, is a focus of the Office of Procurement Services aligns with strategic initiatives at VCU in diversity. Our spend goals for Fiscal Year 2019, which are similar to our goals in Fiscal Year 2018, are below along with our actual expenditures in FY18:

 Minority-Owned BusinessesWomen-Owned BusinessesSmall Businesses 
FY 18 Agency SWaM Goals 5% 5% 28%  
FY 18 Agency Actual Expenditures 4.94% 6.09% 32.43%  
Total FY19 Projected SWaM Spend Goals 5% 5% 28%  
Other FY19 Projected Spend GoalsMicro-BusinessesEmployment Services OrganizationsHistorically Black Colleges and UniversityService Disabled Veterans
  1% 1% 1% 1%

In order to improve our ability to meet our FY19 spend goals with SWaM vendors, the Office of Procurement Services will hold a SWaM event aimed at introducing potential vendors to departments at VCU that purchase goods and services that they provide. Additionally, the SWaM event will provide instructions and advice to SBSD Certified SWaM vendors on doing business with VCU.

In the future, Procurement Services will also provide a searchable resource that will help departments identity SWaM vendors. This resource will aid departments in finding commodities, services, and products which they frequently purchase or use that are offered in the local market by women and minority-owned businesses.


October Training

Due to the Chrome River Mercury upgrade, Travel Services will not be offering Chrome River training in September, this class will resume once the upgrade is rolled out to all departments (est. January, 2019)

Register Here
full link: https://training.vcu.edu/course.asp?Keyword=travel&Sponsor=All&Category=All&Audience=All&Campus=All&trainingType=0


[Back to Top]

Edit