The January 2009 issue is now available >>

1. Redesign of Appointment Process to Improve Accuracy, Service
2. Budget Due Dates, Process for FY 2010
3. New MIT Customs Broker on the Horizon
4. Benefits of Partnership: Use Preferred Car Rental Agencies
5. Travel News and Notes
6. VPF Intro Training Classes
7. VPF Points of Interest
8. Links and Contact Information – When You Need Help

1. Redesign of Appointment Process to Improve Accuracy, Service

Launched last summer, the Appointment Process Redesign project is working to automate the processing of approximately 10,000 faculty and staff HR/payroll appointment transactions on an annual basis. The project team includes participants from Human Resources, Information Services and Technology, and the Office of the Vice President for Finance, providing the business knowledge and technical expertise required to complete the project. In order to assure that the needs of the community are met, the team established a 17-member DLC User Advisory Group representing the five schools, research areas, and key administrative units.

Under the redesigned process, data will be entered through a SAPWeb user interface. This will replace the current paper forms, which are now routed manually for approval and forwarded to payroll, where they are re-keyed. The system will be fully integrated with SAP--pre-populating data for ease of completion, verifying data to assure accuracy, electronically routing transactions for approval, and uploading data to SAP payroll to eliminate duplicate data entry. The new system is planned for rollout to the full MIT community beginning in the spring of 2010, following a system pilot phase.

One of a number of process redesigns initiated by the VPF in collaboration with HR and IS&T, this project will transform the way in which work is completed and will allow us to improve accuracy and overall service to the community.

2. Budget Due Dates, Process for FY 2010

As the deadlines for the budget planning cycle this year are delayed compared to previous years, we would like to remind you of the important dates.

For FY 2010, Administrative Areas are required to submit their budget requests to the Office of Budget, Finance & Treasury (OBFT) by January 15. OBFT will then compile all the requests and present them to the Executive Vice President for review. Meetings to discuss FY 2010 budget proposals will be held towards the end of January and/or the beginning of February. Budgets will be due into Nimbus by February 27.

Academic Areas will only be asked to input their research and fund spending forecasts into Nimbus by the February 27 deadline. OBFT will enter each academic DLC's general budget into Nimbus, at a very high level based on budget reduction targets received from the Deans, for the February 27 deadline. Academic budget documents will be due to the Office of the Provost by May 1. Nimbus will be reopened in May and detailed general budgets will be due in Nimbus by May 29.

Please contact your representative in OBFT if you have any questions.

3. New MIT Customs Broker on the Horizon

Customs processing of international shipments is ever more complex and more prone to delays than prior to 9/11. Amid this climate, VPF Procurement is transitioning to a new customs broker this month, with an eye on improved service to the MIT community.

Beginning this month, Procurement is transitioning from Stockwell to Carmichel International as MIT's customs broker of record. The transition will be done carefully, so as not to disrupt shipments already in the pipeline.

Even though the dollar value of MIT purchases going through customs is relatively small, the Institute engages in a large number of international transactions, and the effect of increased customs enforcement could be significant. VPF Procurement, working with Carmichel International, is increasing efforts to facilitate shipment processing and minimize delays.

4. Benefits of Partnership: Use Preferred Car Rental Agencies

MIT strongly encourages MIT travelers to use the car rental agencies--Budget and Avis--with which the Institute maintains a volume contract. Because both agencies provide a discount rate and include insurance on the vehicle, using them will mitigate MIT's financial risk associated with automobile accidents and losses, including the theft of the vehicle.

When you are renting from Budget and Avis for MIT travel, please note the MIT required procedure:

  • The Agencies have each provided MIT with a corporate ID, (Budget #T240202 and Avis #A491400), which must be reflected on the rental agreement in order for the insurance coverage to apply. The contractual arrangements for these Agencies include $0.00 deductible collision damage waiver, $100,000/$300,000 liability coverage, and $25,000 property damage insurance on a nationwide basis for domestic travel.
  • Travelers using rental cars for domestic travel should not purchase the optional collision insurance coverage offered. Other insurance offered, such as Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), Additional Liability Insurance (ALI), and Personal Effects Protection (PEP), are considered personal in nature and are not reimbursable.
  • Optional collision insurance coverage should be purchased on all car rentals outside of the Continental U.S.

Please also note that it is imperative for all changes pertaining to car rental reservations to be confirmed by telephone prior to picking up/dropping off the vehicle. If made at the rental counter, changes to the rental period, the return location, etc., may negate the MIT discount.

5. Travel News and Notes

  • The reimbursement rate for using personally owned vehicles for official MIT business travel decreased from $0.58 per mile to $0.55 per mile as of January 1, 2009. For travel started prior to that date and completed after it, the higher mileage rate will be reimbursed for the entire trip.
  • MIT is a member of Club Quarters--a private, full service, downtown hotel concept for the exclusive use of member organizations. The membership arrangement allows for significant savings (both business and personal, with no blackout dates) at locations in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, London, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Club Quarters will continue to subsidize rates for MIT employees, their friends, and families on weekends and holiday periods, with rates starting at $62 upon request and subject to availability. There is an additional charge for a second and third person. MIT guests earn a free "Night on the House" certificate each and every business stay, valid after the second stay. These certificates can be used for a complimentary stay for two on select dates. There is a small handling charge. Corporate apartments with full hotel services are available in all Club Quarters. Please see for more information. Use password: MIT.

6. VPF Intro Training Classes

The VPF "Introduction To" training classes are being offered this coming week. The classes cover five basic business areas: Procurement/Contracts, Accounts Payable, Travel, Journal Vouchers and the Financial Review & Control (FRC) process. They are appropriate for new members of the MIT community or anyone who would like to have a refresher course in these areas.

Procurement and Accounts Payable, two closely related areas, are offered on the same day, back to back, so users can attend one or both classes. All classes will be held in NE49-3100 (600 Technology Square) in the Grand Cayman Conference Room. The instructors are members of the VPF staff who support the DLCs in these areas.

Class Schedule

  • Introduction to Procurement/Contracts: Tuesday, January 13 (9:00-10:30)
  • Introduction to Accounts Payable: Tuesday, January 13 (11:00-12:30)
  • Introduction to Travel: Wednesday, January 14 (9:00-10:30)
  • Introduction to Journal Vouchers: Thursday, January 15 (9:00-10:30)
  • Introduction to FRC: Thursday, January 15 (11:00-12:30)

Register for a class at

7. VPF Points of Interest

  • Salary Certification and Distribution Change Update: Under the quarterly salary certification schedule, salaries for Q1 (ending September 30, 2008) should now be certified. Salary distribution changes for charges within a quarter may now be made via the electronic salary distribution system (eSDS) without written justification for up to three months following the end of the quarter, rather than two, as was previously allowed. Now that salary distribution changes are on a quarterly schedule, please note that change requests beyond the three-month period after the end of a quarter require approval by the Controller, in consultation with the Director of the Office of Sponsored Programs. Changes affecting periods more than six months after the eSDS review period will not be approved unless the changes are necessary to correct an over billing to a sponsor.
  • W-2 Questions: The New Year generally triggers questions concerning the distribution of W-2s (and other tax forms) to employees. Tax forms will be mailed from Payroll and Accounts Payable between January 30 and March 1, 2009. If you have any questions related to your tax form, you may contact the HR Payroll Service Center at or 3-4255 after February 2.
  • Income from Government Equipment: If your DLC received rental/use income from Government-owned equipment during FY 2008, you should send details of the income generation and the property number of the equipment to VPF Property by January 31. This will enable the VPF to comply with a DCAA audit request. This does not pertain to Government equipment for which MIT has received title to. Please send this information by email to Kevin Milligan, Property, kmillign@MIT.EDU.
  • Status Report: The VPF is spearheading a number of process redesign projects. Here is a quick status report.
    • Request for Payment: The SAPWeb RFP Project, which will automate the processing of an estimated 50,000 RFPs annually, was formally launched December 2. The project team has convened a DLC user group to advise the team throughout the project period and assure the needs of the community are met.
    • Sponsored Research Vacation Tracker: The SAPWeb Vacation Tracker for sponsored research staff (SRS) members has been fully developed and tested. We are nearing the end of our pilot phase. Rollout to the MIT community will begin shortly and continue through the spring and summer.

8. Links and Contact Information – When You Need Help

Web Links


Web address

VPF Home Page

Accounts Payable

Accounts Receivable

Budget, Finance & Treasury


Controller & Accounting Services

General Ledger Operations & Reporting


Journal Vouchers

Lincoln Fiscal

Controller & Accounting Services




Sponsored Projects Accounting



Contact Information

Financial Area



Credit card payments

Department of Facilities billing

General ledger account changes & closeout of internal orders

Information Services and Technology billing (incl. telephone & network)

Journal vouchers


  • Timesheets
  • eSDS and eDACCA
  • HR-Payroll forms
  • Student Personnel Action Form
  • Payroll Data Warehouse reports
  • Authorizations/Roles Database



  • Procurement Card
  • Purchasing Initiative
  • Purchasing issues (general)
  • Purchase order closeouts


Sponsored billing

Under-recovery of F&A