VPF Statement - MIT Office of the Vice President for Finance
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December 2019
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It's a Wrap

We are always seeking ways to make it easier for our community to find the suppliers they need and achieve savings on the costs of goods and services. To that end, VPF’s Strategic Sourcing and Contracts team secures contracts with Preferred Suppliers across a wide spectrum of commodities. These contracts provide negotiated prices and helpful terms and conditions, and they also already satisfy Selection of Source requirements.
In November, we introduced 15 photographers to our roster of Preferred Suppliers. When you hire these photographers, you will receive discounted rates from local professionals who know MIT's campus and culture. This month we offer a supplementary guide (see story below) to obtaining images for your MIT projects—including a free image gallery, stock photography options, and guidance on hiring photographers.

Along these lines, I invite you to check out the second of our four-part series, Right to the Source, featuring an MIT Institute Events project that VPF’s Minerva Tirado supported from start to finish. It underscores how our teams can advocate for you through contracting, managing project logistics and timelines, and completing your project.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season and new year.
Glen Shor
Vice President for Finance
End-of-Calendar-Year Deadlines

Accounts Payable Deadlines
To ensure a smooth transition to the new tax year, VPF Accounts Payable has established the following cut-off dates for reimbursement payments to MIT students and employees and payments to external suppliers:
  • Monday, December 23:  Paper checks
  • Thursday, December 26:  Paymode (ACH) direct deposits to suppliers
  • Friday, December 27:  ePayable credit card payments to suppliers
  • Friday, December 27:  Direct deposits to employees and students (non-payroll requests for reimbursements and travel reimbursements)
As always, in the case of an emergency, VPF can cut a check in the Accounts Payable office. Email Tim Trabucco or Janet Mulstay with check requests.
Recording Gifts to MIT for Calendar 2019
As we approach the end of 2019, remember to review key gift recording dates and deadlines to ensure end-of-calendar-year gifts are recorded and credited in 2019. This is important to fulfill the intent of donors who wish to make tax-deductible gifts for 2019. For complete instructions and deadlines (which can vary depending on the type of gift and how it is transmitted), see How to Submit 2019 End-of-Calendar-Year Gifts
 Credit card gifts via mail  Monday, December 30, noon
 Credit card gifts received after December 31
 cannot be recorded as 2019 gifts, even if
 postmarked by December 31.
 Credit card gifts via phone     Tuesday, December 31, noon
 Credit card gifts online  Tuesday, December 31, 11:59 pm
 Gifts-in-kind  Tuesday, December 31, 5:00 pm
 Wire transfers  Tuesday, December 31, 11:59 pm
 Stock transfers  Tuesday, December 31, 3:59 pm
 Checks  Dated and postmarked by Tuesday, December 31                
 Received in the RSO/Alumni Association Office of Records
 by Wednesday, January 8, noon
 New pledges  Dated/emailed Tuesday, December 31, 11:59 pm
 Received in the RSO/Alumni Association Office of Records
 by Wednesday, January 8, noon

And keep in mind:  Credit card numbers must be treated carefully. If you receive a giving form directly from a donor with credit card information, hand-deliver it to the Alumni Association Office of Records (W98-200) during business hours. If you are on the phone with a donor who wishes to make a gift via credit card, transfer the call to the Office of Records at 617-253-8270. Please do not ask donors to email or fax credit card information.  
If you receive a check by mail, save the envelope in which it was sent and send the entire package to the RSO or the Office of Records in W98.
The Office of the Recording Secretary (RSO) and the Alumni Association Office of Records will be open and staffed during the holiday season to receive gifts and answer questions on the days MIT is open for business—Monday, December 23, Thursday, December 26, Friday, December 27, and Monday, December 30. The Office of Records will be staffed from 9:00 am-noon on Tuesday, December 31.
Contact the Office of the Recording Secretary at 617-253-5048 or the Alumni Association Office of Records at 617-253-8270 if you need assistance.
Dates Set for Distribution of 2019 Tax Forms

Employee 2019 W2 tax forms will be available in Atlas by January 21, 2020. If you have opted to receive your W2 through the U.S. mail, please check Atlas to confirm that your home address is current. If you have questions about your W2 tax form, contact VPF HR/Payroll for assistance at or 617-253-4255 or visit the VPF walk-in Financial Service Center in NE49-4097 anytime from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.

1099M tax forms (for independent contractors or employees’ taxable reimbursements) will be mailed by January 24, 2020. 1042S tax forms (for foreign nationals with fellowship payments or payments covered by a tax treaty) will be mailed by February 20, 2020. Questions on 1099M and 1042S forms should be sent to or call the Buy-to-Pay Contact Center at
Have a Recurring Small-Dollar Purchase? Use Your ProCard
If you make recurring small-dollar purchases for your DLC, you should use the Procurement Card (ProCard) instead of issuing a blanket purchase order (PO). This preferred payment method should be used for items such as dry ice, FedEx shipping fees, lab coat cleaning or rental fees, and cell phone bills.
Using the ProCard for these small purchases simplifies the paying process and cuts down on invoice tracking, particularly if a supplier sends invoices to MIT that include charges from more than one department or cost object. By using the ProCard, there is no confusion as to the proper cost object, and once you process the transaction, it can go to your ProCard approver for verification.  See Purchase Using the ProCard for more details.
If you would like to apply for a ProCard, download the ProCard Application Form from the VPF website and follow instructions on the form.
If you have questions about using the ProCard, contact John Larkin, Assistant Director of Financial Operations, Processes and Compliance at 617-253-2729.
If you have questions about existing charges on your card, or need to report a lost or stolen card, contact VPF Staff Accountant Kim Harmon at 617-253-8360 or email
In Case You Missed It: VPF Forum on Travel Expensing

The VPF Practice and Process Improvement (PPI) team hosted a VPF Forum on Monday, December 9, on Travel Expensing. VPF Director of Financial Operations Kathy McGrath introduced the session, announced a new online Travel Training Program, and discussed the benefits of using The Travel Collaborative, MIT’s Preferred Travel Agency.
Travel Manager Paul Andersen made a presentation on Concur Detect, a new feature that uses artificial intelligence to improve the workflow and process for reviewing travel expense reports, and addressed common questions on expense reporting. Chrissy Mullin, staff accountant on the Travel team, shared some travel expensing tips—including how to reimburse a guest for travel expenses—and reviewed airfare policies for international travel.
“We are enjoying hosting this Forum series on topics that address the wide range of finance processes and policies and highlights new technologies and services at VPF,” says Pam Schickling Buckley, VPF senior director of PPI, who serves as emcee of the VPF Forum. “At this second VPF Forum, we hosted a wonderful audience that braved the pouring rain to attend. Thanks to all of the attendees for their thoughtful questions and feedback. We love hearing from you, and better yet, we love meeting you in person. As always, send us your questions or suggestions for Forum topics and other training needs to”
A PDF of the presentation on Travel Expensing is available on the VPF website.
Takara Bio Is a New MIT Preferred Supplier
Laboratory supply firm Takara Bio has signed on as an MIT Preferred Supplier. The Takara punchout catalog is also available in Buy-to-Pay (B2P).

Takara Bio provides kits, reagents, instruments, and services that help researchers explore questions about gene discovery, regulation, and function. Through acquisitions, its three main product brands are Clontech, Takara and Cellartis.

You can find information on Takara Bio in the Laboratory Products and Services commodity in VPF’s Supplier Search. Questions? Contact Alexander Gill, VPF Manager of Strategic Sourcing, at 617-253-8268.
Update Your Image

If you need images for a website, social media post, print project, or event, you can hire a photographer, purchase images, or find a collection of MIT-owned images online. Check out the details below.
Hire a Photographer
VPF Strategic Sourcing has added Photography to the list of commodities of the Institute’s Preferred Suppliers. Go to Supplier Search for an up-to-date list of more than a dozen Preferred Photographers who have contracts with MIT to provide photography services. When you view each photographer’s supplier page you will find links to portfolios on their websites or their social media sites. Scroll to the bottom of the search results page and click on CSV to download the list.
When you use MIT’s Preferred Suppliers for your DLC’s purchases there is no need to get price quotes from multiple photographers or fill out a Selection of Source Form, no matter the amount of the purchase.
When you hire a photographer, you will need to determine what usage rights you have and who owns the rights to the photos. In most cases, the service you have contracted for is the actual photoshoot(s) and the unlimited use of the images (typically print, web, social media, or signage/displays) that the photographer delivers to you.
Our Preferred Photographers offer cost savings to the MIT community; however, you may use other photographers who do not have preferred status.
Questions? Contact Minerva Tirado, VPF strategic sourcing analyst for professional and creative services, at 617-258-9310.
Use the MIT Image Library
Check out the MIT Image Library, which is curated by MIT Communications Initiatives (CI) and hosted on Flickr. These images are available exclusively to the MIT community at no cost. Follow CI guidelines under MIT Image Library > Getting Started.  (Click on + to expand this section and find Getting Started.
Purchase Stock Images
Stock images are available for purchase from a range of stock providers. Follow this link to Communications Initiatives and expand the Other Resources section for a list of suggested online stock photo resources. Purchase with the MIT Procurement Card.
Right to the Source: VPF Strategic Sourcing and Contracts

This is the second of a four-part series highlighting collaborations between the VPF Strategic Sourcing and Contracts team and members of the MIT community. The Strategic Sourcing and Contracts teams proactively address MIT’s complex purchasing needs by sourcing products and services for a wide range of education and research needs, developing and negotiating contracts, and finding solutions to complex problems.
Finding Creative Service Providers—and Full-Service Help
From organizing MIT Commencement to producing and documenting Institute milestone celebrations, the MIT Institute Events (IE) team knows a thing or two about tackling big projects at MIT.
In the time between the celebrations for MIT150 in 2011 and MIT Century in Cambridge in 2016, the IE team was faced with a complex project: to create three websites at once. The work involved converting the MIT150 website to an online archive of the Institute’s Sesquicentennial Celebration, transitioning the Infinite History collection to a new online resource managed by MIT Video Productions, and building a new website to showcase the events and programs of the upcoming Century in Cambridge celebration. This three-pronged endeavor nicknamed “Project Trident,” required identifying multiple creative and technical service providers—preferably those who had a proven track record at the Institute—and ones with experience creating and managing large, multifaceted websites.
Rebecca Tyler, manager for events and communications in Institute Events, assumed that she would need to manage every aspect of this trio of content-rich sites. When she reached out to VPF Strategic Sourcing, she was surprised to learn that VPF could provide support far beyond simply identifying qualified, pre-vetted service providers.
VPF’s Minerva Tirado, a strategic sourcing analyst who specializes in creative and professional services—everything from web designers and developers to photographers and writers—connected the IE team with experts who were an ideal fit for the project, including a project manager. Minerva then went on to help manage the contracts and even the project logistics with team members from Institute Events and MIT Video Productions.
“VPF stepped in and said, ‘We can help you set up meetings. We can write and request the RFPs for you.’ I had no idea that this level of service was available,” says Rebecca. “Our team’s regular work was concurrent with this massive project, so we really appreciated the support from Strategic Sourcing during that time. Minerva was on all our calls. She took notes, summarized the calls, and coordinated with our project manager to identify next steps, and when there was something difficult to say, she said it.”
The three websites were completed on time and on budget. Rebecca has continued to make use of VPF Strategic Sourcing’s expertise in other areas of the department’s work, including catering and accommodations for many large-scale events at MIT. “It’s great for members of the MIT community to have someone else in their corner,” she says.

Pictured: VPF's Minerva Tirado
Photo credit: Ken Richardson

Classroom Training

Fundamentals of Financial Management
January 16 and 17, 2020
9:00 am-12:30 pm
Grand Cayman Conference Room
Register on Atlas

This two-day course is designed to provide the basic knowledge and skills needed to function effectively in a position with fiscal responsibilities. Using interactive group exercises, games, and case studies, participants learn basic concepts of financial administration at MIT and practice using these concepts in realistic work situations.

Introduction to Travel & Expense Reporting
January 28, 2020
9:00 am-10:30 am
Grand Cayman Conference Room

Designed for those who travel on Institute business and prepare expense reports, or those who make travel arrangements and prepare expense reports on behalf of someone else. It includes information about MIT’s Preferred travel agency, airline, car rental companies, and hotels. The course will provide an overview of the MIT’s Travel Policy, and a demonstration of Concur, MIT's online travel booking and expense reporting system.

Introduction to Strategic Sourcing, Contracts, and Procurement
January 28, 2020
10:45 am-12:45 pm
Grand Cayman Conference Room

Provides an overview of the MIT purchasing process, including finding and selecting suppliers, registering new suppliers or independent contractors, creating requisitions, and addressing when a contract is required. Class will cover using Buy-to-Pay (B2P) and other resources available to support purchasing goods and services for MIT.

The course is designed for new employees who make purchasing decisions, create requisitions, require contracts, or verify credit card charges, and for experienced employees who are looking for a review of sourcing and procuring goods and services for MIT.

Drop-in Training

Concur Travel Expense Reports
VPF Travel and Card Services staff are available to assist with expense reports at sessions every Wednesday, 10:00-11:00 am. Check in with VPF receptionist at NE49 (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. Check in with VPF receptionist at NE49 (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 session.

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Banner photo by Tom Pixton
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