Ohio University

Business Matters

Business Matters

Airline Savings Program Development

First Name
Polly
Last Name
Mitchell
July 14, 2020

Although the university community has been unable to travel these last several months, the Travel Office has been busy working with the Inter-University Counsel-Purchasing Group (IUC-PG) and CBT to develop an airline discount program. Details are still be worked out, but we will be rolling out new discount programs with several airlines over the next several months. This is just one example of our ability to collectively leverage travel spend among the Ohio universities to both secure better pricing from our suppliers and services for you! Stay tuned to future Business Matter editions for updates on this and many more exciting programs to come, as we work to build out a robust travel program for our university world travelers!

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Although the university community has been unable to travel these last several months, the Travel Office has been busy working with the Inter-University Counsel-Purchasing Group (IUC-PG) and CBT to develop an airline discount program. Details are still be worked out, but we will be rolling out new discount programs with several airlines over the next several months. This is just one example of our ability to collectively leverage travel spend among the Ohio universities to both secure better pricing from our suppliers and services for you! Stay tuned to future Business Matter editions for updates on this and many more exciting programs to come, as we work to build out a robust travel program for our university world travelers!

Travel Restrictions Update

First Name
Polly
Last Name
Mitchell
July 14, 2020

As communicated to the university in the July 2, 2020 OHIO News article , the in-state travel ban has been lifted. However, all other travel is still suspended until further notice. If you need to obtain a travel exception, the following process must be followed:

  • Administrative unit travel requests, outside the state of Ohio, must be approved by the Vice President of the planning unit.
  • Academic unit travel exception requests should be addressed to the Provost Office for review.
  • Travel exceptions for research or creative activity must be approved, prior to being arranged, by Joe Shields. For additional information on this process please see the May 25, 2020 message to the university community.

All travel arrangements must be made through the university travel provider, Christopherson Business Travel (CBT), in accordance with university policy 41.121 - Reimbursement for Official University Travel and Entertainment.

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As communicated to the university in the July 2, 2020 OHIO News article , the in-state travel ban has been lifted. However, all other travel is still suspended until further notice. If you need to obtain a travel exception, the following process must be followed:

Cost Share Award Process Reminder and Update

First Name
Polly
Last Name
Mitchell
July 14, 2020

Cost share awards start with a 3 and represent the portion of costs not paid for by the sponsor on a grant.  There are two types of cost share that must be tracked and require an account.

  • Mandatory Cost Share: required per grant award and reported to sponsor.  This cost share uses a source of 113000.
  • Voluntary Committed: not required by sponsor but is in proposal/budget therefore it must be tracked.  If we commit to this type of cost share it will use a source of 113100.

Cost share awards (project-task-award) must be set up at the same time as the sponsored award (project-task-award) when cost share is required.  If you need to begin spending before the agreement paperwork is received from the sponsor, you will need to submit a Departmental Guarantee Memo for both the sponsored and cost share awards. 

Departments must ensure that expenses are charged timely to the cost share PTA as well as the sponsored PTA. This includes any corrections (payroll or other) being made within 60 days.

Update to Process

A General Ledger (GL) default account number, to fund the cost share award, is now required at the time of budget submission through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.  The GL default account number is provided by the department or planning unit on the budget template which is uploaded into LEO with the transmittal form.  The Grants Accounting office will then receive the set up for cost share account (PTA) from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs which includes the GL default account number.

Once Grants Accounting sets up the award, the GL default cost center is used to fund the cost share PTA.  Grants Accounting notifies the Principal Investigator and department contact (if known) and provides the GL default account number that will be processed to fund the cost share award and the amount funded. 

Department completes a JET entry to transfer funding to the GL default account number using object code 630300 FUNDING TRANSFER COST SHARE for the amount funded.  The following entry is completed:

  • Debits (charges) the PTA or GL accounts (cannot be a sponsored PTA)
  • Credits the default cost center

Departments must fund the award for at least the first year, if the budget is a multi-year budget.  If the award is not multi-year, the cost share award must be funded up front for the full amount.  As stated above, the principal investigator must ensure that cost share expenditures are being charged to the cost share PTA in a timely manner (within 60 days).

The following is an example of the how the entry that Grants Accounting completes is reflected in the Grants Module and the General Ledger utilizing the GL default cost center.  The revenue in the Grants Accounting Revenue shows the funding has been processed from the GL default cost center to fund the cost share award in the Grants Module.  The GL Revenue shows how the funding from this process posts to the General Ledger.  

example of the how the entry that Grants Accounting completes is reflected in the Grants Module and the General Ledger utilizing the GL default cost center

For questions please contact Michelle Allison (shockey@ohio.edu or 3-1870) or Cindy Perry (perryc@ohio.edu or 3-1871).

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Cost share awards start with a 3 and represent the portion of costs not paid for by the sponsor on a grant.  There are two types of cost share that must be tracked and require an account.

  • Mandatory Cost Share: required per grant award and reported to sponsor.  This cost share uses a source of 113000.
  • Voluntary Committed: not required by sponsor but is in proposal/budget therefore it must be tracked.  If we commit to this type of cost share it will use a source of 113100.

Disabling of Function 42 - Deans and Provost for FY21

First Name
Polly
Last Name
Mitchell
July 14, 2020

The proposal to eliminate function 42-Deans and Provost was discussed with both the CFAO Group & the Accounting & Reporting Partner Group.  It was agreed that activity currently going through function 42 should be transitioned to function 40-Academic Support, starting immediately, so that function 42 could be end dated on 6/30/20.  It is not necessary to make any corrections to FY20 activity but you should not charge to function 42 in FY21. The decision was made to discontinue use of function 42 because it was not being used as intended for internal management reporting and is not needed for external financial reporting since functions 40 & 42 both roll up to the same Academic Support parent. 

  • After June 2020 period is closed in August, we will disable function 42 in all systems.  Once the function is disabled, internal billings, journal entries, Concur, BobcatBUY transactions, etc. that use Function 42 will not work; units will have to utilize function 40. 
  • Historical data will not be remapped to function 40. 

Questions?  Please contact your Planning Unit CFAO or Kris Sano at sanok@ohio.edu.

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The proposal to eliminate function 42-Deans and Provost was discussed with both the CFAO Group & the Accounting & Reporting Partner Group.  It was agreed that activity currently going through function 42 should be transitioned to function 40-Academic Support, starting immediately, so that function 42 could be end dated on 6/30/20.  It is not necessary to make any corrections to FY20 activity but you should not charge to function 42 in FY21. The decision was made to discontinue use of function 42 because it was not being used as intended for internal management reporting and is not needed for external financial reporting since functions 40 & 42 both roll up to the same Academic Support parent. 

Changes to the JET Upload Process

First Name
Polly
Last Name
Mitchell
July 14, 2020

In the past, when entering a JET entry, the Preparer field was not to be changed.  As the JET process continues to evolve, Finance has implemented a change which allows us to import both the logged in user’s Ohio ID (JET Processor) and the JET Preparer fields into E-biz. This enables us to track both the Processor and Preparer of each Journal Entry uploaded via JET.

Effective immediately, when staging a Journal Entry prepared by someone else, please change the Preparer Field’s default value in the JET Headers screen to the name of the Preparer of the Journal Entry.

Changes to the processor in JET

The OBI Finance dashboards will be changed by the end of the month to show both the Processor and Preparer fields as prompts, and as fields in dashboard queries.

This has been a request from the Accounting & Reporting Partner Group but it is also information that has become necessary to support planning unit and departmental metrics related to JET transactions.

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu.

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OBI Dashboard Enhancements

First Name
Polly
Last Name
Mitchell
July 14, 2020

Over the last few months, we have deployed some new changes to the OBI dashboards.

FARM Approvers

The dashboard now provides the option for selecting ICD approval roles in the prompts.  When using the Approvers by Org view, you can view the valid ICD approvers for any organization.

Many planning units have recently reorganized and reduced staff. So please make sure that your financial approvers in FARM are kept up to date. Failure to keep your financial approvers current, may delay your financial transactions from being processed in a timely manner.

GL Transaction Export

A new prompt has been added for Report Type.  In the past when trying to export entries across a large number of account strings the query would run for a very long time, or, if there were too many sections, it would error out.  Also, when you scrolled through the large results, it was very slow to get to the bottom of the page to export the data.

The new ‘Report Type’ prompt lets you choose to view the Sectioned Report that displays a section header for each account string or the new Tabular Report that just displays the transactions.  The default for this prompt is the Sectioned Report.  If the resulting report has too many sections to render the report, you will still receive an error, but now can just change the prompt to the Tabular Report.

Example of a Sectioned Report:

Example of a Sectioned report

Example of a Tabular Report:

Example of a tabular report

With either dashboard format, the user can still use the Export options at the bottom of the screen.

Upcoming Changes in July

The new Payments dashboard will provide additional options for both selecting and viewing both invoice and payments information.

The GL Transaction Export and Grants Expenditure Inquiry dashboards will have prompts added to view transactions for Journal Entry Tool (JET) Preparers and Processors.  These fields will also be included in the dashboard export.

The Absence Management dashboard will include the Furlough days information.

Information about HR Dashboards and Furlough Salaries

The HR dashboards are undergoing changes to display furlough salary information more clearly.  Currently, in the HR system, regular salaries have already been adjusted to reflect the appropriate furlough reductions.  However, the reductions to the fiscal increment and additional salary elements will not be reflected in the element amounts.  Those reductions are calculated during the payroll process. 

The below chart shows how salary data is currently reflected on our dashboard pages, along with how the dashboards will be adjusted to show provide additional data useful for managing your salary budgets and planning.

Changes in HR Dashboards

As changes are made to the dashboards, the Quick Reference Guides (QRG) are updated and posted.

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu.

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Over the last few months, we have deployed some new changes to the OBI dashboards.

Shred-It Pickup Schedule

First Name
Polly
Last Name
Mitchell
July 14, 2020

Shred-It, the University’s paper shredding service provider, will continue to pick up confidential shredding during the COVID-19 by appointment only. Shred-It normally has regularly scheduled pickup days with departments using their services. However, due to many offices and buildings being closed or having limited access during this time, Shred-It has been unable to maintain the regular pickup schedule. Regularly scheduled pickups have been placed on hold until August 1, 2020, at which point we will re-evaluate the situation. Once the University is back to normal operations, Shred-It pickups will resume as previously scheduled. Departments will only be billed for pickups as they occur.  

If your department needs Shred-It services prior to the first of August, the department will need to reach out to Shred-It’s Account Representative, Michelle Caudill, at Michelle.Caudill@STERICYCLE.com or 513.816.3016 to schedule a pickup date/time. Please be sure to reference your PO number and location of the pickup when communicating with Michelle.  It is the responsibility of the department to ensure that Shred-It personnel have access to the location of the Shred-It bins during these scheduled pickups.

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu.

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Shred-It, the University’s paper shredding service provider, will continue to pick up confidential shredding during the COVID-19 by appointment only. Shred-It normally has regularly scheduled pickup days with departments using their services. However, due to many offices and buildings being closed or having limited access during this time, Shred-It has been unable to maintain the regular pickup schedule. Regularly scheduled pickups have been placed on hold until August 1, 2020, at which point we will re-evaluate the situation. Once the University is back to normal operations, Shred-It pickups will resume as previously scheduled. Departments will only be billed for pickups as they occur.  

If your department needs Shred-It services prior to the first of August, the department will need to reach out to Shred-It’s Account Representative, Michelle Caudill, at Michelle.Caudill@STERICYCLE.com or 513.816.3016 to schedule a pickup date/time. Please be sure to reference your PO number and location of the pickup when communicating with Michelle.  It is the responsibility of the department to ensure that Shred-It personnel have access to the location of the Shred-It bins during these scheduled pickups.

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu.

Direct Deposit for New Suppliers

First Name
Polly
Last Name
Mitchell
July 14, 2020

Effective March 16, 2020, direct deposit is now required for all NEW suppliers. This change has been implemented to ensure business continuity for payments to our vendors especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. By using direct deposit, our employees can practice social distancing during the current pandemic and further prepares the University for emergency situations that arise in the future.

This new process will also benefit the University by providing cost savings through the elimination of check stock and ink, reducing time spent on printing, voiding, and re-issuing checks. Direct deposit is also a more sustainable practice, eliminating the mass amount of paper products that are being used and provides more security to our vendors.

The finance department will be reaching out to current vendors that are set up as check payment to convert them to secure direct deposit for all future payments.

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu.

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Effective March 16, 2020, direct deposit is now required for all NEW suppliers. This change has been implemented to ensure business continuity for payments to our vendors especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. By using direct deposit, our employees can practice social distancing during the current pandemic and further prepares the University for emergency situations that arise in the future.

This new process will also benefit the University by providing cost savings through the elimination of check stock and ink, reducing time spent on printing, voiding, and re-issuing checks. Direct deposit is also a more sustainable practice, eliminating the mass amount of paper products that are being used and provides more security to our vendors.

The finance department will be reaching out to current vendors that are set up as check payment to convert them to secure direct deposit for all future payments.

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu.

New PCards - COMING SOON

First Name
Polly
Last Name
Mitchell
July 14, 2020

The University will be changing purchasing card providers.  Bank of America will be the new provider and we plan to distribute new cards to cardholders in mid-October.

More details related to training materials and card distribution will be forthcoming in future newsletters and at the Business Forum in August.

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The University will be changing purchasing card providers.  Bank of America will be the new provider and we plan to distribute new cards to cardholders in mid-October.

More details related to training materials and card distribution will be forthcoming in future newsletters and at the Business Forum in August.

Planning Unit PPE Purchasing Guidance

First Name
Polly
Last Name
Mitchell
July 14, 2020

Over the past several months there has been a tremendous amount of work to identify the various personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies that the university will need to have available as we start to welcome everyone back to our campuses and mitigate the risk of COVID-19. To ensure that we are prepared and have what is needed for fall opening, we asked each planning unit to identify a point person to help us gather PPE needs for each department and unit. As such, each planning unit has identified one point of contact to coordinate all COVID-19 related PPE needs. This individual will be working directly with departments within the planning unit to consolidate all PPE needs and work with Purchasing to fulfill those requests. Please view the  PPE Planning Unit Contact webpage to identify the individual that has been assigned to your planning unit. 

Effective immediately, all planning unit requests for COVID-19 PPE supplies (including but not limited to: masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, cleaners, etc.) must be requested through the Planning Unit’s appointed individual.  Individual departmental purchases for COVID-19 PPE must not be made by PCard or through any other purchasing tools (Payment Request, Reimbursement or Requisition). If you have questions or feel you have exceptions, please reach out to Finance Customer Care at financecustomercare@ohio.edu, and your question will be assigned to someone that can assist you.  

With the limited availability of PPE items in the market, a centralized purchasing and distribution process will allow the University to procure and provide the necessary items. Consolidating orders allows us to secure large quantities of in demand PPE items so we have what we need; ensures that we are doing business with reputable vendors and don’t fall victim to a PPE scam; and guarantees that the PPE is effective at mitigating the risk of COVID-19.  

The following points were shared with the PPE planning unit contacts to assist them in planning for their areas COVID-19 PPE needs and to determine the quantities in which these supplies will be needed.

  • Cleaning - Custodial Services will professionally clean and disinfect University spaces. Personal spaces (such as offices, desks, cubicles), classrooms, and conference space should be disinfected frequently by occupants/users. More information will be forthcoming on this process from Facilities. 
  • Masks - The University will be providing masks to all enrolled students. In addition, the University will provide one washable, reusable mask to each employee. There is a limited supply of disposable masks available that will be distributed to key locations for use by guests/visitors. Guidance on face coverings for students, faculty, staff, and our guests/visitors is expected soon.  The PPE group will address any specific guidance related to face coverings once this guidance has been shared with the university community.
  • Hand Sanitizer – The University has placed bulk orders for 8 oz. bottles of hand sanitizer (Germ Attack brand) that will be distributed to departments within the University.  Additionally, hand sanitizer will be available in public spaces like building entranceways, lobbies, and other strategic points.  
  • COVID-19 Disinfectants – A bulk order has been made for a disinfectant spray that will be supplied to departments. No PPE is required to use this product.   
  • Disinfecting Wipes – The University has purchased a bulk supply of disinfecting wipes (ex., Clorox or Lysol Disinfecting Wipes). Orders for wipes will be filled internally and departments should not order or purchase these separately. 
  • Gloves – Are not recommended for prevention of COVID-19, therefore, they will not be provided to employees for purposes of COVID-19 prevention.  
  • Tissues – Facial tissues must be purchased by departments and will not be provided to departments centrally. Tissues are considered a departmental supply and have been purchased in this manner for years.  
  • Signage – A group has been established to address University signage needs.  The group will prioritize University-wide requirements.  Additionally, they are expected to communicate a process by which Departments can request signage specific to their needs/function.   (ex., occupancy levels per room, spacing marks, etc.). 

 Some departments may also have PPE needs related to specific program needs of the department. For these needs, you can continue to order your PPE supplies via BobcatBUY (BCB). Be advised, however, that many of the vendors selling PPE within BCB are experiencing long delivery times and in some cases, are out of stock due to demand. You are encouraged to submit your programmatic needs along with your COVID-19 needs so that we can bundle the PPE orders. This allows the University to take advantage of bulk buying opportunities that can not only save the University money but also secure sufficient quantities of hard to find PPE items. PPE needs for programmatic purposes must be paid for by the department. 

Do not include research PPE requests on your planning unit’s COVID-19/programmatic list. The VP for Research Office has already procured PPE for research labs. If you have questions about research related PPE, please reach out to Roxanne Male’-Brune at male-bru@ohio.edu.  

Additionally, if your area has a need for customer service barriers/shields, please contact Facilities Management to submit a work request (in accordance with the manner appropriate for your campus) that includes building name, room number, point of contact, and current contact number. In accordance with the email communication sent June 5th from Sr. AVP for Facilities Steve Wood, customer service areas that expect to have a high volume of “customers” external to your department visiting on a daily basis should be the only requests submitted at this time. Barriers/shields options for separating workstations, waiting areas, etc. are being reviewed and Facilities will communicate information about this need separately in the coming weeks.  

Questions? Please reach out to your PPE Planning Unit contact or email PPE@ohio.edu.

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Over the past several months there has been a tremendous amount of work to identify the various personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies that the university will need to have available as we start to welcome everyone back to our campuses and mitigate the risk of COVID-19. To ensure that we are prepared and have what is needed for fall opening, we asked each planning unit to identify a point person to help us gather PPE needs for each department and unit. As such, each planning unit has identified one point of contact to coordinate all COVID-19 related PPE needs. This individual will be working directly with departments within the planning unit to consolidate all PPE needs and work with Purchasing to fulfill those requests. Please view the  PPE Planning Unit Contact webpage to identify the individual that has been assigned to your planning unit.