February 2019

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

Controller's Office Website

We are pleased to announce that our new website is now live. Please visit https://controller.vcu.edu/ and provide us with your feedback. A special thanks to those of you who participated in our FOCUS groups to help us restructure the content to better fit the needs of our customers.


Policy Change Effective 1/17/19

The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the university’s fixed assets are acquired, safeguarded, controlled, disposed of, and accounted for in accordance with state and federal regulations, audit requirements, and generally accepted accounting principles. This revision changes the threshold for controllable fixed assets. It eliminates controlling of assets between $2,000 and $5,000 except for Higher Education Equipment Trust Fund (HEETF) assets, which will continue to be tracked for all assets costing $500 or more. For all moveable equipment, except HEETF equipment, only assets costing $5,000 or more are tagged and tracked.

You can view the policy here: https://policy.vcu.edu/universitywide-policies/policies/fixed-asset.html


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Grants & Contracts Accounting

Continuing Appropriations Through February 15 (Update To The Partial Federal Government Shutdown)

As you may be aware, federal agencies impacted by the partial federal government shutdown have received continuing appropriations through February 15th, thus, resuming their operations. Grants and Contracts Accounting is actively seeking reimbursement for the period impacted by the partial shutdown and for the current period as well.

Going forward, you may notice some processes (for Grants and Contracts Accounting) will be increasing in frequency, to allow us to mitigate future risk leading up to February 15th. In addition, there may be additional communications to departments regarding awards due to expire near and/or shortly after February 15th. Of course, this is subject to change as more information from the federal level becomes available

Additional external resources are provided below. Please feel free to reach out to our team (gcavcu@vcu.edu and/or 828-8104) for further assistance or clarification. A member of our team would be happy to be of assistance. Thank you.

Resumption of Operations at the National Science Foundation:
https://www.nsf.gov/pubs/issuances/in145.jsp?org=NSF

Grant and Cooperative Agreement-Related Policy and Systems Issues Following the Resumption of Operations at the National Science Foundation:
https://nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/postshutdown.jsp

Secretary Perdue Statement on Reopening the Federal Government:
https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2019/01/25/secretary-perdue-statement-reopening-federal-government

Office of Management and Budget Agency Contingency Plans:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/information-for-agencies/agency-contingency-plans/

Frequently Asked Questions During a Lapse in Appropriations:
https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Frequently-Asked-Questions-During-a-Lapse-in-Appropriations.pdf


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/universitywide-policies/policies/sponsored-programs-award-review-negotiation-acceptance-and-notification.html.


Subaccount Form/Grant Establishment

A copy of the subaccount form will be updated on our website in the near future. For now, to access a copy of the form from google drive here. This form will assist the home department, sub-department, and G&C will partnering and managing post award matters. On behalf of G&C, we would like the OSP and G&C Handoff committee for the new form.


Reconciliation

We have received requests from departments regarding guidance on account reconciliation. We are happy to report that the new and improved website is now available. The University’s guidance on Banner account reconciliations, as well as the fiscal handbook, is available via the links below. If you have questions regarding the Fiscal Handbook, please contact (804) 828-0388 or vcufinance@vcu.edu.

https://controller.vcu.edu/training/reconciliations/
https://controller.vcu.edu/training/fiscal-handbook/


Effort Reporting

Your assistance is needed with current and upcoming Effort Reporting deadlines:

  • The certification period for the Second Quarter Term (09/10/18 to 12/09/18) was released on 01/15/19, and certifications are due by 03/14/19.
  • The certification period for the Fall Semester Term (08/10/18 to 12/24/18) was released on 01/22/19, and certifications are due by 03/21/19.
  • The certification period for the First Semi-Annual Term (06/10/18 to 12/09/18) will be released on 02/22/19, and certifications will be due by 04/21/19.

Your assistance is also needed with past Effort Reporting deadlines. Outstanding certifications for the following periods are overdue:

  • The certification period for the Summer Semester Term (05/10/18 through 08/09/18) was released on 09/24/18, with a certification deadline of 11/25/18.
  • The certification period for the Second Semi-Annual Term (12/10/2017 through 06/09/2018) was released on 10/08/18, with a certification deadline of 12/07/18.
  • The certification period for the First Quarter Term (06/10/18 through 09/09/18) was released on 10/15/18, with a certification deadline of 12/14/18.
  • 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.

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


Upcoming Initiatives:

Upcoming initiatives are available via linked Google Doc.

Thank you- We appreciate your partnership in post award matters.


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Procurement Services

Gift Cards

Gift Cards purchases on a Pcard are not allowable. The only options available to purchase Gift Cards are Purchase Order or Petty Cash. For more information, please see the section on our website about “Compensate a Research or Survey Participant.”

For questions regarding this issue, please contact Corpcard@vcu.edu.


Amazon

Amazon purchases are not prohibited, but they are not encouraged. Departments that order through Amazon are accountable for creating a confirming PCO regardless of funding source and taking into account the negative impact the purchase(s) have on the university:

  • Amazon is not an eVA registered supplier; which requires the university to pay the entire eVA fee associated with the purchase.
  • Amazon is not a SWaM vendor; VCU is committed to using diverse suppliers and must purchase at least 42% of its good and services from DSBSD certified SWaM suppliers.
  • Amazon is not on contract and do not offer VCU discounted pricing or free shipping.

Instead, please utilize established contracts and SWaM vendors whenever possible.


Reminder – Post Doc And Graduate Stipend/Scholarship/Award Payments

Post Doc and Graduate stipend/scholarship/award payments from sponsored projects cannot have all lines (all pay dates) on the purchase order “received” at the same time. The payments due from the P.O. on sponsored projects must be partially received to ensure that the resulting expenditure that posts in Banner based on the receiving action is not more than the actual stipend payment/s to be issued by VCU Accounts Payable on or near that date. Additionally, when establishing the payment schedule for the Trainee with Accounts Payable, the schedule should only be established initially to the end of the awarded budget period. This way the incorrect budget year index will not be erroneously charged. If there are any changes that need to be made with the implementation of RealSource, they will be communicated when determined.


You Asked – Graduate Student Stipends And Fellowships

I have an unusual question. A grad student who receives a stipend from VCU was awarded an NIH fellowship which also pays a stipend. The fellowship stipend (which started 12/1/18) is paid through Accounts Payable, not payroll, so her VCU stipend should have been reduced at the same time the fellowship stipend started, but it wasn’t (the student’s payroll is administered by a different department; my department administers the fellowship). What is the best process for situations such as these?

Response - Thanks for your question. There are actually 2 issues here that I will respond to. First, since the student is currently being paid a stipend by another department via payroll, that student is considered to be a current employee of the other department. It is your department's responsibility and the student's to coordinate with the current employer department and/or sponsor any arrangement to reduce their effort by any amount/%. This should not be an Accounts Payable situation since the student is already considered an employee by way of being paid through payroll, and can't be both employee and a vendor in the same tax year. If the labor assignment was coordinated with the other department and split accordingly, there would not be any timing issue, nor any risk of a compliance review by the IRS for someone being paid as both a vendor and employee (receiving a W-2 and 1099 ) during the same year. The initial establishment of the student treatment (employee or non-payroll fellowship) generally drives any subsequent change regardless if in the same department or other department, as well as whether a different grant funds the additional support. I hope this response helps for future similar instances.


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