November 2019

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

Table of Contents

Business Services

RamTech Faculty And Staff Appreciation Day Sale

RamTech will host its annual Faculty and Staff Appreciation Day Sale on Friday, November 15 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The event at RamTech, 930 W. Grace St., features a special Apple Flash Sale with up to $200 off select products. Save up to $100 on select Dell products; 20 percent off Fitbit and 25 percent off all Beats, gaming consoles and TVs will be available for purchase. Qualified full-time VCU faculty and staff can take advantage of zero percent down payroll deduction.

HEETF Purchases at RamTech

Departments that have received approval to purchase equipment from the Higher Education Equipment Trust Fund (HEETF) are encouraged to purchase Apple® computers, laptops, tablets and accessories through RamTech, VCU’s on-campus technology store. As an Apple Authorized Campus Store, RamTech offers education pricing and has the ability to negotiate additional discounts on Apple laptops and desktops. RamTech also accepts departmental Banner index codes, thus eliminating the credit card fees and bank charges typically associated with P-Cards. RamTech provides free delivery service to the Monroe Park Campus and the MCV Campus.

For more information about RamTech, contact Erinn Budd at or (804) 828-8324 or visit

VCU Mail Services Holiday Hours

VCU Mail Services will follow special holiday hours in November and December:

Thanksgiving Holiday Hours:

  • Closing West (Monroe Park Campus) at 12:00 on Nov 27
  • Closing VMI (Medical Campus) at 1:00 on Nov 27
  • Closing Ownby (Main Processing Center) at 2:00 on Nov 27
  • ALL facilities closed on Nov 28 & Nov 29

Winter Break Hours:

  • Dec 23, 24, 27, 30, 31, Jan 3 - Monroe Park Campus (Valentine House) opened 10:00 - 12:00
  • Medical Campus (VMI) opened 8:00 - 1:00, Main Processing Center (Ownby) opened 8:00 - 2:00
  • ALL facilities closed on Dec 25, 26, Jan 1 & Jan 2

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Grants & Contracts Accounting

Topic Highlight: Online Training Opportunities

This month, we will be highlighting NSF’ 2019 Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) webcast:

FastLane And Unavailable November 8 Through November 12

Below is an excerpt from NSF regarding access to FastLane and Grants and Contracts team will be completing the deferred (IDC) and reimbursement process (LOC) prior to November 8 and we will resume in mid-November.

“Dear Colleagues:

Please be advised that FastLane and will be unavailable from Friday, November 8 at 8:00 PM EST until Tuesday, November 12 at 6:00 AM EST. The National Science Foundation (NSF) is migrating its business applications to a modern and flexible platform from November 8 at 8:00 PM EST through November 12 at 6:00 AM EST. As part of this effort, NSF will also upgrade the alpha-numeric character set used by the FastLane and systems to correct text errors, such as special characters displaying as question marks ("?") in proposals and project reports. This migration has been scheduled over the Veterans Day holiday weekend to minimize the impact of the systems downtime on the research community and NSF staff.

During this outage, there will be no access to these websites, proposals cannot be prepared or submitted in FastLane and, and project reports and cash requests cannot be submitted in However, previously saved information and uploaded documents in FastLane and, including in-progress proposals and project reports, will be accessible after the migration is completed.

We encourage you to share this information with your colleagues. For IT system-related questions, please contact the NSF Help Desk at 1-800-381-1532 or Any policy-related questions should be directed to

We appreciate your understanding and apologize for any inconvenience.”

NSF Fall 2019 Grants Conference Webcast

“Experience the fall 2019 NSF Grants Conference virtually. The National Science Foundation will live stream the plenary sessions of the conference from Boston, MA on November 18 and 19. There is no cost or limit for participants to view the live stream. Click the button below to register for the event and learn about the agenda and speakers. The link to the webcast will be emailed to all registrants several days in advance of the event. It will also be made available on the conference website.” 

OMEGA Awards (Director’s Memo 020-19)

On September 30, 2019, Virginia Department of Education released a memorandum providing guidance on a new requirement. A copy of the notice was sent to the departments impacted. For reference purposes, key points are identified below. If you have questions, please contact your assigned accountant. Thank you.

Per the Memorandum:

To ensure compliance, grantees are now required to indicate the following elements when submitting requests for reimbursement of payroll expenses:

• Description Field (required): must include the payroll cycle range, e.g. 9/10-24/2019, and general ledger (GL) posting date, e.g. 9/25/2019

• Payment Date (required): must include the actual payroll pay date, e.g. 10/1/2019. This date may not be earlier than the reimbursement request date (claim submission date) to ensure cash is not disbursed in advance of actual payroll pay dates.

Advance Index Request (Form And Work Space In RAMS-SPOT):

The University now has two ways in which the department may complete an Advance Index Request form. The Advance Index Request form can be completed via the link below or via the Work Space within the RAMS-SPOT. If using the Work Space within RAMS-SPOT, the departments will still need to print form to obtain signatures and to route it to G&C for processing.

At this time, the workspace in RAMS-SPOT does not automatically route the form due to signatures needs. Within Spot, the "Notification" tab will also display all of the individuals and/or areas who were recipients of the notice (if generated).

G&C would be happy to the index using the form generated by either method chosen by the department. Completed forms should be routed to the email address for processing. We appreciate your understanding and patience with the various ways in which this process can be completed.

Advance Index Request link:

Grant Closeout- FPIOPOF (Banner Screen)

As a part of the closeout process, we request your assistance with pulling the FPIOPOF (Open Purchase Orders) screen in Banner to ensure all purchase orders are closed. This screen allows users to enter in the fund, org, and/or index number to retrieve a listing of open purchase orders. The data presented will include a listing of open purchase orders by number, vendor, commodity, commodity description, unit price, and etc. Departments can also export this information to Excel by selecting “Tools” in the upper right hand corner and then “Export” from the expanded list presented.
If there are open purchase orders, please provide the purchase order number to your assigned accountant. They will then work with Financial Reporting to resolve this for you.

Upcoming Semi-Annual Effort Period:

We are happy to report that the semiannual certification period, 12-10-18 to 06-09-19 will be released for certification on Monday, October 7. We appreciate your patience as we worked through addressing data needs. Special thank you to the VCUHS team, Effort Reporting, and the departments that assisted in this process. We appreciate your partnership and assistance with helping us to move forward. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the Effort Reporting team at Thank you!

Current And Upcoming Effort Reporting Deadlines

  • The Semiannual Effort Period 12/10/18 - 6/9/19 closes December 6, 2019.
  • The Quarterly Period 06/10/2019-09/09/2019 closes December 14, 2019.
  • The Summer Semester Period 05/10/2019-08/09/2019 closes November 14, 2019.

Prior Certification Periods

  • The Quarterly Effort Period 03/10/2019-06/09/2019 has effort statements awaiting processing. Effort Reporting will reach out to the associated primary effort coordinators.
  • The Semi-Annual Effort Period 6/10/18 - 12/9/18 has effort statements awaiting processing. Effort Reporting will reach out to the associated primary effort coordinators.
  • The Spring Semester Effort Period 12/25/18 - 5/9/19 has effort statements awaiting processing. Effort Reporting will reach out to the associated primary effort coordinators.


We are currently monitoring the potential of another federal government shutdown and we have started preliminary planning. The current stopgap bill goes through Nov 21. We will be running the deferred process on November 15.

On behalf of Grants and Contracts Accounting and Effort Reporting, we appreciate your continued partnership and assistance. Thank you.

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Procurement Services

VWR Contract Enhancements

E&I recently awarded a new five-year laboratory supplies and services contract to VWR. As part of the award, the legacy E&I contract was extended through December 30, 2019, to allow for a smooth transition. VCU will continue to utilize VHEPC/VASCUPP contract VTG-001-2018. However, VTG-001-2018 will now apply the new E&I contract structure, superseding the old E&I contract.

  • Supplier Based E&I discount Schedule, market basket, and hotlist
  • Increased discounts with increased commitments
  • Access to Primary Tier market basket pricing and hotlists if any Participating Institution moves to the Primary Tier.
  • Hotlist items added by any VHEPC Participating Institutions will be combined to one cumulative hotlist that would apply to any VHEPC Participating Institution.
  • Etc.

VCUHealth Systems Travel Pre-Approval

VCUHealth is now using a separate instance of ChromeRiver for Travel Reimbursements using VCU Health Funds. Travelers from VCUHealth must know if they are traveling using University funds or VCUHealth Funds. This will determine if they enter a pre-approval through the University Chrome River instance or the VCUHealth instance.

Pre-approvals from VCUHealth's ChromeRiver instance must not be used to secure air or rail bookings thru the Christopherson Travel Agency. The Agency Travel Card (ATC) in Christopherson is reserved for traveling on University Funds only.

Please note: VCUHealth's ChromeRiver instance is not administered, managed or viewable by the Travel and Corp Card team.

UPDATE: Chrome River Mercury

Mark your calendars! On Monday, December 2nd, Chrome River’s Mercury environment will go live at VCU in a phased rollout. Travel Services will be in touch with contacts from each division to communicate specific go live date for their division/departments, provide contact information and request additional information from each division.

Chrome River Training

With extending the go-live date to 12/2, this will allow Travel Services to offer additional hands-on training classes the week of 11/11. Employees may register online, by following this link: Online Registration. Broken Link? Navigate to and search “Travel”.

These training classes are designed for the current user of Chrome River in order to be familiar with the new user interface when we go live. In order to offer as many classes as possible in a very short amount of time, we have shortened the length of the class. This class is not recommended for new users; we will be offering our full cycle of training classes upon our return from winter break in January, and are planning on offering additional Chrome River classes for new users.
Questions? Contact

Travel Services Processing Deadlines

The last check run prior to winter break will be Tuesday, December 17th. To guarantee processing and payment prior to winter break, Chrome River reimbursement requests must be in Travel Services approval queue no later than 4:30pm on Friday, December 6th. All other requests will be processed as time permits.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email

Allocation Error – “Copy To Allocation”

Cardholders must not use the “Copy to Allocation” button available at the bottom of the allocation screen when allocating transactions. Using this button will create a negative line in the transaction which results in errors in the Banner uploads. If this is found by Corpcard, the allocations will be deleted and returned to card defaults.

If you have questions regarding this, please contact

Frequently Asked Questions – Vendor POs And Invoices

“My Vendor received a copy of their purchase order? What are the next steps for the vendor?”

The Vendor will need to submit their invoices to Accounts Payable for processing. They can either enter the invoice into the RealSource Vendor Portal if they have completed a registration and been approved. Or they will need to mail the invoice to the Digital Mailroom (which is VCU's third party provider used for scanning invoices into RealSource). That box number for those Vendors to send those invoices to is:

Accounts Payable
Box 398
Scranton, PA 18505

“How do I tell if my Vendor has been invited to register in the RealSource Vendor Portal?”

You can check the status of vendors by searching for them in the “Vendors” tab on the left of the RealSource homepage. Status indicators and their meaning are:

Vendor Registration Status 
None Vendor has not been sent an invitation
Invited Vendor has been sent an invitation to register
In Progress Vendor is working on the registration.
Approved Vendor registration is complete and the Vendor is made active for shopping.

Procurement Services Performance Metrics Video

The Office of Procurement Services recently produced a video highlighting our team’s successes during fiscal year 2018. We hope this video will help to quantify some of our team’s work as we recognize their contributions to the larger VCU community. You can view the video by visiting our website at and clicking the video link from the homepage, or below:

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us 804 828 5758.

Reminder – Gifts From Vendors

As we approach the holiday season, Procurement Services reminds departments that gifts should not be accepted from vendors. Often, vendors reach out to clients during the holiday season with promotional items intended to encourage business. These items often qualify as gifts, and may create the appearance of impropriety. Because VCU is a state agency, its employees are expected to adhere to the same rules as state employees. If you receive a gift from a vendor, it should be politely refused and returned or, if that is not possible, distributed to the office it was delivered to.

The Office of Audit and Compliance Services hosts a letter that can be used as a template response to vendors who reach out with promotional items, Vendor Notice Regarding Gifts, at the below link:

Procurement Services Year-End Closing Schedule

As 2019 comes to a close, please be aware of Procurement Services Year-End schedule linked here:

The schedule includes deadlines by transaction type for processing in 2019 as well as other useful information as you plan your financial priorities.

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