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Controller's Office > News > Panther Post Newsletter
  Newsletter 2011 Volume 6

  In this Edition...

  • Payment Services - Credit Card Solutions
  • Payment Services - Travel Reminders
  • Student Financial Services
  • Tax Compliance and Quality Assurance Services
  • Purchasing Services - Asset Management
  • Accounting and Reporting Services Tips
  • Financial Systems and Support Services
  • How to sign up for the Panther Post Newsletter
  •   Payment Services - Credit Card Solutions

      Target Audience: All Credit Card Users

      New Departmental and T&E Cards are here: The Credit Card Solution Program is happy to announce our   partnership with JP Morgan Chase for university credit card services.

      In mid-October all cardholder’s received an email outlining the card implementation process. Card holders will need to   submit a new cardholder agreement form and complete the online training assessment no later than November 8,   2011.

      Cardholders should begin receiving their new JP Morgan Chase Card during the week of November 1st. Be on the   lookout for a plain white envelope, delivered directly to your FIU Address from the bank. When you receive the new   card, activate the new card as soon as possible and log onto the JP Morgan Chase PaymentNet Website.

      Once activated, the new JP Morgan Chase Card is ready for purchasing right out of the envelope! Your Credit Card   Solutions Team has already set up the new card with the existing monthly spend and single transaction limits.   Additionally, Reconcilers and Approvers will still continue to reconcile and expense card activity in the PantherSoft   System.

      All Bank of America Cards will be deactivated by the Credit Card Solutions Team by November 30th. After this date,   cardholders may cut their Bank of America Cards and discard. It is not necessary to return this card to the Controller’s   Office.

      Mandatory refresher training required for all Credit Card Solutions program participants: In addition to   receiving new cards this month, Cardholders and Approvers/Reconcilers alike will be required to complete an online   refresher training.

      To aid in training, the Credit Card solutions team has unveiled newly revised program manuals for both the   Departmental and TE Card Programs. With interactive table of contents and links, the new user manuals are   designed to be a user friendly and time effective resource for all program participants. Additionally, participants will   also be provided with a PowerPoint presentation, highlighting program rules and regulations.

      All program participants will be required to complete a brief online training assessment, used to gauge the end-users   overall program knowledge of the university card program.

      Credit Card Solutions Contact Information

    Back to Payment Services - Credit Card Solutions Top of page

      Payment Services - Travel

      Target Audience: All Travelers, Proxies and Approvers creating and approving Travel Authorizations and Expense   Reports

      The Travel Department would like to remind all Travelers, Proxies and Approvers creating and approving   Travel Authorizations and Expense Reports of the following:

  • Please explore the University’s new Travel Agency Services listed on the Business Services website.    We recommend and encourage you to use these preferred vendors when making your travel    arrangements.


  • The traveler’s signature is required on all expense reports. Signing “On Behalf Of” is not acceptable.


  • Remember to check to make sure that all supporting documentation for Expense Reports are linked by    clicking on the ImageNow icon on an Expense Report.


  • Hotel room rates must be in accordance with the GSA, DOD or State Department rates as required or    justification must be submitted with the Expense Report if the hotel rate is over the authorized amount.


  • Business and/or First Class airfare is not allowed unless approved by the Chief Financial Officer    (CFO) prior to traveling on behalf of the University.


  • Receipts and/or proof of payment are required for all expenses incurred on behalf of Florida    International University regardless of the payment mechanism (i.e. Dept Travel Card, Pro-Card,    Purchase Order, Unencumbered Payment Form, etc.).


  • A Cash Advance may only be requested and paid to an employee who travels on behalf of the    University. A Cash Advance cannot be requested on behalf of and issued to another individual.
  •   For more information refer to the Travel and Expense Manual as a guide for auto rental, hotel   accommodations, meal allowances, airfare and other pertinent information pertaining to travel expenses   on behalf of the University.

      Travel Services Contact Information

    Back to Payment Services - Travel Top of page

      Student Financial Services

      Target Audience: All PantherSoft Users

      Importance of Online Student Payments: The Student Financials area recently participated in a benchmark   survey performed by National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). The results of the   FY 2009 survey showed that when compared to the average of all research universities, FIU’s numbers were   impressive. FIU’s Student Financials area operates on $34 per FTE student versus $81 per FTE student average   among other research universities. FIU also has 2,231 FTE students per FTE staff compared to 1,179 FTE students   per FTE staff on average at other research universities. These figures highlighted the importance of online   transactions in running a successful Student Financials area on a lower than average budget. We were well above   average in transactions processed online when compared to the other research universities. In FY 2009 FIU   processed 66% of our student payment transactions online compared to the 46.5% of online transactions for other   research universities. Although the results have not been published for the FY2010 benchmark FIU has managed to   maintain the 66% of online transactions and is striving to raise the percentage as the student population increases.

       Student Financial Services Contact Information

    Back to Student Financial Services Top of page

      Tax Compliance and Quality Assurance Services

      Target Audience: All PantherSoft Users   

      Unrelated Business Income Tax (Form 990-T): Florida International University is required by Federal law to   prepare an income tax return for net income from activities unrelated to the exempt mission of the University. This tax   return (Form 990-T) must be filed annually with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

      The IRS has provided criteria to identify activities that are unrelated to the mission of an exempt organization.   Basically, however, an activity is an unrelated business (and subject to unrelated business income tax “UBIT”) if it   meets three requirements: 1. It is a “trade or business”; 2. It is “regularly carried on”; and 3. It is “not substantially   related” to furthering FIU’s exempt purpose. Since these terms are given a specific meaning within the rules set forth   by the IRS and several important exceptions exist, guidelines for these criteria are available from the Tax Compliance   office for your review. More information on UBIT will be sent with our annual questionnaire soon.

      If you have questions about unrelated business income or are conducting an activity/collecting revenue and are   unsure if reporting is required, please contact tax@fiu.edu or call (305) 348-7561. We are currently preparing the tax   return for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011. Of course, we cannot identify all activities that are unrelated and   subject to Federal income tax from the accounting records alone. Therefore, I am asking that you review your   operations for the 2010 - 2011 fiscal year and determine what activities, if any, are potentially unrelated business   income. Please keep in mind that we must account for and report all unrelated business income pursuant   to the Internal Revenue Code. If you have any questions related to unrelated business income, please contact Tax   Compliance. Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

      Tax Compliance and Quality Assurance Services Contact Information

    Back to Tax Compliance & Quality Assurance Top of page

      Purchasing Services - Procurement

      Target Audience: All PantherSoft Users  

      Benefits of Competitive Procurement: The purpose of competitive procurement is to benefit the University, and   not to promote competition for the sake of competition. In some cases, it may cost more to enter into a competitive   procurement than to do business directly with a supplier because of the uniqueness (sole source) of the requested   products, the inadequacy of other sources, the immediacy of your needs, or emergency circumstances. In other   words, competitive procurement should be practical, with other methods allowed as exceptions.

      Competitive procurement is the contractual acquisition (purchase or lease) by the University of any kind of asset,   whether material (goods, products, or construction) or nonmaterial (services) with appropriated funds, enabling all   responsible sources to compete in a fair and open environment.

      While all of the FIU procurement practices strive to bring fairness, impartiality, transparency, and suitability to   University procurement practices, a competitive procurement process ensures the highest level of openness.

      Through its competitive procurement process, as promulgated by Board of Governor Regulations, Florida Statutes,   and the Florida Sunshine Law, the University was able to realize a cost savings of approximately $1,023.251 from 12   successfully negotiated competitive solicitations in fiscal year 2010-2011.

      Purchasing Services Contact Information

    Back to Purchasing Services Top of page

      Accounting and Reporting Services

      Target Audience: All PantherSoft Users  

      First quarter end for the new FY11-12 is here, so here are a few reminders and tips to help everyone stay   on track:

      Petty Cash and Participant Payment fund: Office of the Controller maintains a record of all approved Petty Cash &   Participant Payment forms. Please note that Participant Payment forms expire at the end of the term stipulated on the   form and failure to update the form upon expiration of the valid term will result in denial of replenishment. Raul Velez,   in our Financial Reporting team can assist you with questions regarding Petty Cash & Participant Payment forms. He   can be contacted by phone at extension 7-4320 or by e-mail at raul.velez@fiu.edu.

      Merchant Services: Is your department accepting credit cards or interested in the idea? If so, then you may find the   following reminders helpful:

  • Please make sure your staff attends the Red Flags training from the IT Security Office. Red Flags    training will give you helpful tips on identifying fraudulent credit cards, identification cards, etc. Please    make sure you contact security@fiu.edu to schedule your appointment.


  • All departments accepting credit cards as a form of payment must complete the PCI DSS Annual    Questionnaire in order to be PCI DSS compliant. A memorandum was sent out last month as a reminder    that you have only one month to complete the questionnaire. If you still have not requested your    questionnaire for your department, please contact merchant@fiu.edu.


  • If your department wishes to host an event off Campus and might need to collect payments using credit    cards, renting a wireless credit card machine is a good option. The Office of the Controller has a    wireless terminal available for rent for a fee of $100.00 per month. Keep in mind though, that the    wireless terminal is rented on a first come first serve basis, so be sure to reserve it with plenty of time in    advance for your event. Advance reservation for a minimum (1) month prior to your event is preferred    with a minimum of one (1) month rental time required. University Policy on safeguards and usage must    be followed by all merchant locations and can be found on our controller’s website under Merchant    Solutions. If you would like more information on renting the wireless terminal contact: merchant@fiu.edu.


  •    Payroll Pointers: Controller's staff has noted that non-payroll transactions are being recorded erroneously using    payroll accounts, which fall in the range of 771000 to 771999. Please note that these accounts are to be used only    by the Payroll Department and should not be used to account for reimbursements of payroll expenses received from    outside parties/agencies. If your area receives payments to reimburse the University for an employee’s time that was    spent on activities benefiting another organization, the proper way to account for these transactions is to record the    receipt of funds as revenues, and if the revenues are not recorded in the employee’s home department, then an ADP    transfer should be submitted to the payroll department for processing so that the employee’s salary expenses can    offset with the funds received from the outside party.

       Monthly Closing Calendars: Our team counts on you to meet crucial Monthly Closing Deadlines that enable us to    maintain a timely financial reporting process. We encourage everyone to refer to the Office of the Controller’s    website where you can access schedules for closing deadlines by month, closing procedures memorandums and    other valuable information that provide guidance and keep you informed on important items and topics. For more on    accounting and reporting information, navigate to our website Accounting and Reporting Services.

      Accounting and Reporting Services Contact Information

    Back to Accounting and Reporting Services Top of page

      Financial Systems and Support Services

      Target Audience: All PantherSoft Users

      FSSS Training: The latest Tools release of PantherSoft Financials brought a new look and feel to the menus and   pages and includes sought-after functionality such as breadcrumbs, pull down menus and enhanced favorites   tracking. All training materials posted on the Controller’s Office Website have been updated for this new functionality   as well as policy and other updates. The FSSS group is also in the   process of performing training for newly   implemented Asset Management Self-Service functionality, Department/Commodity Card functionality as well as   hands-on nVision Reporting and Query Manager training.

      Organizational Update: Since the last newsletter, the following Organizational updates have been made to   the Financial Systems and Support Services (FSSS) Group:

  • Normand Parker recently joined the Office of the Controller’s team as the Associate Controller,    Financial Systems & Support Services. Normand has been working as a PeopleSoft Financials    Functional Consultant for the past 12 years. His experience includes Accounts Receivable, Billing,    Project Costing, Contracts, Asset Management, General Ledger, Purchasing Modules, and Cash    Management modules up to and including version 9.1 at both Private and Public-sector clients. He is    both a CPA and a Project Management Professional and an Oracle/PeopleSoft Certified GL Consultant,    v. 9.0.


  • The Student Financials group including Kristen Baldelli, Cheryl Eades, and Darie Dorlus are now a part    of the FSSS group


  • Matthew Armstrong was promoted to Business Analyst and is responsible for General Ledger nVision    Reporting and Commitment Control


  • Laura Cebollero and Andrew Cardell are now members of the Customer Service Call Center Group


  •   Financial Systems and Support Services Contact Information

    Back to Financial Systems and Support Services Top of page

      How to sign up for the Panther Post Newsletter

      The Panther Post is distributed to individuals on the following ListServs: Office of the Controller, Finance-Managers   and PantherPost. If you wish to be added to the ListServ for the Panther Post, please email GLMAINT.

    Back to Panther Post Sign Up Top of page

    Office of the Controller