April 2020

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

Topic Highlight: Online Training Opportunities

This month, we will be highlighting videos from National Council of University Research Administrators (NCURA) and National Institute of Health (NIH).

COVID-19 and Agency/Sponsor Guidance:

Agencies and entities are issuing guidance on COVID-19. A comprehensive listing of guidance, from the Council of Government Relations, is available via the link below along with other related guidance.

Operations For Grants and Contracts Accounting And Effort Reporting:

Grants and Contracts Accounting and Effort Reporting continue to operate during normal business hours and the team is teleworking through April 30, 2020. We look forward to continuing our support and partnership with the research community, continuing normal processes, and foresee minimal disruption.

Our contact information: https://controller.vcu.edu/about/our-staff/

Grants and Contracts Monthly Training:

Grants and Contracts will be holding this training via zoom. As the day approaches, the related zoom link will be provided to participants. Should anything change, we will notify the registered participants. Thank you.

Effort Reporting

We are currently working with Human Resources and Payroll to update our current earn code listing to reflect COVID related earn codes. Updates will be available on the link below.

Reminder For Current & Upcoming Certification Periods

  • The Semiannual Effort Period 06/10/19 - 12/09/19 will remain open for certification through April 21, 2020. If you have not already, please certify your statement before the deadline.
  • The Quarterly Effort Period 12/10/19 - 03/09/19 will open for certification on April 15, 2020, and will close on June 14, 2020.

Prior Certification Periods

  • The Quarterly Effort Period 09/10/19 - 12/09/19, recently closed and has effort statements awaiting certification. Effort Reporting will be in contact with the appropriate parties.
  • The Fall Semester Effort Period 08/10/19 - 12/24/19 recently closed and contains effort statements awaiting certification. Additionally, the Summer Semester Effort Period 05/10/19 - 08/09/19 still has effort statements awaiting processing. Effort Reporting will be in contact with the appropriate parties.
  • The Semi-Annual Effort Period 12/10/18 - 06/09/19, has effort statements awaiting processing. Effort Reporting will be in contact with the appropriate parties.

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

[Back to Top]

Procurement Services

FAQs - COVID 19 and Procurement Operations

Procurement Services is maintaining a Frequently Asked Questions document via Google Forms. This document seeks to provide answers, resources, and help to departments as operations at Procurement Services are modified to meet university need during the public health emergency and while mandatory teleworking continues through April 30.

Departments can access the document here.

Additional information will be added as it becomes available, but please let us know if there is content you feel should be added for the reference of the VCU community.

Procurement Forms Converted to DocuSign

Procurement Services has converted several commonly used forms into DocuSign PowerForms, which allow for electronic processing and signature. Referred to as “eForms” on the website, these electronic versions are initiated by departments, follow an automatic routing “flow”, and are automatically submitted to Procurement Services when completed. Signers receive and sign documents via email. Signers and initiators do not need a DocuSign account to complete the process.

All converted forms can be found on the appropriate webpage under “Related Documents” on the Procurement Services website. Original PDF versions remain available as well and can be found alongside the newly created eForms.

If there are additional forms that your area uses which have not been converted but could/should be, please let Alex McWhorter know at mcwhorterja@vcu.edu.

DocuSign P-Card Forms

Corpcard has posted DocuSign forms to be used in place of “wet” signatures. These forms are posted in our Document Library and the “Related Documents” section of the “I want to use a P-Card” page of the website. Below is a quick link to the forms:

These forms will be available and accepted going forward. The original forms are still available on the website as well.

P-Card Best Practices – Items Delivered Off-Campus

Purchasing has posted Procurement Operations & COVID 19 FAQ For Employees regarding sending items directly to alternate ship-to addresses. Corpcard advises cardholders and approvers observe the following best practices to ensure compliance with P-Card policies and procedures when receiving items off site.

  • Utilize receipt imaging! This allows visibility for approvers, auditors and Corpcard to all documentation for a transaction. Now is the time to “go paperless!”
    • If you do not have a scanner, utilize apps for scanning or take pictures of documentation. Evernote is available on Apple or Google Play and works well for receipts.
  • Consider including packing slips with your documentation. (Some departments already require this)
  • Do not change the billing address for your P-Card. If you need to replace your card for any reason, please reach out to Corpcard@vcu.edu for assistance.

Online Reconciliation While Working From Home

Sign-offs must be complete by the end of the next cycle close. This timeline is still in place.

However, we are aware that some documentation for current transactions may have been left in the office during the transition to work from home. In those cases, Approvers should assess the situation to decide if they are able to sign off on the transaction without having the physical documentation. Approvers should obtain emails from cardholders about what was purchased and why as well as confirmation that the documentation is available on campus. Once that happens, you must keep the paper rather than being able to upload as fully approved transactions can't be altered.

If there are questions/concerns regarding this, you must not leave the transactions unreconciled. You must contact Corpcard@vcu.edu for further assistance.

University Travel booked MUST Still be Cancelled

Although the university suspended all university related travel, the traveler is still responsible for cancelling any booked air/rail travel tickets. Failure to do so can result in a 'no show' and the ticket cost may be considered non-refundable. Please contact Travel@vcu.edu for additional information or if you have any questions.

Encumbrances in Banner For Cancelled Travel

Pre-approvals cannot be cancelled or recalled in ChromeRiver at this time. If a trip has been cancelled, the encumbrance that was created by the pre-approval will need to be manually liquidated in Banner. (Encumbrances are created on Banner Account 638066). Encumbrance removal information can be found on the Controller's Website: https://controller.vcu.edu/training/banner-job-aids/

Travel Advance Balance Repayment

During the Mandatory Telework Directive, all Travel Advance Balances must be mailed to the Cashier's. Travel Services will be reaching out to individuals with an outstanding balance to provide them with detailed instructions and the necessary deposit form. Please contact Travel@vcu.edu for additional information.

RealSource Gets a Facelift

Over the weekend, the RealSource tool underwent an upgrade that affects the general “look” of the system. The upgrade does not affect the flow of screens, screen content or functionality. The classic style of the system remains intact; however, certain fonts, graphics and icons have changed. The changes declutter certain screens and improve the overall visual experience. For an example of what has changed, see the below link:


Further, the RealSource Help-Guide, located on the Departments Only tab, has been republished to include new screen shots and additional content, including receiving, vendors, etc. Last, the New Vendor Request and Existing Vendor Request forms were slightly modified, and a new vendor form has been added for student-vendors only. We hope you will like the new look of the tool, the changes to the Help-Guide and the addition of the Student Request form. If you have suggestions, comments or questions, please let us know.

The RealSource Team
Website: https://realsource.vcu.edu
Email: RealSource@vcu.edu
Phone: (804) 828-1077, Option 6

[Back to Top]