Projects & Initiatives
- 2019 NEASC Reaccreditation - Standard 7 Finance Resources Subcommittee
The University is undergoing its reaccreditation review by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), UVM’s regional accrediting body. The Financial Resources subcommittee (Richard Cate - chair, Brian Cote, Jane Kolodinsky, Claire Burlingham, Mark Dorgan) of Standard 7, Institutional Resources, is tasked with conducting a self-study on how well we are preserving the institution for the long-term, how well we are operating in the short-term, and how accountable we are. Read more about Standard 7 and send your input to Emily Stebbins-Wheelock and Richard Cate.
- Agency Funds Review
The new GASB standard on Agency Funds (funds that other organizations give to UVM to hold on their behalf and use our administrative systems to manage) requires us to disclose each fund in our financial statement footnotes. To cut down the number of agency funds we have, Financial Reporting and Accounting Services (FRAS) will meet with units to discuss options on how to do so, including: (1) keeping the funds at UVM but charging an overhead fee for administrative services, (2) returning the money to the originator, and (3) closing the account and sending funds to the state of Vermont as abandoned property. Treating this money as unrestricted University money to spend on other purposes is unallowable per General Counsel opinion. Contact Lindsey Donovan.
- Lease Administration
The new GASB standard on Lease Administration requires that all leases or rental agreements with a term >12 months be capitalized and set up as an asset with offsetting liability, effective FY20. The first step is to inventory all existing leases and rental agreements (whether we are the lessee or the lessor). FRAS will be asking business managers to gather and scan/send copies of leases/agreements that apply, including those for space, photocopiers, equipment, UVMMC leases, etc. Contact Lindsey Donovan.
- PeopleSoft FSCM Upgrade
The PeopleSoft Financials upgrade from version 9.1 to version 9.2 is on track. The system will be down starting Thursday, April 12 at 5:00 p.m. and will reopen Monday morning, April 16. The most noticeable changes for end-users will be in the eProcurement (ePro) and Travel & Expense (T&E) modules. Of note:
- References to “Vendor” will change to “Supplier” in ePro.
- All Expense Report, Travel Authorization, and Cash Advance pages will have a different look. Instead of clicking to drill deeper into detail, all content will be accessible on one page by expanding/collapsing menu options.
In order to prevent transactions from being caught in the transition, no requisitions or expense reports will be able to be entered after April 5. April 9 will be the last day for departmental approval of expense reports. The system will reopen for normal use on April 16.
Information sessions, trainings, and open labs are scheduled from mid-March through April. Contact Cindy Lee.
- Division of Finance (DF) website transition
We are beginning to consolidate all DF-related websites (ABSC, FAB, OOE, and UFS/Controller) into one site organized by our major services, instead of by the Division's internal organizational structure. This change will provide a one-stop shop for our campus community and a more comprehensive resource for each DF service/function. The first phase of changes has already been implemented, with subsequent phases continuing throughout the spring and summer. We will continue to communicate upcoming changes and their impact on the campus community through the CATSkill and BFAN listservs, this newsletter, and UBA and BFAN meetings. Emily Stebbins-Wheelock and Cindy Lee are available to provide overviews/demonstrations to units upon request.
Updates & Announcements
- New federal tax law changes: Effective January 1, 2018, the Tax Law and Job Cuts Act has the following impact on individuals, departments, and the University:
- UVM individuals: The tax withholding tables have changed, and PeopleSoft HCM has been updated. Employees should see changes reflected in their February 2 (bi-weekly) and February 15 (semi-monthly) paychecks.
- Departments: The biggest change is the taxability of relocation reimbursement. In the past, part of this was allowable/non-taxable. Effective 1/1/18, amounts paid to a new employee for the reimbursement or payment of relocation expenses, including payments made by the University to third parties on behalf of the employee (i.e. payments to moving companies), will be subject to federal withholding tax and FICA. If your department is hiring and providing relocation assistance, please note in the hiring documentation to the new employee that all relocation expenses will be fully taxable. All relocation payments will need to be paid through Payroll via an Additional Pay Form to be taxed accordingly using a new earnings code (429). The Relocation University Operating Procedure (UOP) is being revised to reflect these changes. We will review options with the UBA in March before finalizing the UOP.
- University-level: Activities subject to Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) can no longer be aggregated to offset gains with losses. Under the new law, each activity must be segregated: those with profits will have to pay UBIT, and those with losses will accumulate losses. Tax & Treasury Services will be working with units that have activities subject to UBIT. In addition, some fundraising activities may be affected; for example, when athletic tickets are given in exchange for a donation, the donation is no longer tax-deductible. Many other provisions for colleges and universities in the law do not apply to UVM because we are too small. Contact the Controller's Office at 656-2903.
- Cashier's Office name change: Effective immediately, we are rebranding the Cashier’s Office as “Treasury Services.” Traditional bursar’s and cashier’s offices rarely exist anymore and "Treasury Services" better aligns with the services we provide. Policies, signage, directories, etc. are being updated to reflect this change. Contact Tax & Treasury Services at 656-3462.
- Petty Cash Office hours, procedures: Effective March 1, the Petty Cash office approval hours will be 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays, and 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. At that time, we will also require 24 hours' advance notice if your petty cash replenishment requires specific currency/denominations. This will allow Treasury Services time to place the cash order with the bank and have it ready for you to pick up. Contact Renee Hunt.
- FY18 Space & Equipment Inventory: The Inventory will be open on April 16, which is one month later than usual. Training dates are April 9 and April 12.
- FY19-21 F&A rates: A rate agreement between the University and the Cost Allocations Services Unit within Health & Human Services has been approved for the FY 2019 – FY 2021 fiscal years. This agreement extends the current FY 2018 F&A rates through the FY 2021 fiscal year. F&A rates are used to charge sponsored agreements for their respective use of the University’s facilities and administrative services.
- FY19 fringe benefit rates: Controller Claire Burlingham and the Cost Accounting Services team are finalizing a proposal for FY19 fringe benefit rates, which is due to the federal government at the end of February.
- Uniform guidance micro-purchasing threshold: Purchasing Services and SPA are moving forward to comply with the expected Uniform Guidance micro-purchasing threshold of $10,000, effective July 1, 2018. This means that purchases greater than $10,000 on sponsored projects will be required to obtain rate quotations from multiple sources. Purchases not on grants will not be subject to this requirement because, based on prior year data, only 1.4% of all UVM purchase orders were on grants and between $10,000 and $25,000. Look for more communications through CATSKILL and BFAN listservs, BFAN meetings, and this newsletter. SPA also will be communicating directly with principal investigators. Forms, policies, user guides, etc., will be updated to reflect the new requirements. Contact Purchasing Services.
- Contracts involving software use require additional review for IT security compliance. Purchasing Services and ETS are working on a Footprints workflow for this to coordinate review by multiple UVM offices. In order to pilot this, contracts that you send to Wendy Spargo for review may also be put into Footprints.
- Staples paper pricing will increase between 5% and 8% in mid-March, which will amount to about $2 more per case. We encourage you to stock up now. As a reminder, 100% recycled paper is the most economical option, supports the University’s commitment to the environment, and positively impacts our AASHE STARS rating.
- FY18 mileage rate: While the IRS increased the reimbursable mileage rate to $0.545 per mile effective January 1, 2018, UVM's mileage rate (currently $0.535) will not increase until July 1 since our budgets were built on the July 1, 2017 budget calculation. Rates will change on July 1, 2018 and will be incorporated in the FY19 budget assumptions for Income and Expense activities. Should UVM choose to leave reimbursed mileage at a rate higher than the IRS rate, the difference becomes taxable to the employee.