VPF Statement - June 2011


New Payment Options for Reimbursement of Out-of-Pocket Expenses

Members of the MIT community will have new options for Requests for Payment (RFPs) and travel reimbursements as of July 8.

Community members will be able to choose:

  • Whether to receive an email notification, with transaction detail attached, whenever MIT directly deposits a reimbursement to their bank account.
  • Whether to have reimbursements directly deposited to a different bank account from the account used for their payroll direct deposits.
  • Whether a reimbursement check (in cases where a check is preferred over direct deposit) should be mailed to their home or primary office address.

Community members will be able to take advantage of these new choices starting July 8 by accessing the SAPweb ESS Money Matters tab and selecting "Reimbursement Preferences." Preferences will apply to all future reimbursements.

If you are happy with your current preferences, you do not need to change anything. Your reimbursements will be processed as usual.

These new options were developed in response to community requests and support VPF's emphasis on expanding our digital tools and services and maintaining MIT's culture of choice.

VPF Director of Financial Operations Gerry O'Toole will email the community when the new services are active. In the meantime, administrators are encouraged to circulate this message in their areas. Please contact Accounts Payable (617-253-2750, erfp@mit.edu) with any questions.

80,000 Items and Counting: VPF Property Team

More than likely, VPF Property has tagged equipment in your office or lab. Why? That is their specialty. The barcode stickers (tags) that adorn 80,000 pieces of equipment across campus are all courtesy of the VPF Property team. And, every two years, Property staff members actually scan each and every item on campus to ensure that it is accounted for in the property database.

The purchase price for an item determines whether or not it will be tagged and tracked by VPF Property. The threshold for an item to be considered "capital" and therefore require a tag is $3,000. For computer equipment, the tag is required for items starting at $1,000. Once an item is tagged, it is tracked indefinitely.

VPF Property Ensures Compliance

The Institute is required to maintain a control system for Government property in accordance to federal guidelines. Furthermore, the Institute is contractually responsible for maintaining records on all capital equipment obtained in connection with sponsored research projects. Through its tagging practice, VPF Property ensures strict compliance with all property controls required by sponsors.

Envisioning the vast quantity of items, it may seem near impossible for the Property team to account for everything. In fact, the items are distributed between 33,000 unique rooms, 2 million square feet of office and lab space, and four towns (Cambridge, Middleton, Westford and Dedham). The on-going task requires a team that knows the Institute inside and out.

Among its large scope of responsibilities,VPF Property maintains the property database (eProp), conducts audits, and oversees the depreciation schedules for all MIT buildings and equipment. Accurate management of depreciation schedules is critical for compliance with government regulations.

VPF Property also works with the Independent Residence Development Fund to manage grants and loans to fraternities, sororities, and independent living groups (FSILG) for improvements to the houses.

Tagged Property

To ensure that tagged items are readily available for scanning, there are some important rules to remember. First, be sure to notify VPF Property if an item is moved from its designated location. Even if an item is moved for repair or temporary replacement, it is important to update the location status of that item with VPF Property. Second, if an item is part of a "trade-in" or "exchanged," the item change must be recorded with VPF Property. A replacement item or part may not directly involve a monetary transaction, but the arrival of new equipment must be updated in the property database.


Deactivating a Tagged Item

Tag deactivation is the appropriate step for items no longer being used. VPF Property will initiate the process for deactivation immediately, once a request is received. Items that are no longer deemed useful should not be discarded, traded, or given away as a gift without being deactivated first. Once an item receives a "red tag," signifying a completed deactivation, the item is no longer tracked by VPF Property. Deactivated items can be disposed, recycled, or moved to a new location. The Property team can assist with disposal and redistribution of deactivated items upon request.

Custom Property Reports

Departments, Labs, and Centers (DLCs) may request reports on equipment inventories at any time. Equipment reports are sent electronically and can be customized by cost object, principal investigator, and other criteria. To request a custom equipment report, contact Richard Janus, 617-258-9199.

Need Office Furniture?

VPF Property has an abundant supply of surplus office furniture available for reuse by MIT DLCs at no charge. The furniture inventory held in WW15 is constantly revolving so contact Mike McCarthy for availability. You may also visit WW15, which is located at 350 Brookline Street in Cambridge, from 10 am-2 pm, Monday though Thursday. Although there is no charge for these items, DLCs may have to make their own arrangements for moving the furniture.

VPF Property encourages DLCs to support MIT's Green Initiative and contact Property about recycling their surplus furniture.

VPF Point Person: Joy Matos, General Ledger Operations and Reporting

The VPF General Ledger and Benefits Accounting (GL Accounting) team’s primary mission is to ensure the accuracy, integrity, and compliance of the financial information recorded on the Institute’s books. As a result, GL Accounting has a unique perspective on MIT. With responsibilities ranging from the "nitty-gritty" details of account creation, journal vouchers, and bank reconciliations all the way up to comprehensive year-end closing process for the Institute, the GL Accounting group has a wide spectrum of responsibility.

Leading the herculean efforts of the GL Accounting team is Joy Matos, Manager of General Ledger and Benefits Accounting. Joy recently transitioned from the Budget, Treasury and Finance group where she was a Senior Budget Officer. She was attracted to this new role because it offered an opportunity to make a greater contribution to the Institute and to develop new skills. About her work, Joy says, "I am fully engaged! I work with a great group of people, and we’re making a difference! We’re doing our part to help MIT fulfill its mission. What more could you ask?"

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MIT Graduate Students Analyze VPF Digitization Efforts

A team of graduate students from MIT's Leaders for Global Operations program recently analyzed VPF digitization efforts as part of a class project. The team's research focused on the impact of ePaystubs and e-W2s, both of which are now electronically available to MIT's employees. With access to nearly a year of aggregate enrollment data, the four-person team was able to assess the cost savings and paper reductions that have been realized though these two modernization projects.

The course, "Perspectives on Industrial Ecology," tasked small teams of students with performing a materials flow analysis within MIT. The Digital MIT group selected "paper" as their material and began looking for specific applications for their research. After meeting with VPF staff members, the team decided to focus on ePaystubs and eW2s.

Through its research, the team sought to determine: "What are the quantifiable effects of the digitization effort on the paper flows at MIT." By assessing the change from paper-based processes, the team quantified the improvements and the impact of digitization.

Final recommendations from the team are encouraging. With widespread adoption of the eW2s and ePaystubs, the direct reduction in paper consumption is significant. For example, the ePaystub initiative has reduced related paper consumption by 65%. The team encourages the MIT community to "opt-in" to electronic delivery and notes that increased participation will have a definitive "green" benefit. Further, they encourage other paper-based processes on campus to follow the lead of VPF. The team concludes that "going digital" and eliminating paper-based processes will have a far greater impact than recycling alone.

MIT Preferred Suppliers:Scientific Supplies and Equipment

MIT Preferred Suppliers collaborate directly with VPF Procurement to benefit the entire MIT community.

Sigma-Aldrich, VWR, and WestNet are preferred suppliers specializing in scientific lab supplies and equipment. By offering discounted rates, premiere customer service, and quick turnaround on delivery, these suppliers have developed lasting relationships with their MIT lab partners.

The combined inventories of Sigma-Aldrich, VWR, and WestNet provide millions of products directly through the eCat punch-out system.

For questions concerning preferred suppliers in the area of scientific supplies and equipment, contact VPF Procurement Specialist David Petricone, 617-253-8393.

Radiochemicals through PerkinElmer

PerkinElmer has a new team member in their radiochemicals group representing MIT. Meara Jones will be transitioning into the account management role currently held by Todd Wilchek.

July Training Classes

VPF will be providing intro training classes during the month of July. Follow the course links below to register.

In addition to the intro courses, Concur Travel & Expense Reporting will be offered on July 8 and July 22 from 2-3:30pm in the Grand Cayman Room, NE49-3100.

For more training tools, forms, and resources, please visit the VPF Training website.

Instructions for Wiring Money to MIT

There are three methods for wiring money to MIT. It is important that you use the instructions appropriate to the type of wire that you are transmitting. Please follow these links for the appropriate instructions:

Non-Government Wires: View instructions

Government Wires: Please download the instructions or contact Sponsored Accounting, billing-issues@mit.edu, 617-253-2760.

Gift Wires: Please visit the Mechanics of Giving webpage or email recsec@mit.edu.

FAQ: Journal Vouchers

Q: Do I need to send VPF paper backup for my journal voucher?

A: You no longer need to send journal voucher backup to the VPF. However, you do need to create an electronic document that includes the information previously provided in paper backup. This includes originating transaction numbers and transaction dates when transferring expenses and revenues between cost objects, along with clear Line Item Text and Explanation Text explaining why the journal voucher is being made.

Important Links