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VPF Statement - MIT Office of the Vice President for Finance
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October 2018
Welcome, RSO

Last month we welcomed the Office of the Recording Secretary (RSO) to VPF. This team of gift administration and finance professionals plays a pivotal role at MIT—overseeing gift acceptance, documentation and usage, and managing all functions of gift operations and accounting. In a typical year, RSO sets up more than 400 new gift funds. In FY18, the twelve-member RSO team processed more than $730 million in new gifts and pledges!
 
VPF has long had a strong working relationship with RSO, whose mission, activities and expertise complement those of VPF.  I am excited for the additional ways in which we can collaborate with and support RSO as we bring our organizations together. Please join me in welcoming RSO to VPF.
 
On another front, we are pleased to announce the launch of a centralized MIT Business Account with Amazon. This new account will enable those who purchase goods from Amazon with the Procurement Card to have free two-day shipping, automatic application of MIT’s sales tax exemption, and business pricing on more than six million items. (See the story below for more features and advantages of this new account.)
 
Separate but related, VPF teams are currently working to integrate the Amazon catalog into the Buy-to-Pay (B2P) system so that, in the coming calendar year, you will be able to make Amazon purchases directly through B2P.
 
We will look forward to sharing further updates with you on this front.
 
Best,
 
Glen Shor
Vice President for Finance
VPF Launches New Purchasing Program with Amazon Business

In response to community feedback during the Buy-to-Pay (B2P) rollout and analysis of MIT purchases from Amazon, VPF has launched a new Institute-wide Amazon Business Account.

The new MIT Amazon Business Account is now available for making purchases on behalf of MIT with the Procurement Card (ProCard).

There are many benefits to the new MIT Amazon Business Account, including:
  • Free Shipping: ProCard shoppers will receive unlimited free two-day shipping on eligible Amazon Prime items
  • No Prime Membership Fee: All DLCs that have individual Amazon Prime business accounts will no longer need to pay the annual $119 membership fee and, if eligible, will automatically receive a prorated refund once registered for MIT’s Amazon Business Account
  • Sales Tax Exemptions: MIT’s sales tax exemption will automatically be applied to all purchases from states where MIT has active sales tax exemptions (currently 30 states)
  • Shopping Made Easy: ProCard shoppers will have access to business pricing for more than six million items available from Amazon and Amazon’s 75,000 affiliated business sellers, and tools to make price comparisons easy
By early next year, the MIT Amazon Business Account will be integrated into our Buy-to-Pay (B2P) system, enabling MIT community members to access the Amazon catalog in B2P and make purchases via a requisition/purchase order, as they would from any other B2P catalog.

For more information on setting up an account to make MIT purchases with the ProCard, please refer to Amazon Business FAQs on the VPF website.
Selection of Source Form — New Feature
 
Based on suggestions made by the MIT community, VPF has added a new feature to the new online Selection of Source form.

To support the collaborative process associated with procuring goods and services within MIT DLCs, there is now an option to allow more than one person to work on the form. Requisitioners can assign up to two additional editors to a form by listing their MIT email addresses. These editors will have access to make updates and can download a PDF of the form. Please note, you do not need to list VPF Procurement Operations staff as editors, as this team has access to the form.
 
Questions? Contact B2P@mit.edu or call 617-253-7000.
New Resource Available: The Ins and Outs of Traveling on a Federally Funded Award

VPF and the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP) created a handy guide to traveling on a federal award. Traveling for MIT on a Federally Funded Award is available to download from the VPF website. This two-page guide addresses essential information you need to know before you take off, explains how to expense multipurpose trips, and lists allowable expenses that can be charged to a sponsor, followed by a list of unallowable expenses that cannot be charged to a sponsor.

Check it out and know before you go!
Treasurer's Report Published
 
The MIT 2018 Report of the Treasurer is available on the Publications page of the VPF website. The 44-page Report is a public document and officially states MIT’s financial position at the close of the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2018, and is the basis for other reports that follow.

In collaboration with the Office of the Executive Vice President and Treasurer, a collection of VPF units — including the Controllership, Treasury and Planning, Budget and Financial Analysis, Financial Operations, and the Office of the Recording Secretary — work together with MITIMCo to produce the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Institute which supplement the six-page report.

Concurrent with the Report of the Treasurer, VPF publishes the Report of Sponsored Research Activity (known as the Brown Book), which reports on research funding by individual schools and their departments and labs and MIT’s larger interdepartmental labs. Access to the Brown Book requires an MIT certificate.
 
A story on the September 14 release of the Report and highlights on the endowment figures for fiscal year 2018 is available on MIT News.
Another Year Accounted For
 
Each year at VPF we collect data on our own activities, capturing key metrics on a range of payment and accounting transactions and finance services, including budgeting, contracting, filing tax forms, and tagging new equipment. Check out VPF by the Numbers 2018 for the big picture.



 
Update on International Wire Payments
 
VPF Accounts Payable processes more than 100 international wire payments per week in payments for goods or services or travel reimbursements to persons doing business with the Institute. These international wires are handled by Bank of America (MIT’s bank) which is required to address the U.S. Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) guidelines before processing international wire payments.
 
In about ten percent of these requests, Bank of America asks MIT to provide additional payee information and holds up the payment until the information request is met. The bank contacts Accounts Payable, who in turn reaches out to the person submitting the payment request (or in the case of a travel expense report, VPF Travel and Card Services) to ask for this additional information—such as the payee’s full name including middle name, date of birth, citizenship, occupation, and identification number (equivalent to a U.S. Social Security number). Depending on the situation, this can hold up payment for a few hours or a few days.
 
“As the Institute increases its volume of international engagements, we see an uptick in international wire payments and thereby requests for additional information,” says John Larkin, VPF Assistant Director of Financial Operations Processes and Compliance. “While these requests are routine, we want our community to know about this process, and be prepared to provide additional payee information if necessary.” 

If you have questions about international wire payments, reach out to John Larkin, at 617-253-2729 or Accounts Payable staff accountant Janet Mulstay at 617-253-1349.
Poster Session Wrap-up

VPF was on hand to present a collection of posters at the 2018 Collaborating for MIT’s Future poster session on Friday, October 19.
 
VPF staff presented the following poster topics:
  • Think Green: VPF Sustainability Team
  • VPF and City of Cambridge Office of Workforce Development Collaboration
  • VPF Connect: An Online Resource for VPF staff
  • MIT Preferred Promotional Suppliers: VPF and the Technology Licensing Office (TLO)
  • New Procurement Selection of Source Webform
  • Navigating MIT Finances: New and Enhanced Training, Tools, and Timelines
We joined the more than 60 posters on display, demonstrating administrative innovations and collaborations across the Institute.
VPF Office Update

The renovation project in VPF’s office space on the 3rd and 4th floors of NE49 is complete, with new kitchens, improved meeting spaces, new carpeting, and fresh paint. We appreciate your flexibility during the past few months as we often had to move meetings and training sessions to accommodate the construction schedule. 

This summer, VPF’s main reception area moved to a permanent location on the third floor of NE49. VPF receptionist and administrative assistant Valerie Alleyne is based there and can direct you to meetings, training sessions, or other business at VPF.

The Financial Service Center (NE49-4097) remains on the fourth floor. Drop in any time Monday-Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm if you need help on a financial matter. VPF staff are available to address your questions on Payroll, Accounts Payable, Travel Cards and Procurement Cards (ProCard), Travel Services, Cashier Services, and Procurement Operations.
New Websites of Note
 
MIT Human Resources unveiled a new website for all things HR in September bringing all of its services—Careers, Benefits, Work & Life and Community & Inclusion—together under one easy-to-navigate colorful and content-rich site. One feature of note is "Content for…," which provides a prefiltered collection of resources for Managers, New Employees, and Retirees.  Looking for a document or form?  They are now housed under one Document and Form Library, with great filtering options that can get you to the form you need in seconds. 

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A new MIT Policies site launched in August bringing MIT Policies and Procedures and the Employment Policy Manual together in one easily-searchable site. In addition to the updated policy manuals, it features an area that provides an easy-to-follow cross-referenced summary of key topics of interest to the community—Beginning Employment, Appointments, Personal Conduct, Time Off, and Ending Employment. The site includes an update history log and links to a selection of other topic-specific policy sites at MIT. The MIT Policies site is managed by the MIT Office of Risk Management and Institutional Compliance. Questions? Email policies@mit.edu.


Drop-in Training Sessions

Concur Travel Expense
VPF Travel and Card Services staff are available to assist members of the community with their expense reports at drop-in sessions every Wednesday, 10:00–11:00 am, in the Little Cayman Conference Room. Please check in with VPF receptionist at NE49-3000 (third floor). If you have a laptop computer, please bring it to the session.

Buy-to-Pay (B2P)
Receive in-person assistance with tasks in the B2P system every Wednesday, 10:00–11:00 am in the Little Cayman Conference Room. Please check in with VPF receptionist at NE49-3000 (third floor). If you have a laptop computer, please bring it to the session.

Customized Training
VPF staff members are available to provide customized training to members of the MIT community. Request a customized training session.

Key VPF Links
 


Contact VPF

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Banner photo by Tom Pixton


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