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VPF Statement - MIT Office of the Vice President for Finance
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December 2016
New Sourcing Leadership, and a Source of New Leaders

As part of a restructuring of VPF that began a few months ago, I am pleased to announce that Christina Lo has been promoted to Director of Strategic Sourcing and Contracts. Christina takes the helm of a newly formed directorate at VPF, reporting to me.
 
Over the past two years, I have had the opportunity to work closely with Christina and observe her exceptional skill in identifying and negotiating supplier and business relationships that advance critical Institute priorities. As we intensify our focus on strategic sourcing, we look to Christina’s leadership to enhance MIT’s access to quality products and services and negotiated pricing and savings, while promoting effective management of our supplier relationships. Please join me in congratulating Christina (see story below) on her new role and well-deserved promotion.

This month brings the triumphant return of the Staff Appointments and Distributions tool known as SANDI. This tool—a favorite of MIT administrators from the previous payroll system—was discontinued in 2006, and has been missed ever since. Teams at VPF and IS&T piloted the new SANDI with input from administrators from MIT’s schools and DLCs and released phase one last month. See "SANDI Returns" in this newsletter for more details. I want to express my appreciation to project leads Leslie Wright (VPF) and Olu Brown (IS&T) and their teams for their outstanding work in bringing SANDI back to MIT.

Finally, I was honored to attend the 2016 Leader to Leader (L2L) graduation ceremony on December 9 in support of two VPF colleagues, Christine Albertelli, Director of Budget and Financial Analysis, and Long Tran, Assistant Director of Tax and Global Operations. They and eighteen others in their class have completed this nationally recognized 12-month leadership development program at MIT, and now join the community of L2L alumni from the eight previous classes. Congratulations, Christine and Long, for this stellar achievement.

As 2016 comes to an end, and on behalf of everyone at VPF, our best wishes for a healthy and peaceful new year.

Best,
Glen Shor
Vice President for Finance
VPF's New Director of Strategic Sourcing and Contracts

Christina Lo has been named Director of Strategic Sourcing and Contracts, effective December 5.
 
Christina has been with VPF since 2011, when she joined the contracts team in Sourcing and Procurement. Last year, she was promoted to Senior Advisor for Business Affairs and Contracts, working on a range of projects of strategic importance to the Institute.
 
“I’m confident Christina will be a superb leader of this newly configured team,” said Glen Shor in a recent email announcing Christina’s promotion. “Recently, Christina provided critical support for a number of aspects of MIT’s launch of The Engine, as well as for the establishment of administrative infrastructure to expand the Institute’s global presence.”
 
“My key priority is to enhance our ongoing engagement with the MIT community,” said Christina. “Working closely with our team of sourcing and contracting experts, I look forward to leveraging our community’s feedback to refine a strategic approach to sourcing quality goods and services that financially and operationally satisfy the Institute’s procurement needs at individual, departmental, and institutional levels.”
 
Before coming to MIT, Christina worked at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory on Long Island, where she managed and advised on contracts and intellectual property matters. Prior to that, she practiced as a lawyer for a private law firm in London. Christina is a qualified English lawyer, with a law degree from The University of Law in London, and earned a BA in English and Psychology from Georgetown University.
SANDI Returns

SANDI may sound like a day at the beach, but this MIT acronym stands for a year-round tool that provides highly useful information to MIT administrators. The Staff Appointments and Distribution report, affectionately known as SANDI, includes HR appointment, salary distribution, and payroll data for exempt employees, fellows, and graduate students. Authorized users can view this data for their DLC in end-of-month snapshots for a given fiscal year.

SANDI had been available to MIT administrators in a previous payroll system but was discontinued when Payroll migrated to SAP in 2006. Many were sorry to see SANDI go, as the monthly snapshot was a highly useful tool to keep track of salary distributions.

Responding to community requests for SANDI’s return, VPF and IS&T joined forces to create a new version of SANDI in the Data Warehouse. The VPF team was led by Leslie Wright, Consulting Business Systems Analyst, with VPF’s Chris Durham, Gilles Simler, and Scott Ball contributing to the result. The IS&T team, led by Olu Brown, Director of Platform Engagement, included Brandin Tuemeinski, Mike Berger, and Patrick Muchabaya.

The project was launched in September 2015 and the pilot began in February 2016. Now SANDI has returned, in a new incarnation that debuted on November 28.

Read more about SANDI on AdminConnect and in IS&T’s Knowledge Base. For technical questions about accessing the Tableau server, send an email to business-help@mit.edu. For questions about the content in the snapshots, send an email to payroll@mit.edu.

- Robyn Fizz, IS&T, and Laurie Everett, VPF
Buy-to-Pay (B2P) Rollout Commences

After a three-month pilot phase that included 15 departments, the phased community-wide rollout of the Buy-to-Pay (B2P) system has begun!
 
The B2P system is a central portal for buying and paying that allows community members to shop, request, approve, and track orders and invoices, and to report on purchasing. B2P will replace eCat and external requisitions on Atlas, bringing a modern online shopping experience to MIT.

System highlights include:
  • Fully electronic workflow for requisition/purchase orders and invoices – no more paper and red stamps!
  • Searchable catalogs with thousands of items from 46 suppliers
  • New capabilities to copy previous orders, withdraw and edit requisitions, and record receipt of goods or services
  • A mobile app for on-the-go requisition and invoice approval
As of mid-December, 410 users from 21 departments are already using the application, and the rest of the MIT community will adopt the B2P system in a phased approach between now and early 2017.
 
Over the coming months, the project team will be reaching out to each area to coordinate the transition and offer training and support. Training options include online quick cards and videos, in-person classroom training, and weekly drop-in sessions. A dedicated B2P Contact Center is available for support, with a central email address and phone number for any buying- or paying-related questions.
 
If you have any questions about the system or project rollout, reach out to the team at b2p@mit.edu or 617-253-7000.
Don't Forget to Opt in or Opt out of the New Travel Card Agreement

VPF recently announced a new policy for expense reporting requirements for the MIT Travel Card. This announcement was followed by an email from Kathleen McGrath, Assistant Director of Travel and Procurement Operations at VPF, with instructions on how to opt in or out of a new cardholder agreement, and a customized link to sign your agreement.
 
All cardholders have until December 30, 2016, to decide to opt in or opt out of the new Cardholder Agreement. By agreeing to new terms and opting in, cardholders can continue to use their cards without interruption. If cardholders opt out, they will need to pay for travel expenses with their own funds and then file reports for reimbursement. Please refer to the email of November 29 from Kathleen McGrath for your customized link. If you deleted or lost track of this email, please contact Paul Andersen at 253-2753.
 
VPF Travel and Card Services staff are on hand to help travelers file outstanding travel expense reports and to answer questions about the implementation of this new policy. Please reach out to the VPF Travel and Card Services team at 617-253-8366, and check out the new Travel Card Expense Reporting Policy FAQ.
Coming Soon — Enhancements to Supplier Search

Looking for a supplier? You’ve got more options than ever with the latest additions and enhancements to the VPF Supplier Search, where you can search MIT preferred suppliers and internal providers using a variety of criteria. The new version of the site will be released Tuesday, December 27.
 
Visit https://supplier-search.mit.edu to:
 
  • Search by commodity, from Catering & Event Planning to Laboratory Supplies & Services
  • Search for suppliers with sustainable practices
  • Find contact information for supplier representatives and VPF specialists
  • Download search results to CSV
  • Coming Soon:  Search by small business category, including Minority or Women-Owned
When shopping in the new Buy-to-Pay (B2P) system, if you are using a preferred supplier or internal provider, there’s no need to attach or fill out a Selection of Source & Price Justification form. But don’t forget – for all other suppliers, and when shopping outside the B2P system, the form is still required for all orders over $10,000!
Time to Renew Your Passport?

Whether traveling for MIT business or taking a vacation, VPF’s travel sourcing expert Pam O’Neil reminds you to check your passport’s expiration date and to be aware of changes to the renewal process.

If your passport is expiring in the next year, you should consider renewing it as soon as possible. The State Department is expecting an unprecedented surge in passport application renewals in 2017, a decade since passports were required for all travel from the U.S. to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Passports issued ten years ago—when this new requirement became law in 2007—are expiring and the demand for renewals are likely to come at once and increase the amount of time it takes to renew. Under normal circumstances, the average wait time is about six weeks and the State Department charges hefty fees for expedited service.

There are a few things to keep in mind when renewing your passport:
  • You can apply for or renew a passport online through the State Department, or in person at the Post Office.
  • If you wear glasses, you can no longer submit a photograph of yourself wearing glasses.
  • New passports will be lighter, with 28 pages rather than 52, and will have a data chip with your personal information embedded in the booklet.
Check out the FAQ at the National Passport Information Center for more information.
HR/Payroll Tax News
 
Appointment Changes for 2016
 
As the calendar year comes to a close, please be mindful of changing appointments for graduate students from "Research Assistant/Teaching Assistant" to "Fellow," or vice versa. The same applies to changing "Post-Doc Associates” to "Post-Doc Fellows" or vice versa. Changes submitted or approved after December 19, 2016, cannot be processed with an effective date prior to January 1, 2017, so please plan accordingly.
 
Changing appointments will alter both taxes and benefits eligibility. Learn more about the impacts by reviewing the post-doc summary or graduate student summary on the VPF website.
 
Annual Distribution of Tax Forms
 
2016 tax forms will be online (in Atlas) and mailed from Payroll (W-2s by January 27 and 1042S by February 15) and Accounts Payable (1099M by January 17). Please check Atlas to confirm your home address to ensure your forms are mailed to your current address.

If you have questions, please contact HR/Payroll for assistance at payroll@mit.edu or 617-253-4255, or visit the HR/Payroll walk-in service center in NE49-4097 anytime from 8:30 am-4:30 pm, Monday through Friday.
Supplier and Independent Contractor Registration—Best Practices
 
As a reminder, if you would like to use a supplier who is not currently active in the MIT supplier database, you will need to register the supplier before placing an order.
 
To initiate registration, suppliers should first complete the appropriate Supplier Registration Forms (below). If you want to engage an independent contractor, there is a two-part process for registration.
  1. Proposed independent contractors must complete the Independent Contractor Registration Form.
  2. DLCs need to complete the DLC Portion of the Registration Form and register the Independent Contractor.
Guidance on Independent Contractors can be found on the VPF website.
 
For questions on supplier registration, please contact VPF Accounts Payable team.
Behind the Scenes at VPF: Processing Your W-2 Form
 
By the last week of January 2017, more than 25,000 MIT and Lincoln Lab employees will receive a W-2 Form for 2016, (either electronically on Atlas, or a paper copy in the mail) detailing their taxable wages, federal, state, Medicare and Social Security taxes paid, 401k contributions, and employer-paid medical insurance premiums. While this form always seems to arrive somewhat magically and with little fanfare, a great deal of effort goes into this annual event, with teams from VPF, IS&T, and MIT Mail Services working behind the scenes to ensure all of the data is correct and the forms get into the mail or onto Atlas with time to spare.
 
Envelopes are ordered well in advance and are tucked safely away in WW15—in a climate controlled room at MIT Mail Services—to keep them from moisture that could cause them to seal on their own. Special paper is ordered and sent to IS&T’s printing room, where it will be tested to ensure the data lands in the right boxes on the form. The data itself has been scrubbed, tested, and verified.
 
Guiding the team throughout this complex project is Chris Durham, VPF Assistant Director of HR/Payroll, who is about to take on his fifth year managing this end-of-year process. “In some ways, it is just a continuation of the work we do each quarter—remitting taxes, filing reports, and reconciling MIT payroll reports," says Chris. "But the fourth quarter is a little different, as we work on some minor year-end adjustments and the process to get the W-2s printed and then mailed or posted on time.” 
 
Chris credits Dimana MacDonald and her team members Emily Do, Janice Headley and Bistra Bojkov for overseeing tax filings and reconciliations and quickly addressing any issues as they arise. Laurie Farinella and Lilian Garcia process all payrolls and complete the electronic file transmissions to the Internal Revenue Service and the Social Security Administration. Kristin McCormick and Nicole Valente support the payroll processing by validating and scrubbing data to ensure accuracy. Marsha Dailey works all year with international employees and students to see that they are taxed correctly and receive the correct tax forms.
 
“The HR/Payroll team works closely with Leslie Wright, VPF Consulting Business Analyst, and liaison to IS&T, who knows everything about the whole process from end to end,” reports Chris. “Our partners at IS&T, led by Frank Quern, ensure the systems runs smoothly, and Nathan Thaler and Andy Kalerdarian manage the print area where the forms are printed without a hitch. Finally, Deborah Puleo and her team in Mail Services receive the printed W-2 Forms and execute the final steps in the process, including operating the machine that folds and stuffs the envelopes and applies postage.”
 
The VPF HR/Payroll team is busiest during late December and the first two weeks of January when final tests are underway. Sometime in mid-March, the team will take a moment to celebrate getting through another year of filing tax forms. By then, they will be preparing to file first-quarter tax returns for the next year.
 
-Laurie Everett
These Are a Few of Your Fav-o-rite Links
 
Looking for that useful page you just visited? The VPF website collects your recently viewed pages and displays them on your home page. This feature is updated each time you go back to the site.

Go to the VPF home page and scroll down to see your Recently Viewed Pages, with the ten most recent pages you visited. This feature can help you go directly to the pages you use frequently, without having to bookmark them.
Working Group on Support Staff Issues Hosts Workshop on Sponsored Accounting
 
VPF’s Sponsored Accounting held a workshop with the Working Group on Support Staff Issues (WGSSI) in November, designed to give administrative assistants and other support staff an overview of general accounting operations with an emphasis on sponsored research accounting procedures.
 
Hosted by the WGSSI’s Professional Development Committee, the workshop was organized by Department of Mathematics administrator Shirley Entzminger, and VPF’s Doris Drake, who is Senior Administrative Assistant to the Controller.
 
“It was an awesome presentation, as it helped administrators understand some of the finer points of grant administration,” says Shirley. “Some of the topics covered in the workshop included how to read a financial statement, how to understand overhead rates on multi-year awards, and how to create an account projection worksheet.”
 
Sponsored Accounting staff are fielding requests from individual labs to conduct similar workshops and are planning more in 2017.
Whose Money Is It? Help Us Solve a Mystery and Win $25 in TechCash!

VPF sometimes receives wires and ACH payments missing sufficient information to determine the rightful owner. We do our best to track down where the payment belongs, but sometimes we're stumped.

Help us figure out whose money we have! Check out our list of unidentified payments and contact us if you can help. If you assist in solving a mystery payment, you will be entered in a drawing for $25 TechCash.


VPF Training Opportunities


Register for classroom-based and online VPF training through the MIT Learning Center on Atlas.

Upcoming classes include:
  • Introduction to Travel and Expenses
    January 17, 9-10:30 am, NE49
  • Introduction to Sourcing and Procurement
    January 17, 10:45 am-12:45 pm, NE49
  • Accounting Fundamentals
    February 21, 2017, 8 am-12 pm, NW23-043
  • B2P Overview
    Multiple offerings; see Atlas Learning Center for details.
  • B2P for Managers and Approvers
    Multiple offerings; see Atlas Learning Center for details.

Concur Travel Expense Drop-in Training Session

VPF Travel and Card Services staff are available to assist members of the community with their expense reports at drop-in sessions every Wednesday, from 10 to 11 am, in the Little Cayman Conference Room (NE49-3100).

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
 


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Banner photo by Tom Pixton


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