VPF Statement - February 2011

Accounts Payable streamlines, with ePayables option

The modernization of VPF processes continues with the introduction of ePayables, an innovative payment option that provides vendors with automated, real-time invoice payments. While ePayables on the surface may mean little to the daily operations of departments, labs, and centers (DLCs), the new process assures efficient vendor payments and stands to enhance ongoing MIT-vendor relations.

Accounts Payable has already collaborated with hundreds of vendors to employ this paperless option, which saves time and increases efficiency for both parties. The greatest impact has been realized with high-volume MIT partners, including Staples, VWR, and Ambit Press.

How does ePayables work? The ePayables service entails each vendor being issued an MIT Visa Card. After an invoice is processed, the vendor charges its credit card account to receive payments. The transaction is completely automated, with payment information sent to vendors via e-mail.

Among the benefits of ePayables are faster payments, reduced processing time, no lost checks, and transactions that are easy to monitor. DLCs will not be affected by the new payment method but may recognize SAP check numbers beginning with "8," which denote that ePayables was the payment method.

Alongside ePayables, traditional payment methods continue to be processed through direct deposit and paper checks. Vendors may elect ePayables as their preferred method of payment by contacting John Doyle at jldoyle@mit.edu, 617-253-7228, of VPF Procurement. Questions concerning the ePayables service, remittance emails, and ePayable vendor payments may also be directed to John.

Equipment database modernized, now eProp

VPF Property has upgraded its equipment and property database to improve the property accounting systems at MIT. The new database, called eProp, builds upon the success of the Sumprop database that served MIT for nearly 25 years. eProp enables greater process efficiencies within Property and allows for quick and reliable service to the MIT community.

Property relies on the eProp system to manage data for nearly 100,000 pieces of equipment throughout the MIT community. In a typical year, the eProp database will accommodate an additional 6,000-8,000 property records.

eProp also makes it easier for DLCs to monitor and verify equipment records.Property is able to quickly provide members of the community with detailed reports for all of their tagged equipment. With six months of its unveiling, eProp has exceeded expectations. The new database offers improved search capabilities with a superior user interface, according to Kevin Milligan, Associate Director of Property.

"The eProp upgrade has really worked out well -- we are providing better customer service with a faster, more efficient database."

  • eProp database enhancements include:
  • Real-time data updates for all equipment categories
  • Faster processing of searches and updates
  • Reduced database maintenance costs
  • Monthly depreciation of equipment
  • Data exporting and Brio reporting

MIT community members seeking access to the standard Brio reporting from eProp are asked to contact Richard Janus, rjanus@mit.edu, for more information. General questions and inquiries concerning the eProp database can be sent to property@mit.edu.

New Preferred Supplier of scientific products: Sigma-Aldrich

MIT Procurement signed an agreement with Sigma-Aldrich to become an MIT Preferred Supplier. A long time supplier of products to MIT researchers in chemistry, life science, and the material sciences, Sigma-Aldrich is attuned to the needs of MIT researchers and has a record of providing responsive technical support on campus.

The designation of Preferred Supplier assures the MIT community discounted pricing and a convenient, streamlined ordering process through MIT's eCat online ordering system.

For more information about the agreement, contact Sigma-Aldrich's MIT Account Manager, Anna Prappas, at 617-780-8334, anna.prappas@sial.com.

For life science inquiries, contact Jerome Clark, Life Science Specialist, at 617-999-4681, jerome.clark@sial.com.

Creating a requisition via SAPweb -- Adding new vendors

VPF Procurement reminds members of the community that the MIT SAPweb purchasing system is able to accommodate requisitions for both new and existing vendors.

Members of the community creating a requisition for an outside vendor via SAPweb should begin the process by searching for the requested vendor. If the vendor search in SAPweb does not find the vendor, you are asked to type the new vendor information in the text box labeled "Internal Note" (center of the requisition form).

After the requisition has been submitted and approved by the local DLC approver, a purchasing agent in VPF Procurement will add the new vendor to the MIT vendor database.

New vendor information should include:

  • Company Name
  • Mailing Address
  • Telephone and Email
  • Contact Name (when available)
  • Tax ID Number (when available

For more information on the process for adding a vendor to SAPweb, please contact procurement@mit.edu.

New Merchant Services web site provides resources to MIT merchants

VPF Merchant Services works closely with Information Services of Technology (IS&T) to guide the more than 100 merchants accepting credit card payments across campus in adhering to critical data security laws and best practices. A recently revamped Merchant Services aims to extend the guidance and services provided to MIT merchants and to strengthen MIT's protection of sensitive data.

The Merchant Services web site offers a full complement of forms, news articles, and resources related to conducting merchant operations at MIT. The expanded web site includes policies, procedures, and best practices for safe credit card transactions.

Groups looking to become merchants at MIT will find critical information for getting started, including the merchant application, a business plan form, and issues to consider before accepting credit card payments.

Travel Update: USAir discounts, Amtrak specials

VPF Sourcing has secured new discounts for MIT faculty, staff, and students traveling on MIT business with USAir in 2011.

  • Boston to New York City (LaGuardia): $256 round trip, $127 one way
  • Boston to Washington, DC (Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport): $398 round trip, $199 one way

Tickets are fully refundable and changeable. Please note: Fares do not include taxes and service fees.

Don't like flying during the winter months? Amtrak is offering deals for MIT travelers through March:

Acela: Take three roundtrips on Acela between Jan. 10 and March 19, 2011, and get one free.

Northeast Regional: Take two roundtrips on Northeast Regional between Jan. 10 and March 19, 2011, and get one free

Intro training session on financial review and control

VPF will offer a special session of the Intro to Financial Review and Control training course Thursday, Feb. 24, 10:45 am - 12:15 pm, in the Grand Cayman Conference Room, NE49-3100.

Members of the community are asked to register through MIT's learning system SAPweb Training.

Nimbus Budget System open for submissions

VPF Budget, Finance & Treasury (BF&T) reports that the Nimbus budget submission application is now open for Fiscal 2012. Detailed budgets are due in Nimbus by close of business on February 28, 2011.

As a resource for navigating the Nimbus system, BF&T has offers an online guide with detailed instructions on preparing budgets. See the Budget Preparation Guide & Tutorial (PDF).

Important tax information

With tax season upon us, HR/Payroll has developed two documents to help faculty, staff, and students understand the tax forms they may receive from MIT.

Please contact HR/Payroll, payroll@mit.edu, 617-253-4255, with any questions concerning MIT tax forms.

Concur Travel Expense Reporting System: Submitter and approver training

To provide ongoing support for the new travel expense reporting system, VPF Travel will host additional training sessions over the next two months. The sessions will be held in the Grand Cayman Conference Room, NE49-3100, on:

  • Friday, Feb. 25, 10-11:30 am
  • Friday, March 11, 11 am - 12:30 pm
  • Friday, March 25, 10-11:30 am

The first hour of these classes will be dedicated to the submitter portion of the tool, and the last half an hour will be geared towards approvers.

Drop-in sessions: Members of the community seeking hands-on assistance with travel expense reports are also encouraged to attend a drop-in training session, which are offered every Wednesday, 10-11 am, in the Little Cayman Conference Room, NE49-3100.

Jordan Lewis joins VPF communications team

VPF in January welcomed Jordan Lewis as a member of our communications team. Formerly senior communications assistant in Mechanical Engineering, Jordan will work with Scott Rolph on the VPF newsletter, web site, and other efforts to keep the MIT community apprised of VPF efforts to optimize processes and enhance customer service. If you have any feedback or questions about VPF communications, please contact Jordan or Scott.

Save the Date

AO/FO Meeting, April 7, 9:30-11 am, location to be determined.

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