May 2019

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

Table of Contents

Grants & Contracts Accounting

Grants & Contracts Accounting Fiscal Year End Notice

June 22nd will be the last day for G&C to create new funds and orgs for FY 2019


Current And Upcoming Effort Reporting Deadlines

The certification period for the Third Quarter Term (12/10/18 to 03/09/19) were released on 04/15/19, and certifications are due by 06/14/19.


Past Effort Reporting:

Outstanding certifications for the following periods are overdue:

  • The certification period for the First Semi-Annual Term (06/10/18 to 12/09/18) was released on 02/22/19, and certifications were due by 04/21/19.
  • The certification period for the Fall Semester Term (08/10/18 to 12/24/18) was released on 01/22/19, and certifications were due on 03/21/19.
  • The certification period for the Second Quarter Term (09/10/18 to 12/09/18) was released on 01/15/19, and certifications were due 03/14/19.
  • The certification period for the Second Semi-Annual Term (12/10/2017 through 06/09/2018) was released on 10/08/18, and certifications were due on 12/07/18.

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.


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Procurement Services

So You Want To Know . . . Why Does It Take So Long To Review A Contract?

An important goal of your Contracts Team is to mitigate risk to protect you and VCU. This almost always requires negotiation of the terms of the contract with the vendor. When a contract review request is received, we look to see:

  1. What is being purchased
  2. The cost of the purchase
  3. The term; i.e., the length of the contract, and
  4. Whether or not pre-approvals have been obtained (https://procurement.vcu.edu/fanewsletters/2018/october-2018/#how-expedite)

All of the answers to these questions helps us to determine how best to protect you. Believe it or not, the contract does not always clearly spell out what you are purchasing. Additionally, if you tell the Contracts Team what you are buying, we can make sure the contract is clear on your expectations of the vendor.

The scenarios below identify issues that arise in the performance of contracts and the role your Contracts Team and pre-approvals play in resolving them:

Scenario 1:

You have a contract for a speaker to address 100 people. What happens if the speaker decides they cannot attend one week before the event? Your contract should provide the road map for the options available to you. Your Contracts Team adds terms to your contract requiring the speaker to send a comparable replacement in his/her place, or requiring the speaker to reimburse you for any expenses you have incurred, or both.

Scenario 2:

A vendor is offering to provide free access to web-based software service and only requires that you agree to provide data regarding students. This seems like a good deal, but consider what happens if the vendor does not adequately protect its web site or software and the student data you provide is stolen? What if the vendor takes the student data you provide and begins sending spam emails or sells the information to third parties unknown to VCU? Your contract and the pre-approvals obtained from Technology Services will hold the answers to what you can do next. Reviewing VCU IT policies and working with Technology Services can help you determine the types of data that the university must protect, either by law or VCU policy, and whether or not your vendor has the appropriate safeguards in place.

No one wants anything to go wrong with university purchases, but sometimes they do. The terms your Contracts Team negotiates in your contract will protect you and VCU in the unfortunate event things do go wrong.


So You Want To Know . . . Why Must I Use Christopherson Business Travel?

Third-party travel sites sometimes advertise flights at lesser cost than can be found through Christopherson Business Travel (CBT). Sometimes, these options seem to be for the exact same flight available at a higher fare when using CBT.

Travel Services recently reviewed a case that illustrates a few of the many reasons why we mandate the use of Christopherson and why fares sometimes appear less expensive through other providers. If you have ever wondered why some fares appear lower in cost on sites like Google or Kayak than they do on CBT, the below example may help explain.

Cost Comparison – CBT VS Google Flights


PCO’s No Longer Required

Beginning Tuesday, April 30th Cardholders are no longer required to enter PCO’s. Please do not enter PCO’s after COB 4/30/19.

Please contact Corpcard@vcu.edu with questions.


RealSource Implementation

Corpcard will be assisting with the implementation of RealSource during the timeframe of 5/2-5/13/19. Please email all questions and issues directly to Corpcard@vcu.edu to ensure they are answered in a timely manner.

Response times may be longer than normal during this time. Cardholders and Approvers are reminded that Corpcard has two (2) business days to process all requests. Please plan accordingly.


Travel Card Training

Travel Card Training in Blackboard will be launching soon! Cardholders will receive an email indicating the test is available and the deadline to complete it. Not completing the training by the deadline will result in the cancellation of the Cardholder’s Travel Card.


RealSource Update

Departments Only Tab: The RealSource website has been modified to include a "Departments Only" tab. It currently includes the Cutover Schedule with key cutoff dates and the RealSource User Manual (provided during training classes). Additional content will be added as we move towards and after the May 13th launch date, including an expanded list of FAQs and other helpful information.

Training: There are plenty of seats available for auditorium/presentation style training on May 3 and May 8. The same content will be covered in all classes. Additional hands-on training, starting on May 20th, has been added to the training schedule. See the News/Events tab (Events accordion) on the RealSource website at https://realsource.vcu.edu/.

Need Help? If you have questions or need help, the following avenues are available. Please try writing to us first and to reserve phone calls for more urgent requirements. We'll make best efforts to respond to all inquiries within 2 working-hours.

  • Use the Webform under the Contact Us tab on the RealSource website or
  • Send an email to RealSource@vcu.edu.
  • Call the HelpDesk at x8-1077, Option 6.

2019 Procurement Services Year-End Schedule

Procurement Services year-end schedule is now available at the below link. If updates are made or if the schedule changes, we will release additional announcements through the FA list-serve.

2019 Year End Schedule


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