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Controller's Office > News > Panther Post Newsletter

Newsletter 2016-2017 Volume 3

In this Edition...

  • Monthly Closing Calendar
  • New Procurement Manual Six Stages of Public Procurement
  • Unrelated Business Income Tax (Form 990-T)
  • PantherSoft Backup Documentation Attachments
  • Check Pick Up Policy
  • Allowable Unencumbered
  • Reminders and Deadlines
  • Monthly Closing Calendars

    The August 2016 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 can be found at: Monthly Closing Deadlines.

    New Procurement Manual Six Stages of Public Procurement

    Please download and review FIU's new Procurement Manual. This manual will replace the current Purchasing Services Procedures Manual and serves as the official procurement manual for FIU. The manual presents a roadmap of the procurement process for FIU. It will be revised as needed to help ensure the procurement of goods and services at FIU remains in compliance with all rules, regulations, policies and applicable state statues.

    The Procurement Manual is organized based on Purchasing Services' Six Stages of Procurement Methodology with individual chapters dedicated to each of the six stages of procurement, plus an Introduction chapter and a Procurement Overview chapter. The Six Stages of Procurement Methodology organizes the procurement process into a series of steps from the time the entity first identifies a needed good or service through contract award and contract management. It is organized so that all applicable procedures, forms, links and information pertaining to each given stage is outlined within the section for that stage.

    Clarification Noted in the New Procurement Manual: There are no major changes in the procurement process from the old Procedure Manual to the new Procurement Manual. However, we have clarified how the total amount of a purchase should be calculated and the number of quotes needed.

    The total amount to be spent on a prospective purchase should include the initial contract cost with all renewal costs. You may not split reasonably foreseeable or related purchases into two or more transactions for the purpose of circumventing the competitive solicitation requirement for purchases over $75,000. Any related needs that are known or should have been reasonably known at the time of the requirement should be combined into one coherent request for procurement.

    Purchases with a total amount under $75,000 can be obtained through an informal competitive process by obtaining:

  • one quote for purchases under $14,999,
  • two or more quotes for purchases from $15,000 to $29,999,
  • and three or more quotes for purchases over $30,000
  • The purpose of the Procurement Manual is to officially publish the procurement procedures issued by Purchasing Services. The procedures provided in the manual govern purchasing activities for FIU. It is the intent of the University to acquire quality goods and services within reasonable or required time frames, while promoting fair and open competition in the public procurement process. The manual should serve as a resource for both facility and staff, plus suppliers desiring to do business with the University.

    Please contact Kelly Loll, Purchasing Director at kloll@fiu.edu if you have any questions concerning the new Procurement Manual.

    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 the following criteria to identify activities that are unrelated to the mission of an exempt organization. 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.

    Tax Compliance is gathering the data for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2016 and cannot identify all activities that are unrelated and subject to Federal income tax from the accounting records alone. Therefore, we are asking that all Departments review their operations for the 2015-2016 fiscal-year and determine what activities, if any, are potentially unrelated business income. Please keep in mind that Florida International University must account for and report all unrelated business income pursuant to the Internal Revenue Code.

    A reminder email with links to the UBIT questionnaire and additional UBIT information will be sent to Department Heads & Finance Managers and this information will also available on the Controller's website. 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) 348-2655.

    PantherSoft Backup Documentation Attachments

    As a reminder, a scanned receipt and supporting backup documentation must be attached to each transaction line; this is a mandatory step during the reconciliation process.

    While all charges must be approved within 10 business days, documentation may be attached through the end of the calendar month. Once again, this is a mandatory process.

    Cardholders who are missing backup documentation after the deadline, are not in compliance with University policy and are subject to further action.

    For detailed instructions on attaching receipts, please refer to page 41 of the Cardholder Manual.

    Check Pick Up Policy

    As a reminder, the pick up of checks by the University community is permitted for the following reasons ONLY:

  • Event Vendors
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Student Financials
  • Checks issued to FIU (excluding Foundation, see note below)
  • Other vendors where confidential information needs to be included with the check
  • Effective immediately, all payments issued to Foundation will be made via EFT. Checks will not be available for pick up. In order for the payments to be applied correctly, please make note of the following:

  • All unencumbered forms must include the benefitting Foundation project and GL account number. All forms that do not include this information will be denied.
  • All supporting documentation for the payment must be included with the form. Foundation's Accounting department will be viewing the unencumbered form and the back up in ImageNow.

  • Allowable Unencumbered

    Prior to submitting an electronic unencumbered form, please review the list of allowable unencumbered payments closely. In the description field on the form, please clearly note how the invoice being submitted falls within the allowable categories.

    Travel Reminder

    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. Call 7-2543 for inquiries.

    For a list of pending documents, please click here. For information regarding report status abbreviations and how to close or cancel Travel Authorizations and/or Expense Reports, please click here.

    Monthly Departmental Card Deadline

    As a reminder, this month's billing statement (dated 08/31/2016) loaded into PantherSoft on September 2nd and must be completely processed by the end of business on September 16, 2016.

    Any charges not processed by the closing deadline will be automatically charged to the cardholder's default accounting on file and will not eligible for expense transfer.

    Additionally, cardholders with three unjustified non-approvals in the same fiscal year will have their card limits temporarily suspended until they complete a retraining session.

    Unidentified Wire Transfers and ACH Payments

    The Controller's Office occasionally receives payments that cannot be applied to the appropriate department due to inadequate information. Click here for the list of unidentified wire transfers and ACH payments as of August 2016.

    To claim a payment, please contact Cash Management (Dawn Patrick, dpatrick@fiu.edu, (305) 348-2542 or Eva Ramirez, erami004@fiu.edu, (305) 348-2547) and provide the following information:

  • payment details

  • activity details

  • account to which the payment should be recorded
  • Payments that are not identified within 45 days of the wire/ACH date will be returned to the sender.

    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