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Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is arranged alphebetically by broad subject areas.

Account Codes

How do I make sure that a University employee expense reimbursement does not generate a tax reportable Form 1099?

Employee reimbursements are processed through the Concur Travel and Expense System which excludes the use of 1099-applicable account ChartField values for employee reimbursements.

As you classify your transactions with account ChartField values, consider:

When should you use a 1099-applicable Account? When you buy a service directly from the service provider. (Not when you reimburse an individual/employee who personally incurred an expense that the University ultimately wishes to cover. Note: as a general rule, we do not reimburse individuals or employees who personally paid for services.)

How do you know it is a 1099-applicable Account? Look in the Finance System, under General Ledger, ChartFields, Account. Select the 2nd tab (GL Account CU). The 1099 Applicable box will be checked, if appropriate.

Where do you go for help to determine the best Account chartfield value to use for a transaction? Call your Area Accountant, or Grant Accountant.

Frequently Used 1099 Accounts. Go to the CU System website and select 1099-R and 1099-Misc. (7/14)

Why isn't account 482603-Telecomm Equip Rental included on the Quick Reference Card?

The Controllers consider these User Option accounts and user option accounts are not included on the Quick Reference Card (QRC). The QRC includes only those accounts that departmental administrators are required to use at a minimum to classify assets, liabilities, revenues, expenses and cash transfers in coding departmental business transactions. The QRC does not include accounts that are:

  • System maintained and not available for use on departmental transactions,

  • Used primarily by staff in central administrative offices such as the Finance     Office, Accounting Office, Bursar, System Controller, Treasurer, Contracts & Grants, etc.,

  • User option accounts as requested by departments and approved by the OUC. (9/12)

Accounts Receivable

When I turn an account receivable over to Central Collection Services, should I write it off?

No, do not write off the account receivable. Submitting an account receivable to a collection agency does not mean that we no longer consider this an account receivable. We are merely using the collection agency to assist us in the collection of this receivable. Write-offs must be approved by the campus Controller. Please refer to the Accounts Receivable chapter in The Guide.        

What approvals are required before submitting a request to write off accounts receivable to Central Collection Services?

Obtain the approval of the head of your unit – Dean, Director, Department Chair, etc. Then, send the write-off request to the campus Controller. The Controller will review the request and follow up with any questions. If the the request is approved, the Controller will sign it and forward it to Central Collection Services for processing. The Controller has requested that Central Collection Services return to the requesting department any account receivable write-off requests that do not include Controller approval. (8/02)

 

Do credit card chargebacks have to be submitted to Central Collection Services for collection?

No. The campus merchant will receive a "copy request" for documentation about a transaction. The campus merchant has 12 calendar days from the receipt of the request to provide the requested documentation. If the campus merchant fails to do so, regardless of the reason, the disputed purchase is "charged back" against the campus merchant's account. The campus merchant is thereafter forever precluded from attempting to collect that payment—period. Thus, we cannot send these items to Central Collection Services. If the campus merchant missed the deadline, they must write off the chargeback as a reduction of revenues. Therefore, campus merchants must use good business practices to ensure they can comply with this requirement and avoid writing off chargebacks. (12/02)

What is the proper account to use to record collection costs?

There are two accounts and it depends on who is providing the collection service. 553400–Admin & Collection Costs is used when paying an outside collection firm. This usually occurs only through the Bursar’s Office and with loan funds. 553412–Admin/Collection Costs–State is used when paying the State of Colorado Central Collection Services. (2/03)

Auxiliaries

What is an auxiliary enterprise? How do I know if I have one? Why should I care?

NACUBO defines an auxiliary enterprise as an entity that exits to furnish goods or services to students, faculty, or staff, and that charges a fee directly related to, although not necessarily equal to, the cost of the goods or services. The general public may be served incidentally by some auxiliary enterprises. The distinguishing characteristic of auxiliary enterprises is that they are managed as essentially self-supporting activities. Examples are residence halls, food services, intercollegiate athletics (only if essentially self-supporting), college stores, faculty clubs, faculty and staff parking, and faculty housing. Student health services, when operated as an auxiliary enterprise, also should be included. Every Finance System program and project is assigned an Expense Purpose Code (EPC) attribute. This is used to define the functional classification of all expenses of that FOPPS for our financial statements as follows. 

  • 1100     - Instruction 

  • 1200     - Research 

  • 1300     - Public Service 

  • 1400     - Academic Support 

  • 1500     - Student Services 

  • 1600     - Institutional Support 

  • 1700     - Operation of Plant 

  • 1800     - Scholarships and Fellowships 

  • 1900     - Hospitals and Clinics 

  • 2000     - Auxiliary Enterprises 

  • 2100     - Internal Service Units 

  • 2200     - Other 

The importance of knowing if a FOPPS is defined as an "auxiliary enterprise" is so that you know what revenue accounts to use for that FOPPS. Auxiliary Operating Revenue is one of the revenue lines reported in our financial statements. The NACUBO definition of "auxiliary enterprise revenue" is all revenue generated through operations of an auxiliary enterprise. Therefore, if a FOPPS is defined as an "auxiliary enterprise" (EPC 2000), then the only revenue accounts that can be used for that FOPPS are 280000 - 289999, Auxiliary Enterprise Revenue. A word of caution: all of our 2x funds include the word "auxiliary" in their title. 

  • 20     - Auxiliary-TABOR Enterprises 

  • 26     - Auxiliary-Other Exempt 

  • 28     - Auxiliary-ISU 

  • 29     - Auxiliary-Non-enterprises 

That does not mean that all 2x fund FOPPS are auxiliary enterprises. Only those programs with EPC 2000 are auxiliary enterprises. You can see in the Finance System the expense purpose code of the program in your FOPPS by navigating to: General Ledger > Chartfields > Program. Enter the program number and press the Search button. Select the Program CU Attributes tab and then locate the Exp Purpose Code. (5/02)

What is the General Administrative and Infrastructure Recharge (GAIR)?

In simple terms, it’s like a tax that the University levies on those fund groups that benefit from University services and support but would otherwise not pay for them. The General Administrative and Infrastructure Recharge (GAIR) is a combination of the General Administrative Recharge (GAR) and the General Infrastructure Recharge (GIR). Although the two have their own rates and are calculated separately in the Finance System, they are often referred to together as GAIR. GAIR is only applied against expenses, not cash transfers. Current GAIR rates are posted on the ABS Cost Accounting webpage.

General Administrative Recharge (GAR): A percentage rate charged to auxiliary and self-funded funds (20, 26, 28, 29) and their renewal and replacement plant fund (78) and to agency funds (80). GAR is calculated monthly on expenditures and paid to the general fund in recognition of the general fund administrative expenses incurred in support of the auxiliary and self-funded activities. This is a cost allocation methodology to recognize that the general fund incurs general administrative costs such as accounting, payroll, employment, purchasing, accounts payable, etc. in support of the auxiliary and self-funded activities. The general fund credit is to institutional support.

General Infrastructure Recharge (GIR): A percentage rate charged to auxiliary and self-funded funds (20, 26, 28, 29) and their renewal and replacement plant fund (78). GIR is calculated monthly on expenditures and paid to the general fund in recognition of the general fund administrative expenses incurred in support of the auxiliary and self-funded activities. This is a cost allocation methodology to recognize that the general fund incurs infrastructure expenses such as grounds maintenance, roads, sidewalks, etc. in support of the auxiliary and self-funded activities. The general fund credit is to operations and maintenance of plant. (1/06)

When is it acceptable for an Internal Service Center (ISC) not to record expense and interdepartmental (IN) revenue in providing services to a departmental customer?

ISCs are established to provide goods and services to other University units, resulting in these units being charged an expense within their FOPPS. These are usually set up because of the efficiency or convenience of providing the services on campus rather than having to always use an outside vendor. Examples of ISCs are Copying and Printing, Mailing Services, Transportation Services, Chemistry Stores, and Telecommunication Services. ISCs will record all costs incurred to provide the goods/services such as cost of goods sold (inventory sold), salaries, wages, benefits, operating expense, travel, depreciation on equipment, etc. Interdepartmental revenue is recorded upon providing the goods/services to campus customers, including sales via the Procurement Card. Miscellaneous revenue is recorded for sales to private individuals and outside businesses including all agency fund (fund 80) sales.

ISC expense and IN revenue is not recorded only when the ISC is facilitating for a departmental customer the purchase of goods/services the ISC does not offer. A good example of this is in the Transportation Center (TC). There are some repairs that are beyond the scope of the TC. However, to provide good service to a campus customer, the TC will offer to facilitate procurement of the service from an outside repair shop. In this situation the TC can choose to record the expense and IN revenue as activity of the TC in the usual manner, or it can choose to record the expense as a pass through of the TC and have it recorded only as an expense of the customer department. If the TC chooses to show this as a pass through expense, the ideal situation would be to record the expense directly in the departmental customer FOPPS, and not show it going through the TC records. If the TC were doing this for an outside customer, then the TC would always show an expense of the TC and miscellaneous revenue. It is improper accounting to credit the payment from the outside vendor as a credit to the TC expense.

Cash

What are the rules for transferring cash between funds?

The Cash Transfer Table for CU-Boulder shows the allowable fund combinations for transferring cash. This was approved by the Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer and the Director of Budget and Finance on April 18, 2002, and updated December 2003. How to use this chart:

  • On the left side of the chart find the fund you want to transfer the cash “From”

  • Then look across the top of the chart for the fund you want to transfer the cash “To"

  • If the intersection of these two rows says “Yes” then the cash transfer is allowed and can be processed using the Cash Transfer panels (Fund 34 use the Gift Fund Journal Entry page)

  • If the intersection of these two rows is empty, then the cash transfer is not allowed. 

Contact your Area Accountant if you feel you have a valid reason to make a cash transfer that the table indicates is not allowed. (5/02)

Where can I find policies and procedures for administering petty cash funds?

 Petty Cash and Change Funds Procedural Statement on the PSC's website, and the Guide Chapter 10, Cash Control. Also look up Petty Cash in the A-Z index for more learning resources. (10/12)

May I use petty cash to pay for gas for someone to drive their personal vehicle on University business?

No. Using a personal vehicle to drive on University business constitutes travel, and travel is an unallowable item for using petty cash funds. Anyone who is paid for using their personal vehicle needs to file an expense report in the Concur Travel & Expense System for employees or complete a Non-Employee Reimbursement form for non-employees. They will be paid the current rate per mile to cover the cost of using the personal vehicle. It is also possible to reimburse at a lower rate, if this is agreeable with the individual driving the personal vehicle. (3/10)

What are the bank wire instructions for the University?

Bank wires are handled by the Bursar's Office of Cash Management. You need to do two things. (Note: Bank wires in support of sponsored projects do not go through the Bursar. Contact SPA Billing for assistance.)

1) Complete a cash receipt form indicating the amount to be received, the SpeedType where it should be deposited, and the account code. Include a brief description of the sender and the purpose of the transaction. Deliver this form to the Office of Cash Management in Regent Hall room 150 (41 UCB).

2) Provide the University wire transfer information to the sender which you can obtain from the Bursar's Office of Cash Management. 

Note: If this is a payment for a student, include the student's full name and student ID number. (1/12)

Checks

We received a check from a company for a scholarship for a designated student. The check is made payable to the student and the University. Should we endorse this check over to the student?

No. Do not endorse the check over to the student. Work with the Office of Financial Aid and the Bursar's Office to deposit the check into the Finance System and apply it directly to the student's bill. If this check exceeds the amount of charges on the student's bill, then a refund will be issued to the student. The Bursar's Office and Financial Aid will handle this check as a 3rd party payment of a student's bill since the sponsor has designated the student to receive these funds. Financial Aid must always be involved with scholarship payments received on behalf of students to ensure that all applicable regulations are followed. (8/06)

Our department makes occasional sales to students and the public. Can we record their driver’s license number on checks received for payment?

Yes. you can record the driver license number on the check. For students, the student number definitely should be recorded. What you cannot record is a credit card number or a social security number on the check. However, you can request a purchaser to display a credit card as indication of creditworthiness or identification. It is permissible to record the type of credit card and the issuer of the credit card on a check (but not the number). (5/08)

 

Can someone else pick up a hand drawn express warrant on behalf of the payee or ES Business Partner (formerly PPL)?

Yes, but certain procedures must be followed. These procedures are not new—they have been in place for about 20 years. When hand drawn express warrants are requested by Payroll and Personnel Liaisons (PPL), the PPLs typically receive an email from the payroll administrator at Payroll & Benefits Services (PBS) when the check has been sent to be printed in the Office of Cash Management (OCM). When designating others to pick up warrants on behalf of the payee or PPL, the person picking up must have a printed copy of the email from PBS to the PPL along with the written authorization from the PPL approving the individual to pick up the warrant. OCM will verify the identification of the individual listed on the authorization with a Buff One card or government issued photo ID before releasing the warrant(s). (11/08)

Employees

Will the university pay for the purchase of commencement regalia for faculty?

Commencement regalia can be rented at no charge to faculty or their departments—the cost is paid by the Office of the Chancellor, and details are routinely sent out to the faculty. 
  
However, some faculty prefer to be owners, not renters. In this case, they can purchase regalia from the company of their choice. The Chancellor's office will pay up to $400 toward the purchase for all faculty members (tenure, tenure-track, research faculty, and instructors). Anything over $400 can be handled as either a personal expense paid by the faculty member, or a departmental expense if allowed per departmental policy. The faculty member should obtain departmental approval before purchasing and adhere to any departmental procedures. If the faculty member pays the rental company directly, he or she can submit proof of purchase to the Chancellor’s office for reimbursement, and to his or her department for the remainder, if allowed by the department. If the purchase is charged to a procurement card, the department must contact the Chancellor’s office to obtain the SpeedType for allocation purposes. The amount charged to the procurement card should not exceed $400 unless the faculty member’s department agrees to pay the amount over $400. If the departmental policy does not allow for regalia purchases, then anything over $400 must be paid directly to the company by the faculty member. The University does not want departments to pay for personal expenses intended for later reimbursement by the employee. Keep in mind that the $400 is an informal policy of the Office of the Chancellor and can be changed or revoked at any time, although it has been in effect for many years. For assistance, call the Chancellor’s office, 492-8909.

What account code should be used to record a gift card presented to an employee as part of a recognition award?

The Training and Recognition PPS lists four choices of account codes and 550106 is the only one for employees but it’s for non-cash awards. While it may seem that gift cards are cash-like and therefore not considered non-cash, 550106 (Perf/Supp Awards-NCash-Empl) is the correct account code to use even though it seems to run counter to the way cash-like vs. non-cash classifications are typically used at the University.

If you take a step back within this PPS, there are two basic ways to process awards to employees: through payroll as additional pay, or through an approved procurement method. Additional pay is considered cash and is the only method of cash award available to employees. This explains why there is no special account code for employee cash awards because these are processed as payroll and use an appropriate payroll account code. Furthermore, this is why the Recognition Reporting (RR) form is not needed for cash to employees (i.e. additional pay) because the payment is captured by HRMS and renders the RR form superfluous. As a result, all other forms of employee awards fall into the only remaining employee category available—non-cash, account code 550106.

Questions about the Recognition and Training PPS. (keywords: gift card, coupon)

The following questions concern Recognition and Training.

Q –Is there a template that we can use to write up our Employee Recognition program in compliance with the Recognition and Training PPS?

A –No, there is not a template per se. However, the bulleted points in the Procedural Statement section B.1 (Employees) or C (Non-employees) can serve as an outline for your written program. You can format it as you choose.

Q –Our department is planning to give away $5 iTune cards and $5 coffee coupons to students who complete a survey. Is this considered cash-like or non-cash since it can only be used for iTunes or coffee which, if we could give these away directly, would be non-cash. (03/07)

A –This falls under the Participation category of the Recognition and Training PPS. The PPS states that, “Cash-like refers to an item, such as a gift certificate or a gift card, which can be used in place of cash to purchase goods or services.” Gift cards, certificates, or coupons that are redeemable for products or services are considered cash-like by default. Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances. Any exceptions must be approved by the Associate Vice President and University Controller who renders a decision based upon a written request that describes the coupon/card it is handing out along with an example.

Q –Our Residential Academic Program (RAP) voted to honor and thank our hardworking custodial staff with chair massages. We paid $100 for this service to benefit the custodial staff of five employees. Is this cash-like or non-cash and what are the reporting or programmatic requirements? (03/07)

A –This falls under the Merit category of the Recognition and Training PPS. It is non-cash because the massages were given at the residence hall, as opposed to a certificate that could be redeemed elsewhere. For employees, non-cash awards valued at $100 or more require the Revenue Recognition form and an approved formal recognition program. But because this $100 was effectively split among five employees, the value to each employee was less than $100. Thus neither a recognition program nor a revenue recognition form is required, assuming that other recognition events are not planned that could push the calendar year amount to $100 or more for each employee.

Equipment & Property

What are the rules for requiring equipment costing less than $5,000 to be added to the equipment inventory (PS Asset Management?

Equipment that costs less than $5,000 with none of the cost charged to a sponsored project (Fund 30/31) does not have to be added to the equipment inventory. The equipment may be added to the equipment inventory at the request of the department for control purposes. Use of the following accounts as appropriate will not add the equipment to the equipment inventory unless requested by the department.

  • 500800 – Computers (bundled< $5000)
  • 500900 – Servers < $5000
  • 501000 – Printers < $5000
  • 501100 – IT Video/Voice Hardware < $5000
  • 501200 – Other IT Hardware < $5000
  • 501400 – Peripherals < $5000
  • 501500 – Networks < $5000
  • 501600 – Network Communication Devices <5000
  • 537600 – Equipment <$5000

Equipment costing less than $5,000 with any of the cost charged to a sponsored project FOPPS (fund 30 or 31) is added to the equipment inventory only:

1)   if required by the sponsor and/or the specific award document of that sponsored project, or

2)   if requested by the department for control purposes.

You have to know the requirements of that sponsor and/or the specific award. Use the following accounts as appropriate.

  • 500800 Computers (Bundled < $5000) (use this account if the sponsor DOES NOT require the computer to be added to the equipment inventory. Computers will not be added to equipment inventory unless requested by the department.)
  • 500900 Servers < $5000 (use this account if the sponsor DOES NOT require the computer to be added to the equipment inventory. Computers will not be added to equipment inventory unless requested by the department.)
  • 537600 Equipment < $5000 (use this account if the sponsor DOES NOT require the equipment to be added to the equipment inventory. Equipment will not be added to equipment inventory unless requested by the department.)
  • 537601 Equip <$5000 Spon Pgm Control (use this account if the sponsor DOES require the equipment to be added to the equipment inventory and the University retains title. Equipment will be added to equipment inventory.)
  • Equipment costing $5,000 or more is required to be added to our equipment inventory since $5,000 is the threshold that defines capital equipment. Use the following accounts as appropriate.
  • 810100 Equipment >= $5000 (equipment purchased to which the University has title)
  • 810200 Equipment >= $5000 Govt Title (equipment purchased on sponsored projects and the government sponsor – usually federal – retains title to the equipment)
  • 810300 Equipment >= $5000 Private Title (equipment purchased on sponsored projects and the private sponsor retains title to the equipment)

Contact ABS Property & Plant Accounting if you have questions.

Can we charge items costing less than $5,000 to account 810700 – Equipment Components in the Renewal & Replacement (R&R) plant funds (Funds 72 & 78)?

            

Yes, but only if that item will be incorporated into a piece of equipment that has been or will be capitalized (total cost of $5,000 or more) and carried on our equipment inventory. Account 810700 – Equipment Components was set up to collect costs where we are purchasing the parts to build a piece of equipment and the total cost of the equipment will be $5,000 or more. If the total cost of the equipment will be less than $5,000, do not use account 810700 and do not charge the expense to your R&R plant funds. Under GASB 35 reporting, we only want to use R&R funds for capital expenditures. (10/01)

 

How should I account for the sale of property and equipment?

All sales of property to entities external to the University should be recorded in revenue account 325500-Auction Proceeds-Property Sales. This revenue is classified as exempt for TABOR reporting and therefore must be recorded in an exempt fund. Beginning fiscal year 2005, the University as a whole is an approved Enterprise entity, and all fund groups are treated as exempt funds from TABOR. Therefore, revenue account 325500 can now be used in funds 20, 26, 28, 29, 72, and 78. Use of account 325500, however, is still not allowed in restricted current funds 30, 31, and 34, in general fund 10, or the plant funds 71, 73, and 74. Any sales of equipment to another University department must be recorded using the Other Interdepartmental ID accounts (390000-399999 and related expense accounts). Disposal of equipment purchased with sponsored project funds (30/31) must have the approval of OCG. (4/08)

Can we use equipment in an ISC that was paid for by a federal grant and depreciate it?

Yes, you can use the equipment in the ISC, but no you cannot include depreciation expense in your rates. We raised this question at a National Council of University Research Administrators conference in February 2003. We were told that since the federal government had already paid for the equipment through the grant, they would not pay for it a second time by including depreciation expense on the equipment in the ISC. (3/03)

Events

What is the difference between advertising and sponsorships at University events?

Advertising: A company that makes a contribution to a specific event is paying a fee to advertise and, therefore, can include promotional material that involves a “call to action” with respect to their company’s product or service. The company doing the advertising has no intention of receiving either a tax deduction or a gift tax receipt from the University. Company representatives do not attend the event, nor does the company receive anything other than the advertising itself for the fee. The org unit is subject to Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) with this advertising activity.
  
Sponsorships: Sponsors pay a fee to display their company logo or name, but do not include any “call to action” wording relative to their product or service in their display (e.g., to call an 800 number). Generally, sponsors for Official Functions and Conferences do not receive any other good or service in exchange for their contribution (i.e. 100% of the sponsor fee goes towards displaying the name or logo). If there is any intent for the sponsor to receive a tax deduction or a gift tax receipt from the University, then the event the sponsor is supporting becomes a Fundraising Event. Similarly, if the sponsor receives anything as a result of the sponsorship (such as having company representatives attend the event, or receiving goods or services from the event), then the event is considered to be a Fundraising Event.

Can you answer my questions about fundraising events?

Following are several questions about University fundraising events.

Q – Will each fundraising event be set up in a unique SpeedType to be used only for that event? Or can a department create a fundraising event FOPPS and use it for more than one event? (01/08)

A – The OUC will authorize a special SpeedType for each event you host. You will deposit the revenues and pay expenses for the event using that one SpeedType. After the event—and the accounting—is completed, then OUC will inactivate that SpeedType until the next time you host that same event (e.g., golf tournament, dinner, tour, race, trip).

Q – What happens to the net proceeds?

A – The net proceeds from the event will move into one or more accumulation “pots” (e.g., scholarships, lab equipment, general support) in Fund 34 from which you may “spend” as desired for the purpose it was accumulated. The OUC will set up both SpeedTypes: one for the event and another for the net proceeds. It’s as if the special event uses one SpeedType like a “checkbook” for all revenues and expenses; the net proceeds move into a SpeedType “savings” account for future spending restricted to the specific purpose.

Q – Who enters the budget for fundraising events into the Finance System?

A Budget Journal Entries for fundraising events are created by staff from the Office of University Controller (OUC) and approved by the Fundraising Event Compliance Coordinator. The OUC will use the budget submitted as part of the event set-up process to record the budget in the Finance System. Budgets for fundraising events will be recorded at a high level. Only three budget entries will be recorded: one for revenue, one for expenses, and one for the transfer out of event net proceeds from the event SpeedType to the Fund 34 SpeedType receiving the proceeds from the event. Visit the OUC Fundraising Event website for additional information.

Can I still use official function account codes even though our small, low-cost official function did not require an Official Function form?

Yes, you should still use the appropriate official function account code (550100–552499) to enter the expense. Although the Official Function form is only required if the total cost exceeds $500 or the per-person cost exceeds $85, the official function account codes should be used for all qualifying events. The Official Functions Procedural Statement on the PSC website includes examples of some of the most common types of official functions. (8/09)

A student in our program died suddenly. Can our department pay for a memorial event?

Yes. This type of event qualifies as an Official Function. The  Policy Glossary lists common types of official functions. One of these types is goodwill functions which can include an event to express condolence or sympathy. The general provisions of the Official Functions Procedural Statement on the PSC website apply as usual which includes abiding by the Propriety of Expenses APS and Sensitive Expenses PPS. (7/14)

Expenses

What is the correct accounting for the vendor fee we have to pay for accepting credit cards from our customers?

There are two answers to this question and it depends on how the credit card fee is administered. If you receive payment for the credit card charges net of the credit card fee then you record your day’s receipts in total (gross) and the bank card fee as a debit to revenue. If you receive payment for the credit card charges for the full amount of the sales and you are subsequently billed for the credit card fee then you record the day’s receipts in total (gross) and you record the credit card fee as an expense in either account 552602–Other Operating Services or account 552607–Credit Card Fees when it is paid. This treatment is prescribed by the Office of State Controller Procedures Manual, section 3.8 Credit Cards. (4/07)

When is it OK to credit an expense?

Following are several questions with different situations that address crediting an expense vs. recognizing revenue.

Q –This year we incurred abnormally high operating costs. An outside organization has given us an award to help pay some of this cost. Should the award from the outside organization be recorded as revenue or a reduction of expense (expense reimbursement)? (08/03)

A –This payment has to be recorded as revenue. The total cost of operations is a University expense, even though it was abnormally high and should be shown as an expense. The money from the outside organization is effectively a gift or grant to help us pay for these costs. No goods/services were provided to the outside organization in exchange for their payment to us (a non-exchange transaction) so this constitutes a gift. The gift does not reduce our cost, but provides funds to help pay the cost. The outside organization payment should be recorded as gift revenue in a gift FOPPS. Part of the operating costs should then be moved to the gift FOPPS. Payments from outside organizations may only reduce our expenses under the circumstances described in the Accounting Handbook Revenue Definition & Recognition. ABS monitors cash receipts that credit expense accounts to ensure compliance with these requirements.

When you receive a “reimbursement” check for expenses, it can be tempting to credit the expense because it seems like the expense was reduced by the reimbursement. That isn’t true. The expense was not reduced. You received additional funds to help pay for it, and that is revenue. Crediting an expense is allowable only in very limited circumstances. 

Q –One of our faculty members wants to present a paper at a conference. Problem is, travel costs will total $1500 and the department can only afford $1300. The professor is willing to pay the extra $200 out of his own pocket. Can we deposit that $200 and credit the travel expense? (04/06)

A –You can deposit the $200 but do not credit the expense. It must be booked as revenue. The professor’s $200 contribution to his travel expenses is an additional source of funds to help pay for travel costs that are entirely official University business. It can be booked as miscellaneous revenue into an auxiliary 2x FOPPS and $200 of travel expense can be moved to the same 2x FOPPS. The money does not qualify as gift revenue or a donation for tax reporting purposes because the IRS prohibits individuals making gifts to their employer to be used to fund the employee's business activities.

On the other hand, in the rare case a University employee needed to add another flight leg to a business trip for personal reasons and needs to reimburse the university for these personal expenses (i.e., the entire trip is not official university business), then the expense should be credited. 

Q –Is it ever okay to deposit cash receipts into the general fund as a credit to expense? For example, Instructors in the College can receive $400 from the College to use for travel if they are presenting their work at a conference. If the cost of their travel exceeds the $400 (say the airfare cost $500) and the faculty member writes a personal check to reimburse the additional cost of the airfare, can we deposit that check into the general fund FOPPS using the account where the procurement card airfare expense was recorded (the 700000 account series)?  (03/08)

A –Depositing cash to the general fund is not allowed unless it is to reimburse an inadvertent personal expense, in which case the expense should be credited.Fund 10 is limited primarily to revenues generated from State appropriations, tuition, instructional fees, administrative student fees, and some student activity fees. The campus keeps these revenues separate and clean from all other sources of the campus.If the travel scenario described in the question above is entirely for University business, it would be handled the same as the proceeding question. Always feel free to contact your Area Accountant if you aren’t sure about a specific situation.

Q –Our department purchased tickets that were paid from a Gift FOPPS for an annual event on behalf of the scholars for whom the gift fund was established. The FOPPS is funded by a private foundation. Also purchased at the same time were tickets for some of the foundation members who wanted to meet the students and show their support by attending the event. These members reimbursed the University for their tickets. Should their check be credited against the expense or deposited as revenue?

A –In this case, the expense should be credited. The check represents a reimbursement of a personal expense, not official University business. Normally, personal expense items should not be purchased using University funds. However, the purchase of a block of tickets for all the attendees made administrative sense to ensure that there were enough available tickets for the event rather than having two separate entities make separate purchases and take the chance that there wouldn’t be enough tickets. In addition, it can be considered a basic act of courtesy and thanks, not to mention mutual convenience, to purchase the tickets for members of the foundation that supports a University program.

Q –One of our professors gave our department a check payable to the University for the difference between the cost of the computer she purchased through the Faculty Computer Purchase Program (FCPP) and the subsidy that the FCPP contributes toward the cost. Should we deposit the professor’s check as a credit against the computer expense? (10/08)

A –No. Deposit the check as miscellaneous revenue to a Fund 29 FOPPS, not as a credit to expense. Crediting expense is only appropriate under very limited circumstances, and this does not qualify. No matter how it is paid, the computer is entirely for official University business and it is owned 100% by the University. Therefore, a credit to expense is not appropriate.

As you note, the FCPP contributes up to a set amount toward a computer purchase, but it does not limit the purchase price to that amount. If a more expensive machine is purchased, the difference must be paid by either the department, the faculty member, or a combination of both. Departments may want want to exhaust other sources of funding before asking a faculty member to pay the excess. Start-up funds or discretionary gift funds are possible options to consider.

Record the entire computer expense using account code 501800-UCB Faculty Computer Program. After OIT approves and processes the Request for FCPP Reimbursement, OIT then credits your account 501800 for the purchase price up to the program dollar limit. If there is a remaining balance and your department pays it from the same speedtype, you’re done. If the faculty member pays all or part of the balance, record it as revenue in a Fund 29 (note that this payment cannot be considered a gift). It is preferable to record the associated computer expense in the same speedtype for proper matching of revenues and expenses. As always, feel free to contact your Area Accountant if you have questions about how to do the accounting for computer purchases made under the FCPP Program.

Q – One of our employees inadvertently made a personal purchase using her procurement card. The employee contacted the vendor who refused to credit the procurement card so instead she reimbursed the University with a personal check. Should this be treated as revenue or as a credit to expense? (11/08; updated 03/10)

A –This is a case where the expense should be credited because the expense was not for official University business. Crediting the expense effectively cancels it out as if it didn’t happen—which it shouldn’t have. If the vendor was willing to credit the procurement card, the transaction would also have resulted in a credit which would then be applied to the expense through the Concur Travel & Expense System allocation process. In this instance, the employee reimbursed the University for the charge with a personal check which should be deposited with a Cash Receipt that credits the expense.

In addition to reimbursement, the employee must immediately report the occurrence to the Approving Official. A copy of the check and Cash Receipt should be kept with the transaction documentation.

 

Can we toss receipts once they are scanned into the Expense System?

After receipts and any support documentation are scanned or faxed into the Concur Travel & Expense System and their legibility is confirmed, technically you can discard the receipt because it can be retrieved electronically. However, ABS recommends that departments keep physical receipts until the expense report is paid and reconciled to the Finance System. (3/10)

What is the deadline to approve an expense report in the Expense System in order for it to show up in the financial statements?

Expense System reports approved by 5:00 pm on the last business day of the calendar month will be reflected in the financial statements for that month. This is not the same deadline as the last day to post journal entries in the Finance System for a given month which is the 2nd business day of the following month. Both dates appear in the newsletter and online calendar. (2/10)

How are computer purchases made through the faculty computer purchase program recorded?

Use account code 501800-UCB Faculty Computer Program. Eligible computers ordered through the faculty computer purchase program receive a credit from OIT into account code 501800. If the original computer expense was recorded in a different account code, that results in an abnormal balance in 501800 (i.e. a credit balance instead of a normal debit balance). If your 501800 shows a credit balance, prepare a JE to move the entire purchase cost to account code 501800. If you have questions about moving or recording costs for the faculty computer program feel free to contact the Property Accounting office. For information about the faculty computer program go to the OIT website. (3/08)

What do I do with a $20 rebate that I received in the form of a VISA debit card?

The Accounting Handbook identifies rebates as one of the few allowable instances that reduce (credit) an expense. Obviously, a rebate check would be simpler because it could be deposited to the SpeedType as a credit to the original expense. Although not as direct, the debit card can also be used to credit the original expense by journal entry. Use the debit card the next time you make a purchase in which you would normally use the procurement card. Then create a JE to debit the expense account code for the purchase just made, and offset that with a credit to the original expense for which you received the debit card. If both purchases are similar, and use the same account code and SpeedType, record the JE anyway, in order to document the transaction for the record. A clear & complete journal description is especially important in this type of transaction. (Please note that rebates received or used in a fiscal year other than the original expense are recorded differently—call your Area Accountant.) If the debit card is not enough to cover the purchase, make up the difference with the procurement card, and process that piece of the transaction in the Travel & Expense System, as usual. This is a roundabout solution, but it is the best that we can do given the circumstances. (11/11)

How do we process reimbursements to students and student workers—with the Expense System or with paper forms?

You can always follow non-employee procedures when processing student travel authorizations and reimbursements. This means: 
  
If a student needs a Travel Authorization (TA) number, you can follow the Expense System’s non-employee process (and the TA # will be last name and date of trip, for example, SMITHZ03112010).
  
If a student needs to be reimbursed, you can do this with a paper form. (Note: the reimbursement form must identify the payee as a student.) 
  
Or, if the student is also an employee of your department, you can follow employee procedures. This means:
  
If a student-worker needs a Travel Authorization (TA) number, you can follow the Expense System’s employee process (and the TA # will be employee ID and date of trip, for example,12345603112010).
  
If a student-worker needs to be reimbursed, you can do this with an expense report in the Expense System.
  
So you can choose the approach – paper, or Expense System. 
  
One caution: for travel reimbursements that require a TA, you can’t change horses (or systems) in mid-stream. Whichever type of TA (non-employee or employee) you create for the trip, you’ll need to continue with the reimbursement according to that process (paper or Expense System). (From the PSC 2/26/10 newsletter.)

A vendor charged us sales tax on a purchase made with the procurement card and would not remove the tax even after I explained that we are tax exempt. What do I do?

The Procurement Card Handbook requires Cardholders to inform each merchant of the University’s status as a tax-exempt organization, which you did. If the vendor insists on charging sales tax even after being given documentation of our tax exempt status, in the Expense System Comments field explain that the vendor was notified of CU’s tax exempt status but still refused to remove the sales tax from the purchase. Include any other additional documentation (e.g. email exchange, phone call details, etc.) to support this occurrence. For future purchases, consider using a different vendor that honors our tax exempt status.

As a public institution of higher education of the State of Colorado, the University of Colorado (CU) is exempt from all federal excise taxes and from all Colorado State and local government sales and use taxes. In addition, CU is exempt from sales and use taxes levied by select other states – namely, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, and Texas. Vendors who need verification of CU’s tax-exempt status can view the Tax Exempt Status page. In many cases, printing out and supplying a one-page Tax Exempt Status sheet for your vendor will suffice.

If your vendor asks about a specialized tax-exempt certificate form, direct them first to the Quick Links (grey box) in the upper right corner of the above Tax Exempt Status page. Currently, there is a link to the Multi-jurisdiction Sales Tax Exemption Certificate (Texas & Colorado). Additional links to other specialized certificates will continue to be added.

Vendors who cannot use any of the certificates already published on the web should fax or email their own forms to the Finance and Procurement Help Desk: fax 303-837-2160 or FinProHelp@cu.edu. The Help Desk will work with the Associate Vice President and University Controller to determine the appropriate form and obtain signatures, and then return the form to the vendor. (Note that many of these alternative certificates are specific to the situation and therefore require additional information about the purchase – the organizational unit or the vendor should provide this. Contact FinProHelp if you have additional questions: 303-837-2161.

Do we have to pay sales tax on items we buy to give away such as t-shirts or water bottles?

No, the university is not subject to sales tax on giveaway items. The Colorado Department of Revenue publishes a series of publications called FYI – For Your Information on several revenue areas, one of them sales tax. Publication #32 titled Gifts, Premiums and Prizes states, “Purchases of tangible personal property for use as gifts, premiums or prizes, for which no valuable consideration is received from the recipient, are subject to tax on the total purchase price; the purchaser is deemed to be the user-consumer of such property.” Since the University is considered the end user-consumer, it is treated the same as other purchases used for University business and is not subject to sales tax. You must use regular procurement methods for these items, not reimbursed personal purchases.

Finance System

How do I close a SpeedType?

Once the decision is made to inactivate a SpeedType, it must be prepared for inactivation and meet the following requirements:

  • All assets, liabilities, and encumbrances must have a zero balance.
  • If there is expenditure activity in the current month, inactivation must wait until after month-end close in order for allocations to run/post and for Fund 10 cash rollups to occur. If month-end processes result in unallowable balances, these will need further clean-up.
  • If the SpeedType is a Fund 10, the available/deficit balance does not have to be zero but it must be less than a dollar (debit or credit) because BJE’s cannot be entered for amounts under $1.
  • If you plan to inactivate many SpeedTypes (more than 10), it is more efficient to request inactivation as each is ready rather than waiting to send a single request to close them all at once.

Once the SpeedType is cleaned up and ready to inactivate, you may send an email request to accounting@colorado.edu (no form is required). Please include both the 8-digit SpeedType number and its Description to help us verify that the correct ST is inactivated. If you have questions about the inactivation process, feel free to contact your Area Accountant or ABS Technical Operations.

What is the PeopleSoft Budget Check and Edit Check step actually checking for?

The Edit Check verifies that you have used a valid combination of data such as fund/organization/program or fund/organization/project and fund/account combinations. Edit check also checks to make sure all values used are active. The Budget Check checks to make sure that no account (asset, liability, revenue, expense, transfer) used on the transaction is a "System Maintained" account. System maintained accounts are not allowed to be used on journal entries, except that the cash transfer accounts 990000-994999 can be used on the cash transfer journal entry panels. (7/02)

What is the significance of the Manager attribute on organization, program or project ChartFields?

The Fiscal Roles and Responsibilities APS describes the various fiscal roles used in the Finance System. (4/07)

What gets encumbered?

The following are encumbered:

  1. Payroll salary (not hourly).
  2. Benefits administered through HRMS (taxes, insurance and retirement) on salaried employees are encumbered. Benefits administered through the Finance Allocation process (workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation, and annuitant’s insurance) are not encumbered.
  3. Requisitions completed in the Concur Travel & Expense system.
  4. Standing Purchase Orders (SPOs).
  5. Facilities and Administrative budget on sponsored projects. (2/12)
Can we do journal entries between FOPPS on different campuses?

Yes. You can process journal entries between campuses. These journal entries have to comply with all the rules for doing journal entries and the entry must be acceptable to both departments. This includes actual journal entries, cash transfer journal entries and payroll expense transfer journal entries. This does not include budget journals. (7/02)

I approved a journal on the day after month-end close but it never posted and it disappeared from the system! What happened?

Each month has a Campus Close deadline date when no more journal entries can be made by the campus for the closing month. The Campus Close is generally on the 2nd working day of the following month. You can find this date on the ABS website calendar, newsletter calendar, or the OUC GL calendar. These identify the time and day that the General Ledger closes to campus journals for that month. On the working day following the Campus Close, the System office briefly opens the period periodically throughout the day to post allocation journals. This is known as the System Close day. This month-end close process occurs each month following the day identified as the Close for the campus.

After 6:00 PM on the Campus Close day, anything that gets “Approved to Post” for the just-closed period is acknowledged by the Finance System (so you may think everything is fine), but in fact the journal remains unposted in limbo and the Systems office has to apply additional processes to get rid of these. ABS also advises the journal creator and approver to copy or recreate the journal in the following month’s business; otherwise the journal creator assumes that their journals posted. The disposition of these problem journals takes a lot of effort by Systems, ABS, and the department.

Do not create, validate, approve, or post journals for the closing month after 6:00 PM on the Campus Close day. If you do so inadvertently, the journal will be deleted and will not post, even if the journal status is "approved to post." What you should do instead is copy or recreate the journal in the following month's business. To see this information presented in a more visual format, see a generic Monthly Close Calendar. (9/07)

I received an email from SPA telling me that my JE could not be approved because it was created after the cutoff. Later I received an email from ABS saying the cutoff wasn’t until today. What is the real cutoff date?

The email that SPA sent was regarding a fund 30 sponsored project JE. Fund 30 (and also fund 31 & 34) always have an earlier cutoff than non-3x funds in order to give SPA and ABS time to perform their secondary approval of the JE. Both dates appear in the ABS newsletter calendar and ABS web. (11/10)

What is the recommended method for reversing a journal entry?

In order to reverse a journal entry, you have to create another journal entry to the same FOPPS, account numbers and dollar amounts but with opposite dollar signs. The dollar amounts of the original and reversing JE’s then net to zero effectively reversing the original JE. There are two ways to accomplish this. The first is to just create a new journal from scratch. 

However, the recommended way is to use the Copy Journal process to copy the original journal entry you want to reverse. Give the new journal entry a journal ID of REVxxxxxxx (where xxxxxxx = the original JE number) and click the Reverse Signs box. You should also modify the journal header description box to explain the reason for reversing the original JE. The Copying Journal Entries step-by-step under the Journal Entries topic header can assist you in the process. The Copy Journal process cannot be used to reverse a Payroll Expense Transfer or a Cash Transfer. Those have to be reversed by creating a new JE from scratch. For Cash Transfer reversals, it is acceptable and preferred to debit 995100 (Cash Transfer In) and credit 997100 (Cash Transfer Out) as this zeros out the two cash transfer account codes which is the primary goal of the reversal correction.

Can we set up an auxiliary FOPPS to handle the money for a consortium of public and private institutions?

No. We cannot set up an auxiliary FOPPS for this, i.e., accounting for private, external entities' financial business. By doing so we would be reporting this activity as University business and it is not.

However, we do have what we call agency fund FOPPS set up in fund 80. This fund group is used for private money and CU is essentially acting as the banker. Examples of who uses agency funds are independent student organizations, and many private businesses or entities that have a working relationship with CU. Agency fund FOPPS represent business activities of organizations external to the University and are not allowed access to certain CU business processes such as HR, purchasing, legal counsel, etc. Agency fund FOPPS pay one-half the GAR rate on their expenses. All requests to create an agency fund FOPPS are reviewed and approved by the Vice Chancellor for Administration. (10/02)

Can I give a SpeedType a new name and/or use if for something else?

A SpeedType can be renamed to improve its description for the same activity but it cannot be used for a different purpose. Always request a new SpeedType for a new activity. 

When a program is created in the Finance System, attributes are assigned based on its activity. The most important attribute is the expense purpose code (EPC) which classifies all the expenses as instruction, research, public service, etc. The EPCs ensure that our financial statements are properly classified. If you change how an existing SpeedType is used, then that new activity may be misclassified on our financial statements. In addition, changing the purpose would alter the integrity and continuity of the financial history of a SpeedType because transactions of the old activity would be attributed to the new activity when running reports for prior periods. (10/12)

I want to improve my organizational structure using new org codes but the same program codes. Can I also assign the old SpeedTypes from the old FOPPS to the new FOPPS?

You should leave the old SpeedTypes assigned to the old FOPPS and get new SpeedTypes for the new FOPPS. HRMS is driven entirely by SpeedTypes. When you change the FOPP value of a SpeedType then you distort HRMS history for that old SpeedType. Therefore, you should get new SpeedTypes for new FOPPS, even if you are using existing programs and fund but with a new organization code. The only exception is if the old FOPPS was set up under the wrong organization. Please use the following process if you are contemplating a change of this nature.

  1. Review your desired change with your Vice Chancellor finance officer and get her/his approval.
  2. Work with your Area Accountant to manage the change.
  3. Once you have the new FOPPS set up you will need to do the following.
    1. Change SpeedTypes on the payroll funding distributions for all employees paid from the old SpeedType.
    2. Change SpeedTypes on any open Standing Purchase Orders.
    3. Contact any on-campus service provider who may be using the old SpeedType for recurring charges.
    4. If this involves auxiliary funds, process journal entries to move any balance sheet items, except  Accounts Payable, to the new FOPPS.
    5. Contact the Bursar’s office to make any changes on Student Financials if this system is used on the old SpeedType.

ABS can set up a process whereby any activity hitting the old SpeedType can be automatically moved to the new SpeedType. (11/01)

What is the PeopleSoft Subclass Chartfield and how is it used?

The Subclass ChartField is an optional field available to departments to provide an additional value for classifying revenue and expense transactions. This is a five-character, alpha-numeric field and values must be established in the Finance System before they can be used. Values can be requested via the ChartField Request – SpeedType, Program, Subclass form.

The subclass value can be coded on any transaction where the subclass ChartField is available – journal entries, requisitions, etc. SpeedTypes can be defined to include a subclass value. An example for using a subclass is 1LREC-Student Reception. A department has created this subclass to add to those revenue and expense transactions in its FOPPS that relate to their student receptions. The standard reports can then be run to “pull out” just the subclass activity so that it can be seen separate from all other activity in the FOPPS. The Revenue and Expense Statement Summary can be run for the FOPPS designating this subclass value and the report will show the summary activity for just those transactions in the FOPPS that have the 1LREC subclass value. The subclass value will also show on the FOPPS Detail report, or the report can be run to display only those transactions with the subclass. The subclass is not designed for use with balance sheet accounts and balance sheet reports run using the subclass may not report valid information. For one thing, when the June 30 ending balance sheet balances are rolled forward into the next year, all the subclass values associated with balance sheet transactions throughout the year are dropped. Therefore, a balance sheet report by subclass run at June 30 will not equal the same report run at July 1. Running balance sheet reports using the subclass is not recommended.

What are allocations?

Allocations are automated journals that contain pre-defined criteria that tells the Finance System how they should run each month. These criteria instruct what “activity” in what FOPPS the system will look at to calculate an Allocation Journal (prefix of ALO). They will run the same way each month unless modified or inactivated. Allocations run at the end of the month after the General Ledger has closed and all possible current activity for the month has posted.

For example, fringe benefits are applied against salaries paid from each SpeedType. GAIR is another example which is applied against auxiliary and agency SpeedType expenses. If you have allocation questions, contact the ABS Technical Operations unit.

Gifts and Donations

What are the tax reporting issues for employee awards such as Employee of the Year or retirement?

Cash or cash-like (e.g., gift cards) awards to employees are taxable no matter what the amount. All cash awards must be paid via the payroll system so that taxes are appropriately withheld and reported.

Non-cash awards depend on the type and value. Engraved plaques, trophies, or medals made of non-precious metal are not subject to tax reporting. Other types of non-cash awards, rewards, or prizes valued at $100 or more (individually or in the aggregate) during the calendar year are tax reportable. If less than $100, they are not.

The Recognition and Training PPS available at https://www.cu.edu/psc/procedures/ explains the requirements and procedures in detail. (4/07)

Can employees accept small gifts from vendors that the University does business with?

As a general rule, no. State employees cannot accept gifts from vendors. Heading the list of laws governing gifts to state employees is Article XXIX of the Colorado Constitution which had its start as Amendment 41. Its overarching purpose is well-stated by the Independent Ethics Commission (IEC) established by the amendment to give advice and guidance on ethics issues arising under the law: “…voters of Colorado approved Amendment 41 in order to improve and promote honesty and integrity in government and to assure the public that those in government are held to standards that place the public interest above their private interests.” Article XXIX prohibits the solicitation, acceptance or receipt of any gift or other thing of value worth more than $50 in any calendar year from a person, without that person receiving lawful consideration of equal or greater value in return. There are eight exceptions written into the law that are further explained by the IEC’s Position Statements, etc. providing guidance on how to apply the law to a variety of real world situations. One such exception is “an unsolicited item of trivial value less than fifty dollars ($50), such as a pen, calendar, plant, book, note pad or other similar item.” Note, however, that a gift of money in any amount is prohibited.

Colorado Revised Statutes Standards of Conduct (24-18-104) reiterates in broader language that state employees shall not “accept a gift of substantial value…Which would tend improperly to influence a reasonable person in his position to depart from the faithful and impartial discharge of his public duties.”

The University’s Conflicts of Interest and Commitment APS states “procurement of materials, and other administrative tasks at the University must be free of the undue influence of outside interests.” The Fiscal Code of Ethics linked to the APS of the same name is more specific: “Employees who purchase goods or services, or are otherwise involved in the University purchasing process, shall…Not solicit or accept money, loans, credits, or prejudicial discounts, and avoid the acceptance of gifts, entertainment, favors, or services from present or potential suppliers which might influence or appear to influence purchasing decisions.” These words are echoed in the Procurement Code of Ethics.

How about gift cards or items worth less than $50? Amendment 41 prohibits gifts of money in any amount—and gift cards are cash-like. Therefore, gift cards from vendors are not allowed. How about non-cash items like a small flash drive or a mug or a free sandwich from a caterer trying to drum up business? Amendment 41 prohibits gifts valued over $50 but allows an exception for items of trivial value (<$50). This would seem to allow these three examples as long as they were unsolicited, but hold on. For employees who are involved in purchasing, University policy does not identify a $50 dollar threshold so theoretically there is no lower limit. Instead, its focus is on the gift’s influence (or appearance of influence) in purchasing decisions. This is a more stringent requirement and demands extra vigilance. Giveaway items used as a marketing tool are standard practice in industry and as a rule do not target a particular individual with the implicit understanding that a purchasing favor is to be returned. But nevertheless, that remains the underlying issue. With even the smallest gift, you must be confident that it will not improperly influence a buying decision. If you are not certain, or simply want to avoid any potential issue from arising, decline the gift. (11/09)

We received a check from a donor made out to the University of Colorado Foundation. Do we deposit it to the Office of Cash Management?

No. Do not deposit the check at OCM. Checks made payable to CUF and all supporting documentation should be sent to the CU Foundation for proper recording (4740 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80301 or Campus Box 57). Only checks made payable to the University of Colorado, the Regents of the University of Colorado, a campus, a CU Department, or a CU program can be deposited directly to the University through OCM as long as other conditions are met. See the details on how to deposit gift checks in either a list format or a flowchart format. (8/11)

Is it allowable for us to donate funds to an external entity that then uses these funds to provide awards to CU faculty for outstanding service?

No. Essentially, we are taking CU funds and providing additional remuneration to selected faculty for outstanding service. This should not be accomplished by routing the funds through an external entity. It is permissible for the external entity to select the outstanding faculty to receive the award. But the award should be paid through our payroll system following the proper procedures provided by the Recognition and Training PPS available at https://www.cu.edu/psc/procedures/.

Can our department hold a food or coat drive for shelters and the needy?

The Donations APS says: University employees, associates, affiliates, or students may not use university funds for the sole purpose of making contributions or charitable gifts to any organization. This prohibition on using university funds to make a contribution includes cash and non-cash contributions as well as contributions to the University of Colorado Foundation, Inc. Examples of non-cash contributions include the use of labor, supplies, telephones, photocopy machines, computers, email, or other equipment.

This means that even though the University isn’t spending its cash on a charity, it is likely contributing non-cash through the collection effort. However, the same APS includes several waivers, one of them:

Non-cash support of University-wide campaigns may be authorized by the appropriate Vice President or Vice Chancellor when the campaign is deemed to be in the best interest of the University or campus. The Colorado Combined Campaign is an example of a permissible campaign. The University’s donation can be in the form of the use of labor, supplies, telephones, photocopy machines, computers (including email), or other equipment used to directly administer the campaign.

You must get the appropriate Vice Chancellor’s approval before you organize this sort of thing. The VC will need to know the benefiting organization and the level of departmental resources required (staff time, material needs, etc.).

Are gift funds subject to the same policies and procedures as other funds (general, auxiliary, etc.) even if the donor would allow things not allowed for other funds?

Yes, gift funds follow the same policies and procedures as all other funds unless the terms of the gift are more restrictive than University policies and procedures in which case we follow the gift restriction. We always follow the more restrictive of state/University policy or gift terms. Gifts are given to the University of Colorado in the name of the Regents. As such, they are a gift to a state agency and become state funds subject to applicable state and University policies and procedures.

Example 1 – The donor may allow gift funds to be used for first class travel however University policy does not allow first class travel. Therefore, gift funds may not be spent on first class travel.

Example 2 – General funds may be used for any legal purpose for the University as decided by management. However, the donor said this gift may only be used to support the Chemistry Department or it may only be used for financial aid. We must therefore limit the use of the gift funds for the Chemistry Department or financial aid. We may not use the gift funds for any other University business. (11/01)

How do I handle a check I received for one of our gift FOPPS mailed to our department directly from the donor.

The following is taken from Gift Processing Procedures which has more information:

  1. If you receive a check made payable to the CU Foundation, then forward the check, envelope, and all original documents, including all accompanying correspondence to the CU Foundation (4740 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80301, 303-541-1200). 
  2. If the check is made payable to the University of Colorado, the Regents of the University of Colorado, a campus, a CU Department, or a CU program and there is no accompanying information indicating that the donor is responding to a specific solicitation, the gift is donated directly to the university and shall be remitted to the Office of the University Treasurer for deposit.
  3. Prepare a cash receipt and deposit the check at the Cashier in Regent and use the following: SpeedType 13468785 (34-10612-38171, UCB Treasury Gift Clearing, use this for Boulder campus only—other campuses have their own) and account code 070504 (Treasury Gift Clearing Suspense)
  4. In the Remarks section, note the SpeedType into which the funds should be transferred once cleared by the Office of the Treasurer.
  5. Send copies of the check, cash receipt, donor letter and any other documentation to Rick Todd at the Treasurer's Office at 25 UCA.
  6. Be sure to keep departmental copies as well.
May faculty make a gift to the University and restrict it to their own gift FOPPS to be used in support of their programs?

Generally, no—making a contribution to one's own program is not an allowable gift. Section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code (Title 26 of the US Code) states that contributions cannot inure to the benefit of of an individual. Contributing to a program under which the donor has control violates this restriction. The Miami University Foundation has written a cogent Faculty and Staff Gift Policy that addresses this issue more thoroughly. (03/10)

Can one of our alumni donate professional audio equipment valued at $25,000 and receive income tax benefits for the donation?

This is known as a Gift In Kind (GIK) transaction because it involves a non-cash donation. GIK transactions route through CU and not the Foundation. In brief, the policy states that any GIK

  • valued at over $5000 or 
  • attached to a written contract or agreement or  
  • that is an addition to an existing collection valued at over $5000 

requires

  1. the completion of a GIK Acceptance Form and
  2. the approval of the campus Controller prior to custody.

Donations of GIK valued at less than $5000 and not accompanied by a bilaterally executed written agreement are not recorded in the Finance System and do not require a GIK Acceptance Form (except a GIK of any value to Athletics is recognized, and GIK used for Recognition and Training awards is recorded). Contact the Office of University Treasurer about a receipt to support a tax deduction.

A GIK valued at over $100,000 requires an appraisal paid for by the donor if the donor requests IRS Form 8283. If no Form 8283 is requested, the campus Controller may approve payment for an appraisal. For donor tax benefits, CU must receive the gift directly from the donor (not via the Foundation); the gift must be in good condition, and the University must use the gift for at least three years.

If your department receives an offer of a gift in kind, consult the Accounting Handbook to be sure you are incompliance before accepting the gift or making any commitments. Direct any questions to the campus Controller. Follow this link for the Gift in Kind section of the Accounting Handbook. (1/06)

How do we handle the donation of a tee shirt valued at $20 to be given away as an award or a prize?

The tee shirt is a gift in kind, i.e. a non-monetary gift. The Recognition and Training PPS requires that all GIK donated for use as an award or prize is recorded by debiting the applicable expense code:

  • 550105 – Performance Support Awards Non-Cash/Non-Employee
  • 550106 – Performance Support Awards Non-Cash/Employee
  • 550108 – Participant Prizes

The credit side of the journal entry should use revenue account:

  • 240606 – Noncapitalizable (4/07)
Our department holds occasional official functions for our students. Is it okay if an area theater offers free tickets to a particular showing that might be of interest to some of our students?

This is allowable. There is nothing in University policy that prevents this activity, although it may seem that one or more policies pertain. Let us examine each of these policies in turn. Gift in Kind – This requires that the University receive the gift from the donor, which does not apply here. In this case, the tickets are offered directly to the attendees by the vendor. Recognition and Training PPS – The Participation Award category in this PPS does not apply because the attendees do not automatically receive a ticket just for participating in the official function. They must obtain one from the vendor. In addition, since it is the vendor and not the University offering the tickets, the participation award element is removed. Finally, while a ticket may meet cash-like criteria, its value is less than $100 and therefore would not require the Recognition Reporting form even if it did qualify as a participation award. Complimentary Tickets PPS – This policy involves tickets to University events, and the free ticket is for a non-university event. Therefore, it does not apply. 

This sort of activity is similar to other University events where vendors may be present and give away tokens such as pens, water bottles, or coupons. However, please consider the following. You must guard against appearing to offer any kind of vendor endorsement or promotion because that is inappropriate University support. In addition, take care not to form some sort of exclusive arrangement with a particular vendor. For example, if another theater wanted to make the same offer, you could not exclude one over the other. The goal is to support the students, not to give a business advantage to an outside vendor. (2/08)

Miscellaneous

What do I do with an IRS Form 1099 that my department received?

Forward the Form 1099 to the University’s Tax Manager in Payroll and Benefit Services at 400 UCA. (2/12)

What is the CIW?

CIW stand for Central Information Warehouse. It's a database with data extracted from various CU administrative systems, including the Finance System (aka "GL" for General Ledger). See http://www.cu.edu/irm/CUonly/dwhse/. You can tell if your are using the CIW instead of PeopleSoft because most systems that retrieve financial data from the CIW require a User ID ending with "CIW" or an ID that is similar to your name, or use your Windows account. The Cognos Reporting System, for example, relies on the CIW for its data. 

To get access to the CIW, complete the Central Information Warehouse Access Request Form on the UIS web. (2/12)

A supplier contacted us and asked for our DUNS number because it was not in their system. What is a DUNS number and where do I get one?

The DUNS number (Data Universal Numbering System) is a 9 digit identifier provided by Dun & Bradstreet. It is used in the business world primarily as a source of information to determine creditworthiness of an entity. Suppliers generally want ours for this reason. In addition, the Federal government requires that applicants for Federal grants and cooperative agreements have a DUNS number. This helps identify related organizations that receive funding, and provides consistent name and address data for electronic grant application systems.

Each University of Colorado campus has its own DUNS number and Boulder’s is 00-743-1505. Use this number exclusively whenever a DUNS number is required. Do not apply for another one! Other campus DUNS numbers are posted on the CU Treasurer website. If you do encounter a funding agency that asks for a different and unique DUNS number, contact  the Treasurer’s Office, (303) 837-2183, who will put an end to this nonsense. (7/09)

Can our department scan electronic images of documents and dispose of the paper?

Yes, an electronic image is a suitable substitute for original paper University Records in most cases. The Retention of University Records APS states in section D.7, “The retention period is satisfied by retaining an electronic record of the information that accurately reflects the information set forth in the record and remains accessible for later reference.” 

“Accurately reflects” implies that the electronic image is readable, so before you toss the paper, be sure you can read the electronic version. “Accessible” means that you can locate the electronic files for later retrieval to use as needed and to dispose of when the retention period is met. You may want to keep these files on a networked drive and limit the access. It is also a best practice to keep electronic back up copies on a different drive.

These electronic files are still University records and, therefore, should be stored on a medium owned or controlled by the University. Work with your IT staff on how to best manage these records for archival and security purposes.

While scanned images of receipts are acceptable as source documentation for records retention purposes as long as they are an accurate image of the original and are readable, please note that, in addition, federal contracts also require that the original be retained for a minimum of one year after imaging per Federal Acquisition Regulation 4.703

(updated 12/13)

Fiscal certification and the fiscal assessment mini-FAQ

What is the purpose and intent of fiscal certification and the fiscal assessment? 

The entire population of individuals who take part in the annual fiscal certification is comprised of two groups. The first is made up of the officers, and technically, this is the group that does the certifying part of the process. The second, larger, group is made up of designated fiscal principals, managers, and key employees who typically are more directly involved with the day-to-day management of university resources. The officers rely on these individuals to report any concerns regarding fiscal responsibility and financial management within their area so that the officers may certify as to the accuracy and completeness of the financial statements and the effectiveness and sufficiency of internal controls. Concerns from this second group are conveyed to officers via completion of the Fiscal Assessment.

The Assessment itself is made up of two interrelated parts. The instructive course component provides pertinent information to those with fiscal responsibilities. It focuses on areas that are often troublesome or problematic. The assessment component provides an opportunity to share any concerns with the respective officer because all comments are sent to your officer. This part is a key factor in the officer’s ability to certify. In essence, the purpose and intent is to give you an opportunity to let your officer know of any concerns you may have on the fiscal side of things. If you have no specific fiscal concerns and make no comments, your acknowledgment serves to reinforce your officer’s confidence in his or her fiscal certification.

I left that position this July 1st so shouldn’t the new person complete the assessment instead of me?

The certification/assessment covers the fiscal year that just passed. You held that position last year and that makes you the most qualified to complete the assessment. Next year, the new person will complete the assessment.

There is no way my projects had over $2 million in budget this year. Why do I need to do this?

The selection criteria identify PIs with actual expenses or budget of $2 million or more in aggregate. Project budgets are based on the life of the project as identified by the start and end dates. In contrast, program budgets are based on fiscal year. A project’s budget is a cumulative total; it is not broken out for each fiscal year in isolation to the total budget amount. Using the total budget was an intentional decision made by the Controllers.

I am on sabbatical and won’t be back in time to complete this by the due date. Can I be exempted?

Contact your Dean or Vice Chancellor’s office. Depending on your return date, there still may be time for you to complete it. If not, and if your officer determines that he or she can confidently certify without your participation, the officer’s recommendation to exempt is sent to the campus Controller.

As a Director and part of the assessment group, can I have employees in my unit also participate?

Yes, they can complete a Voluntary Fiscal Assessment (Portal > CU Resources tab > Business Applications menu). Comments submitted via the voluntary assessment by September 27, 2013 go to the University Controller. If the person unchecks the “Remain Anonymous” box, the comments will also be forwarded to the campus Controller which can aid in following up on issues or concerns that are raised. Bear in mind that this is voluntary and is up to the individual to complete it.

What should I do with occasional legal notices such as a notice to participate in a class action law suit, or service of process, etc.?

All legal notices should be forwarded to the Office of University Counsel to:

Managing Senior Associate University Counsel
Office of the University Counsel
1800 Grant Street, Suite 800
Campus Box 35 UCA
Denver, CO 80203
Telephone: 303-860-5686
Fax: 303-860-5690
https://www.cu.edu/universitycounsel

  

What is the Pooled Investment Earnings or PIE charge and how is this computed?

PIE is a charge caused by certain FOPPS being in cash deficit on a daily average for a quarter. The cash deficit reduces the total amount of cash available to the Treasurer to invest and reduces the interest earnings of the University. Therefore, FOPPS are charged PIE to replace the lost interest earnings.

All FOPPS in funds 2x, 7x and 80 are subject to PIE. The cash balances of all FOPPS of a single organization within the same fund (except fund 28) may be aggregated to calculate one average daily cash balance for that organization. This is accomplished by selecting one SpeedType of the organization and assigning that SpeedType as the PIE attribute to all the SpeedTypes of the organization in the fund. The daily cash balance of the FOPPS is averaged for the quarter. If the quarterly average is a deficit then the PIE SpeedType is charged PIE interest expense in transfer account 997102–Voluntary transfer out within campus-PIE. 

For fund 28 FOPPS, federal cost principles prohibit the use of a surplus in one Internal Service Center (ISC) to fund the deficits of other ISCs or other operations. They also require that any interest earned on the investment of ISC cash balances be returned to the ISC as an applicable credit, thereby reducing their rates. Therefore, we cannot combine an individual fund 28 ISC FOPPS cash balance with any other cash balances. If we did combine these cash balances, the ISC positive cash balances are reduced thereby reducing the interest income allocable to those ISCs. This results in an increase in their rates that are then charged to federally sponsored projects.

The only exception to this rule is where one ISC has a number of fund 28 FOPPS used for internal management of the single Service Center. For example, if Imaging Services had more than one fund 28 FOPPS to manage Imaging Services, those cash balances would be combined. The basis for this exception is that there is one ISC and the multiple FOPPS are all for same ISC. (2/03)

One of our employees accidentally broke the sunglasses of a guest during a meeting on campus. Would this be covered under our insurance?

Generally speaking, personal property not in the care, custody or control of the University is excluded from insurance coverage. Therefore, the University is not liable to replace the sunglasses. The employee who broke the sunglasses or the department head may elect to make a reimbursement, but the University is not obligated. All insurance questions should be referred to the Office of Risk Management. (1/04)

What is the proper account to use in recording gains and losses on rate of exchange conversions when valuing the June 30 balances in foreign bank accounts?

This situation only applies to International Education which has been authorized to use foreign bank accounts to administer international programs. At the end of each year International Education must convert the foreign bank account balance into US dollars and this can result in a gain or loss due to a change in the rate of exchange since the last conversion. These gains and losses are reported in account 231102, Unrealized Currency Gain/Loss. These gains and losses are not realized at this point. They merely reflect a change in the balance sheet value due to a change in the rate of exchange. They would be realized gains/losses if we actually withdrew the funds and converted them to US dollars at the current rate of exchange. (1/02)

What kind of fund should I use to account for registration fees and expenses for a group of students organizing a symposium for companies and students?
  1. Is this a formal student organization?
  2. If yes, is it an affiliated organization of the University or an independent organization? Refer to the Relationship Statement for the University of Colorado Student Organizations on the Student Organizations Finance Office.
  3. If it is an independent student organization then follow the Committee on Use of University Facilities policy
  4. If it is an affiliated student organization then it is already administered through the Student Organization Finance Office, and we will follow their policies.
  5. If this is not a formal student organization then you have to answer the following questions.
  6. Is the department co-hosting the event or are the students working on their own?
  7. If the students are working on their own, then they are private individuals and they should administer their activities outside of the University business and financial accounting/reporting processes except as required by the Committee on Use of University Facilities policy.
  8. If the department is co-hosting the event then we are conducting University business and all University policies and procedures must be followed in accounting for the revenue and the expense. All departmental revenue and expenses, per the agreement with the students, will be recorded in a FOPPS.
  9. The FOPPS to use depends on the department. If the department is an “auxiliary fund department” such as Housing, Athletics, etc. then the FOPPS used should be in their fund/organization structure. If the department is a “general fund” department such as an academic department, then the FOPPS should be in fund 29, Auxiliary – Non-enterprises. Do not record University business in an agency fund FOPPS, fund 80. (3/10)
Where can vendors verify that the University is exempt from federal income tax, or donors verify that contributions to the University constitute allowable deductions on the donor's tax return?

The IRS recognizes the University as exempt from federal taxes under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. A list of such organizations – including CU – can be found on the IRS website. To locate the University on this Excel table, click on the Colorado link and look or search for “Regents of the University of Colorado.”

To confirm that the University is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions, use the IRS Search for Charities page. For a pinpoint search, include “Regents of the University of Colorado” in the search criteria and select the “All of the words” radio button. (6/08)

What are the University's official numbers such as tax, FEIN, DUNS, etc.?

The following are the numbers provided by the PSC and the Treasurer's office. These numbers should be used when requested. Departments should not set up new numbers without prior approval from the Treasurer's Office.

University Numbers:

  • Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN):  84-6000555

  • Federal Excise Tax Exemption Register Number:  84-730123K

Boulder Campus Numbers:

  • Certificate of Exemption for Colorado State Sales/Use Tax (CU): 98-02565-0000

  • Certificate of Exemption for Colorado State Sales/Use Tax (Boulder campus): 98-02915-0000

  • City of Boulder Tax Exempt Number: 0-03282

  • DUNS Number: 00-743-1505 (click for other campuses)

  • State and County Sales Tax License Number: 10-12726-0000

  • City of Boulder Sales & Use Tax License Number: 0-03282-1

Tax Exempt Status of the University of Colorado

Certificate of Exemption for Colorado State Sales/Use Tax

A European company with whom we placed on online order asked for our VAT number. What is that and do we have one?

Value Added Tax (VAT) is a type of consumption tax that is placed on a product whenever value is added at a stage of production and at final sale. It is most often used in the European Union. As a U.S. entity, the University does not have a VAT number. Some vendors request certification that the University is a U.S. entity. If requested by the vendor, the international tax specialists at Employee Services can provide a certificate to show that CU is indeed a U.S. entity.

Pay & Compensation

Our auxiliary department made an Additional Pay to one of our employees and it got hit with two extra charges in addition to GAIR. I believe those are in error and should have already been paid by his regular job.

Additional Pay is used to pay wages that are not part of an employee’s regular appointment. However, they are still subject to regular fringe benefit rates which was one of the two unexpected charges that appeared. In addition, a recharge for the Eco Pass benefit is charged to auxiliaries which accounts for the small second charge. Both of these are allocations that run after the Finance System campus close at month end. (8/09)

What is the difference between an honorarium and payment for service?

An honorarium is a payment for a one-time service made to an individual as a gesture of appreciation and is considered a token payment given the services rendered and/or stature of individual rendering the services. An example of this is a guest lecture. Often, an honorarium is identified after a service has been provided although prior planning and an expectation of payment is allowable.

In contrast, payment for service is a transaction where the fee is always negotiated in advance at fair market rates and generally covers delivery of services over a period of time as opposed to a single instance.

Honoraria are discussed on the PSC website. An honorarium requires the Honorarium (HNR) form for amounts over $100, and the payment for service requires the Scope of Work (SOW) form in any amount. Both the HNR and the SOW forms require review and approval (signature) by your campus Human Resources office. SOW review must be conducted prior to any work being performed. See the the PSC Forms webpage. (7/14)

What is the proper way to process a moving expense reimbursement to an employee?

The Employee Services Procedures Guide Chapter/Section 1.1.6 Moving (Relocation) provides guidance on who qualifies for moving expense payments and the methods of payment. (4/07)

We set up an employee in payroll under the wrong jobcode that resulted in FICA and Medicare taxes being erroneously withheld from the employee and matched by the University. What do I need to do to correct this?

Employee Services and IRS policy is that the University can refund the current year plus two years of FICA and Medicare taxes. This is how far back we can correct W-2s— the process used to correct the refund with the IRS. Contact PBS for assistance on how to process any needed correction. (12/02)

How are payroll encumbrances calculated in the Finance System?
How do I reverse a payroll expense transfer?

In order to reverse a Payroll Expense Transfer (PET) you have to use the PET process to create another PET to offset the first PET. Do not use the Copy Journal process with the Reverse Signs box checked. This process does not work with PETs. Consult HRMS Step-by-Step Guides for help. (3/03)

How is the salary expense account determined?

After each payroll is run, the payroll and benefit journal entry is built and fed to the General Ledger. This interface process uses the following information to determine the salary expense account for each person and type of pay: Job Code - Earnings Code - Percent of time appointment - full-time or part-time - regular or temporary position. Contact Employee Services for more detail. (11/03)

I just discovered that one of our employees has been overpaid. What should I do? How will the salary repayment affect the benefits charged to my FOPPS?

You need to work with Employee Services to recover the salary overpayment from the employee and to ensure the payroll expense is properly credited after receiving repayment from the employee. Whether the benefit expenses will be credited depends on when the overpayment is detected and reported to PBS. Taxes and retirement will always be credited. Insurances will only be credited if the overpayment is identified within the time allowed by insurance companies to recover errors. If we cannot recover the overpayment from the insurance company then CU must retain that expense. If the overpayment error was on a sponsored project, then the insurance cost must be moved to another non-sponsored project FOPPS of the department. Worker’s compensation, unemployment compensation and annuitant’s insurance are administered by a PeopleSoft allocation process and will be credited when the salary expense is credited.  

The above assumes a return of 100% of the salary. If the overpayment is only partial (the employee retains some payment for the pay period and returns only part) then only those expenses driven as a percentage of pay such as taxes, retirement, worker’s compensation, unemployment compensation and annuitant’s insurance will be reduced. Those expenses that are a flat amount for qualifying employees such as insurance, will not be affected if the employee still qualifies to receive those benefits. Refer to Employee Services Procedures for Overpayment of Wages. (11/02)

When we use a temporary employment service, should this cost be charged to salaries and wages or to services?

These costs should be charged to a Services or Contractual Services expense account. You can use the accounts in a particular expense sub-group such as 480102 Office Services or 480105 Office Contractual Services if these are Office Administration expenses for example. Or you can use the Other Operating Accounts 552602 Other Operating Services or 552605 Other Operating Contractual Services. You may not use any salary and wage account (400100 – 418399). The salary and wage categories must be used only for payments to our employees. The salary and wage category is used for a number of things such as calculating the worker’s compensation fringe benefit rate, calculating the unemployment insurance fringe benefit rate, prorating general fund fringe benefits in the Facilities & Administrative Rate study, reporting payments to employees separate from payments to vendors in our annual financial report and on the State of Colorado annual financial report, etc. Including payments to vendors for temporary services in the salary and wage accounts distorts these calculations and financial reporting. 11/01)

What is the correct account code to use to deposit checks from Workers’ Compensation to reimburse CU for salary and wages paid?

Payment on a worker's compensation claim represents a reimbursement to the University for payroll costs paid by the University on behalf of the insurance company. These insurance proceeds cannot be used for other purposes. Therefore, record these reimbursements as a reduction of the injured employee’s payroll cost. However, because actual payroll accounts are System maintained and not available for use, you must use the appropriate Non-HRMS (NHRMS) account code for the budget pool where the original salary expense was recorded:
 
 400169 - Fac FTP Sal NHRMS
 400369 - RschFac FTP Sal NHRMS
 400549 - PRAFac FTP Sal NHRMS
 400669 - RsAsFac FTP Sal NHRMS
 400769 - OthFac FTP Sal NHRMS
 401049 - RschFac PTP Sal NHRMS
 401069 - RschFac FTT Sal NHRMS
 401099 - RschFac PTT Sal NHRMS
 401349 - Fac PTP Sal NHRMS
 401369 - Fac FTT Sal NHRMS
 401449 - Fac PTT Sal NHRMS
 401499 - PRAFac FTT Sal NHRMS
 401599 - PRAFac PTT Sal NHRMS
 401749 - PRAFac PTP Sal NHRMS
 401769 - RsAsFac FTT Sal NHRMS
 401789 - RsAsFac PTT Sal NHRMS
 401849 - RsAsFac PTP Sal NHRMS
 401899 - OthFac PTP Sal NHRMS
 401989 - OthFac PTT Sal NHRMS
 402049 - OthFac FTT Sal NHRMS
 402249 - StdFac FTP Sal NHRMS
 402299 - StdFac FTT Sal NHRMS
 402349 - StdFac PTP Sal NHRMS
 402399 - StdFac PTT Sal NHRMS
 402649 - O/E FTP Sal NHRMS
 402749 - O/E PTP Sal NHRMS
 402949 - O/E T Sal NHRMS
 405149 - Class FTP Sal NHRMS
 405249 - Class PTP Sal NHRMS
 405349 - Class FTT Sal NHRMS
 405249 - Class PTP Sal NHRMS
 405349 - Class FTT Sal NHRMS
 405449 - Class PTT Sal NHRMS
 407699 - Std Hr Pay NHRMS
 407799 - Std OnC WS Pay NHRMS
 407899 - Std OffC WS Pay NHRMS

(11/07)

How do I process a work-study PET?

The departmental end user cannot process payroll expense transfers involving work-study earnings. If you need to transfer funds that involve a work-study transaction, please complete the Hourly to Work-study Transfer Request Form. Send the completed form to the Student Employment Office (77 UCB). This form and the On-Campus Student Employment Procedures can be found on the Student Employment website. Transfers will be contingent upon student eligibility and availability of work-study funds. Additional questions should be directed to the Student Employment Office at 492-7349. (3/10)

Procurement & Travel

What is an After-the-Fact (ATF) purchase?

An After-the-Fact (ATF) purchase occurs when a department makes a purchase commitment over $5,000 before the Procurement Service Center (PSC) issues a purchase order (PO). The after-the-fact part refers to having to obtain proper approval after the commitment was made instead of before. It’s a cart before the horse thing.

The Great Divide — $5,000

For amounts that total $5,000 or less, campus departments are authorized to complete purchases using one of the approved methods (Procurement Card, CU Marketplace PO, Payment Voucher or Payment Authorization, with the last two subject to their PSC procedural statement). For amounts over $5,000, a PSC purchasing agent usually needs to finalize the order. There are some exceptions to this. For example, purchases from Marketplace catalog vendors up to $10,000 can be finalized by departments. The PSC Purchasing webpage gives a concise explanation of the University’s purchasing ground rules.

The Gotcha’s

In theory, avoiding an ATF purchase seems simple: stay below the $5,000 threshold and you’ll be OK. However, there are a number of situations in which the department believes a purchase is less than $5,000 but ends up with an invoice that exceeds $5,000. This unhappy state of affairs results in an ATF purchase. Here are some examples in which this may happen:

  • Shipping fees, especially if you use a new vendor that charges higher fees
  • Unexpected price increases from vendors
  • Purchases combined with or services shared with another department
  • Consultant fees—lengthened periods of consulting or billing all at once for services over a period of time that should have been billed separately
  • Conferences where more people attend than expected, causing an increase in lodging, catering, and other expenses
  • Lodging with dates that are extended beyond original booking
  • Travel, especially when an outside group is making the reservations
  • Late Scope of Work forms and Sole Source Justification forms—these need lots of lead time and must be completed & approved before work begins
  • PI’s, new employees, or employees with new procurement responsibilities who are unaccustomed to the University’s purchasing rules

The Consequences

A Boulder campus ATF must be approved by the campus Controller in order for the vendor’s invoice to be processed. This requires the department to submit an After-the-Fact form in CU Marketplace as described in the ATF PPS. The purpose of the ATF process is to help us comply with our purchasing rules and is largely educational. Know what to watch out for and say R.I.P. to ATFs. (9/12)

 

We found a great deal on Amazon that was much less than CU Marketplace. The cost savings in this instance is compelling. What’s the proper course of action?

On the face of it, saving money seems like a no-brainer. Price is definitely an important factor in any buying decision. The University of Colorado Fiscal Procedures require that prices are fair and reasonable, but note that it does not say lowest. There is more to consider than the selling price alone.

While “great deals” are a hallmark of Internet shopping due to pricing fluidity and global competition, finding and locking them in when you need it can involve a great deal of time. Chances are, if you went back to Amazon today, the price would be quite different.

A major goal of CU Marketplace is to support a competitive shopping experience that is fast and convenient, and that offers consistently fair and reasonable (and in many cases, the lowest) prices. In addition, buying through the Marketplace does not require the procurement card, or its attendant expense report obligations—a real timesaver. Plus, CU Marketplace transactions upload to the Finance System automatically, thus eliminating posting delays and enhancing timely reporting accuracy. All of these Marketplace attributes result in increased accuracy and efficiency, which are not necessarily reflected in the price.

Consistent use of the Marketplace leverages CU’s business relationship with our preferred vendors and provides long-term benefits to the University, including prices. Except for a handful of mandatory pricing agreements, there is latitude in the vendors with whom we choose to do business. To answer the original question, the proper course of action is to be mindful of the complete picture. Certainly, saving money is a high priority, but unrecognized costs and total value—not solely price—must be taken into account. (9/11)

We want a Standing Purchase Order (SPO) with an environmental cleanup company in case there’s a chemical accident emergency on campus. The problem is the large encumbrance reduces our available resources.

You don’t need an existing SPO if you have a true emergency. University Procurement Rules identify the steps to follow when an emergency condition arises and the need cannot be met through normal procurement methods. There are stringent requirements that must be met in order to qualify as an emergency procurement. One rather obvious one is that it must be for an emergency. We recommend that you read Section on Emergency Procurements in the Procurement Rules and then discuss your department situation and concerns with the appropriate purchasing agent. (3/10)

An employee purchased her own computer and uses it partially at work. May the department reimburse her for a share of the cost and the computer remain the personal property of the employee?

No. Any goods purchased by an employee and reimbursed by the University become the property of the University. Other than the reimbursement for the use of a private vehicle and uniform allowances, the University does not reimburse employees for the use of their personal possessions for University work. (9/02)

Can departments spend money from their FOPPS to buy materials that will be placed in our Library system?

Departments cannot spend money from their FOPPS to buy materials to be placed in the Library system. The department should transfer the money to a Library FOPPS and the funds spent from the Library FOPPS. All Library acquisitions are capitalized as part of the total cost of our library collection asset. Additionally, these costs are uniquely handled in our Facilities & Administrative rate calculation for sponsored projects. We obtain the Library acquisition costs from the Library FOPPS. Library acquisitions paid directly from departmental FOPPS would not be picked up, our Library collection value would be understated and we would have errors in our F&A rate calculation. Finally, Library materials bought from departmental FOPPS would be erroneously reported in our annual financial report under the expense purpose code of the departmental FOPPS (instruction or research for example) rather than the academic support expense purpose code designated for Library expenses. (9/01)

What is an office supply in terms of the reimbursement restrictions placed on office supplies?

Personal reimbursement for office supplies, computers, or furniture is not allowable and will not be processed. This includes reimbursement requests made by employees and non-employees. Following is a summary list of office supplies. If you have questions about items not on the list, please contact the FinProHelp Desk by email or 303-837-2161 before a questionable purchase is made with personal funds with the expectation of reimbursement.

Summary List of Office Supplies
badge holders
binders - all types
calculators - all types
calendars/inserts/day planners
cartridges/toners - all types
correction tape/fluid
desk top organizers/accessories
dry erase boards
DVDs, CDs
envelopes/mailers - all types
erasers
file storage
finger grips
folders
glues & adhesives (tape)
hole punches
index dividers
labels - all types
markers - all types
paper (white/color)
paper clips
pop up dispensers
post-it notes
push pins/thumb tacks
rubber bands
rubber stamps
scissors
scotch tape
staple removers
stickers
tablets/pads/notebooks
tape dispensers
tapes - adhesives
vinyl letters
writing instruments & refills

Can you answer my procurement card questions?

The following questions all concern the procurement card.

Q – Are Procurement Card cardholders required to make Procurement Card purchases from vendors under state contract, or can they buy that commodity from any vendor? (3/10)

A – Cardholders are expected to make purchases from vendors that have mandatory price agreements. The Procurement Card Handbook says, “Cardholders are not to use the Procurement Card to purchase items otherwise covered by a mandatory price agreement. For a list of goods/services covered by such agreements, see the Commodity Listing.”

Q – Can we use the procurement card to buy from eBay or Amazon? (6/08)

A – Yes. Cardholders may “click-through” or otherwise indicate agreement with online terms and conditions in order to complete small dollar purchases. As a matter of good business practice, cardholders should read the terms and conditions that apply to any transaction. As always, the purchase must satisfy all the other requirements in the Procurement Card Handbook and applicable PPSs such as Tests of Propriety and Sensitive Expenses.

Q – Can we use the procurement card to purchase postage? (3/02)

A –Yes. You can use the procurement card to purchase postage. However, in allocating the postage cost to your FOPPS, you cannot allocate postage to a sponsored project FOPPS (fund 30/31) unless that project is approved by Sponsored Projects Accounting to pay for postage costs. If your sponsored project FOPPS is not authorized to pay postage costs using the campus Mailing Services, then you cannot charge procurement card purchased postage to the project either. To do so would be a violation of OMB Circular A-21 and the Federal Cost Accounting Standards

Q – One of our employees inadvertently made a personal purchase using her procurement card. The employee contacted the vendor who refused to credit the procurement card so instead she reimbursed the University with a personal check. Should this be treated as revenue or as a credit to expense? (03/10)

A –This is a case where the expense should be credited because the expense was not for official University business. Crediting the expense effectively cancels it out as if it didn’t happen—which it shouldn’t have. If the vendor was willing to credit the procurement card, the transaction would also have resulted in a credit which would then be applied to the expense through the Concur Travel & Expense System allocation process. In this instance, the employee reimbursed the University for the charge with a personal check which should be deposited with a Cash Receipt that credits the expense.

In addition to reimbursement, the employee must immediately report the occurrence to the Approving Official. A copy of the check and Cash Receipt should be kept with the transaction documentation.

Q – After reviewing my monthly statement, I discovered that a procurement card charge was allocated to the wrong account. Can I fix it with a journal entry (JE)? (08/10)

A –Yes, all reallocations of card charges that have posted to the Finance System are done by JE. 

Q – Are we allowed to purchase phone cards with the Procurement Card to give out to staff and faculty to use for long distance phone charges? This would be used in place of the long distance access codes issued to campus users by OIT-Telecommunications department. (03/03)

A – No, it is not allowable to use the Procurement Card Program to purchase any phone cards where there is no itemized billing of the long distance charges showing the number the call was made to and from as well as the total time and total charges. The purchase of the phone cards where there is no itemized billing does not provide sufficient documentation as to whether calls were personal or business. There is not sufficient accountability to provide a reasonable balance of the risk with the control. OIT does not recommend the use of phone cards in place of the long distance access codes based on 1) the cost to a department for the long distance access includes the rollup and administrative time and effort to manage the billing while providing itemized information to the department and 2) auditing concerns, particularly with grant funds…again, where is the balance of risk and control to provide sufficient accountability.

Can you answer my travel questions?

Are there any limitations on traveling with General Fund money? (3/10)

Yes, but they are the same limitations that apply to all funds. You have to be traveling on approved University business and you have to follow PSC travel policies. These polices apply equally to general funds, auxiliary funds, sponsored projects funds, and gifts funds. Sponsored project funds may have other restrictions imposed by the sponsor and require OCG approval.

One of our graduate students recently requested a $200 travel advance but the request was denied. Why? (7/14)

The Cash Advances Procedural Statement on the PSC website sets the minimum advance at $500.

How are travel advances accounted for in the Finance System? Will I see the travel advance on my FOPPS until it is cleared? (8/03)

All travel advances are accounted for under a Procurement Services Center (PSC) FOPPS and you will not see it reflected in the departmental FOPPS. This facilitates the PSCs ability to keep all the advances reconciled for those issued, cleared, partially cleared, and outstanding. Departments should maintain internal records of all advances issued to faculty and staff and whether or not they have been cleared.

Can our department use a fund 10 to record travel expenses for activity done on behalf of the University of Colorado Foundation and the travel reimbursements that we receive from CUF? (2/12)

No—use a 20, 26 or 29. The Administrative Policy Statement Reimbursements for Work done on Behalf of a University of Colorado Supporting Foundation sets forth the procedure for reimbursements to employees and their immediate family members for expenses incurred on behalf of a supporting foundation. The nutshell version is that the department must have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in place with the Foundation defining what services will be performed on behalf of the Foundation. The individual(s) performs the service, gets reimbursed through the normal University mechanism, and then sends an invoice to the Foundation to reimburse the University. The Foundation invoice and supporting documentation is routed through the System Controllers Office (436 UCA) for approval.

Account code 552666, Foundation Requested Services, must be used in a Fund 10, 20, 26, or 29. Further, the reimbursement from the foundation must be deposited to the SpeedType where the expense was posted using account code 325111, Foundation Service Revenue, which falls under the Miscellaneous Income revenue classification on the account tree. However, the Boulder campus Controller has determined that Miscellaneous Income shall not be deposited to a Fund 10. Therefore, that leaves Fund 20, 26, or 29 available for your use. And you may be gratified to hear that account 552666 is exempt from GAIR. 

Do I have to get a Travel Card for a University business trip that will probably be the only one I take? (7/14)

Strictly speaking, no. The Travel Card should be used by employees who travel on official university business out-of-state more than once a year. Given your limited anticipated travel, this can apply to you. However, there are numerous benefits to using the card as spelled out in the Travel Card Handbook and its use is strongly encouraged by the PSC Travel Office. It may still be in your (and the University’s) best interests to apply for the Travel Card.

What's the difference between the two W-9 forms on the PSC Forms page?

The PSC Forms page has two types of W-9 forms. One is the CU-W9 for Vendors which is CU's own W-9 and Vendor Authorization form in place of the standard IRS W-9 Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification form. CU's form allows us to collect the information we need for both federal reporting (vendor business classifications) and internal business process (e.g., correct Remit To addresses, etc.). This is completed and signed by external vendors so that the University can purchase and pay for goods and services from that vendor. The other is the Signed W-9 for CU – a standard W-9 form already completed and signed by the University and available to vendors when the vendor will be paying CU for something.

Occasionally, vendors have developed their own modified W-9 form and they typically ask the organizational unit they are working with to sign that modified form instead of using the signed CU version on the web. Do not sign their modified W-9—only designated individuals are authorized to sign a W-9 form on behalf of the University of Colorado. The Instructions link next to the “W-9 Signed by CU” form directs the vendor who wishes CU to complete a modified W-9 form to fax that form to the Finance and Procurement Help Desk at 303-837-2160. The Help Desk will work with the Associate Vice President and University Controller to obtain a properly completed and signed copy for the vendor. Please contact FinProHelp at 303-837-2161 if you have further questions. (6/08)

Reporting

On my financial reports, what do ESP, APES, ESE, and ESA mean?

These are all acronyms created by the Concur Travel & Expense System. (3/10)

  • ESE – Expense System Employee (reimbursement) 
  • EST – Expense System Travel (card)
  • ESA – Expense System Advance (cash advance)
  • ESP – Expense System Procurement (card)
What reports do I run to verify the fiscal roles in the Finance System and the “Reports To” data in HRMS? I want to verify that these are complete and correct.

This is a good practice to do periodically because accurate information is needed for several key University business processes including the Expense System. For "Reports To" data, run the Department Org Report in HRMS. It lists all employees in an org with each employee’s “reports to” and appointing authority. Navigation: Home > Reports and Reviews > Job Information > Department Org Report.

To find the fiscal roles for your org’s SpeedTypes, use the Speedtype with Fiscal Roles Look Up report in the Cognos Reporting System: CU Reporting > Finance > Look Ups

 Send any program fiscal role corrections to accounting@colorado.edu.

 

 

How do we aggregate our project's multiple subclasses into one report?

Run a report by project and be sure to select break by project, and this will aggregate the data for all the SpeedTypes (subclasses) for that project.

Revenue

Must ID revenue/expense accounts be used for transactions between departments that are on different campuses?

Yes, use Inter-Departmental (ID) accounts as long as the selling FOPPS is not an Auxiliary Enterprise or an Internal Service Center (ISC). Internal sales within the University are treated consistently whether the transaction takes place between departments on the same campus or between departments on different campuses. Auxiliary Enterprises (Expense Purpose Code of 2000) must use the revenue account range 280000–289999 in order to identify this TABOR-exempt revenue. Internal Service Centers (EPC 2100) must use revenue account range 380000–389999 for interdepartmental sales. For ISC sales to entities outside the University or to Fund 80 (Agency) FOPPS, use miscellaneous revenue accounts 325000–334999.

Non-Auxiliary Enterprise FOPPS in Fund 10, 20, 26, or 29 that make occasional sales to other University departments—on the same campus or on another campus—must use ID Revenue account range 390000–395999 and the purchasing FOPPS must use an appropriate ID Expense account. ID Expense accounts appear in more than a single range in the Chart of accounts, but all are preceded by the “ID” designation.

The reason behind using these specific accounts is so the University does not inflate total revenue and expense that results from internal sales. For more on this topic, see Chapter 4 of the Guide. (5/10)

What is the proper accounting for Instructional Fees?

Per the State of Colorado Higher Education Accounting Standard #2 issued by the State Controller, Instructional Fees are defined as those mandatory fees charged to students where the fee is directly related to specific instructional programs. This includes fees related to whole academic programmatic areas as well as to specific course fees. Examples of this type of fee are a lab fee (e.g., chemistry, anatomy), a microscope fee (when the microscope is required for a particular program or course), music fee, physical education fee, and program fee, (i.e., school of business or college of engineering fee). These fees are recorded in the "Tuition and Fees" program code.

All instructional fees are accounted for in the general fund (fund 10) except for instructional fees charged by Continuing Education that are accounted for in their FOPPS in the Auxiliary TABOR Enterprises fund (fund 20). If the fee has been approved to be dedicated to a specific program, then an expense budget is set up for that program and the continuing expense budget is adjusted at various times during the year to equal the actual fee revenue collected. (10/02)

How do I account for insurance proceeds?

If your department receives an insurance check for a loss on equipment or other property damage, the check should be deposited to a Renewal & Replacement plant fund (72 or 78) into account code 325400, Insurance Recoveries. Always use account 325400 because these monies are considered non-operating revenue and account 325400 records it as such. Using another revenue account runs the risk of being improperly classified as operating revenue, for example, SSEA (250100) or Miscellaneous Revenue (325100), and would cause our financial statements to be misstated.

There are actually two economic events that occur here. The first is the loss of the property and subsequent insurance payment. The second is the decision on how to use the insurance proceeds. Receiving the insurance check does not require that it be used to replace or repair the asset. We could forgo the asset and use the funds for something else. If used for repair or replacement, do not mistakenly credit the insurance check against such cost. The proper accounting is to record these as two events. Contact your area accountant if you have questions.

Refer to the Revenue Definition & Recognition section of the Accounting Handbook.  (1/13)

What is the correct fund to use to account for departmental self-generated revenue?

Departmental self-generated revenue, sales of goods and/or services to parties external to the University, are accounted for in a 2x fund as appropriate for the type of revenue.

  • Fund 20 – For all revenue of designated TABOR Enterprises
  • Fund 26 – For royalty revenue and fixed price contract residuals
  • Fund 28 – For designated Internal Service Centers
  • Fund 29 – For all other departmental self-generated revenue

Do not record departmental self-generated revenue in the general fund (fund 10), grants and contracts (funds 30/31), gift fund (fund 34), or renewal and replacement plant funds (funds 72/78). (5/02)

I'm confused about profit vs. revenue, self-generated revenue, and why we have to pay GAIR.

The following are a series of questions that explain related issues that start with the concept of profit vs. revenue. 

Q –Our department sponsored an event that included the participation of an outside organization. The room rental cost $482 and the UMC charged that to our Fund 10. The outside organization then sent us a $482 check as payment for the room. Since we didn’t earn any revenue because we didn’t make a profit, should we just credit the expense? (08/06)

A – No, do not credit the expense. Revenues are inflows or increases in financial resources of the University from delivering or producing goods, rendering services, or other activities that constitute the University’s operations. It doesn’t matter if you sold at a profit, a loss, or in your case, broke even. Profit and revenue are not the same thing, although there is a connection between them. Profit is the excess of revenues over outflows in a given period of time. If you sell something, you earn revenue. Therefore, this does not qualify as an expense credit. You earned revenue and must enter it as revenue.

Q – Do I enter the revenue to my Fund 10 where the expense is?

A – No, don't post self-generated revenue to Fund 10. Fund 10 is limited primarily to revenues generated from State appropriations, tuition, instructional fees, administrative student fees, and some student activity fees. The campus keeps these revenues separate and clean from all other sources of the campus. Departmental self-generated revenue, such as the room rental revenue, should be recorded in a 2x Fund.

Q – But isn’t everything we do to earn revenue really self-generated? I mean, we have to do something to get money. What’s the difference?

A – If you look at the sources of revenue for Fund 10, they are the result of one of our core activities: education of students. All of Fund 10 is essentially managed as one large operation. The money that the University receives for this is pooled at the campus level and then expense budgets equal to the revenue budgets are allocated internally to keep the whole operation going. This ends up as expense budget in your Fund 10. So yes, you do have to perform your normal departmental functions to receive this budget, but that’s because the University considers those as necessary functions to run the University business. But when your department gets paid for doing something outside of and in addition to this process, that’s considered departmentally self-generated revenue.

Q – OK, we have to record the revenue in a Fund 2x. Can we leave the expense in Fund 10 to avoid GAIR? Otherwise it seems like we get penalized.

A – Preferably, expenses and revenues that result from the same business activity are posted to the same FOPPS. This matches costs with revenues. The $482 room rental cost is clearly identifiable and makes this relatively easy to do. If the expense is moved from Fund 10 to 2x, that frees up Fund 10 budget. If the expense stays in Fund 10 while the revenue is put in Fund 2x, eventually that revenue will be spent on something and you’ll pay GAIR at that time. Either way, you’ll pay GAIR.

The Fund 10 budgeting process funds the cost of the University administration and common services that support the generation of Fund 10 revenues. The Fund 2x group falls under auxiliary and self-funded activities. The term self-funded indicates those operations should cover not only the direct costs of the operation but also a share of the indirect costs that support those operations. GAIR is designed to allocate a portion of fund 10 University administration and common services to recognize the support provided to the self-funded operations of the campus.

In what fund do we account for royalty income?

Royalty income is exempt from TABOR reporting and is accounted for in fund 26 – Auxiliary-Other Exempt for most departments. Departments that have been designated a TABOR Enterprise will account for their royalty income in fund 20. Fund 29 is not exempt from TABOR and cannot be used to account for royalty revenue. (5/02)

What is the proper accounting for obtaining tickets from Athletics or for other events and making them available to our clients?

This depends on the arrangement you make with Athletics or any other department putting on the event. 

First scenario: You can return any unsold tickets to Athletics. You are basically taking the tickets on consignment. Deposit all ticket sales into a fund 29 FOPPS as revenue. Upon settling up with Athletics, move the revenue from your fund 29 FOPPS to the Athletics FOPPS they designate and return any unsold tickets.

Second scenario: You are buying a block of tickets from Athletics and any unsold tickets you have to keep. When you buy the tickets from Athletics, you should record an expense in a fund 29 FOPPS and Athletics will record ticket revenue. You need to use the ID Revenue and Expense accounts for this interdepartmental transaction. All proceeds from your ticket sales should be deposited as revenue to your fund 29 FOPPS.

Sensitive Expenses

How does our department host an official function where alcohol is served?

All events with alcohol must be scheduled and approved using the Event with Alcohol Authorization Form. Routing instructions are on the form. For complete information, consult the Events with Alcohol webpage. (2/12)

Can our department purchase prepaid calling cards?

No. The biggest issue with using prepaid calling cards is that there is no record of who was called and how much each call cost. So, there is no valid documentation to support this as official University business. (8/03)

My department is considering supplying clothing with our logo to the staff and faculty. Can we do that with University funds?

Yes, a department can provide articles of clothing—shirts for example—to employees with department logos. If the clothing is considered acceptable for street wear, then you have two options.

  • If you allow the people to keep the shirts and the shirts are collectively valued at over $75, the total value is tax reportable on their W2.

  • If you require the people to turn in the shirts when they leave, then there is no tax consequence to the employee. But you have to have a system to track who has shirts and ensure they are turned in when they leave. This would be part of your employee check-out process. If they are not turned in, then you would do the W2 tax reporting.

This does not apply to uniforms where University of Colorado Fiscal Procedure 2-8 allows for uniforms at no charge, at a reduced charge, or through a uniform allowance. However, the type of clothing discussed in this Q&A does not qualify as a uniform. A uniform is not an article of clothing commonly worn as street clothes. For example, our police officers would not wear their uniforms to be out in public in general. If an article of clothing is such that the logo would be acceptable to wear the clothing in general—to the store, PTA, Buff's game, etc.—then it is not a uniform. Also, uniforms are usually required to be worn. These articles of clothing frequently are not required, meaning if you show up to work without it you won't be sent home to put it on. See the Sensitive Expenses Procedural Statement on the PSC website Uniforms and Work Clothes topic for additional information. (7/14)

How do we process a financial aid award to one of our students?

All financial aid payments must be managed through the Office of Financial Aid (OFA). OFA needs to be aware of all financial aid payments to students in order to make sure that departmentally awarded financial aid does not impact or alter the financial aid package awarded by OFA. Contact OFA for instructions on how to process departmentally awarded financial aid. (8/03)

What is a staff appreciation meal?

Several questions about staff appreciation meals appear below.

Q – What is a staff appreciation meal?

A– The Sensitive Expenses Procedural Statement on the PSC website > scroll to recognition says that a staff appreciation meal is an infrequent, unique, official function that is hosted and attended by the head of an organizational unit for the purpose of showing appreciation to a continuing or departing staff member, or a group of staff members. Staff appreciation meals must adhere to the following:

  1. Other than the meal itself, a staff appreciation meal includes no additional recognition awards, rewards, or prizes. (If it does involve any of these, it is considered to be an employee recognition event, and is subject to the guidelines stated in Section B of this PPS.
  2. Approval procedures set forth in theOfficial Functions PPS and
  3. If alcoholic beverages are served, then theAlcoholic Beverages Purchased for University Events APS and related procedures must be followed.

Q–Can family be invited?

A–Immediate family and/or domestic partners can be included only if they have contributed to the success of the staff and can therefore rightfully share in the appreciation. Since it is generally thought that family support is a major contributing factor to work success, this would normally be allowable. It should be indicated in the business purpose of the Official Function and suggested wording is,"Staff appreciation meal with the inclusion of staff immediate family members and/or domestic partners to recognize the support to the University."Having family attend more than one recognition event per year for an organization unit is unusual and would require further justification.

Q–We held a summer staff appreciation picnic. Can we have another staff appreciation event in December?

A–Remember that staff appreciation meals are infrequent, but that term is not defined in the policy, so other considerations come to the fore. Can the additional recognition be justified in the business purpose? Ultimately the Fiscal Principal must apply judgment and take into account the variety of factors that make an organizational unit successful in carrying out its mission. Care must be used so that employees are recognized for identifiable reasons and that this is perceived as infrequent both inside and outside the university.

Q – Can a staff appreciation meal be held in place of a “holiday party”?

A–“Holiday parties" per se are not allowed by the University of Colorado in response to a November 2005 State audit that stated the University should develop written descriptions for expenses to ensure that they are necessary and reasonable for University business. However, staff appreciation meals timed to coincide with a University holiday is allowable, but it cannot be called anything related to a holiday such as "holiday meal," "Thanksgiving party," "4th of July Picnic," etc.

Q – Since "holiday" parties labeled as such are not allowed, can we organize an informal employee gathering, which may or may not be held around the holidays, and that involves no direct expenditure of University funds? The most obvious example is the proverbial holiday potluck lunch. If we remove the “holiday,” can we still have the potluck?

A – Yes, you can have the potluck and you can even keep the “holiday” part. This is not an official function, uses no University cash, and conducts no University business. It is an informal meal among staff. The use of University resources (email to announce, space to prepare and serve, etc.) is not material. People have to eat.

Can our department pay for the internet expenses incurred in an employee’s home or personal office if used exclusively for University business?

This issue was considered by the Office of University Controller who released the following policy on October 4, 2007 that becomes effective January 1, 2008: 

Home internet service is not an allowable expense. Exceptions can be requested from the appropriate Vice President or Vice Chancellor for Finance for reimbursement that is temporary in nature due to changes in job requirements or personal status (e.g., access from remote location home while on sabbatical). This authority can be delegated to one person (per campus) via a written memo to the University Controller. 

The reason for this is twofold. First, it ensures consistency among the campuses. Second, it recognizes that the IRS views this type of expense as personal in nature and therefore, if paid by the employer, it becomes reportable income to the employee.

Our department sponsors a lunch for new employees attending the New Employee Orientation program. Is this allowable?

Yes. New Employee Orientation is a "training function" and the provision of food during training functions is allowable per the Sensitive Expenses Procedural Statement on the PSC website. (7/14)

Can our department purchase aspirin, Advil, antacids, or the like for use by our employees?

If you can answer “Yes” to all of the questions in the Propriety of Expenses (APS) then it would be considered allowable. However, these items appear to be more of a personal nature which requires the employee to provide for his or her own needs. If similar items were included in an emergency first aid kit purchased by the department, then that would be more appropriate. (5/07)

Our department hosted a recruiting weekend for prospective graduate students that included a ski trip to Eldora. Is this an allowable expense?

A ski trip is normally not an allowable recruitment expense. The Sensitive Expenses PPS item Recruiting Costs for Prospective Employees/Students states that recruitment activities must be directly related to the work position or field of study. Social activities outside of meals that do not highlight the academic program or the work position do not meet the test. There must be a clear and direct connection between the activity and the area of study/work. Anything outside of this is a personal expense and is not reimbursable by the University. However, exceptions may be authorized by the appropriate officer and should be obtained in advance of the expenditure. (5/08)

Is it allowable for a faculty member to take visiting colleagues here for a meeting or research purposes out to dinner?

This is considered allowable in the Sensitive Expenses PPS. These visiting colleagues were associates of CU, the meeting was an infrequent occurrence, and the meeting involved participants from more than one entity, operating unit, or campus. In general, meals with only employees or associates for the purposes of discussing work are not allowed for official functions. Note that official function expenditures are usually unallowable costs to sponsored projects.

Can we use University funds to establish someone as a notary and also for the cost of maintaining the annual notary license?

The Administrative Policy Statement on License and Certification Fees, Memberships, or Dues, states: "University funds should not be used for a license or certification that does not benefit the University and is solely for the professional development or advancement of an employee. Benefit to the University is measured through the receipt of support or information, as a result of having the license or certification, which is necessary to accomplish or foster the educational, research, or public service mission of the University." It further states:

  1. "The license or certification is required for university employment. Note: “Required for university employment” means that the license or certification is indicated as a mandatory criterion for employment, not as a preferred criterion or an absent one.
  2. There must be an equitable provision of the licenses or certifications throughout the organizational unit.
  3. There is a reasonable expectation that the license or certification will be used solely for the purpose of providing services to the University, and not for providing services to others for a fee or other compensation. Organizational units should inform employees that if a license or certification paid for by university funds is used for anything other than university business, then the additional compensation generated by the license or the certification, or the value of the license or certification fee (whichever is less) must be reimbursed to the University."

So, if a department can make the above representations relative to the notary license, then using University funds for its set-up and maintenance is allowable. The important point is that the notary license be used onlyfor University business. (4/07)

 

Is it permissible to buy a small gift for graduating members of student government in our college?

 Yes, this is permissible. The PSC Procedural Statement (PPS) on Recognition and Training addresses recognition awards for employees and non-employees, which includes students.

If you will only be giving token gifts valued at less than $100, and if recipients will not receive more than $100 worth of these gifts within a calendar year, then you do not need to establish a formal recognition program.

If the gift is valued at $100 or more, your department will need to establish a formal recognition program authorized by the Org fiscal principal. Most departments attach the documentation about the recognition program to the Recognition Reporting (RR) form. (3/10)

Can we use University funds to pay the registration fee to participate in a campus softball league?

No. The Sensitive Expenses PPS excludes non-work related activities and their related costs, such as sporting league registrations/fees and team uniforms. (5/05)

Can spouses or significant others be included in University events with meals?

The Tests of Propriety PPS applies to all purchases using University resources. The answer to all eight of the following questions must be "Yes" in regards to including spouses or significant others to a university event where food is provided. 

  1. For official university business?
  2. In the best interests of the University?
  3. The most effective way to accomplish official university business? Meaning that, without the expenses, would programmatic objectives be difficult or otherwise more costly to achieve? Or would the impact, level, or quality of the achievement be reduced?
  4. In compliance with applicable policies, laws, regulations, and rules; and contracts, grants, and donor restrictions including having the required approvals and authorizations by the appropriate fiscal role?
  5. Within the available resources of the responsibility unit, taking into consideration all outstanding commitments and encumbrances?
  6. Directly beneficial to the responsibility unit where it is being charged?
  7. Reasonable? Meaning that the quantity and quality of goods or services being purchased is sufficient to meet the University’s identified need without exceeding it.
  8. In compliance with university conflict of interest provisions? Meaning that, if an employee derives private gain, or appears to derive private gain, as a result of the transaction, then the transaction violates the conflict of interest provisions stated in Regent Law, Regent Policy, and in the Administrative Policy Statement, "Conflicts of Interest and Commitment."

The Tests of Propriety PPS says this about the Tests of Propriety and Immediate Family Members:

"Generally, it is the policy of the University not to pay for the attendance of an employee’s immediate family member(s) to attend an event, function, or activity. However, there are limited instances, such as external community relations or fundraising functions, where it is deemed necessary for an immediate family member(s) to attend an event for the purpose of promoting the University. The attendance of immediate family members at such events must be limited to those individuals necessary to represent the University. Limiting attendance by immediate family members will ensure expenses are kept to an absolute minimum."

In addition, the Recognition and Training PPS states: "Attendance at employee recognition events should be limited to those that are necessary to recognize the individual(s) receiving the award, reward, or prize. Limiting attendance will ensure expenditures are kept to a minimum. In certain circumstances, however, it may be appropriate for an immediate family member(s) to attend the recognition event. One such example would be a retirement function." Another example would be at a staff appreciation meal timed to coincide with a University holiday.

The following are questions and the responses to those questions. The references cited are to the matrix found within the PSC Sensitive Expenses PPS. Eight sample scenarios, involving official functions attended by spouses or significant others, follow. The Official Functions PPS also applies.

1. Dinner for a student recruitment function that includes two faculty members, a graduate student, and their spouses. Answer: Allowable as a student function for faculty members and students. Meals provided for spouses are allowable only when the above eight tests of propriety are met.

2. Dinner for recruiting faculty members involving the recruits, the recruits’ spouses, faculty members, and faculty members’ spouses. Spouses invited for fostering a sense of community. Answer: Allowable as a recruitment function for faculty members, the recruits, and the recruits’ spouses. Meals provided for spouses are allowable only when the above eight tests of propriety are met.

3. A department chair hosted a reception to include faculty members from the department, faculty members from other campuses, a guest speaker, and the chair’s spouse. Answer: Allowable as an official function for faculty members, the speaker, and the chair’s spouse.

4. Dinner for a large number of departmental members, a guest speaker, and a few employees’ spouses. Answer: Allowable for the employees and the speaker as an official function. Meals provided for spouses are allowable if the above eight tests of propriety are met. The event invitation should be limited to those employees/individuals necessary to and directly involved with the event functions.

5. Food for a faculty and a non-CU employee colleague to conduct research for a book at the faculty member’s home during a two-week project time. The faculty member’s spouse occasionally joined their meals. Answer: Not allowable as an official function for all attending. However, meals for a non-CU employee in travel status can be allowed by complying with applicable Procurement Service Center Travel PPS.

6. Food for a welcome-back picnic held at the beginning of the fall semester to which faculty, staff, students, and their families are invited. Answer: Allowable as a student function.

7. Food for a staff appreciation event timed to celebrate a University-recognized holiday. Answer: Immediate family and/or domestic partners can be included because it is generally thought that family support is a major contributing factor to work success. It should be indicated in the business purpose of the Official Function and suggested wording is, "Staff appreciation meal with the inclusion of staff immediate family members and/or domestic partners to recognize the support to the University." Having family attend more than one recognition event per year for an organization unit is unusual and would require further justification.

8. Dinner for a fundraising function including a guest speaker, the speaker’s spouse, some donors, board members of a Center, board members’ spouses, some faculty members, and faculty members’ spouses. Answer: Allowable as an official function for the speaker, the speaker’s spouse, donors, the Center’s board members, and faculty members. Meals provided for faculty members’ spouses and the Center’s board members’ spouses who meet the definition of associates are allowed.

In general, official function expenditures are treated as unallowable costs to sponsored research projects and internal service center (ISC) programs according to the OMB Circular A-21. (3/10)

An array of sensitive expenditure examples.

The Propriety of Expenses APS, the Official Functions PPS and Sensitive Expenses PPS have generated a number of questions from the departments. The following are examples of the questions received by ABS and our response to those questions. We hope this provides additional guidance to the departments in making these expenditure decisions. The Sensitive Expenses PPS matrix provides the basis for the ABS response. (3/10)

1. Food for meetings of student societies (usually pizza or box lunches). Answer: Allowable as a student function related to student or educational development. Official Functions PPS applies.

2. Food for student society banquets, initiation dinners (usually three per year). Answer: Allowable as a student function. Official Functions PPS applies.

3. Student welcome barbeques, picnics, ice cream socials for new members. Answer: Allowable as a student function. 

4. Dinners off-campus with student faculty advisors. Answer: If students are attending then this is allowable as a student function. If this is only departmental employees discussing departmental business, then it is unallowable because this is considered a normal workday-type function that could be held during regular business hours.

5. An event with food to name a seminar room after a deceased individual as an honor. Answer: Allowable as a goodwill function. Official Functions PPS applies.

6. Food for a department retreat. Answer: Allowable as an Employee Training event if this is truly an infrequent planning retreat. If this is a regular departmental business planning meeting, then it is unallowable. Official Functions PPS and Recognition and Training PPS apply.

7. A department recruits student volunteers to help move stuff (furniture, equipment, etc.). The department will compensate the students by buying them lunch/dinner (pizza, sandwiches). Answer: Allowable as an honoraria if the students are agreeing to help out for free and you elect to honor them (honorarium) for their contribution with a meal. SeeHonorariaAPS. If it is a negotiated agreement then you have pay for service through a barter arrangement. Barter arrangements should be documented in a contract and you should get Legal Services approval of the contract. These should also be booked as revenue and expense and may have to be reported to the IRS. It is best to avoid barter arrangements.

8. Lunch for faculty and non-faculty members that come together over the weekend (8 hours) to judge films. Answer: Allowable as an official function as long as film judging qualifies as official University business. Official Functions PPS applies.

9. A once-a-year party at the end of the school year, or a beginning of the year picnic rather than on an officially observed holiday. Answer: Allowable as an employee recognition function. Recognition and Training PPS applies.

10. An NSF grant includes workshop luncheons for Chairs across the campus and token gifts (pens and mugs). Token gifts are going to University employees. The grant doesn't specifically provide for these items, but the PI could request backup from NSF agreeing that these expenses are reasonable. Answer: First of all, make sure that you have documented approval from NSF that these are allowable expenditures of the grant. Luncheon is allowable as a multi-unit unit event. Gifts or tokens for employees valued at less than $100 (individually or in aggregate per person per calendar year) are allowed. Gifts or tokens for non-employees are also allowed. Recognition and Training PPS applies.

11. External companies visit the department to do recruiting events for graduate students. The department orders the food through CU and pays for it out of their gift FOPPS. The external companies reimburse the department for the costs. The department deposits the check back into the gift FOPPS crediting the expense. Answer: The purchase of the food is allowed as a student function assuming this activity is allowed by the donor restrictions of the gift FOPPS. However, incurring an expense (food) to be reimbursed by an outside entity is a violation of our Revenue Definition and Recognition practice. Payments from outside organizations may only reduce our expenses under very limited circumstances and this is not one of them. The department should either stop this practice or deposit the payment from the outside companies to a fund 29 FOPPS and use that to pay for the food—essentially, providing this service to the outside companies for a fee. Please refer to Revenue Q&As. 

12. Lunch with new faculty across the campus to orient them to a specific program. Answer: Allowable as official function. 

13. Graduate students lunching with colloquium speakers (non-university employees). Answer: Allowable as a student function. 

14. Food at colloquium or seminars with outside speakers (non-university employees). Answer: Allowable as an official function.

15. Faculty having dinner with outside speakers. Answer: Allowable as an official function.

16. Award ceremonies for students. Answer: Allowable as an official function for student educational development.

17. Award ceremonies for employees. Answer: Allowable as an employee recognition event. 

18. Dinner honoring an employee (faculty) for outstanding contribution. Answer: Allowable as an employee recognition event. 

19. Dinner for employees attending a lengthy working meeting after hours. Answer: Generally not allowable because this should normally be considered and scheduled as a regular workday-type function, not an Official Function. However, other factors may apply and can be taken into consideration such as meetings that: 1) involve multi-units; 2) cannot be effectively scheduled or completed during normal business hours; 3) are non-routine and infrequent; 4) involve urgent university business. Consult your Area Accountant if you are not sure.

20. Food provided at a conference hosted by CU. Answer: Allowable as long as the food is covered by the conference registration fee.

21. A non-cash token for a non-employee to recognize unpaid volunteer work done for the department. Answer: Allowable as a token to a non-employee.

22. Bottled water service for the office. Unallowable as food and related consumable items for the employee’s personal consumption. However, this is allowable under. if it is a beverage service available in the general public area or reception area of a Department hosted by a University employee at or above the Chair or Director.

How do we handle personal calls made on University cell phones?

Employees should be reminded that University provided cell phones are for University business only and not to be used for personal use. The Personal Technology and Telecommunications PPS governs the use of university-supplied cell phones. That policy states, "The University generally will not require reimbursement for an occasional personal call that does not result in incremental costs to the University provided the call enabled the individual to meet personal needs while achieving more efficient, effective conduct of university duties. The fiscal principal of the organizational unit is responsible for addressing patterns of personal calls that would create university exposure under tax law and other governmental regulations."

If any employee has a frequent rate of personal use of a University provided cell phone, the department should consider canceling the University provided phone. The employee can then provide a personal phone and get reimbursed for any University business. This would be similar to reimbursing an employee for mileage for driving his/her personal car on University business. (8/10)

Should uniform allowances be paid through payroll or accounts payable?

University of Colorado Fiscal Procedures 2-8, Miscellaneous Compensation and Other Benefits (Perquisites) says that uniforms required to be worn by University employees and the necessary maintenance of these uniforms may be provided to the employee by the University at no charge, or at a reduced charge, or through a uniform allowance. Therefore, departments may incur the direct cost of providing the uniform and its maintenance or it may pay a uniform allowance to the employee. The following information has been provided by PBS Tax Services.

Issue: 

For tax purposes, should certain "allowances" paid to campus police and security guards be considered as reimbursements of business expenses, or additional compensation?

Example Facts of Current Process:

The department has two allowances involved. Administrative personnel in the department have been operating under the assumption that these allowances should be treated as reimbursements to the recipients. These payments are currently being processed through Accounts Payable. 

First, there is an initial allowance paid to campus employees when they are hired, to enable them to buy the uniforms and equipment required for the job. It consists of two parts: the first part of it is $1,000, but it is in the form of a standing purchase order with specific vendors (i.e., it is not given in cash). The recipient of the allowance can use the money only to buy specified gear from the specified vendor. The recipient cannot use any amount not spent as specified. The second part of the initial allowance is a flat cash amount, (equal to two quarterly allowances, explained below). The cash amount of the initial allowance is given to the recipients to help offset the considerable additional costs they will incur in getting themselves established as Boulder employees. The individuals are not required to substantiate their expenditures. They are, however, required to return at least some portion of these cash initial allowances if they do not work for the University for a certain period of time.

Second, a quarterly allowance is paid to the employees every quarter. The quarterly allowances are a flat dollar amount. The expectation is that the quarterly allowance will be used for cleaning, repairs, replacement etc. to the individual's required service uniforms and equipment. The recipients of the quarterly allowances are not required to do any sort of substantiation of these expenses. There is no requirement to return excess amounts (if any) not spent for cleaning, repairs, replacement, etc. to the individual's required service uniforms and equipment.

Analysis and Discussion:

Compensation for services is considered as gross income to the recipient (Internal Revenue Code section 61) unless specifically excluded pursuant to federal tax law. It follows that payments by an employer to an employee for services are considered as gross income to the employee. Normally those kinds of payments also meet the tax definition of "wages," pursuant to Internal Revenue Code ("IRC") section 3401, unless a specific exception applies. 

An exclusion from gross income, described in IRC 62, is provided for "certain trade or business deductions of employees." Under certain circumstances, an exclusion is provided for employer reimbursements of ordinary and necessary business expenses that are paid by an employee who is working for that employer. In order for these payments to qualify for exclusion, the expenses must first meet the tax definition of trade or business expenses, (found in IRC section 162). IRC section 62 and the regulations thereunder state that in order for employee business expense reimbursements to be excludable, the expenses must: (1) have a business connection, (2) be properly substantiated, and (3) employees must be required to return any amounts in excess of expenses. Business expenses reimbursed according to these rules are said to be made under an "accountable plan." Other business expense reimbursement arrangements are called "non-accountable plans." 

Employee business expense reimbursements paid under non-accountable plans do not qualify for exclusion from gross income, and are subject to payroll taxes and withholding. The regulations under IRC section 62 state that expenses attributable to amounts included in gross income under non-accountable plans may be deducted by the employee as a miscellaneous itemized deduction on his or her tax return, provided the employee can properly substantiate those expenses.

When we think about the tax rules for properly substantiating business expenses according to the accountable plan rules, in most cases we think about employees submitting receipts for the expenses. However, there are some exceptions to the requirement for receipts. One good example of such an exception is the use of "per diem" amounts in place of receipts for employee's meals during times the employee is traveling on business for the employer.

Certain fringe benefits are excludable from gross income pursuant to IRC section 132. One of those fringe benefits is the "working condition fringe benefit" defined in IRC section 132(d) as "any property or services provided to an employee of the employer to the extent that, if the employee paid for such property or services, such payment would be allowable as a deduction under section 162..."

To qualify for exclusion as a working condition fringe benefit, the regulations under IRC section 132 state that the employee must meet three requirements. The employee must be required to (1) use the payment for expenses in connection with a specific or pre-arranged activity which would qualify as an ordinary and necessary trade or business expense, (2) verify that the payment was actually used for such expenses, and (3) return to the employer any portion of the payment that is not used as prescribed.

Conclusion:

The initial allowance amount of $1,000 that is not paid in cash would be considered as a working condition fringe benefit. The second part of the initial allowance, consisting of a cash amount equal to two quarterly allowances, would probably also be considered as a working condition fringe benefit. The employee will incur substantial uniform and equipment costs when he or she is first employed, which might fulfill the verification requirement. There is a requirement that the allowance be returned if the individual does not work for a certain period of time, which might be enough to satisfy the requirement that any excess be returned to the employer. In order to make sure that this initial cash allowance qualifies for exclusion as a working condition fringe benefit, there should be a written policy that: states how the money should be used, requires employees to verify the payment is actually used for such expenses, and requires employees to return any excess amounts to the employer.

The on-going quarterly allowance paid to the employees every quarter does not qualify for exclusion. Although the expectation is that the quarterly allowance will be used for cleaning, repairs, replacement etc. to the individual's required service uniforms and equipment, there is no requirement that the money be used for that purpose. Additionally, the employees are not required to verify or substantiate how the money is used, and there is no requirement to return excess amounts.

If an allowance qualifies as a working condition fringe benefit, the allowance is excludable from the employee’s wages. If an allowance is not considered as paid under an accountable plan, or does not qualify as a working condition fringe benefit, the payment is considered wages to the employee. The payment should be made through the PeopleSoft HR system, and an earnings code of "ALW" should be used. Using that earnings code will make the payment subject to the appropriate payroll taxes and withholding, but the payment will not be considered as compensation for the employee's retirement plan (PERA or the Optional Retirement Plan, as applicable).

Therefore, to ensure compliance with the letter of the regulations, if a cash allowance is provided to the employees without being based on documentation of actual expenses incurred, this should be paid through the PeopleSoft HR system as described above. If a reimbursement is paid to the employees based on documentation of actual expenses incurred, this should be paid through Accounts Payable using regular PSC reimbursement processes. (12/02)

How do I process card transactions for personal expenses?

If you prepare Travel Card or Procurement Card expense reports—or if you reconcile card transactions on financial statements—you should know how to handle personal expenses. Following is a summary of the right way to do it for each type of card.

The Travel Card is used to cover expenses related to a University trip. This includes personal expenses for which the traveler will not be seeking reimbursement, e.g., video in hotel room, room service, restaurant meals. In Concur, use the Expense Type Personal Travel Charge. This creates an account receivable (013109–Company Card Personal Charges) in the SpeedType used on the expense report header. When the expense report is finalized, the traveler will know if he/she owes money to CU…or if CU owes money to the traveler.          

Reimbursing CU: If the traveler owes money to CU, the traveler makes out a personal check to the University and deposits it with the Office of Cash Management. The Cash Receipt form must use the same SpeedType that recorded the receivable and the same Account (013109). Depositing the reimbursement elsewhere will cause the original personal charge to stay on the books until corrected—and it must be corrected! Attach the validated cash receipt to the expense report to document the reimbursement.

Financial statement reviewers should verify that the reimbursement deposit and the expense report charge actually meet in the same SpeedType and Account.

The Procurement Card is not allowed to be used for personal expenses. When inadvertent personal purchases do occur, they need immediate corrective action. The preferred action is for the cardholder to contact the vendor and pay personally—then obtain a credit from the vendor on the Procurement Card. In Concur, record that credit on the expense report in the same SpeedType/Account as the original personal charge.

If it is not possible to obtain a credit from the vendor, the cardholder must reimburse CU as described above. One difference: In Concur, use the Expense Type Commercial Card Personal Charge (013109) on the expense report. Remember to notify the Approving Official of personal charges per the Procurement Card Handbook. If you have questions, feel free to contact your area accountant.

Sponsored Projects

How do we process cash awards paid by a sponsored project to employees and non-employees?

The Recognition and Training PPS applies to this situation and for employees, a formal recognition program must be approved by HR and the appropriate officer. While the Recognition Reporting (RR) form is technically not needed for employees (because those are processed through HRMS), we recommend completing the RR form and having it signed off by SPA since these awards are being paid by a sponsored project. This will serve as documentation to keep in the project files to show SPA’s approval.

For non-employees, use a Payment Voucher in CU Marketplace. Non-employees also need to complete a W-9 form if they are not already in the system. The recognition program approved for employees will suffice for non-employees provided it also addresses non-employees. (10/11)

What are space and library surveys all about?

The space and library surveys are part of the F&A rate proposal. They are conducted in accordance with OMB Circular A-21, Cost Principles for Educational Institutions, Section E, Criteria for Distribution of F&A Costs. A-21 requires that a number of conditions be met, i.e. the study must be statistically sound, distribute costs according to benefits derived, be performed at the institution and be reviewed periodically.

The space study is used to allocate all structural related costs including building and equipment depreciation and all of the costs of maintaining the structures including custodial, maintenance, utilities, security and environmental health and safety. A room by room database of all campus buildings is maintained by Facilities Management in the Office of Capital Assets and Space Planning. The database contains information on room numbers, the department occupying the space, room types like office or laboratory and the F&A cost center of each room. UCB space is very dynamic so the database is updated on an annual basis. The updates are conducted by interview with each department’s space coordinator. The results of the space survey are used to allocate all of the structural costs to the F&A cost pools. The applicable allocations eventually become part of the Research, LASP or Instruction F&A rates. The costs allocated to Other Institutional Activities do not become part of any F&A rate.

The library survey is conducted in the “base year” or the same year that will constitute the next F&A proposal used to negotiate F&A rates. One of the allowable allocation criteria in OMB A-21 for cost surveys is population. For the library survey the population consists of everyone who enters the libraries during the 2-hour survey periods. Norlin Library and its branches, i.e., Math/Physics, Earth Science, Engineering and Business, are surveyed periodically for the entire base year. The survey periods cover most of the times that the libraries are open including nights and weekends. The survey forms include every type of transaction that a library user could perform while in the libraries. The forms ask the survey taker what services they are using, how many items are involved and for what F&A purpose, i.e., Instruction, Sponsored Research or Other Uses. If they specify Sponsored Research the survey also requests some specific information on what grant is involved. This is requested by the federal government to make sure the survey taker understands the survey questions. During the Norlin surveys, an electronic survey of all persons using remote access to library databases is also performed. The data is used to allocate all of the library costs (on an internal library department basis) to the F&A direct cost bases of Research, Instruction or Other Institutional Activities. The tabulation of the statistical results is conducted by an outside consultant whose methodology has been accepted by the federal government. However, the paper surveys are performed in-house using student employees. The electronic surveys are managed by library employees. (3/09)

How should we process participant costs paid by a sponsored project as an upfront lump sum allowance?

The most direct method would be to submit a Payment Authorization form for each participant in the amount of the allowance. The warrants can either be delivered to the PI or authorized individual and then given to each participant before the event, or mailed by the PSC directly to participants. If handed out locally, note that Wells Fargo charges $5.00 to cash checks for those without accounts and the payee will need two forms of ID, one of them government-issued (check with Wells Fargo to be sure their check-cashing requirements have not changed). Or the participant can wait and cash the check at his or her own home bank. Be sure to allow enough time for the PA process.

Another possible option is to purchase restaurant gift cards from the UMC and hand those out to participants and then cover incidental expenses with petty cash. The upside is the UMC food is very good and the card will buy sundries at Baby Doe’s. However, the cards are not refundable and the sponsor must approve this form of allowance. (2/12)

How are cost-sharing requirements accounted for?

We set up a unique FOPPS for each cost-sharing requirement for each project. The title of the FOPPS reads "Costsharing for Proj #154xxxx." The fund for the FOPPS depends on what funds the department will use to pay for the cost-sharing. It could be a general fund FOPPS (fund 10), a gift fund FOPPS (fund 34) or a renewal and replacement plant fund FOPPS (funds 72 or 78) R&R will only be used if the cost-sharing is for capital equipment (costs $5,000 or more for each piece of equipment, not total invoice cost). This is the federal government’s preferred practice to demonstrate that we have met each of our cost-sharing requirements and that the same costs are not used to meet more than one cost-sharing requirement. (11/01)

I want to change the Fiscal Manager role for a sponsored project, but SPA told me that will change all the projects in our department to that person. Why is this?

There is a fundamental difference between sponsored projects and non-fund 30/31 programs in the way fiscal roles are treated.

Sponsored projects must abide by the conditions set forth by the sponsor as well as those applicable at the federal, state, and University levels. Whereas program fiscal role assignments are generally an internal University (department) decision, the sponsored project Principal Investigator (PI) is designated as the Project Fiscal Principal in the Finance System and cannot be changed without sponsor approval. SPA enters the PI information into the Finance System when the project is set up. The term "Key Contact" used to be a valid field in the Finance System but that field and position was eliminated. However, Key Contact continues its status with SPA and serves as a way for SPA to disseminate project-related information to departments. There is only one Key Contact per department (except for a few large orgs with many projects).  

You can add employees to the Fiscal Staff role by completing the Fiscal Staff Request Form, and sending it to  SPA@colorado.edu. For all other fiscal role questions or concerns, contact your SPA accountant. (6/24/14)

Are FedEx and UPS charges a violation of the OMB Circular A-21 requirement that postage is normally an F&A cost?

Yes and no. The answer is based not just on the use of the service, but what the service is being used for. The OMB A-21 restriction is for general correspondence such as letters, technical reports, requests for extensions, responses to questions, etc. Postage for these items must be charged to your departmental FOPPS—not to the project. However, it is acceptable to charge FedEx and UPS costs as a direct cost of your project if you are using FedEx or UPS to ship project materials to or from a field location, or blood samples to an investigator at another institution, etc. In order to continue the enforcement against general mailing, the Mailing Service restriction process will be left in place. This means departments would have to charge the allowable UPS cost to another program and then JE the cost into the project. Be sure to document what is being shipped to clearly demonstrate this is not a violation of the OMB A-21 restriction. If your project has a lot of this activity, then please request your SPA accountant to review your project for an exemption from the Mailing Services restriction. If the accountant agrees that this is a major activity for the project versus the occasional activity, then the accountant will authorize that project to be exempt from the Mailing Service restriction. (12/01)

What account code should I use on the Study Subject Payment (SSP) form? Can I pay participant costs with this form?

The short answer:

  • Use account 495102–Study Subjects and
  • No, don’t use the SSP form to pay participant costs—use the Payment Authorization form.

The long answer:

  • Study subject payments are those made to individuals who participate in research projects involving human subjects. Such studies may involve confidential information (e.g. health-related). All study subject payments processed by the PSC (whether the studies are confidential or not) are requested on the Study Subject Payment. The form results in more consistent privacy protection for those who participate in confidential studies. For further guidance, see the Study Subject Payment PPS.

    If you pay study subjects using petty cash, set up a separate petty cash fund in the project for that purpose and use the Study Subject Payment Log template to record cash payments.

  • Participant costs are defined by NSF as “direct costs for items such as stipends or subsistence allowances, travel allowances and registration fees paid to or on behalf of participants or trainees (but not employees) in connection with meetings, conferences, symposia or training projects.” Participant costs paid by university check should be requested on a PV using the most appropriate participant cost account code in the 495301-495309 range. (3/10)