Florida International University - Office of the Controller Main Web Page
Florida International University Main Web PageOffice of the Controller Main Web Page
Office of Finance & Administration Home PageOffice of the Controller Home PageAbout UsController's Office Organizational ChartDepartmentsNewsFormsIndex
  About Us
  Organizational Chart
  Contact Us
Helpful Links
Controller's Office > News > Panther Post Newsletter
Newsletter 2012 Volume 16

In this Edition...

  • Monthly Closing Calendars
  • Petty Cash & Participant Payment Fund Custodian Acknowledgement Forms
  • Electronic Unencumbered Forms
  • Receiving Transaction Notifications
  • Accounts Payable E-mail Address
  • Allowable Unencumbered Purchases
  • Credit Card Procedures
  • Travel FAQs and Reminders
  • Travel Authorization Workflow Reminder
  • Payroll Detail Report
  • PantherSoft Financials Training
  • Unrelated Business Income Tax (Form 990-T)
  • How to sign up for the Panther Post Newsletter
  • Monthly Closing Calendars:

    The October 2012 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. Our team counts on you to meet crucial Monthly Closing Deadlines that enable us to maintain a timely financial reporting process. The current month schedule can be found at Accounting and Reporting Services.

    If you are experiencing difficulty with PantherSoft or have questions, please feel free to contact our Call Center for assistance at Extension 7-7200. Open Labs are now offered Monday thru Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the Campus Support Complex (CSC) Room 1135. Please call Extension 7-7200 for an appointment. We encourage you to bring your own transactions so that we may provide you with real hands-on assistance using work related scenarios.

    Do you have an approved Petty Cash or Participant Payment Fund?

    Each new fiscal year, our office requests that all custodians of petty cash funds complete an annual petty cash custodian form and submit it to the Controller’s Office for our records. These forms are reviewed by auditors and serve as confirmation that the funds remain under your care and that they are properly safeguarded. Please complete and sign a new yearly Custodian Acknowledgement Form and submit it to PC 120, attention Nikki Zovath.

    Participant Payment Funds (PPF) must have a Custodian Acknowledgement Form completed by the current custodian on file for such funds. In addition, if the period of the approved PPF has lapsed, then the funds must be either returned and the PPF closed, or an Extension Form must be completed, signed, and approved in order for replenishments to continue being processed.

    All forms must have proper signatures and activity numbers or projects, whichever the case. Forms that are not complete will be returned to the custodians for proper completion. Delays in submission of these forms may result in payments being held until completed forms have been received. Please note that these forms are due now.

    For your convenience, below is the link to all Controllers’ Office Forms.


    Please call Betty Sanchez at Extension 7-2634 if you have any questions regarding petty cash or participant payment funds.

    Accounting and Reporting Services Contact Information

    Back to Accounting and Reporting Services Headlines

    Top of page

    Electronic Unencumbered Forms:

    All Unencumbered Forms MUST be submitted electronically. The forms are approved through the workflow instead of with manual signatures. Copies or originals will not be accepted by Accounts Payable.

    All Unencumbered Forms received by mail or through e-mail will be returned to the department.

    Instruction manuals are available on the Controller’s website. Electronic Unencumbered forms can be entered using the link below:

    Receiving Transaction Notifications:

    Panthersoft automatically generates e-mails when an invoice has been entered for payment and the associated receiving has not been completed. The e-mails are sent to the person that entered the requisition. The e-mails will continue to be sent every 5th day until the invoice has been successfully matched to the purchase order.

    If you feel that you are receiving the e-mails in error, either because you did not enter the requisition or because the receiving was already completed please email Liza Del Campo at ldelcam@fiu.edu immediately.

    Accounts Payable E-mail Address:

    The Accounts Payable department is now accepting invoices via e-mail. If you or a vendor wishes to e-mail an invoice to Accounts Payable, please send the invoices to payables@fiu.edu. We will continue to accept invoices via interoffice and regular mail. Invoices should NOT be e-mailed directly to the Sr. Fiscal Assistants. If you choose to send the invoice by e-mail, please do NOT send the original to Accounts Payable.

    Allowable Unencumbered Purchases:

    The list of allowable unencumbered purchases has been recently updated. Refer to the instructions form on the Controller’s web site for the complete list:

    Accounts Payable Services Contact Information

    Back to Accounts Payable Services Headlines

    Top of page

    Credit Card Procedures

    Restricted Purchases

    With South Florida temperatures cooling down and the holidays approaching, we would like to take this opportunity to remind you of a few of the seasonal purchases that are not allowed with the Departmental Card:

  • Portable Heaters and Fans

  • Air Purifiers

  • Greeting Cards

  • Gifts of any kind

  • Gift Cards

  • Flowers & Balloon Arrangements (for individual recognition)

  • Holiday Decorations, Parties or Party supply

  • FIU Parking Decals

  • Alcoholic Beverages

  • Explosives & Fireworks

  • Hazardous Materials/Chemicals (including dry ice)
  • The items above are just a few of the restricted items. To review the online manual in its entirety, please click here

    If you have accidentally purchased a non-allowable item or if you have any questions, please let us know. Again, we would like to wish you a wonderful holiday season and thank you for your continued participation in the University Departmental Card Program.

    Florida Sales Tax

    Departmental Card: All transactions made within the State of Florida or that are shipped to the University directly are exempt from the State of Florida Sales and Use tax; a copy of the University’s Certificate of Exemption is available under the Controller’s Website.

    If the Cardholder is placing an order and they are physically in a location outside of the State of Florida, then they may be charged that State’s sales tax or any other applicable taxes from other countries. Any Federal or local taxes may not be exempt. The Cardholder should always inform the vendor that the purchase is tax-exempt before the transaction is completed. A copy of the tax exempt certificate should be presented to the vendor when placing an order in person or the certificate can be faxed or e-mailed to the vendor.

    If the vendor will not deduct the sales tax or will not honor the Florida Tax Exemption without additional paperwork, the Cardholder may continue with the purchase, but should note on the receipt that they requested that the sales tax not be charged and that the vendor refused. This notation documents that an attempt was made not to have the sales tax charged.

    Travel & Entertainment Card: Transactions made with the T&E Card are not exempt from the State of Florida Sales and Use Tax.

    Card Security/Sharing:

    Each Cardholder is responsible for the security of the card assigned to them. Use of the University issued credit cards is limited to the Cardholder whose name appears on the face of the card. Under no circumstances will a card be given or loaned out to another person.

    Please remember that all precautions should be used to maintain confidentiality of all information relating to your card, such as the card number and expiration date. The card and/or card number should never be left in a conspicuous place, emailed or shared with anyone else, even with a trusted colleague.

    Have You Logged Onto the PaymentNet Site Yet?:

    The JP Morgan’s Payment Net system provides cardholders online access to features such as:

  • PDF Copy of Billing Monthly Statements

  • The ability to view current, live card activity as well as authorizations and declines

  • Access to a variety of preset transaction queries

  • An easy, online payment mechanism (for T&E Cardholders only)
  • If you need additional support accessing the bank site, by calling 1-800-270-7760 (also located on the back of your card), you will be transferred to a specially-trained PaymentNet 4 consultant.

    When making the call, you will be prompted by the system to verify your identity. After doing so, you can press 0 to be connected to a consultant. Support is available between the hours of 5:00 a.m., Central Time (CT) and 1:00 a.m., CT, Monday – Friday.

    If you have not logged into the PaymentNet system since the program went live or have forgotten your password, please contact PaymentNet Support or the Credit Card Solutions Team to reset your temporary password. You can also learn more about PaymentNet and review step-by-step instructions for logging in, refer to page 41 of your Departmental Card Manual and/or page 18 of your T&E Card Manual.

    Online Resources:

    Have additional questions about The Credit Card Solutions Program? Answers are only a click away!

    For additional information, please visit our program manuals online at

    These valuable resources can provide you quick clarification on program rules and procedures, easy access to forms and other related links; in addition to contact information to help you connect with a Credit Card Solutions Team Member.

    Credit Card Solutions Contact Information

    Back to Credit Card Procedures

    Top of page

    Travel FAQs and Reminders

    As we continue with the fiscal year of 2012-2013, let's expedite approving all Travel Authorizations, Cash Advances, and Expense Reports to ensure prompt accountability and/or reimbursement. It is also important that you review and take appropriate action necessary on the items listed:

  • If there are Travel Authorizations (TA’s) in an approved (APR) status for trips that have already occurred, make sure an expense report is created to close those TA’s.

  • If the travel was cancelled and there were no expenses incurred then cancel the TA’s to release these encumbrances. See navigation below.

  • If the trip has already occurred and an Expense Report has been paid, then cancel the TA for that report.
  • If guidance is needed with the process of closing Travel Authorizations (TA), the following navigation is helpful, or you may contact the Call Center at 7-7200 or email them at controller@fiu.edu.

    Navigation: Employee Self-Service > Travel and Expense Center > Travel Authorization > Cancel > Enter Traveler’s Employee ID > Search > Select the TA# to Cancel > Cancel Selected Travel Authorization.

    Expense Reports pending further action:

  • If there are Expense Reports (ER’s) in a pending (PND) status, please review and If the Expense Reports need to be processed, please click the submit key.

  • If the Expense Reports do not need to be processed, please call the Travel Department at #7-2543 or the Call Center at 7-7200.

  • If you are an Expense Manger or Project Manager please expedite any Expense Reports awaiting your approval.

  • If you are an HR Supervisor, Expense Manger or Project Manager please expedite any TA’s awaiting your approval.
  • Status Abbreviations:

  • Approved - APR

  • Approvals in Process - PAR

  • Submitted – SUB

  • Pending - PND
  • Expense reports are required to be created ten (10) days after the completion of a trip for reimbursement and/or accountability.

  • Travelers, who have not reconciled received Cash Advances within thirty (30) days after the completion of a trip, will not be allowed another cash advance for twelve (12) months.

  • A Travel Authorization is always required when physically attending a conference, convention, workshop or seminar regardless of the distance from the travelers’ headquarters. Participating in online workshops, seminars, etc. does not require an approved Travel Authorization even when the registration fee is prepaid by the University.

  • The Travel and Expenses department now offers training on FIU Travel policies. To schedule training for your department, contact the Travel Manager at (305) 348-2543.
  • Travel Services Contact Information

    Back to Travel FAQs and Reminders

    Top of page

    Travel Authorization Workflow Reminder

    Please note that the first step in the Travel Authorization workflow is the HR Supervisor of the traveler. This approval is required by the Florida Statute 0112.061 section 3.

    If your Travel Authorizations are not routing to your current HR Supervisor please contact the HR Liaison of your Business Area in order to have your employee profile updated in the PantherSoft HR module.

    Payroll Detail Report

    HR has been experiencing difficulties with the Payroll Detail Report. Issues related to the Payroll Detail Report should be directed to the Division of Human Resources Service Center at 348-2181. Their Service Center will assist, track and escalate issues accordingly.

    PantherSoft Financials Training

    The Financial Systems and Support training team has posted the PantherSoft financials courses for spring term. To view available training on PantherSoft Financials and to register, please navigate to the Training Registration Site.

    For assistance with PantherSoft Financials please call the Helpdesk at ext. 7200 or email the Office of the Controller.

    Back to Financial Systems & Support Services

    Top of page

    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 now beginning preparations for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012. 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 2011 - 2012 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.

    Back to Tax Compliance & Quality Assurance Services

    Top of page

    How to sign up for the Panther Post Newsletter

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

    Back to Panther Post Sign Up

    Top of page

    Office of the Controller