Search within:

Business Matters July 2016

July 14, 2016

Quarterly Business Forum

The next Business Forum is scheduled for Tuesday, August 2 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm in Baker 240. The meeting will be broadcast via Adobe Connect and can be accessed here: August Business Forum Broadcast. Please mark your calendars.

Questions? Contact Communication & Training at finhr@ohio.edu.

Pay Structure Adjusted

As a reminder, changes were made to the Classified and Administrative Pay (CA&P) Structure effective July 1. As last communicated in the April Business Matters, in January 2015, University Human Resources (UHR) Compensation introduced the Strategic Compensation Plan for Administrative and Classified Non-Bargaining Unit staff. Per the plan, Ohio University is committed to maintaining a pay structure that is market competitive. On an annual basis concurrent with the fiscal year, UHR Compensation will review market trends and make a recommendation to senior leadership regarding adjustments in the salary structure. 

Based on Mercer’s 2015-2016 US Compensation Planning Survey for Educational Institutions, Compensation has made a 1% upward adjustment to the University’s CA&P salary structure to maintain a market-based pay structure as agreed upon with the Department of Education. The revised pay structure can be found on UHR Compensation website. Effective July 1, UHR set the salary/hourly rate for all employees in the CA&P structure to at least the minimum of the pay grade. Minimums will be prorated for exempt employees working less than a 1.0 FTE.

Questions? Contact Compensation at compensation@ohio.edu or 740-597-1824.

Qualifying Life Event in MPI

Enhancements are underway for the Self Service Benefits option of My Personal Information (MPI) that was used to conduct the annual Benefits Open Enrollment in April. This enhancement will enable employees to make midyear changes to their benefits in the event of a qualifying family status change and will support online benefits enrollment for new employees. The anticipated release for these enhancements is August 16. Instructions for utilizing MPI to change and elect benefits will be announced closer to the launch date.

Outside of the annual open enrollment period, employees can only make changes to their benefits if a qualifying event occurs. 

Questions? Contact Benefits at benefits@ohio.edu or 740-593-1636.

Changes to STRS Contribution Rates Effective July 1

As communicated to impacted faculty and staff on June 9 via email and the Faculty Contributions article in Compass, the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS) announced a 1% increase to employee retirement contributions for work performed on or after July 1, 2016. This is the final year of the three-year phase-in period which increases the member contribution rate to 14%.  

All changes to retirement contributions enacted by STRS apply to both STRS plans and the Alternative Retirement Plan (ARP). The following serves to further clarify changes to retirement contributions for STRS and ARP plans effective for all work performed on or after July 1.

Employee Contribution Changes

  • As part of previously enacted pension reforms, faculty contributions to STRS plans and ARP plans increased from 13% to 14% effective July 1.
  • The University automatically changed faculty contributions and faculty do not need to take action regarding these changes.

Questions? Contact Benefits at benefits@ohio.edu or 740-593-1636.

UHR Implements Improved Student Hiring Process

Over the past several months, UHR has worked closely with Dr. Todd Myers, professor and chair of the Department of Engineering Technology and Management in the Russ College of Engineering, and a cross-functional team of representatives from Ohio University to improve the student onboarding process using LEAN principles. LEAN is a systematic approach to improving efficiencies in a process or service. The effort included an in-depth analysis of process, forms, and tools utilized in student onboarding. The results of the project have yielded improved forms, detailed instructions, and new checklists geared towards more accurate completion of paperwork and onboarding of student personnel.

Through the project, several Centers of Excellence were identified in terms of student hiring. Those centers include Culinary Services, Student Affairs, Regional Higher Education and Alden Library. These units were selected because of their high volume of student employees. Together, these Centers of Excellence employ two-thirds of all student employees at Ohio University. Key stakeholders in student employment were asked to identify employees in these units who perform student hiring. Those identified have received training on the new forms and tools over the past several weeks. If additional staff members in these Centers of Excellence need or wish to receive training, they should contact Nick Wortman at wortmann@ohio.edu.

Through this project UHR found that units and hiring managers who do not hire students frequently are often less familiar with the hiring process. Units that have not been identified as Centers of Excellence can begin sending their student hires directly to UHR for completion of paperwork. This change will yield more efficient completion of paperwork and an improved onboarding experience by allowing experts in UHR to complete the paperwork for these units. 

Additionally, UHR has reserved space in Baker University Center beginning August 29 through September 14 to provide centralized support for student hiring and onboarding. During these dates, departments that are not part of a Center of Excellence may send their new student employees to the centralized hiring events for quick and easy completion of paperwork and processing.

UHR will be updating the student employment web page with more information about these changes along with specific times and locations for the centralized onboarding services in Baker Center. Communication will also be sent directly to members of Human Resources Management Group.

UHR would like to thank the following individuals for their help and expertise during the LEAN project: Dr. Todd Myers, Gwyn Scott, Patti Barnes, Dr. Charee Thompson, Dr. Zaki Kuruppalil, Dr. Ana Rosada Feger, Dr. Hugh Martin, Dr. Amy Taylor-Bianco, Megan Vogel, Candi Morris, April Crabtree, Jacob Heinold, Erin Wrubel, Blake Scipio, Lucas Hackenburg, and Tyler Warner. 

Questions? Contact the Employee Service Center at uhr@ohio.edu or 740-593-1636.

Sick Leave Donation Ends

In July 2014, UHR, in collaboration with the Administrative and Classified Senates, unveiled a sick leave donation pilot program; however, the University recently received notice from the Ohio Attorney General that sick leave donation programs at public colleges and universities are prohibited by the Ohio Revised Code (ORC). To comply with the ORC, the sick leave donation pilot program ended June 30, 2016.

Employees currently on leave who were provided sick leave donations while the pilot program was in effect will be able to use the donations granted even if the donated time is for absences that occur after June 30. Specific questions regarding individual situations should be directed to the employee’s Planning Unit HR liaison or uhr@ohio.edu.

Under the pilot program, sick leave donations could be directed to a specific employee or given to the sick leave pool. Unused time donated to a specific employee will be returned to the donor. The balance remaining in the sick leave pool will be returned to the donor on a prorated basis. Returned donations will be reflected in employees’ sick leave balances by August 31.

Under the ORC, public colleges and universities have other options to provide employees with extended sick leave benefits. To learn more about extended sick leave options for Ohio University employees, contact your Planning Unit’s HR liaison.

Questions? Contact your Planning Unit HR Liaison or the Employee Service Center at uhr@ohio.edu or 740-593-1636.

Payroll Accounting Corrections

As a reminder, all Payroll Expense Accounting Corrections for FY16 should be submitted to Payroll no later than July 15. If the correction is past 60 days, an exception request form must be completed in order for Payroll to process the request. Forms submitted without the exception request form will be returned.

The Payroll Expense Accounting Correction form can be found on the Payroll Forms web page. Download the “Payroll Expense Accounting Correction (PEDS)” worksheet. (Please note the 60-day exception is on a separate tab).

Questions? Contact Payroll Services at payroll@ohio.edu or 740-593-1858.

Excel Training Update

In Fall 2015, the offices of UHR Organizational Development and VPFA Communication & Training conducted a series of sessions to assess training needs for staff across the University. Based on the information gathered during these sessions, several training topics were determined to be of highest priority and new learning experiences to support these needs will be developed throughout the year. Analyzing Information with Systems is the first of these new learning experiences.

Analyzing Information with Systems represents a series of topics developed as building blocks in support of the new Chart of Accounts Redesign project. The first topic in this series centers on enhancing Excel skills for OHIO staff. In March, an Excel Training Needs Assessment was shared across campus and received 108 responses. The purpose of this survey was to identify which Excel functions are most used by staff across campus and their level of expertise in each function. As a result of survey feedback, the Excel Training series was developed and the first series took place in May. A second round is planned for July/August. Sessions combine instructor-led training and an open lab to allow real-time learning within the context of specific tasks. The topics are defined below.

Excel Training Topics

  • Basic Formulas
  • General Formatting
  • Advanced Formulas
  • Conditional Formatting
  • Pivot Tables
  • Visual Presentation Skills

Due to high demand, registration for the second round of Excel Training is full. Questions? Contact Communication & Training at finhr@ohio.edu.

Customer Service Training Planned for Fall

As a result of the joint effort between UHR Organizational Development and Communication & Training to identify campus training needs, the Creating a Customer Service Culture training series will begin in September. A customer service culture represents shared values across the entire organization and the design of Creating a Customer Service Culture includes successes in customer service across a variety of exemplary OHIO departments. The training series will be broken into two sessions:

Part 1: Training will define customer service and customer culture. Participants will identify customers and their individual needs and practice active listening to improve communication. Empathy and the use of positive language will also be discussed.

Part 2: Discussion will focus on the importance of communicating a consistent message to staff. Participants will practice techniques to diffuse the angry or difficult customer. Service measures and metrics will be highlighted and participants will develop creative ways to show appreciation.

Creating a Customer Service Culture will cover customer service basics that are cultural standards as well as how OHIO successfully supports a customer service culture. Training dates will be communicated via direct email, Compass, and Business Matters in August and a registration web page will be available at that time.

Questions? Contact Communication & Training at finhr@ohio.edu.

New Procure to Pay Roadshows Scheduled

FY17 Procure to Pay (P2P) Roadshows are scheduled and include discussions on contracts, updates to policies in progress, and general P2P topics. In addition to instructor-led training, each session will be available through Adobe Connect for the convenience of those who are not able to attend in person. Additional sessions covering contracts, travel, or other P2P subject matter that would benefit your unit are available upon request. 

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu or 740-597-6446.

P2P Training Scheduled

The following P2P training opportunities are available for FY17:

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu or 740-597-6446.

Industrial and Compressed Gases

Due to the inherently dangerous nature of industrial and compressed gases, and for the protection of the University, a purchase order (PO) should be created for all gas purchases in order to provide the supplier with our PO terms and conditions. You may request a blanket PO for your department’s purchases or you may request a non-catalog PO. Direct payment requests for industrial and compressed gas purchases will no longer be accepted. 

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu or 740-597-6446.

Purchasing Card Temporary Monthly Increase Requests

When seeking or approving a PCard credit limit increase, remember to first verify within PaymentNet, the amount of spending already consumed in the cycle. When requesting a temporary spending limit increase, PCard users must consider their monthly limit and purchases that have already been placed on the card for the monthly cycle. Available credit and account information is available at JPMorgan Chase PaymentNet. Check available credit before submitting a temporary monthly increase request so that the correct increase amount is requested.

Include the who, what, when, where, and why in all requests. Do not charge services or transactions that require the execution of a contract on PCards.

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu or 740-597-6446.

BobcatBUY: New Fastenal Punch-Out Catalog Added

Fastenal is now a preferred supplier in the BobcatBUY purchasing system. Fastenal offers supplies such as fasteners, hardware, tools and safety equipment.

The new ordering page, available within BobcatBUY, displays images, product descriptions and minimum quantities for available Fastenal products. Fastenal has a local Athens branch for quick and free delivery. All active BobcatBUY users can access the Fastenal punch-out catalog from the preferred supplier showcase within BobcatBUY. The new catalog was activated on July 6.

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu or 740-597-6446.

Purchase Order Closure

With the approach of yearend, purchase orders (POs) were automatically closed with the following parameters.

  • All General POs, including:
    • POs fully matched (encumbered amount = billed amount)
    • POs over invoiced with differences less than $100, and
    • POs partially invoiced with difference of 5% or less
  • All direct payments that were invoiced
  • All FY16 Blanket POs and Service Agreements

Any other PO will have to be closed via a PO closure request thru BobcatBUY. PO closure requests should be submitted 30 days after submitting the final invoice as Ohio University’s payment terms are Net 30 days and all invoices must be fully processed and paid before closing the PO.

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu or 740-597-6446.

Travel Services Website Updated

The updated Travel Services website now includes helpful FAQs and information on successfully navigating travel purchases at Ohio University.

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu or 740-597-6446.

Contracts and Insurance

The Contract and Insurance Matrix can guide you on decisions of how to procure services at Ohio University. To ensure payment to vendors, print the fully executed “Independent Contractor EZ and Honorarium” agreements from your requisition and fill out the bottom “Post Processing” section once a Purchase Order has been created. The completed agreement can be sent to accounts.payable@ohio.edu.

Reference the Procure to Pay Independent Contracting web page for additional information.

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu or 740-597-6446.

Fiscal Yearend Calendar

As fiscal yearend is here, please be mindful of the associated deadlines. The following materials are posted on the Fiscal Year End closing web page to help you:

  • FY16 Closing Calendar Instructions
  • Finance Closing Calendar FY16 - Campus View
  • Finance Closing Calendar FY16 - All View
  • Guidelines for Leases and Maintenance Agreements - FY16

Questions? Contact the office associated with the particular task or contact General Accounting and Financial Reporting at finance@ohio.edu or 740-597-3133.

Internal Billing Authorizing and Accounting Corrections

Final FY16 internal billing authorizations were due to General Accounting & Financial Reporting (GAFR) at finance@ohio.edu  by noon Thursday, July 7. Final FY16 accounting corrections must be submitted to GAFR by Wednesday, July 20.

Questions? Contact GAFR at finance@ohio.edu or 740-597-1417.

External Billing Authorizations

Effective July 1, there will be a minimum threshold of $20 on External Billing Authorizations. Requests less than $20 will not be processed.

Questions? Contact the Bursar at bursar@ohio.edu or 740-593-4130.

Departmental Concur Audits

During FY16, Internal Audit conducted nine departmental Concur (PCard and Travel) audits. These audits allowed focus on individual areas and collaboration through data analysis with the CFAO or financial leader of each Planning Unit to identify weaknesses and improve controls across the department. Though each area has unique characteristics, please remember the following requirements:

  • Review of Receipts – Supervisory review is a key control in the procurement process. Please remember to review receipts to verify that the attached receipt represents a legitimate business transaction, the receipt is itemized, and was imaged appropriately.
  • Business Purpose – The IRS requires an explanation of why the business transaction was made. Below are some examples of how to clearly state the business purpose:
Unclear Business Purpose Clear Business Purpose
Lab supplies Supplies for lab 210
Conference ACUA registration for XXX
Monthly survey tool Survey tool for class XXX
PCard Transactions Computer monitor for Dr. XXX
Books Books for class XXX
  • Conference Agenda – Travel expense reports should include an agenda to document the appropriateness of the travel expenses. These should include the dates of the event, any meals provided, and the location of the event.
  • Credit Limits – To limit the level of risk to the University, credit limits should be consistent with actual usage. Each departmental audit included an analysis of usage over an entire year compared to credit limits, allowing the CFAO to determine the appropriate limits.

Units that did not receive a Concur audit in FY16 can expect an audit in FY17.

Questions? Contact Internal Audit at audit@ohio.edu or 740-593-1865.

FY17 Budget Update

The Budget Office continues to reconcile budget packet submissions and contacts Planning Units with questions as appropriate. The FY17 Budget Book presented at the June Board of Trustees Meeting is now available on the Budget Planning & Analysis website.

For additional information related to the FY17 budget process please visit the Budget Development Tools web page.

Questions? Contact your Budget Planning & Analysis contact or e-mail budgetplanning@ohio.edu.

Campus Partners Support the Chart of Accounts Redesign & Other Financial System Enhancements

The Chart of Accounts project is the first building block, one of several initiatives, to improve Financial Systems across the University. These initiatives will now be referred to as “Financial System Enhancements” (FSE) and will encompass the Chart of Accounts Redesign (COA), Financial Approvers and the new Grants Accounting module. Each of these building blocks will be supported with thorough training and detailed reporting capabilities. The need for these improvements came from the Strategic Alignment Initiative and feedback from Deans across campus, in collaboration with the Vice President of Finance and Administration, in an effort to achieve University-wide and Planning Unit-specific strategic goals. Below are the goals and explanations of the benefits of the upcoming Financial System Enhancements. A website for all Financial Systems will be developed soon to ensure there is a central location for all financial system related access, information and training.

FSE Project Updates

The FSE Core Team and the Chart of Accounts Partner Group continue to support the assignment and validation of the COA hierarchy structure. 

In July, the Core Team will focus on defining and validating the reports for prototyping and finalizing object code values and other segment values for testing in the new COA environment. 

The new Grants Accounting module will allow for the tracking and viewing of Internal Awards, Sponsored Projects, Capital Projects and Grants. The FSE Project Team has begun to focus on the integration of the new Grants Accounting module into the Chart of Accounts project activities. The Project Team is gathering requirements, creating system designs and planning for the mapping activity associated with the Grants data conversions. Consistent with the Chart of Accounts project approach, collaboration with campus representatives will validate the design and implementation of the new Grants Accounting module within Oracle

Campus Involvement & Support

To date, over 100 representatives across the University have participated in the Charts of Accounts (COA) Redesign Project through prototype design activities and mapping workshops. Project participants continue to work on assigning and validating the segment definitions and values during the Mapping Workshops.

New communication channels have been established to ensure information is cascaded to users across campus. The first of these new communication channels is the establishment of the FSE Change Network. The purpose of the Change Network is to build a network of representatives from each Planning Unit to influence the design and execution of user-facing training and communication activities. In late June, VPFA Communication & Training hosted Change Network Kickoff meetings for representatives across all Planning Units and Regional Campuses. Monthly meetings will be held with the Change Network through Spring 2017 to ensure that users receive timely and accurate information. Learn more about the Change Network and how to reach your Change Network representative.

In addition to the establishment of the Change Network, FSE Awareness and Readiness Sessions will be available for users beginning in late summer and continuing through fall. The Awareness Sessions are scheduled to occur during the first few weeks of August. Please register to attend using the FSE Awareness Session Registration page. These sessions will increase user understanding of the FSE project timeline and goals, the COA segment structure, the new Grants Accounting module, and provide an overview of the communication and training support that users can expect. Training courses and job aids will be available for all users between January and March 2017, leading up to the planned go-live scheduled for spring.

For additional project-related updates and information on the COA Redesign Project, refer to the Chart of Accounts Redesign website and the newly added FAQs.

Questions or feedback? Contact the Chart of Accounts Project Team at coa@ohio.edu.