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VPF Statement - MIT Office of the Vice President for Finance
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June 2020
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In It Together
 
Over the past several months, we have seen every aspect of life at MIT undergo immense change in response to the challenges of COVID-19. Our VPF teams are working to keep the Institute’s financial engine running and finding creative solutions to issues as they arise. While most of VPF's operations continue as usual, we have made a few updates to our services and resources (see this page on our website and story below).
 
Even though recent times have been anything but typical for us all, this June at VPF we are turning our attention to an annual activity we can always count on – the closing of the books on the current fiscal year. To assist you in this process, we have provided online training that you can take at your convenience, and, in the absence of our usual in-person workshops, we are offering two Q&A sessions that VPF subject-matter experts will conduct via Zoom. Please see details below.
 
I encourage you to contact us directly if you need our help with the year-end close or any other finance issues as you continue your work for the Institute. We look forward to supporting you and your teams as we move through these uncharted waters together.
 
Best,
 
Glen Shor
Vice President for Finance
Stay Up to Date on VPF Operations

During this time of reduced campus operations, VPF teams continue to provide support and guidance to the MIT community on all things finance.
 
Check out the Update on VPF Resources and Services page (accessed from the yellow banner across the VPF homepage) for specific information on carrying out financial transactions, receiving electronic payments, signing up for direct deposit, processing gifts to MIT, managing equipment inventory and fabrication accounts, and receiving regular financial reports, including DTR, Summary Statements, and eDACCA reports.
 
Any changes to our routine operations and services will be posted on this page.
 
As always, feel free to reach out to key contacts on the Contact Us page, or use the form on the top of the page to submit a question to VPF. If you are not sure of the topic, choose “other” from the dropdown menu. The VPF Communications Team will route your question to the appropriate team for a response.
Fiscal Year 2020 Closing Schedule and Training

The 2020 Fiscal Year-End Closing Schedule is posted, and the process is underway.
 
The online Fiscal Year-End Closing course is available on Atlas. This self-paced course will guide you through the closing process and is updated with FY2020 information.

In addition to the online course, VPF will host two one-hour Q&A sessions via Zoom with staff from VPF's Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) and Budget and Financial Analysis (B&FA) teams.
  • Fiscal Year-End Closing Q&A #1: Wednesday, June 10, 10 am-11 am
  • Fiscal Year-End Closing Q&A #2: Wednesday, June 17, 10 am-11 am
Sign up for a session through the Atlas Learning Center.

Please contact VPF at vpf-cost-objects@mit.edu if you have any questions about the year-end closing process.
Purchase Order and Requisition Closeouts

As the end of the fiscal year approaches, please note that purchase order closeouts can be completed by using the Close Purchase Orders form. Go to the B2P homepage, and under MIT Buying and Paying Resources, choose “Close Purchase Order” to access the form.
  
If you need a Contract (57xxx) PO closed, please email VPF and include the purchase order number(s). 
 
SAP will update the status of all POs that were closed out in the system before 10:30 pm that day.
 
If you have questions or comments regarding this tool, please send an email to pocloseout@mit.edu.
New MIT Travel Card and ProCard Policies in Effect

VPF implemented several changes to policies governing use of the MIT Travel Card and Procurement Card (ProCard) on May 18, 2020. We encourage all cardholders, approvers, and verifiers to carefully review the changes as detailed in Travel Card policy (Section 2.03) and the ProCard policy (Section 4.06).

The Travel Card is provided to members of the MIT community as a convenient way to pay for MIT travel expenses, while the ProCard is used for certain low-dollar purchases. As such, all expenses charged to these cards must be related to MIT business; the cards cannot be used to charge personal expenses. VPF is adding these new controls to maintain the integrity of the Institute’s credit card programs in light of increasing audit and sponsor scrutiny and cases of fraud and misuse.

Policy changes include:
  • For the first occurrence of personal expenses charged to an MIT credit card, the cardholder will receive a warning that immediate repayment is required.
  • If personal expenses are not repaid within 30 days of the warning, the card will be canceled.
  • For the second occurrence of personal expenses charged to an MIT credit card, the card will be canceled.
  • Any and all fraudulent activity will result in immediate card cancellation and additional consequences (which could include termination of employment and notification to law enforcement).
  • Travelers now have 60 days (previously 30 days) following completion of a trip to submit a travel expense report.
  • The monthly limit on Travel Cards for new cardholders has been lowered to $10,000 (from $25,000). Higher credit limits will be authorized based on need and departmental approval, and limits for existing cardholders will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
  • Temporary employees are now required to be in their role for at least three months before they can be issued an MIT credit card. Supervisors must make a business justification for providing an MIT credit card to a temporary employee.
All new Travel Card cardholders are required to take a new online training course that is designed to ensure compliance with Institute and federal policies related to business travel on behalf of MIT. Existing cardholders are strongly encouraged to complete the training as well. The course, Travel Policies for the Traveler, is available in the Atlas Learning Center. There is also a course specifically for approvers of travel expense reports, available here: Travel Policies for the Approver.

In addition, we ask that MIT departments, labs, and centers follow the Best Practices Recommendations for DLCs to help reinforce these new measures.

VPF’s Travel and Card Services team is available to answer any questions about these policy changes at 617-253-8366 or travelsupport@mit.edu.
Recording FY20 Gifts: Deadlines and Guidance During Remote Work
 
June is traditionally a busy month for the Office of the Recording Secretary (RSO) and the Alumni Association (AA) Office of Records, as many donors make gifts to their reunion and class funds, make payments on pledges or make new gifts to a particular fund or initiative.
 
With a reduced campus access plan in place under COVID-19 guidelines, the RSO and AA Office of Records have moved primarily to remote gift processing operations, and as such, these teams ask you to encourage donors to make their gifts to MIT electronically, via credit card at the Giving to MIT site, or via ACH or wire transfer.
 
Be sure to meet the end of fiscal year gift recording deadlines to ensure gifts are credited and can be counted in Fiscal Year 2020 giving totals. See How to Submit 2020 End-of-Fiscal-Year Gifts for deadlines and instructions.
 
Processing Checks
 
We realize that some donors will make payments by check. The RSO and AA teams offer the following instructions for check payments:
 
If your donor has not yet mailed a payment, please ask that checks be mailed directly to:
MIT Gift Operations
77 Massachusetts Avenue, W98
Cambridge, MA 02139 
 
By using MIT’s official mailing address (and not 600 Memorial Drive) MIT Mail Services will receive all payments and deliver them to W98 whether or not someone is available to accept them at the door. There are also newly installed secure mailboxes at the front and back entrances of W98 for direct deliveries of U.S. mail, UPS, and FedEx deliveries.
 
If your office receives a check from a donor, send it to the RSO (W98-300) via campus mail. Please provide as much detail as possible about the gift, including donor name, amount of the gift, date received, the mailing envelope from the U.S. mail or delivery service (to verify the postmark), and include any correspondence from the donor. You may also have someone from your department drop the check into the secured mailboxes mentioned above. If you choose to do this, send an email to recsec@mit.edu and alumnirecords@mit.edu with information on the gift(s).
 
A few members of our staff are authorized to go to W98 on a regular (but not daily) schedule to collect the mail and deposit checks. However, DLCs and donors should expect a delay in check processing times due to these changes in operations.
 
Accepting Gifts via Credit Card
 
If you receive a gift form from a donor with credit card information or if you are speaking to a donor who wishes to make a gift via credit card, contact Sarah Hendrick at 617-253-8246 for processing. Please do not send credit card information to us via email or campus mail and do not ask donors to email or fax credit card information.
 
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.
Updated List of General Ledger (G/L) Accounts Now Available

The VPF Financial Accounting and Reporting (FAR) team has updated the list of all General Ledger (G/L) Accounts in use at MIT. The full G/L list is available in PDF and Excel formats on the VPF website and serves as a complement to two shorter lists—Frequently Used G/L Accounts and Recommended Revenue G/Ls.

This comprehensive list includes a brief definition of the purpose of each G/L account. Booking expense and revenue items to the right G/Ls drives accurate financial reporting and analysis.  

“With MIT staff working remotely, we heard from many of you that you miss the handy G/L list you had highlighted and tacked to a board in your office but perhaps left behind in the rush to leave campus in March,” says John Donnelly, VPF Associate Controller. “We thought this was a good time to update it and offer it in Excel so that you can sort the data to best fit your needs.”  

All of the G/L files require an MIT certificate to view or download. We will update this list periodically as new G/Ls are created. If you have questions about G/L accounts, send an email to gl-inquiry@mit.edu.
Coming Soon – A Redesigned VPF Homepage
 
The homepage of VPF’s website will soon have a new look.
 
VPF worked with a user experience consultant last year to conduct surveys and focus groups with the MIT finance and administrative community to gather feedback on ways to improve the site, which was launched in 2016. There was a strong preference to make the layout more practical and to enable a customized view (similar to Atlas functionality) so that you can choose to see only the topics that are relevant to your work. The result is a more streamlined homepage and easier access to the key items you need to carry out your financial tasks.
 
As always, if you have ideas and feedback on the VPF website, contact us at vpfcomm@mit.edu.
VPF Tax Workshop Materials and Updated FAQ

With the reduced campus operations in effect due to COVID-19, the second VPF Tax Workshop for Students and Scholars scheduled for March 30 was canceled. The presentation materials from the first workshop (held on March 4) are available; you can download the Tax Workshop for MIT Students/International Nonresident Taxpayers and the Tax Workshop for MIT Students and Scholars/Residents for Tax Purposes from the VPF website.
 
In addition, the Tax team gathered questions from the first workshop and provided answers to them in an FAQ on the Tax Guidance for Nonresident Aliens website.
 
The federal and Massachusetts filing due dates for tax year 2019 are extended to July 15, 2020.
Beckman Coulter Punchout Catalog Now Available in B2P
 
The catalog for Beckman Coulter, an MIT Preferred Supplier for laboratory equipment and supplies, has been upgraded from a “hosted” catalog to a punchout catalog in the  B2P System. MIT purchasers can use the punchout catalog to see full details and latest pricing for all items, take advantage of promotional offers, and order directly through the B2P system. The extensive Beckman Coulter catalog contains more than 100 pages of equipment, supplies, reagents, and instruments.

You can find more information about Beckman Coulter on VPF's Supplier Search. If you have questions about ordering from Beckman Coulter, contact VPF Strategic Sourcing Analyst Jim Bagley at 617-324-8162.
Equipment Fabrication Accounts

If you have an account set up to fabricate new equipment in connection with a research contract or grant and need an extension to complete the project, VPF’s Property Office offers the following guidance:
  • If the end date of the award is later than the end date of the fabrication, you may request an extension to a later end date within the parameters of the award.
  • If you need time, but no additional funds to finish the fabrication, it may be appropriate to request a No-Cost Extension (NCE) to the award. Please send a request to the Research Administration Services (RAS) representative on the award and copy the Property team.
  • If the award that funded the fabrication has ended, and you have requested an extension, let the Property team know so we can hold off closing the Fabrication Cost Object.
  See the VPF website for more information on Equipment Fabrication Accounts.
 
Contact VPF’s Kerry Johnson, Senior Property Inventory Assistant, at 617-324-3971 or send an email to kerryj@mit.edu with questions on equipment fabrication.


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