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Accounting Operations and Disbursements

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Frequently Asked Questions


A/P Disbursements

Question: When is a W-9 required for payment to be made? Answer: The University may find it appropriate to use the services of individuals who are not University employees. A completed W-9 form must be on file before a payment is processed. Contact System Support @ 568-2941 to determine if this form is on file. Services included, but not limited to, are: consulting fees, honoraria, artistic performances, human subjects for research activities, game referees or officials, and physicians or medical centers.
Refunds to student or parents of students may not require the W-9 form.
Question: What if I need to pick up the check for disbursement? Answer: As of January, 2014 all requests must be approved in advance by the Associate Controller, Accounting Operations & Disbursements or the AP Director or the Manager of Cash & Investments.  Requests will be considered for performance contracts and emergencies only.  All other checks will be mailed and vendors should be encouraged to sign up for electronic payments.  All checks will be forwarded to the University Business Office to be picked up. Notification will be given by A/P once the check has been processed.
Question: If I have a listing on my budget printout that I cannot recognize, and/or an error in coding on a voucher, who do I contact? Answer: Those listings with a voucher number can be referred to Faith Meadows by e-mail at meadowfx@jmu.edu, who will research and reply, or process the ATV correction. Any listings with a journal ID number, or number other than a voucher number, should be referred to iis.finance@jmu.edu.
Question: I have received a JMU check back from the vendor; what do I do with it? Answer: Do not write VOID on the check; return it to Cash & Investments @ MSC 5711 immediately with a note explaining the reason for the return (or attach any paperwork the vendor may have sent). Cash & Investments will process the necessary paperwork to return the money to your account.
Question: Is a W-9 required for purchasing using the SPCC? Answer: No. JMU is required to have a W-9 for every vendor we issue payment to.  When using the SPCC JMU pays Bank of America monthly for those charges.  JMU has a W-9 on file for Bank of America.

Cash & Investments

Question: How do I prepare an Agency Transaction Voucher (ATV)? Answer: Section 4230 of the Financial Procedures Manual provides instructions or contact Cash & Investment for assistance at iis.finance@jmu.edu.
Question: How may I obtain a copy of an original Agency Transaction Voucher (ATV)? Answer:  Original ATV files are maintained in Financial Reporting. Contact anyone in Financial Reporting to obtain a copy or email iis.finance@jmu.eduwith your request.
Question: How may I locate the documentation for a charge on my Monthly Detail Report? Answer: If the charge has an associated journal number attached, submit an IIS Finance Request online.  Remember to maintain your own documentation generated each month.

If the charge has an associated voucher number attached, contact Accounts Payable at 540.568.6265.
Question: I have a debit/credit on my monthly report that I have a question about or think is incorrect. Answer: Submit an IIS Finance Request online with all the necessary information needed to investigate the inquiry. (your department number, date of charge, account number the charge appears under, journal number or voucher number, the amount of the charge, your fax number).
Question: What is my cash balance of my local/agency "ledger 8" department? Answer: Use the PeopleSoft nVision reporting feature and select the “B” report, which will show asset and liability lines at the top. If you net the cash account totals, the result will give you the actual cash balance for that department. If you have any difficulties, please contact Cash & Investments at iis.finance@jmu.edu.
Question: Where is my deposit? I do not see it on my monthly budget report? Answer: Run the Monthly Exception Report in PeopleSoft:
Question: How do I collect payment from a local department (ledger "8") if I cannot use an Agency Transaction Voucher (ATV)? Answer: The department providing goods or services will complete a Local Funds Transfer Request Form to charge the “8” department, and a State Funds Transfer Request Form to move the funds to the collecting department. Send both completed forms, along with supporting documentation, to Accounts Payable, Attn: Pam Cahill, MSC 5712. Detailed instructions are available in the Forms Index of the Financial Procedures Manual.  (additional information in Section 3045.423 of the Finance Procedures Manual)
Question: How does a local department (ledger “8”) collect payment from a state (1,3,4,5,7,9) department? Answer: Prepare an Accounting Voucher for the charge as follows.

Vendor Name: James Madison University
Vendor Address: JMU EDI Vendor
PeopleSoft Vendor Number: 0000002610

Highlight the Address and Vendor # to alert A/P that this is an EDI payment. Additionally, prepare a credit Deposit Transmittal Form for Cash for the “8” department for the amount of the charge, using Wells as the Bank Code and WDEP as the Bank Account. Send the Accounting Voucher, backup documentation, and the original & one copy of the DTF to Accounts Payable. When the funds are received, UBO personnel will receipt the DTF copy and return to you for your records.

Equipment Trust Fund (ETF)

Question: How long must equipment be held in the department? Answer: Equipment purchased by Equipment Trust Fund (ETF) is not owned by the University but is tied to a leasing agreement with SCHEV (The State Council of Higher Education for VA). For this reason equipment must be held until JMU takes possession of the equipment. (see "Surplus of Equipment purchased by Equipment Trust Fund" table)
Question: Can I put more than one piece of equipment on a requisition? Answer: Yes, but only if the items are identical. You need a reference number for each piece of equipment and should be listed on the requisition. Unlike items require separate requisitions.
Example: 5 computers with the same configuration and 5 printers to create 5 systems.
Question: If I am purchasing a system and some of the components need to be purchased from different vendors, how do I prepare the requisition? Answer: Prepare the separate requisitions and note on each requisition the component being purchased is part of a system, using the SAME reference number on all requisitions.
Question: Can I purchase a scanner or printer with my computer? Answer: Yes. (It must be understood, the printer and/or scanner must remain with the computer as one system. Also reference in the comments section, the requisition number of the main component on all requisitions.
Question: Can I purchase equipment that is not on my list of approved reference numbers from SCHEV? Answer: You can purchase equipment not on your list under two conditions:
  • The university's entire list must be reviewed to determine if we have a reference number for the item you wish to purchase that is NOT being used. If so, the department that owns the reference number must grant permission to transfer the number to your list. Contact Kathy Seal for assistance.
  • If a reference number does not exist, you must request a new reference number from the Budget Office by emailing your request to etf@jmu.edu. They will contact SCHEV for approval.

Food & Beverage

Question: Why do I have to use JMU’s catering and dining services (Aramark) to purchase food and beverages rather than using outside sources? Answer: James Madison University has a contract with Aramark to provide these services to the campus.
Question: Are there specific functions when food and beverages may be served to university personnel? Answer: Yes. See definition of: Official Business Function, Internal Training Function, Student Academic Function, or Student Programming/Club Function in the Financial Procedures Manual  (section 4215 - Travel).
Question: Are Local and Grant departments excluded from the food and beverage procedures? Answer: No. Purchases from any university account (E&G, Auxiliary, Local, and Grant Funds) are subject to the food and beverage guidelines.
Question: What if I have more than 6 attendees to list on the BMCF?
Answer: Attach a list (sign in list, invitation list, etc.) or state on the Business Meal Certification form that the function was “open to the public” and include an approximate number of attendees.
Question: At the last minute my dean asks to have drinks and sandwiches delivered for a meeting he scheduled the following day. Catering and dining services is not available to meet the request with such short notice. Can I use an outside vendor? Answer: The meeting must meet one of the four required functions (official business function, internal training function, student academic function, or student programming/club function) AND approval must be received from catering and dining services. Document the date and person spoken to in catering and dining services that told you they could not meet this request.
Question: Many of the meals offered by catering and dining services exceed the allotted per diem amount. What does a department need to do to pay the exceeded amount? Answer: Catering and dining services have meals that are within the allowable per diem rate. One option would be to give each person attending an approved Official Business Function, Internal Training Function, Student Academic Function or Student Programming/Club Function an Aramark Meal Voucher rather than having a catered event. The Meal Voucher, however, must be used at the specified time and meal by the specified individual(s) attending the function immediately following, proceding or during the meal. When appropriate, departments may contract with Aramark for up to 150% of the per diem rate for an Official Business Function with the written justification for doing so included on the BMCF. In all other situations when the per diem rate is exceeded, the department must use funds from an outside source (i.e. Foundation.) All department events using catering and dining services for business meal functions require completion of the Business Meal Certification form in accordance with the financial procedures manual. (Section 4215 -Travel) 
Question: I purchase Aramark Meal Vouchers at the beginning of each semester to give to prospective students and parents visiting JMU. Should I keep a list of the names I have provided a meal ticket? Answer: Yes! The Meal Vouchers must be reconciled monthly! You should use the Meal Voucher Usage Log available on the Finance Procedures Manual - Forms Index.  This form serves as a substitute Business Meal Certification Form.
Question: What can Aramark Meal Vouchers be used for? Answer: Students, Recruits, Interviewees, and Guest Speakers, as well as attendees at Official Business Functions, Internal Training Functions, Student Academic Functions, or Student Programming/Club Functions in accordance with Financial Procedures Manual (Section 4215 -Travel) .
Meal tickets are not to be used as rewards or recognitions for employees (including student employees).
Question: My dean has a monthly staff meeting. May we serve food and beverages at the staff meeting? Answer: No. Food and beverages are not to be served at regularly scheduled (monthly, weekly, bi-weekly) departmental or divisional staff meetings.
Question: We want to have our yearly retreat off campus because that way we can ensure 100% participation with no phone calls, interruptions, etc. Can we do this? Answer: Retreats should be held at properties owned or leased by JMU. Retreats held off campus require advance written approval – Travel Authorization – by the approving authority (VP/AVP, Dean, Asst/Assoc Dean, or Director that reports directly to a VP). A BMCF is also required for off campus retreats.
Question: Can my director take employees out to lunch and use his Duke Card? Answer: If the purpose of the lunch meets one of the specific functions described in the Procedures the director may do so. (see Section 4215 - Travel) 
Question: I would like to provide bagels, juice and coffee for my staff at the beginning of each semester. Can I do this? Answer: No. Food and beverage may be provided for the following specific functions: Official Business Function, Internal Training Function, Student Academic Function, or Student Programming/Club Function.
Question: We have early morning training sessions that last 2 – 3 hours. Can we provide bagels, pastries, coffee & juice to the group or is this considered a breakfast? Answer: Yes. These types of food and beverages are being considered as refreshments/snacks and not a complete breakfast.
Question: When is a Travel Authorization (TA) required for Food & Beverages? Answer: A TA is only required for off-campus retreats.
Question: Am I required to track the use of Aramark Meal Vouchers by my department? Answer: Yes! Meal Vouchers must be reconciled monthly. We recommend use of the Meal Vouchers Monthly Usage Log to track meal vouchers as they are used for an approved function. If you choose not to use the Meal Voucher Monthly Usage Log, you will need to complete the Business Meal Certification Form and attach it to your back-up documentation. The Usage Log can be found in the "Forms Index" of the Financial Procedures Manual.
Question: Must I complete a Business Meal Certification Form (BMCF) when I use my Departmental Duke Card for food & beverages expenses? Answer: You may choose to use the Duke Card Monthly Usage Log to track expenditures in place of the BMCF. If you do not use the Duke Card Monthly Usage Log, you will need to attach a completed BMCF to your back-up documentation. Cardholders may sign their own Duke Card Log or BMCF; supervisors are not required to approve these forms. The Usage Log can be found in the "Forms Index" of the Financial Procedures Manual.
Question: What are some examples of unacceptable use of the Departmental Duke Card? Answer: Purchases must be considered essential to the operation and in support of the university’s mission. The following list contains examples of expenditures considered to be improper use of State funds. This applies not only to the Departmental Duke Card, but also any state-funded expenditure, and is intended to provide general guidance in judging the appropriate use of State funds. Improper expenditures would include:
  1. Books for classes
  2. Retirement parties or employee going away parties or gifts
  3. Holiday decorations or parties
  4. Charitable contributions
  5. Gifts & gift certificates, flowers, cards, gift-wrap
  6. Snacks/refreshments or meals unless they meet requirements in Food & Beverages Procedures
  7. Non-business related newspapers or magazine subscriptions
  8. Clothing or repairs to clothing damaged in the workplace
  9. Employee personal expenses

Small Purchase Charge Card (SPCC)

Question: How do I apply for a small purchase charge card? Answer: Go to the Accounts Payable website under Small Purchase Charge Card Program choose the Department Card (Small Purchase) Application link. You will enter your e-id and password. Fill in the boxes of information. At the bottom of the page, after you have filled out all the information, you will click the next button. This will bring you to a printable page. Please print, sign, have your supervisor sign and return to Tanya Shifflett at MSC 5712.
Question: What should the transaction limit and monthly purchase limit be? Answer: Transaction limits will be set at $4,999 on all cards. The monthly limit can be anywhere between $4,999 and $25,000 a month. If at anytime your monthly limit needs to be adjusted have the cardholder’s supervisor send Jennifer Dellinger (dellinjx@jmu.edu) or Tanya Shifflett (shiffltl@jmu.edu) an email explaining why the limit needs to be changed and it will be changed accordingly.
Question: Can you pay for airline tickets on a small purchase charge card? Answer: Yes, you can pay for airline tickets for you or anyone in your department. Please remember no airline tickets can be purchased more than 90 days before travel.  When you purchase air line tickets send a copy of your travel authorization in with your monthly SPCC reconciliation paperwork.
Question: Can you pay for conference fees on the small purchase charge card?

Answer: Yes, you can pay for conference registration fees for you or anyone in your department. Please remember no conference registration fees can be purchased more than 90 days before travel. If you feel you need an exception please email Sharon Rodgers (rodgersw@jmu.edu) and attached a word document with the following:

  • Name of conference, don't use initials, spell it out
  • Exact date/dates
  • Place of the conference with full address
  • Legitimate reason to pay outside the 90 day window
  • Cost of the registration
  • Cancellation policy
  • Substitution policy
  • Web link of Conference
  • Who is attending

She will then forward your request to Richmond. When you purchase conference registration fees send a copy of your travel authorization in with your monthly SPCC reconciliation paperwork.

Question: Can you pay for hotels and rental cars on the small purchase charge card? Answer: No, hotels and rental cars can NOT be paid for on the small purchase charge card. You can pay for these items using a travel card or personal funds and submit for reimbursement after you travel. You can hold a hotel reservation on the card but cannot pay for the room on the card.
Question: What paperwork is required to be sent to Accounts Payable monthly for the small purchase charge card? Answer: Any month you have charges on your small purchase charge card you are required to send in the following information:
  • Coversheet
  • Purchase Log
  • For any food purchases (ONLY pizza vendors and purchases from a grocery store totaling under $50) a Business Meal Certification Form and itemized receipt.
  • For any conference registration fees and air/rail tickets a Travel Authorization form.
Please scan all paperwork to spcc@jmu.edu by the 15th of the month following the bill date. Example: Paperwork for the September 15 bill date is due October 15th.
Question: Is it required to reconcile the small purchase charge card in PeopleSoft Finance? Answer: Yes, each small purchase charge card must be reconciled in PeopleSoft monthly. All charges are required to be moved out of the default account code 130900 and an eVA exclusion or PCO/DO number must be given for each purchase.  To reconcile in PeopleSoft you must complete IT Training Course IIS204 and submit an IS Access Request (online) to request access to the small purchase charge card reconciliation screens in PeopleSoft Finance, and the SPCC Information form (paper form) must be completed to add deptIDs to your profile and add reconcilers to cards.
Question: When is PeopleSoft reconciliation each month? Answer: Reconciliation dates are posted on the Accounts Payable website under Small Purchase Charge Card Program link but generally run from the 20th of each month until the 27th or 28th.
Question: Are you required to move small purchase charge card charges out of the default account code 130900? Answer: Yes. This should be done during open reconciliation in PeopleSoft Finance, but if not an ATV must be done to move the charges.
Question: Are you allowed to purchase from a restaurant on the small purchase charge card? Answer: ONLY PIZZA VENDORS. Restaurant charges can only be made at pizza vendors, but in order to do that you must first have the restaurant block lifted on your small purchase charge card. In order to do that a Restaurant Exception form must be filled out and sent to Accounts Payable for approval. The form can be found on the AP Forms link. Anytime you make a purchase at a pizza vendor a Business Meal Certification Form (BMCF) must be filled out. The BMCF, along with a copy of the itemized receipt must be sent in with your monthly reconciliation paperwork.
Question: Can an employee have more than one small purchase charge card? Answer: No.
Question: Can a department have more than one card? Answer: Yes, as many people as needed in a department may each have a small purchase charge card.
Question: Can someone else in my department use my small purchase charge card? Answer: No, the only exception to this is while in eVA if the cardholder has been associated with that person. No other time is it allowed. NEVER use someone else’s card on the phone, on the Internet or in person.
Question: Where should my small purchase charge card be kept? Answer: In a locked secure location.
Question: Can the small purchase charge card number be faxed or mailed to a vendor? Answer: No.
Question: Is a W-9 required for purchasing using the SPCC? Answer: No. JMU is required to have a W-9 for every vendor we issue payment to.  When using the SPCC JMU pays Bank of America monthly for those charges.  JMU has a W-9 on file for Bank of America.
Question: Can the SPCC be used to pay for items that are eVA exclusions? Answer: Yes. When reconciling the SPCC charges in PeopleSoft Finance you can reference either a Purchase Card Order/Direct Order PCO/DO or eVA exclusion.
Question: Can the SPCC be used at the JMU Bookstore? Answer: Yes. When reconciling the SPCC charges in PeopleSoft Finance you can reference either a Purchase Card Order/Direct Order PCO/DO or eVA exclusion.
Question: Can purchases be made for other departments using the SPCC? Answer: Yes. Make sure before reconciliation the department needed has been added to your profile in PeopleSoft Finance. In order to do so you will want to fill out the SPCC Information form found on the Financial Procedures Manual - Forms Index.
Question: Are SPCC purchases tax exempt? Answer: Yes. If a vendor needs a copy of JMU’s tax exempt certificate, you can contact Kim Strawderman at strawddk@jmu.edu or 8-7397.
Question:Can a convenience or usage fee be paid for with the SPCC? Answer: Yes. As long as the vendor states they will be charging a convenience or usage fee, then you may use the SPCC to pay the charge.
Question: If the total of an order is over $5,000 can the SPCC be used to pay for it if they bill in smaller increments? Answer: Only if you have received permission before hand. Any order totaling more than $5,000 needs to be approved through Procurement first. If you have an order that will total more than $5,000, please email Jennifer Dellinger at dellinjx@jmu.edu and Tanya Shifflett at shiffltl@jmu.edu . We will verify with Procurement the charge is ok to pay before raising the limit on the SPCC to make the purchase. If you do not receive permission first, that is considered a split purchase and is against Procurement policy.

Travel

Question: When do I need to prepare a Travel Authorization? Answer:   This form is only required for planned overnight travel that is expected to exceed $500 for all travelers, for all off-campus retreats, and for all incoming foreign national visitors.
Question: What Travel Management Agencies currently have JMU travel service contracts?

Answer:  JMU currently has contracts with the following:

  • Academic Programs International (API)
  • American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS)
  • C&H Travel Associate, Inc. (dba Travel Leaders, Inc)
  • Lakeland Tours, LLC (dba World Strides)
  • Lincoln Travel, Inc.
  • Travel Counsellers, Inc.
Question:What options are available to purchase air and rail tickets? Answer: You have four options to purchase air or rail tickets.
  1. Use one of JMU's contracted Travel Management Agencies, which requires the traveler to secure the tickets with a credit card number.
  2. You may use your Travel Card.
  3. You may use your department's Small Purchase Charge Card.
  4. You may use a personal credit card.
Question: Do the Lodging Guidelines include local taxes and surcharges Answer: No, lodging guideline amounts Exclude local taxes and surcharges. These charges are reimbursable and should be included with the lodging amounts on the Travel Expense Reimbursement Voucher. The amount of tax billed should be pro-rated for reimbursement according to guidelines, not the total amount paid if it is more than the guideline amount.
Question: What are considered "incidental" travel expenses on the M&IE (per diem) guidelines? Answer:   Some examples are bellhop tips, personal telephone calls, laundry expenses, snacks and travel between lodging & places where meals are taken and other expenses.
Question: What is a "Business Meal" and what is required to be reimbursed? Answer:  A business meal is a meal taken with a Non-university employee that involves official business discussions. The employee requesting reimbursement must complete a Business Meal Certification form and submit it with the reimbursement request. An original, itemized receipt is required for all business meals. The traveler's Vice President, Assistant/Associate Vice President or Dean must approve the request and may with sufficient justification, authorize actual meal reimbursement up to 150% of the applicable per diem guideline amount.
Question: I'm providing "snacks" at an official business function. Do I need to submit a Business Meal Certification form? Answer:  Yes. The purpose/business reason must be included on the BMCF to verify the JMU employee is acting as an official representative of the university and would be exempt from tax reportable income, when reimbursed, for the cost of the food and beverage items.
Question: What is the reimbursement rate for mileage when driving a personally owned vehicle? Answer:  The reimbursement rate for mileage is available in an online table (as part of the Financial Procedures Manual). Campus Visitors, such as consultants and speakers, University Board of Visitors members and certain prospective employees, students, and anyone who is not a state employee, may be reimbursed for all personal vehicle mileage at the maximum mileage reimbursement rate.
Question: Where can I find lodging and per diem rates for International travel? Are Alaska and Hawaii also considered as International travel? Answer:   Rates for cities and countries outside the 48 contiguous states can be found at http://aoprals.state.gov/content.asp?content_id=184&menu_id=78. Choose Foreign Per Diem Rates by Location. If a specific city is not listed, use the “Other” rate shown for that country. The M&IE portion of the maximum per diem rate covers the cost of meals as well as incidental expenses. Appendix B shows the breakdown of meals and incidentals and should be used to calculate travel day per diems, as incidentals are not reduced to 75%.
Alaska and Hawaii are non-contiguous states and are considered to be International travel. Per diems for non-contiguous locations can be easily found at http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/perdiemCalc.cfm.
Question: How do I calculate the per diem for departure and return days? Answer: 
  • On a travel departure or return day, 75% of the Meals per diem is reimbursed; however, incidentals are not reduced to 75%. For example, if the M&IE rate allows a $46 total reimbursement, $35.75 [($41 for meals x .75) + 5] would be allowable on a travel departure or return day. For trips involving multiple travel destinations, base the reduction on the per diem in effect for where the night was spent as follows:
    Departure Day: Where you spend the night
    Return Day: Where you spent the night before returning to home base
  • When meals are provided at no cost in conjunction with travel events, the applicable M&IE per diem reimbursement rate shall be reduced by the amount shown for the applicable meal in the M&IE Rate Table, excluding the incidental allowances. For example, if the M&IE rate allows a $46 total reimbursement, and lunch was provided at no cost, the total allowable reimbursement for that day would be $35 ($46 - $11 lunch).
  • However, when meals are provided at no cost in conjunction with travel events on a travel departure or return day, the full Meals per diem reimbursement rate is reduced by the full amount if the appropriate meals followed by a 75% proration of the balance. For example, if the M&IE rate allows a $46 total reimbursement, and lunch was provided at no cost on a travel departure or return day, the total allowable reimbursement for that day would be $27.50 [(($41 - $11 lunch) x .75)) + $5 incidentals].

When meals are included with registration or lodging expense as part of a package, the number and type of meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner) must be recorded on the travel voucher. Rounding up is allowed, but is not required.

You may use the per diem calculator found at http://perdiem,vccs.edu/ , if this is helpful.

Question: If I use the Internet to procure transportation tickets (i.e. air, rail, bus) what documents must be submitted with the Travel Expenses Reimbursement voucher? Answer:  A hardcopy of the final page from the Internet site showing total cost & confirmed service.
NOTE: This document must state that it is a receipt or be clear that payment was made. Please check for an option to “print a receipt”.
  • Airline confirmation (ticket stub, boarding pass or receipt) documenting the type of ticket purchased (e.g. coach, economy, business, etc.). Unacceptable would be a ticket stub showing Seat Class S, for example.
Question: Do I need to provide my social security number for the Travel Expense Reimbursement Voucher Form? Answer: 
  • JMU Employees must enter their HR ID number.
  • JMU Students must enter their SA ID number.
  • All others must enter their social security number, which will be removed for security purposes, after processing reimbursement.