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Controller's Office > News > Panther Post Newsletter

Newsletter 2019-2020 Volume 5

In this Edition...

  • Monthly Closing Calendars
  • Florida International University Transition to eQuotes, University-Wide
  • Surplus Property and Receiving
  • Multi-Level Coaching, Training and Consulting Services
  • Florida Sales Tax Rate Decrease
  • Credit Card Reconciliation: Attaching Documentation
  • Limiting Allowable Hotel Expenses Continues for FY2020
  • Market Place Orders
  • Creating Travel Authorizations
  • Invoice Format
  • Reminders and Deadlines
  • Monthly Closing Calendars

    The October 2019 period in the general ledger has closed. When running your reports, please keep in mind that the reporting environment has a 24-hour delay in displaying data. The current and future month-end processing deadline schedules is located at Monthly Closing Deadlines.

    Florida International University Transition to eQuotes, University-Wide.

    After a successful pilot, FIU Procurement Services will roll out GovQuote, a web-based quoting tool, for all university purchases below $75,000. Buyers across every department can now register for their free account and begin posting electronic Requests for Quotes (eRFQs). Once registered, university purchasing agents or individuals that purchase for their department or college can look forward to an accelerated procurement process, organized records, and an easier way to communicate with suppliers.

    GovQuote is a digital marketplace developed by procurement professionals, for procurement professionals. It is the first free platform that brings all electronic requests, quotes, and communications onto one platform. This adoption will streamline FIU's overall procurement process, plus help save time and money.

    StartUP FIU Procurement aims to connect local, small, and minority-owned businesses to procurement opportunities with FIU and other anchor partners. At the same time, we will build the capacity of these businesses to be able to secure and deliver on contracts. In partnership with StartUP FIU Procurement, GovQuote makes it easier for the university to engage with small, local and disadvantaged businesses (DBEs). By joining GovQuote's diverse community of agencies and suppliers, FIU can directly contribute to the success of South Florida’s neighborhoods. The process of inviting all university-registered suppliers has already begun.

    With this in mind, StartUP FIU Procurement has created a 14-week incubator program that provides technical assistance for prime contractor certification. Our program is the bridge to address the challenges often faced by small businesses or startups to procure with anchor institutions. The curriculum developed for the incubator program will assist in building capacity in general business practices (finance & management), but also industry specifics to significantly increase their ability to win larger contracts; not only at FIU but also other anchor institutions.

    Since April, six departments at FIU have spent tens of thousands of dollars on a variety of goods and services utilizing GovQuote. These purchases ranged from transcription services to cameras and rentals. That’s valuable dollars spent with local businesses across the state, and across the country.

    For help creating an account, visit the GovQuote Help Center at help.govquote.us. GovQuote specialists are also available via Live Chat, Monday-Friday, during normal business hours. The mandatory Gov Quote training will be conducted over the next several months and is coordinated by StartUP FIU Procurement. Utilization of GovQuote will be mandatory starting in February 2020, so please attend the training. If you do not receive an invitation for the GovQuote training, please contact Barbara Cotto Jimenez.

    Surplus Property and Receiving

    Surplus Property and Receiving is happy to announce the implementation of Microsoft Teams as a hub for the repurposing of surplus property and deliveries of packages received at Scientific Receiving, Central Receiving, and BBC Receiving.

    Teams is a new collaboration APP that helps teams stay organized and have focus conversations all in one place using chats instead of emails, and channels instead of file folders. It’s a secured place in which you and your teams can share and edit files at the same time, add mentions and replies with just a single tab.

    Surplus Property and Receiving’s mission is to find second life for at least 99% of all certified surplus property in a more efficient way and to do so, we need your help! To accomplish this, we created two (2) public teams, “Surplus Property” and “Receiving” in which we are expecting to address all surplus and delivery matters respectively.

    What are we expecting from our Team’s communication hub?

  • ) Re-purposing more property within our university without having to send it to surplus: If at any point your department wants to surplus assets that may be re-used, please snap a picture and post it on “Surplus Property Team” for other FIU departments to see. If anyone contacts you, and wants to adopt it, please fill out the Asset transfer form and get it approved by Property Control prior to moving the asset(s). If within a prudent timeframe (three business days) no one makes contact about the surplus items, then file a Surplus form and send it to Property Control.

  • ) Avoid unnecessary movements to the property: Instead of moving property from Departments -> Surplus Warehouse -> Receiving Departments, we are looking forward to having the assets moved from the Sending Department -> Receiving Department and avoid double movements and damages to the property in the process.

  • ) Effective Time Management: Our warehouse staff will start posting pictures of items available at surplus warehouse so that you can communicate with us through “Surplus Property Team” and we will reserve the item under your name. This will save you time by eliminating the need to come to the warehouse to view and reserve surplus property. You still need to file the Asset transfer form and submit it to Property Control.

  • ) Real time notifications and paperless delivery system: With the “Receiving Team”, we are providing real time and paperless delivery notifications to all of the FIU community through Teams. This includes the time, pictures and locations for all items delivered by Scientific Receiving and Central Receiving.

  • What do we need from our FIU community?

  • ) Download Microsoft Teams application for your desktop or smartphone. For your desktop please go to Start Menu -> Microsoft System Center -> Software Center, select "Microsoft Teams" then click "Install"

  • ) Sign in with your FIU credential

  • ) Search for “Surplus Property” or “Receiving” in the search bar on top of the application

  • ) Become a member of the team

  • ) Click Here if you need help

  • ) Once in, you will see notifications for three different subheadings

  • ) Spread the word and start communicating with all teams’ members and us

  • Visit Microsoft Teams YouTube channel to learn how to use it.

    Multi-Level Coaching, Training and Consulting Services

    Procurement Services has recently finalized an ITN for multi-level coaching, training, and consulting services and has awarded contracts to seven firms.

    These services will be available not only to the FIU community to develop leaders from different levels and needs, but also the 12 SUS participating institutions.

    With input from different key stakeholders within FIU, along with several participants from other universities such as UF, UCF, and Florida Polytech we developed an extensive scope of work that encompassed the key areas of development for executives and multilevel leaders and managers.

    The services available are as follows:

  • Executive and Multi-Level Coaching – One-on-One yearly engagement. Introductory & Pre-planning Meeting, Assessments, Coaching/Development Plan, Coaching to Plan, Status Updates, Close out, and or Extension.

  • Strategy Development/Alignment - Strategic planning including initial assessment, delivery of data and recommendations, and an organizational plan.

  • Organizational Culture Assessment & Alignment - Assessment of culture, data analysis, strategy development, and implementation plan.

  • Mission & Vision Work – Provide framework for administrative and academic leaders to establish or further develop Vision and Mission that align with the leader’s values and purpose.

  • Leadership Retreat Planning, Development & Facilitation - Provide a framework and plan for creating a clear path, enhance organizational climate and create greater employee engagement.

  • Leadership Development Content Design & Facilitation - Relationship agility, change management, emotional intelligence, conflict management and resolution, performance coaching, effective communication and collaboration, efficient and effective work processes, and protocols.

  • Train-the-Trainer - Access to subject matter experts and seasoned/certified facilitators to train employees on use of training material for the benefit of the organization

  • Assessment and Facilitation – Administration of organizational and individual assessments and availability of subject matter experts and certified facilitators.

  • The Contract process will be conducted via a Master Services Agreement. The FIU Community as well as any SUS institution may utilize the awarded firms for services as outlined in said agreement by completing an Addendum. Requestors may select a firm from the list. Multiple quotes may be requested from the awarded suppliers to obtain the best value services for each individual project.

    Departments will need to complete the addendum template with all relevant information, including any negotiated terms for the project, and submit the completed addendum through the TCM portal. Detailed instructions on how to request the services and process addendums will be outlined on the Procurement Services website.

    Coaching Vs Training?
    As a resource, HR has provided an outline that should be used when determining if the services requested are to be considered Coaching or Training. Training is exempt from the competitive process. Coaching is not exempt and therefore the ITN must be used. A copy of this resource can be found

    Florida Sales Tax Rate Decreased to 5.5% on January 1, 2020 for Rental, Lease, or License to Use Real Property

    Currently, Florida imposes a 6% sales tax on the sales of most goods and certain services. The tax is also imposed on commercial leases and licenses to use real property. Some examples of real property rentals that are subject to tax include (commercial office or retail space, conference rooms, ballrooms, stadiums, arenas, etc.). In addition, Florida counties can impose a local option surtax on top of the 6% rate that varies by county. Therefore, the sales tax rate is 7% in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Pinellas County (due to the additional 1% surtax).

    However, the sales tax rate imposed under Florida Statutes on the rent charged for renting, leasing, or granting a license to use real property has decreased for the past two years to 5.8% (1/1/2018) and 5.7% (1/1/2019).

    Effective January 1, 2020, the sales tax rate imposed under Florida Statutes on the rent charged for renting, leasing, or granting a license to use real property is further decreased to 5.5%. Therefore, the sales tax rate for any rental activity taking place on or after January 1, 2020 will be 6.5% for Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Pinellas County (due to the additional 1% surtax).

    To accurately collect and remit the sales tax collected by the University, rental related sales tax collections should only be posted to one of the following general ledger accounts shown below.

    • Account number 311318 (Sales Tax Liab MD Prop Rental – this account is used to record/deposit sales tax for rental activity taking place in Miami-Dade County, that is subject to the reduced 6.7% (2019) sales tax rate and 6.5% (2020) sales tax rate.
    • Account number 311319 (Sales Tax Liab Bwd Prop Rental) – this account is used to record/deposit sales tax for rental activity taking place in Broward County, that is subject to the reduced 6.7% (2019) sales tax rate and 6.5% (2020) sales tax rate.
    • Account number 311320 (Sales Tax Liab PIN Prop Rental) – this account is used to record/deposit sales tax for rental activity taking place in Pinellas County, that is subject to the reduced 6.7% (2019) sales tax rate and 6.5% (2020) sales tax rate.

    However, this reduction does not change the sales tax rate for all other taxable sales. All other sales tax activity (not rental related) should be posted to one of the following general ledger accounts.

    • Account number 311315 (Sales Tax Liab MD NOT Rental) – this account is used to record/deposit sales tax for goods or services being sold in Miami-Dade County which are subject to the 7.0% sales tax rate.
    • Account number 311317 (Sales Tax Liab BWD NOT Rental) – this account is used to record/deposit sales tax for goods or services being sold in Broward County which are subject to the 7.0% sales tax rate.

    Please continue to use Department Number 110401000 and Activity Number 1104120007 for all sales tax deposit regardless of general ledger account used.

    If you have questions about this change or any other sales tax questions, please email Tax Compliance Services or call any of the team members. You can also review the Florida Tax Information Publication (TIP) No. 19A01-11, which contains additional information related to the sales tax rate change.

    Credit Card Reconciliation: Attaching Documentation

    Scanning of receipts and backup supporting documentation is mandatory.

    A scanned receipt and supporting backup documentation (flyers, attendance sheets, etc.) must be attached to each transaction line. While all charges must still be approved within 10 business days, Approvers will have thru the end of the calendar month to complete attaching all documentation. To add supporting documentation when completing the during reconciliation:

  • ) Click on the white comment bubble icon, located on the Reconcile Statement Transaction Tab.

  • ) Click the Attach button located directly under the comments box under Associated Document.

  • ) Click on the Browse button to select the scanned file for attachment.

  • ) When the document is selected, click open and attach, to complete the load process.

  • ) When successfully attached, the scanned file name will appear under Attachment in the Associated Document box. Click the View button to review.

  • ) If you need to attach multiple scanned documents for a single transaction line, click the + button located next to the status field. Proceed with clicking on the Attach button, as notated in step #2 and continue the process (see sample below).

  • Limiting Allowable Hotel Expenses Continues for FY2020

    We have received the following guidance from the Office of the General Counsel:

    Section 59. In order to implement appropriations in the 2019-2020 General Appropriations Act for state employee travel and notwithstanding s. 112.061, Florida Statutes, costs for lodging associated with a meeting, conference, or convention organized or sponsored in whole or in part by a state agency or the judicial branch may not exceed $150 per day. An employee may expend his or her own funds for any lodging expenses in excess of $150 per day. This section expires July 1, 2020.

    As of July 1, 2017, the cost for lodging for FIU employees associated with a meeting, conference, or convention organized or sponsored in whole or in part by FIU may not exceed $150.00 per day if paid with state funding (E & G). Amounts over $150.00 must be paid with personal funds. Please note that the lodging limitation of $150.00 applies only to lodging for a meeting, conference, or convention organized or sponsored in whole or in part by FIU. It does not apply to lodging for a meeting, conference, or convention organized or sponsored by other entities, including other state agencies.

    Departments must ensure the requirements of this law are met when establishing lodging for FIU employees attending FIU sponsored events.

    Market Place Orders

    In September 2019, all myFIUmarket orders will be invoiced electronically. Accounts Payable will receive the invoices through a cXML file.

    What has not changed?

  • Vouchers will still be created in PeopleSoft.

  • Receipts will still need to be created before a payment is issued.

  • What will change?

  • Accounts Payable will receive the invoices electronically through a secure cXML file.

  • Invoice copies will not be mailed or e-mailed to FIU. Invoice copies can be requested directly from the vendor if absolutely necessary.

  • These changes will only effect myFIUmarket orders. All orders placed outside of the marketplace will remain the same.

    Creating Travel Authorizations

    When creating Travel Authorizations in the Financial System, list all anticipated expenses by the expense type. This includes the expenses that are out-of-pocket and paid with the University Credit Card. Do Not list prepaid expenses in the “Benefit to FIU or Project” area of Travel Authorizations or Expense Reports. The funding for prepaid expenses will not encumber.

    Invoice Format

    Invoices should have the PO number printed clearly on the first page of the invoice. The OCR system used in Accounts Payable does not recognize handwriting. Having the PO printed on the invoice will reduce errors and unnecessary delays. Please work with your vendors to encourage them to include the PO on all invoices.


    Let’s expedite approving Travel Authorizations, Cash Advances, and Expense Reports. Documents that have not been completely finalized and are older than 90 days will be cancelled or deleted by the Travel Department. A list of pending documents is located here. Information regarding report status abbreviations and how to close or cancel Travel Authorizations and/or Expense Reports can be found here.

    Departmental Card Deadline

    As a reminder, departmental card billing transactions regularly load the first business day of the month; program participants will have 10 days to process this activity in its entirety. This month's billing statement (dated October 31, 2019) loaded into PantherSoft on November 4, 2019 and must be completely processed by the end of the business day on November 15, 2019.

    Any charges not processed by the closing deadline will be automatically charged to the cardholder's default accounting on file and will not be eligible for a transfer. Cardholders with three unjustified non-approvals in the same fiscal year will have their card temporarily suspended until they complete a retraining session

    Credit Memos and Vendor Statements

    As a reminder, all credit memos should be processed on a timely basis. They should be sent to invoices@fiu.edu for processing. Please do not wait until you have an invoice pending to offset the credit. PeopleSoft should reflect all invoices owed to vendors and credits owed to FIU

    All vendor statements should be sent to Maria Castillo.

    Entering Receipts in PeopleSoft

    The receiving against the PO should be done as soon as the items are received or services are rendered. Please DO NOT WAIT UNTIL AN INVOICE IS RECEIVED.

    The receiving date in PeopleSoft should always be the date the product was received or service rendered – not the date that the actual receiving entry is made. This is a mandatory field.

    Below is an excerpt from the job aid:

    The job aid can be found under the Procure to Pay header at the Controller's Training website.

    Should you have questions regarding this course, please call the Financial Systems and Support Services Help Desk at 7-7200 or email controller@fiu.edu.

    If you have completed the receiving entry for an order or an invoice and continue to receive an e-mail requesting a receiving transaction, please contact Accounts Payable at 7-2161 to clear the match exception. Please do not resend the invoice to invoices@fiu.edu.

    How to sign up for the Panther Post Newsletter

    If you wish to be added to the ListServ for the Panther Post, please email controller@fiu.edu.

    Office of the Controller