VPF Statement - July 2011


Changes on the Horizon: P-Card, eRFP, and Presumed Receipt Level

VPF will be making three important changes to MIT's buy-pay process that will increase efficiency for members of the MIT community. These changes are part of broader efforts to streamline operations and work toward consistency in thresholds across VPF service areas. All three policy changes will be effective starting Monday, August 15, 2011.

1. Increased Procurement Card Limit on Computer Purchases to $1,000

Beginning August 15, the Procurement Card (P-Card) may be used to purchase desktops, laptops, and servers at costs up to $1,000. This change extends the benefits of using the P-Card for computer purchases by increasing the previous limit. At present, all other minor equipment costing up to $1,000 may be purchased on the P-card, and this change will provide consistency for the community.

2. Increase of Presumed Receipt Level to $3,000

Accounts Payable (AP) currently sends invoices for purchases of $500 and greater to administrators for a signature prior to approval for payment. For invoices below this threshold, AP presumes receipt of the product or service and processes the invoice for payment in 30 days.

As of August 15 this presumed receipt level will increase to $3,000. In addition to reducing the burden on DLC administrators and enhancing the efficiency of AP services, this change will ensure prompt payment to vendors.

AP will continue to send invoices for purchases of $3,000 and greater to the DLCs for signature and approval to pay. Invoices related to blanket purchase orders will be forwarded to the DLCs for approval regardless of the dollar amount.

Problem Resolution: If an invoice is paid for an item that is either damaged or not received, a community member should call or email AP for assistance. A buyer from VPF Sourcing and Procurement will work with the vendor to resolve the issue. If the issue is not resolved within five business days, the charge will be removed from the DLC cost object pending resolution.

3. Enhanced System Controls for Electronic Requests for Payment (eRFP)

The implementation of the Electronic Request for Payment (eRFP) service in 2010 included new data-driven system controls. The SAPweb-based eRFP service now validates cost objects and approvers while prohibiting individuals from approving eRFPs for themselves. With these increased electronic controls in place, AP staff will focus their review process on eRFPs of $100 and over on WBS elements prior to posting, with a sampling audit process for low dollar transactions on non-research accounts.

More Information

If you have any questions concerning these changes, please contact procard@mit.edu (for credit card inquiries) or erfp@mit.edu (for questions related to the presumed receipt level). To view a specific policy or procedure, visit the VPF website.

Policy Reminder: Journal Voucher Requirements

Cost transfers at MIT are used to bill interdepartmental costs, to adjust billing errors, or for other reasons associated with a DLC's regular financial operations. Although costs should always be charged to the correct cost object when they are incurred, cost transfers are sometimes necessary and should be completed as soon as the need for a transfer is identified. When cost transfers involve sponsored projects, it is critical that the transfer meet the rules for allowability, allocability, reasonableness, and consistency (please refer to the Office of Sponsored Programs website for additional information on cost transfers).

Journal vouchers are used to process cost transfers. To ensure compliance with MIT and federal cost transfer guidelines, there are specific details required before a journal voucher can be approved.

Cost Transfer JVs Must Include the Following (regardless of the amount, per federal guidelines):

  • Specify the original document number and vendor's name for audit tracking purposes
  • Provide details to explain the error: how it occurred and how it was discovered
  • Explain why the costs being transferred were not charged to the correct account originally
  • Specify the expense type and how it benefits the project being charged
  • The transaction date must match the date the expense originally entered SAP
  • When cost transfers are not done within the 90-day window, an explanation must be provided as to why it was not done in a timely manner

For detailed information on journal voucher requirements, please review the guidelines available on the VPF General Ledger Operations and Reporting website.

VPF classroom trainings are scheduled regularly and can be found on the MIT Learning Center website. If you have cost transfer/journal voucher questions, please contact the General Ledger and Accounting group at journal-vouchers@mit.edu.

VPF Finance Team: Putting Financial Decisions to the Test

Determining the implications of any financial decision can be difficult, but consider the countless variables connected to financial decisions for a large and complex organization like MIT. The VPF Finance team spends its time doing just that: analyzing financial variables and contingencies while developing and applying complex analytical tools to help inform the Institute's financial decision making.

One component of VPF's Budget, Finance and Treasury (BF&T) group, the Finance team often works behind the scenes, with little fanfare, weighing interrelated factors -- including the General Institute Budget, the endowment, economic indicators, and the mission of MIT -- in order to provide guidance on strategic decisions.

"We are a neutral partner as strategic initiatives are developed across the campus," says Allen Marcum, who has led the BF&T group since 2008. "People come to us with an idea and we develop options for how it could unfold. … We are here to advise with the best, fact-based, impartial information that we can provide."

Read more >>

Restaurant Discounts for MIT

Ready to save on your next meal? Check out the food discounts available as a benefit to the MIT community. Bring your MIT ID card and save up to 25% on the food portion of your bill at these Cambridge hotels:

  • Le Meridien
  • Hyatt Regency
  • Marriott
  • Residence Inn
  • Royal Sonesta

The actual discount, maximum group size, and other restrictions will vary by hotel.

The discounted meals can be applied to business and non-business meals. VPF Procurement encourages the MIT community to take advantage of the savings.

For more information on MIT's preferred hotels and vendors, visit the VPF SmartBuy website.

Expanded Reimbursement Options

As mentioned last month, more flexible reimbursement options are now available for the MIT community. The new features for RFP and travel reimbursements include:

  • Receiving emails whenever MIT directly deposits a reimbursement into your account
  • Selecting specific bank accounts for direct deposit reimbursements
  • Determining the mailing address for reimbursement checks

If these new options are of interest to you, please visit SAPweb ESS Money Matters tab and follow the Reimbursement Preferences link.

Selection of Source Form
VPF is currently redesigning the Selection of Source form to improve the user interface. If you would like to provide suggestions or feedback, please participate in this short survey.

The selection of source form is used when making purchases of $5,000 and above.

Mileage Reimbursement Rate Increased to $.55
The mileage reimbursement rate for business travel has increased from .51 to .55 effective July 1, 2011.

For more information, read the IRS press release announcing the increase.

VPF Travel FAQ
Q. When must an employee fill out a travel expense voucher?

A: MIT policy – within 30 days after the completion of the trip.

IRS regulation – within 60 days following the completion of the trip. Otherwise the travel expenses may be treated as salary.

Visit the VPF Travel website for a complete list of Travel FAQs.

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