July 2021

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

Table of Contents

Procurement Services

Bird’s Eye View of Purchasing Quick Guide

We have created another Quick Guide that we are calling the Bird’s Eye View of Purchasing. It is a high-level overview of when to contact VCU Purchasing and general steps to finalizing a purchase. It is geared toward your end users such as faculty, principal investigators and staff who you assist in making purchases. Provided in conjunction with our other guides, such as the Prerequisite Quick Guide and the Procurement Methods Quick Guide, it offers a fuller picture of Procurement processes. Our hope is that these guides provide to you tools to make your jobs easier and ultimately, to make the purchasing and contract process as efficient as possible for everyone.

Contracts+ Request Form Questions Revised

The Contracts+ Request form has two questions under Work Location. The first question has been revised along with its corresponding Help text. The first question now reads as follows: “Will the Second Party co-locate, be housed or operate from within a VCU or VCU Real Estate Foundation owned or leased space?”

This question is aimed at a vendor who actually operates out of a university-owned space, where the vendor’s employees report to VCU’s campuses on a regular basis to perform a service. The vendor’s presence on campus is continuous; the vendor likely has its own office on campus. This question is not aimed at a vendor who comes onto VCU’s campus for a limited engagement such as a musical performance, a speaker, or equipment repair, for example. The “Help” text associated with this question explains in more detail:

“Financing for some VCU or REF (Real Estate Foundation) owned or leased spaces limit whether a Second Party can co-locate or operate within them. Examples of services where a Second Party can co-locate or operate from within a VCU owned or leased space are retail store operations, student camps, student support services, caterers, meal engagements (Aramark), and student recruiting (Navitas). Call Treasury Services at 8-6533 with questions.”

The second Work Location question has not been revised: “Will the Contractor’s work be performed on VCU owned/leased premises?” This second question addresses the scenario where a vendor is on campus for a limited time such as a speaker or equipment repair.

Should you have any questions on the Work Location section of the Request form, please do not hesitate to contact us at contracts@vcu.edu.

Governor’s Executive Order - Single-Use Plastics & Styrofoam

The Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia has issued Executive Order 77 (EO-77) requiring state agencies to phase out the usage of all non-medical single-use plastics and Styrofoam. Procurement Services has developed processes to comply with Executive Order 77 and to support departments as we phase out the purchasing and distribution of single-use plastic and Styrofoam products. However, everyone responsible for complying with this Order. Departments should develop their own measures to minimize purchases of these products.

To track and manage the university’s progress in eliminating single-use plastics, Procurement Services has added a new RealSource commodity code, as well as a new question in the Contracts+ Request form:

For POs, RealSource users should select the new commodity code 521515 (SUP, SINGLE-USE PLASTICS & STYROFOAM) for all purchases that are associated with the following:

  • Disposable plastic bags
  • Single-use plastic and polystyrene food service containers
  • Plastic straws and cutlery
  • Single-use plastic water bottles (including purchases of bottled water)
  • Other single-use plastic, polystyrene, or styrofoam products not specifically related to medical, public health, or public safety use.

For contracts, RealSource users will be asked a new question in the Contracts+ Request form:

“Will the Contractor be providing or distributing non-medical single-use plastics or Styrofoam when performing the contract?”

Please help the university report our progress towards meeting the requirements of the new Executive Order by using the appropriate commodity code and accurately responding to the Contracts+ Request question. If you need more information or help, please send an email to Procurement_Services@vcu.edu or RealSource@vcu.edu, or call 8-1077, Option 6.

Master Agreement Spreadsheet

The Master Agreement spreadsheet has been posted! It is available in the Document Library on Procurement Services web site. Users can find the spreadsheet by navigating to the Contracts section, and then selecting “Agreements - Vendor Listing”.

This spreadsheet lists vendors with whom we have negotiated a master set of terms and conditions that apply to all VCU purchases with that vendor. Some of these vendors have agreed to issue a quote, confirmation order, scope of work, or similar document that contains the business terms for your specific needs. You will need to review the vendor document containing the business terms to make sure it reflects your needs, for example, the number of hotel rooms, food choices, or bus capacity. Some vendors just require a purchase order with the business terms document attached while other vendors may still require a signature from procurement. Where a signature is required, you will need to submit the document using the established methods. However, review time will be streamlined since the legal terms have already been negotiated.

The “Agreements – Vendor Listing” spreadsheet provides instructions unique to each vendor so you know in advance whether or not a signature is required. This spreadsheet will be updated monthly as additional vendors become involved in this program.

New RealSource Software Upgrade (21.2) Coming July 23rd

On July 23rd, a new software upgrade will occur in RealSource. Overall the upgrade is insignificant and InfoSessions are not planned. Receiving forms will be updated to the New User Experience, otherwise user functionality is minimally impacted. An email notification with a brief overview of the changes and any new screen shots will be issued to users on July 20th. Also, the User Help-Guide will be updated where needed.

“Thank You!” From The Contracts Team

We have made it through another fiscal year-end! 112 contracts were submitted for review between June 1 and June 30. This means that not only are we busy, you are busy as well. The Contracts team thanks you for your patience on contract review time as we work hard to get to everyone’s contracts as quickly as possible. We appreciate you and your assistance!

Updating Open POs in RealSource When Employees Leave Departments

When a PO Owner leaves the university's employment or transfers to another VCU department, departments should evaluate any orphaned Open POs and reassign them to a new PO Owner within their department. To accomplish this, a departmental Approver should submit a User Request form to (a) inactivate the departing employee's access to RealSource and (b) designate who the orphaned Open POs should be reassigned to. If departing employees move to a different department, it is the new department's responsibility to re-establish the user's role by submitting the User Request form.

When POs are not reassigned they tend to languish and Receipts and Invoices are not processed, or POs are never properly cancelled or closed. Further, if a user moves to a new department, the user will retain the capacity to issue POs under their old department and serve in their old role. Keeping users "updated" in RealSource is important towards ensuring appropriate financial controls are in place.

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Edit | Last updated: 02/21/2022