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VPF Statement - MIT Office of the Vice President for Finance
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March 2017
Complementary Services

Technology has made it convenient for us to conduct transactions on the web, from shopping online to renewing our driver’s license. This convenience may make us more efficient, but sometimes there is no substitute for completing an important transaction in person.  

This week, Atlas—the online portal for administrative systems at MIT—springs to life as the Atlas Service Center in Building E17-106. This beautifully designed space is a one-stop integrated service center where welcoming staff can help you take care of a wide range of tasks associated with being at MIT. While there, you can complete in-person transactions for your MIT ID, T-pass and parking permit, get a passport photo taken, and complete I-9 eligibility verification. And, you can speak with experts who offer technology support, international tax treaty guidance and more, all in one convenient central campus location.
 
I am pleased to have VPF staff from our HR/Payroll unit available to provide tax guidance to visitors at the Atlas Service Center. Marsha Dailey, VPF’s international tax treaty specialist, will be located in the Center two days a week to help international employees and students with tax questions related to their employment at MIT. For more on VPF's presence at the Atlas Service Center, see the story below.

In the digital space, we are using technology to make it easier for you to find preferred and internal suppliers for goods and services for MIT. We have recently integrated all supplier information into the VPF website. Formerly known as SmartBuy and then Supplier Search, this list of Suppliers is now searchable within the VPF website, and linked from the black bar located on the top of every page. See the story below for more details.

Finally, I want to congratulate two VPF colleagues—Virginia Johnson and Darren Scartissi—on receiving the 2017 MIT Excellence Award. Virginia Johnson in Sponsored Accounting ­is recognized for Advancing Inclusion + Global Perspectives for her role in the African, Black, American, Caribbean (ABAC) Employee Resource Group and for mentoring and inspiring VPF colleagues and many others across the Institute. Darren Scartissi in HR/Payroll is recognized in the Serving the Client category for delivering solutions to complex payroll questions, and for his outstanding customer service. Please join me in congratulating Virginia and Darren on this well-deserved recognition of their contributions to MIT.

Best,
Glen Shor
Vice President for Finance
Tax Treaty Guidance at Atlas Service Center
 
With the opening of the Atlas Service Center in E17-106, VPF HR/Payroll staff will be on hand to address tax treaty questions. Marsha Dailey, Senior Payroll Coordinator and foreign national tax specialist, will be at the Atlas Service Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 9 am to 6 pm, to help students, faculty, researchers, and staff determine their U.S. tax status and complete required forms.


 
Chris Durham, Assistant Director of VPF HR/Payroll, says, “We are happy to have Marsha Dailey at the Atlas Service Center to help with tax treaty questions and issues. Her presence, along with that of colleagues providing other services in the Center, will create a welcoming environment for everyone. International employees and students can drop in for assistance or schedule an appointment with Marsha if they require more help.”
 
Marsha will be located near the MIT Human Resources staff responsible for processing the I-9 Form (needed to provide proof of identity and authorization to work in the U.S.) since completion of this form requires some of the same information as the tax forms.

Learn more about the Atlas Service Center on MIT News.
New VPF Website Tool: Preferred and Internal Supplier Search
 
Need lab supplies? A banner printed for an event? Or maybe you need to hire a temporary employee?  
 
The Preferred and Internal Supplier Search tool is now integrated into the VPF website, giving you quick and easy access to the right supplier for your needs. Its new location—a direct link from the black bar at the top of every page on the VPF website—provides enhanced search capabilities and easy access to related VPF policies, processes, and forms. This new tool delivers a seamless, all-in-one-place search experience and is updated regularly with new information on suppliers and discounts.


 
Once you are on the Preferred and Internal Supplier Search page, you can search by:
  • Preferred Supplier These suppliers have multi-year contracts in place with MIT that feature negotiated pricing, and terms and conditions favorable to MIT.
  • Internal Provider These MIT departments provide goods or services to other departments within MIT for a fee.
  • Commodity – Use the drop-down tool to search for Airlines, Furniture, Catering, and more than a dozen other commodities.
  • Small/Disadvantaged – VPF is committed to helping you find suppliers that fit a range of criteria for small and disadvantaged businesses, including women-owned, minority-owned, and service-disabled veteran-owned. Use the drop-down tool to search.
  • Sustainable – You can also search for suppliers who have sustainable business practices, such as caterers who use biodegradable or reusable flatware, or those who work with local food banks to distribute leftover food.
  • Keyword (new feature)You can now search by keyword, such as “bus” for Peter Pan or “cylinder” for Airgas.
From your results, view the supplier profile pages for detailed MIT discount information, purchase methods, supplier and VPF contacts, related links and tools, and helpful tips.
 
The new Supplier page lets you easily search and browse trusted suppliers—but as always, you can contact VPF Strategic Sourcing or Procurement Operations for more detailed or hands-on assistance with your purchase.
B2P: A New Way to Buy and Pay
 
Six months into the phased rollout of the Buy-to-Pay (B2P) system, 117 departments, labs, and centers (DLCs) are now creating requisitions, approving orders, and processing invoices through B2P! The remaining 55 DLCs will be brought onto the new system in the last phase of this rollout, throughout March and April. For updates on the rollout, as well as other B2P resources and training, visit https://b2ptrain.mit.edu.
 
What’s Included in B2P?
B2P includes MIT supplier catalogs, external requisitions and invoices, replacing eCat and the External link on Atlas. B2P does not currently include the Procurement Card, Requests for Payment, or Internal Providers, all of which continue to use existing processes.
 
Community Engagement
This month marked the beginning of a series of focus groups on key topics of importance for community members, including Financial Review & Control (FRC), Departmental Reporting, and B2P Catalogs. Throughout the project, the team has engaged with the MIT community regularly to seek input. Feedback from recent focus groups and communication with current users continues to inform the team on refinements and improvements to the new buying and paying system and processes.
 
Catalogs
In the past few weeks, the team has added catalogs for Beckman Coulter and Westnet, which are now available under the Catalogs dropdown on the B2P homepage. The final two supplier catalogs (PerkinElmer and Lonza) will be added shortly.
 
Subrecipient Awards
Subrecipient awards (subawards) are processed through the B2P system, which removes a step from the existing process by electronically routing subaward requisitions directly to the Office of Sponsored Programs.
 
Process Change: New Supplier Request
When creating a B2P requisition for a supplier that is not in MIT’s records:
  • In the Supplier field, enter “New Supplier”
  • In the Comments field at the bottom of the Cart, enter the supplier’s name, email, and phone number (remember to click Add Comment to save)
  • Optionally, attach W-9/W-8 and New Supplier Registration Form (helps to streamline process)
This change replaces the previous process of leaving the Supplier field blank.
 
Process Change: Invoices
Invoices from suppliers should be sent to invoices@mit.coupahost.com, with the PO number included on the invoice (you can use Adobe Acrobat Pro, available for download here, to type the PO number on the PDF invoice). This change replaces the previous process of sending B2P invoices to apscan@mit.edu.
 
Questions? Need Support?
The project team welcomes questions and feedback to the B2P Contact Center at b2p@mit.edu or 617-253-7000. Community members already using the system can receive hands-on assistance by bringing their questions to a B2P drop-in session, held every Wednesday from 10 to 11 am in NE49-3098 (Little Cayman Conference Room). In-person training sessions are available for sign-up in the Atlas Learning Center.
Supplier Updates
 
Alfa Aesar
 
Alfa Aesar, one of MIT’s laboratory products suppliers, has been acquired by Thermo Fisher Scientific. As a result, you can now purchase Alfa Aesar products through two of MIT’s Preferred Suppliers, Fisher Scientific or VWR. When you use Fisher Scientific or VWR, you will be able to take advantage of MIT’s discounted pricing.
 
If you have any questions during this transition, please reach out to Derek Welcome, Strategic Sourcing Analyst at VPF, at 617-258-5825 or welcomed@mit.edu.
 
Rebecca’s Café
 
Rebecca’s Café is one of MIT’s Preferred Caterers. In order to receive MIT’s pre-negotiated 10% discount and avoid being charged sales tax when placing an order on Rebecca’s website, please follow these specific ordering instructions:
  • Select the location and tax-exempt status (Cambridge/Tax Exempt)
  • Choose the items you need
  • Enter discount code MIT10
By including the location and code on your order, you will ensure the MIT discount and tax-exempt status are automatically be applied to your order.
 
Please contact Andrew Fees at afees@rebeccascafe.com or 617-494-6688 if you have questions.
 
For questions about MIT’s Preferred Caterers, contact Pam O’Neil, Strategic Sourcing Analyst at VPF, at 617-253-2756 or poneil@mit.edu.
Coming Around Again

The VPF Property Office is once again making the rounds through every MIT building to inventory movable equipment, a process that takes two years to complete. This perpetual inventory of nearly 70,000 items in 105 buildings supports overall accounting of MIT’s capital assets and helps MIT comply with requirements of federal agencies and other sponsors.
 
Two new staff have joined the Property inventory effort and are making their way across campus, with barcode scanners in hand. Leo Browne (pictured, top), who many know from his work at IS&T, joined the Property team last year and will cover both the east and west sides of campus.

Andy Stillman (pictured, bottom), the newest member of the team­—and an active member of the Army National Guard—is covering the north and northwest sectors of campus. They will also travel to MIT properties outside of Cambridge, including the Bates Linear Accelerator in Middleton, Haystack Observatory in Westford, and Endicott House in Dedham.

As soon as this cycle is complete (in 2018), it will be time to start over again!
Tax Workshops for Students
 
VPF Tax and Global Operations and HR/Payroll will participate in a tax workshop for students on March 20, 2017.

This workshop is presented in collaboration with the Office of the Dean for Graduate Education, the International Students Office, the International Scholars Office, the International Coordinating Committee, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. It will provide general guidance to students on the process of filing 2016 federal tax returns and Massachusetts state tax returns, and is not intended to provide individual tax advice.
 
Workshop Schedule:

Session 1, 4:00-5:00 pm, 10-250
For international students (less than 5 years in the U.S.)
 
Session 2, 5:30-6:30 pm, 10-250
For U.S. resident students, international students (more than 4 years in the U.S.)

For more information, visit the International Students Office Tax Information page.
Resources for International Students and International Scholars on Tax Filing
 
VPF Tax and Global Operations recently created new resources for students and scholars from outside the U.S. on tax filing requirements and on how to choose a qualified tax preparer. Visit the Manage Foreign National Tax Status page on the VPF website and download the Individual Income Taxation of Nonresident and Resident Aliens FAQ and Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer. Please note, the VPF Tax team does not provide personal tax advice to individuals.
VPF Website Feature: Office of Treasury and Planning
 
The Office of Treasury and Planning (OTP) is directly linked from the black bar at the top of the VPF website. A unit adjacent to but separate from VPF, Treasury and Planning manages relationships with the Institute’s operating and investment banks and rating agencies to provide the debt financing to support MIT’s capital plan. Led by Allen Marcum, Director of Treasury and Planning, this team manages the non-endowed and non-retiree plan financial assets of the Institute and develops long-range financial models that can be used to help analyze and ensure MIT’s long-term financial sustainability.
 
Treasury and Planning works closely with the Campus Construction team to develop and evaluate capital plan options to renew and revitalize MIT’s physical campus. Most recently, OTP has supported the launch of The Engine—MIT’s new startup accelerator and venture fund—by providing guidance on legal, structural, and financial models for the new organization. 
 
More information about Treasury and Planning, including a staff list and bond information, can be found here.
Protecting Your Passwords

Do you ever use the same password to log in to multiple secure websites? Did you know that it’s common practice for a hacker to attempt to access multiple accounts using one stolen password? While it is inconvenient to keep track of different passwords, reusing passwords for multiple logins can make your data less secure, and it leaves you more vulnerable to identity theft.
 
VPF Merchant Services reminds you to be safe with your password use by having different passwords for each account. To keep track of them all, consider using the LastPass password management system. Learn more on the IS&T website.

Read more about the risks associated with reusing passwords in this article from InfoSecurity Magazine.
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.


Training Classes


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

Upcoming training sessions include:
  • B2P Overview
    Multiple offerings
     
  • Accounting Fundamentals (ADM10030c)
    June 13, 2017, 9 am-12 pm
    NW23-050

Drop-in 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, from 10 to 11 am, in the Little Cayman Conference Room, NE49-3098.

Buy-to-Pay (B2P)
Receive in-person assistance with tasks in the B2P system every Wednesday from 10 to 11 a.m. in the Little Cayman Conference Room, NE49-3098. B2P drop-in sessions supplement formal training classes available for sign-up on Atlas.

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

Staff Directory
Key Emails and Phone Numbers
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Banner photo by Tom Pixton


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