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Business Matters February 2017

February 8, 2017

Quarterly Business Forum

The next Business Forum is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 9 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. in HRTC 141-145. The meeting will be broadcast via Adobe Connect and can be accessed here: February Business Forum Broadcast.

Questions? Contact Finance and Administration Communication & Training at

Finance Website Redesign

In response to campus feedback, a project has been launched to create a more customer-friendly Finance Department website. The project team seeks input to help inform efforts to design a customer-friendly website that meets the needs of users. Please compete this short Finance Website User Survey before February 13, to share feedback about how and why you use the website. The feedback received from this survey will be used to help guide the website redesign project for the Department of Finance. To view the Finance website visit

Questions? Contact Jennifer Cochran at

Multi-Factor Authentication to Reduce Risk of Lost/Stolen Passwords

Beginning on March 15, multi-factor will be required for on-campus access to MPI, too. See this Compass story for more details.

In July 2016, the University restricted off-campus access to W-2s and direct deposit to help protect employees who inadvertently share their OHIO credentials in response to phishing scam emails. With multi-factor authentication now available in My Personal Information (MPI), that restriction has been lifted.           

Based on industry trends, individuals who fall victim to phishing scams are at risk of having their identities stolen by hackers who use the stolen credentials to download W2 tax forms. To reduce this risk for OHIO employees, MPI now requires multi-factor authentication for off-campus access to W-2s.

You can turn on multi-factor authentication for your account. Once you do so, you will be able to access all MPI features from off-campus, including W2s and direct deposit, and multi-factor authentication will be turned on for you from all locations.

I-9 Update

As has been discussed previously at the Business Forum and HRMG meetings, Human Resources has partnered with Equifax to implement an electronic solution for the completion of I-9 forms in the employment onboarding process. The behind the scenes work is wrapping up on this project and HR will roll out this solution to campus on March 6.

The overall implementation timeline will be discussed at the Business Forum on February 9. HR will work closely with planning units to provide training and make some minor changes to the onboarding processes affected by this change. 

Multiple training sessions will be offered between February 20 and March 1. Any individual who has been trained to do student hiring through a Center of Excellence will receive a link to sign up for a training session. HR Liaisons will work with their planning units to identify any other individuals who may complete I-9s for non-student hires (GIII faculty, temporary employees, etc.). These individuals will also receive links to sign up for training. If you are interested in completing this training, and do not receive an invite by February 15, please contact HR at or 740-593-1636 to sign up.

Graduate Student Summer Pay Cycle Change

The Graduate Student pay schedule will change beginning May 2017. This change will more closely align the graduate pay schedule with the academic calendar, when work is being performed.  As a result of this change, Summer I pay dates will be paid in the appropriate fiscal year.

Change in Pay Cycle

Under the current summer payment schedule, Summer I is paid in three equal payments beginning June 15 and ending July 15. Summer II is paid in three equal payments beginning on July 31 and ending August 31. The new payment schedule will shift those dates up about two weeks. Fall and spring semester pay dates will not change. Fall semester is paid in eight equal payments beginning Sept. 15 and ending Dec. 31. Spring semester is paid in eight equal payments beginning Jan. 31 and ending May 15.

New Graduate Pay Schedule
Payment Number Summer I Dates Summer II Dates Fall Dates Spring Dates
1 May 31 July 15 September 15 January 31
2 June 15 July 31 September 30 February 15
3 June 30 August 15 October 15 February 28 (29 in leap years)
4 N/A N/A October 31 March 15
5 N/A N/A November 15 March 31
6 N/A N/A November 30 April 15
7 N/A N/A December 15 April 30
8 N/A N/A December 31 May 15

Questions? Contact Payroll at 593-1874 or email

2016 W-2s Available  

The 2016 W-2s are available online through My Personal Information (MPI). Employees have been notified via e-mail. W-2s were mailed to former employees and employees that did not request electronic delivery as of January 18, 2016.

Steps to Access Your W-2 via MPI:

  1. Log in to MPI with your OHIO ID.
    • If you have trouble logging in, please review the tips included on the log in screen. If you have not yet established your OHIO security questions, you will not be able to access MPI. If you still have trouble, contact the Help Desk at 740-593-1222.
  2. Expand the “My Personal Information” Tab.
  3. Click “W-2 Wage and Tax Statements”.

Occasionally, employees are confused when their gross earnings on their W-2 do not match the gross earnings on their final pay slip of the calendar year. Please refer to the instructions in the January Business Matters to help reconcile the two forms.

Questions? Contact the Employee Service Center at or 740-593-1636.

Rates increase at The Parking Spot Columbus

On January 1 The Parking Spot implemented a $0.45 rate increase to uncovered self-parking retail rates in Columbus. The rate for covered parking and valet parking has not changed.

The pricing chart below shows the daily retail rates for The Parking Spot Columbus effective January 1 as well as Ohio University’s daily discounted rate. Rates do not include a 10% airport use recovery fee.

Travelers must bring their OHIO ID to receive the discounted rate for business or personal use.

Parking Type Daily Retail Rate Ohio University Discounted Daily Rate Savings
Uncovered self-parking $6.95 $5.21 (25% off) $1.74/day
Covered self-parking $8.50 $6.38 (25% off) $2.12/day
Uncovered valet $9.95 $7.46 (25% off) $2.49/day
Covered valet $11.95 $8.96 (25% off) $2.99/day

Altour Spending Metrics

Ohio University began their partnership with Altour in 2014. A comparison of calendar year spending shows that Altour has consistently saved OHIO money when booking airfare, vehicle rentals and hotel rooms. As the number of bookings continues to increase year after year, Altour is able to negotiate the lowest fares for Ohio University customers. 

Travel category Difference (%)
Calendar Years 2015 - 2016
Number of airfare tickets Up 1.08%
Average ticket price for airfare Down 10.28%
Average cost per day for rental car Down 7.10%
Number of hotel bookings Up 7.60%
Average cost of hotel per night Down 3.29%

To book travel through Altour visit the Altour page of the Finance website.

Sponsor Travel Guidance

Lowest Economy Airfare

Airfare other than lowest economy (ex. business or economy upgrade) is not allowable on Sponsored Funds unless an exception is met and documented. Federal regulations (2 CFR §200.474.3(d)) require that airfare costs in excess of the lowest economy fare class are unallowable except when the latter would:

  • Require circuitous routing;
  • Require travel during unreasonable hours;
  • Excessively prolong travel;
  • Result in additional costs that would offset the transportation savings; or
  • Offer accommodations not reasonably adequate for the traveler's medical needs.

Exceptions for business-class or upgraded economy airfare must meet one of these criteria and be justified and documented to be allowable on a sponsored award. These exceptions require documentation and written approval by the Grants Accounting Office.

Please note that Ohio University Policy & Procedure is consistent with this policy and does not allow for an airfare upgrade.

Fly America Requirements and Overview

All international travel, funded by the federal government must be in compliance with the Fly America Act. The Fly America Act dictates that any foreign air travel that is financed by federal funds must be booked on U.S. Flag Air Carriers, regardless of cost or convenience. This regulation must be followed by all OHIO personnel, students, trainees, consultants and collaborators who are reimbursed for air travel with federally primed or federal pass through funds.

Please see Fly America Act Guidance on the Sponsor Travel Guidance web page for further information on U.S Flag Air carriers, Fly America Act Waiver Checklist and a flow chart on air travel from the U.S. to a foreign country on Federal funds.

It is highly recommended that you book your international travel, when federally funded, through ALTOUR. This travel agency is well versed in the Fly America Act. Please be sure to advise them that your trip is federally funded.

It is the Principal Investigator’s (PI) or his/her designee’s responsibility to ensure that all air travel charged to federally primed or federal pass through awards are in compliance with this regulation.

OHIO requires travelers who will be reimbursed from federal grants or contracts to use U.S. flag air carrier service, consistent with the Fly America Act. Some of the exceptions that may apply include:

  1. When the use of U.S. carrier service would extend travel time (including delay at origin) by 24 hours or more;
  2. When the costs of transportation are reimbursed in full by a third party, such as a foreign government or an international agency; and
  3. When U.S. carriers do not offer nonstop or direct service between origin and destination.

However, a U.S. carrier must be used on every portion of the route where it provides service unless, when compared to using a foreign air carrier, such use would:

  • Increase the number of aircraft changes outside the United States by two or more
  • Extend travel time by at least six hours or more
  • Require a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point

U.S. carriers must be used even if foreign carriers offer tickets at a lower price, offer preferred routing, or are more convenient.

Any exception to Fly America must be justified and documented to be allowable on a federal award. These exceptions require documentation and written approval by the Grants Accounting Office and approved exceptions must be documented in the Concur report.

Open Skies

An additional exception to Fly America occurs when an Open Skies agreement is in place between the United States (U.S.) government and the government of a foreign country. There are currently four Open Skies agreements - with the European Union, Australia, Switzerland and Japan. There are limitations to the use of non-U.S. carriers under an Open Skies agreement—notably that the current Open Skies agreements do not apply to Department of Defense-supported activities and there is a prohibition against non-U.S. carriers if a City Pairs agreement exists.

Code Share

Please note that Code-Sharing agreements with foreign air carriers, whereby American carriers purchase or have the right to sell a block of tickets on a foreign carrier, comply with the Fly America Act Regulations. The ticket, or documentation for an electronic ticket, must identify the U.S. carrier's designator code and flight number. However, some funding sources may not recognize code-sharing as being compliant with Fly America Act regulations. When the specific funding source policy is more restrictive than the Fly America Act, the more restrictive policy applies.

Questions? Contact Sherri Gilbraith at or 740-593-190.

New PCards Coming from J.P. Morgan

New PCards were issued six months ago in order to provide the chip card technology. In the next month there will be another PCard reissuance coming from our PCard provider. OHIO’s Commercial Card provider, J.P. Morgan, is moving our program to a new card transaction processing system, which will help improve servicing of our program and increase card security. This conversion will be finalized on March 20.

What does this mean to you?

  • Cardholders will receive a new J.P. Morgan Commercial Card to replace your existing card.
  • The table below shows when you can expect to receive your new replacement card, if you need to activate it, and when you should begin using it based on the type of card you have and when it expires, as follows:
As of December 27, 2016 if you had a… You will receive a… Start using your new card… Does card require activation?
Chip card New replacement chip card between February 20 and March 3, 2017 March 20, 2017
Note: If you try to use it before this date, it will be declined.
Magnetic stripe card New replacement chip card from May through September 2017 As soon as you receive it Yes
Chip or magnetic stripe card that expires in February or March 2017 Reissued card with updated expiration date to use until you receive your new replacement chip card any time from March 20 through September 2017 As soon as you receive it Yes
Chip card that expires in April 2017 New replacement chip card between February 20 and March 3, 2017 March 20, 2017
Note: If you try to use it before this date, it will be declined.
Magnetic stripe card that expires in April 2017 New replacement chip card between March 20 and March 31, 2017 As soon as you receive it Yes
Magnetic stripe card that expires between May and September 2017 New replacement chip card about one month before your current card expires As soon as you receive it Yes

For new cardholders with cards issued after December 27, 2016: If you have a chip card, you will receive your new replacement card after March 20. If you have a magnetic stripe card, you will receive your card from May through September 2017.

What’s staying the same?

  • Your account number and your PIN - if you have set one.

What’s changing?

  • Your expiration date will be revised to expire one year later than your original expiration date.
  • Your Customer Verification Value (the three-digit code on the back of the card) will be new.
  • If you have your card on file with any suppliers, you need to update this information.
  • The design of the card may be updated based on the version you currently have.

How long can I use my old card?

  • If you receive your new replacement card on or before March 3, your old card will remain active for 45 days (until May 5) or until you use your new replacement card for the first time.
  • If you receive your new replacement card any time after March 3, your old card will remain active for 45 days from the date your replacement card was mailed or until you activate your replacement card.
  • Note: You cannot use both your old card and your new replacement card simultaneously.

What happens if my current card is lost or stolen leading up to the conversion – before March 20, 2017?

  • Please contact J.P. Morgan to close your account and allow them to send a new card with an updated account number. 
  • You will need to destroy any cards with your old account number, which may include the replacement card you were sent for use beginning on March 20.
  • You will then receive a new replacement card with your updated account number between March 20 and March 31.
  • You should continue to use the card sent previously until your new replacement card arrives.
  • Note: Cardholders with lost or stolen cards may receive multiple replacement cards. Please keep your card safe and secure.

Questions? Contact Erin Jeffers at or 740-593-1959.

FY18 Budget Planning

A revised spring budget process timeline was presented at the December Budget Partner Group meeting. Important dates in the budget process include:

  • Jan. 31: Republish planning assumptions and allocation models
  • Feb. 17- Mar. 3: Spring submission of revised Budget materials
  • Mar. 1 – 24: Spring Financial Review meetings
  • Mar. 27 – Apr. 7: Finalize budget decisions

Questions? Connect with your Budget Planning & Analysis contact or e-mail

Financial System Enhancements Reaches Major Milestones

The Financial System Enhancements (FSE) project represents a combination of initiatives planned to be available in November 2017 including the Chart of Accounts Redesign (COA), a new Financial Approvers tool and the new Oracle Grants Accounting Module. Each of these building blocks will be supported by detailed reporting capabilities within Oracle Business Intelligence (OBI) and thorough training.

The FSE Project team will reach a major milestone in February as the first fully converted instance of the General Ledger (GL) will be complete. This will enable the project team to begin testing and interacting with real data in the new COA structure. In addition to converting the GL data, the Project Team will also set-up Grants data for demonstration and testing purposes. With the conversion, users will begin to see how the data will be mapped in the General Ledger and the Oracle Grants Accounting Module. The new Chart of Accounts will introduce two unique account strings, one for the General Ledger and a separate for “Grants”. The Oracle Grants Accounting Module will be used to track what is currently tracked in the Projects module - capital projects and sponsored projects; the Grants module can also be used to track internal awards (research incentives, start-up funds, professional development grants, etc.). Utilizing the Oracle Grants Accounting module will provide the flexibility to track activity both by fiscal year and project period. There will also be a Grants reporting dashboard that will enable faculty and staff to view the status of their projects and awards within OBI.

New Oracle Grants Accounting Module Segment Structure

In the above images, the numbers in parenthesis represent the length of each segment.

Enhanced HR/Payroll OBI dashboards are in development and are planned to be available in spring 2017. Releasing these dashboards prior to the release of the other Financial System Enhancements will allow impacted users to become comfortable using dashboards within OBI, before leveraging them more heavily when the Financial and Grants Dashboards are released with the updated COA and Oracle Grants Accounting Module in November.Each dashboard will have multiple tabs for various inquires and reports and will replace the current FMS Reports.Pilot groups will be identified to vet usability and to ensure these dashboards meet campus needs.

The COA Partner Group met in late January to discuss COA training requirements, specifically around the Function segment of the General Ledger as use of this segment will be new to campus. The function segment will be used for external reporting to the state and federal government and helps describe the purpose or function of the spending. For example, instruction, public service, and fundraising represents the functions that will be tracked in the Function segment of the new Chart of Accounts.

A financial systems website is currently being developed and will house information regarding the Oracle Grants Accounting Module, Financial Approvers, and OBI Dashboards as well as provide centralized access to financial and HR related systems and associated news. This is planned to be available in spring 2017.

With all of this change, effective training is a top priority. As such, the FSE Change Network will meet in February to review a draft training schedule and provide feedback to help accommodate the diverse training needs as well as help determine the most feasible training windows for all impacted users.

Questions? Visit the COA Website for information, reach out directly to your Planning Unit’s Change Network member(s) to share feedback or ask questions, or contact the FSE Project Team at