February 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 NCURA Youtube Tuesday Video “Compensation Reporting: A Case Study” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFdZLjWycEE&t=19s


Salary Cap

The salary cap, effective January 5, 2020, was increased from $192,300 to $197,300. Excerpt from the guidance found in Notice Number: NOT-HS-20-006 is provided below. The details are available at the following link: https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-HS-20-006.html.

When determining next steps, departments will need to take the following into consideration: institutional base salary, funding, budgets, and the identified award population restricted to the cap. Next steps should also include a budget analysis before full implementation in Banner. If a budget analysis is not completed, it could result in the award being overspent (i.e. deficit standing).

If assistance is needed, we request that you contact your assigned accountant. Thank you.


Excerpts From Notice Number: NOT-HS-20-006:

  • o “The Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020, Public Law 116-94, signed into law on December 20, 2019, restricts the amount of direct salary which may be paid to an individual under an HHS grant, cooperative agreement, or applicable contract to a rate no greater than Executive Level II of the Federal Executive Pay Scale. Effective January 5, 2020, the Executive Level II salary level is $197,300. According to P.L. 116-94, Sec. 202: "None of the funds appropriated in this title shall be used to pay the salary of an individual, through a grant or other external mechanism, at a rate in excess of Executive Level II."
  • o “Committed levels of funding for grant and contract awards made in prior fiscal years that were restricted to Executive Level II will NOT be adjusted for the new salary cap rate. However, if adequate funds are available in the award, and if the FY2020 salary cap limitation is consistent with the institutional base salary, grantees may re-budget funds to accommodate the FY2020 salary cap effective January 5, 2020, and cost reimbursement contractors may invoice at the higher rate. It is expected that such re-budgeting will not negatively impact the aims of the project. No additional funds will be provided for grant awards. Total estimated costs of contracts will not be modified.”

Advance Index Request (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 work space in RAMS-SPOT does not automatically route the form due to signatures needs. Within RAMS-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 gcavcu@vcu.edu 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: https://controller.vcu.edu/media/controller/uco-pdfs/pdfs/GCBannerNumberRequest.pdf


Upcoming & Current Certification Periods

  • The Quarterly Effort Period 9/10/19 - 12/9/19 recently opened for certification on January 15, 2020, and will close on March 14, 2020.
  • The Fall Semester Effort Period 8/10/19-12/24/19 recently opened for certification on January 22, 2020, and will close on March 21, 2020.
  • The Semiannual Effort Period 6/10/19 - 12/9/19 will open for certification on February 22, 2020.

Prior Certification Periods

  • The Quarterly Effort Period 6/10/19 - 9/9/19, currently has effort statements awaiting processing. Effort Reporting will be in contact with the appropriate parties.
  • The Semi-Annual Effort Period 12/10/18 - 6/9/19, has effort statements awaiting processing. Effort Reporting will be in contact with the appropriate parties.
  • The Summer Semester Effort Period 05/10/19 - 08/09/19 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.


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Procurement Services

Procurement Open Forum – Travel and Christopherson Business Travel

Procurement Services is excited to announce the first Open Forum of 2020. We hope to hold several forums throughout 2020 on various topics. These will serve as informative venues for end-users and university contacts to ask questions, provide feedback, and stay up to date with procurement policies and practices at VCU.

Our first forum of the year, scheduled for February 19 at 9:00 AM, will focus on university travel, Christopherson Business Travel, and the results of the 2019 Travel Services Survey.

Please join us next Wednesday, February 19 in the SGA Senate Chambers at the VCU Student Commons at 9:00 AM. Attendance is first come, first seated. The SGA Senate Chambers has a maximum capacity of 75 attendees.

If you have any questions about the upcoming or future forums, please call 828-1077.


UPDATE: Chrome River Mercury

Chrome River Mercury went live to all VCU users on December 20th, 2020. Travel Services is currently working with Chrome River to resolve some functionality issues being experienced by users. Current Chrome River Support Cases include report approval by email, non-employee per diem, business meal GSA allowable rate, travel advance, encumbrance descriptions from pre-approvals. Chrome River resolved cases include business meal expense details locking in create/edit or approve view, and pre-approval configuration. For more information on these or current cases, please see the update on your Chrome River dashboard.

Employees experiencing Chrome River functionality issues not listed on their Chrome River dashboard may submit a troubleshooting request using the Google Form provided at the following link: https://forms.gle/opCMyN1ndUYGyWB16


Tune In To Travel Services!

NEW! Travel Services Channel on Kaltura MediaSpace! Travel Services has created a channel on VCU Kaltura Media Space; please bookmark the link below, as we begin building our library of tutorials, webinars and other training offerings.

First up!! We have received a number of emails and phone calls asking about searching for non-employee payee's. We have uploaded a video showing how employees can search for an individual in the non-employee payee drop down by typing in the V#.

VCU Kaltura MediaSpace, Travel Services | Office of Procurement Services


Travel Training

Travel Services will soon resume its normal training schedule. Please stay tuned to your Chrome River dashboard for upcoming dates and a link to register online.

Questions? Contact travel@vcu.edu


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