Welcome to In Focus!

The University of Missouri System
Finance & Administration quarterly newsletter 
Nikki Krawitz
Vice President Krawitz

As we begin a new academic year, we hope you continue to find this newsletter to be of interest and assistance to you in your work to make our University a better place.

Here’s what you will find in this edition:

  • Spotlight on The Office of the Controller – A group dedicated to ensuring that we are good stewards of the fiscal resources that the university receives from students and their families, donors, the state and federal government.  Learn more about this office within Finance & Administration.
  • Hyperlinks – Did you know that PS Financial Reports are LOADED with these helpful links?
  • Attention all Pilots! – If you can fly a plane, check out the requirements to fly when conducting University business.
  • Hats Off! – To University employees who have given Exceptional Customer Service that assists Finance & Administration achieve our goals.  Check out those award winners!
  • Less Than a Second – Appreciation can take less than a second … yet can completely change a person’s day.

The goal of the newsletter is to enhance our customer service by providing information that will support the work that you do for the university.  As always, we welcome your feedback and your contributions.

- Natalie "Nikki" Krawitz
  Vice President for Finance & Administration

Spotlight

Jane Closterman

Throughout the business world, there is the top managerial and financial accountant – the Controller – who is responsible for the financial integrity of the business.  At the University of Missouri, we have The Office of the Controller.  Sounds pretty serious, but financial integrity is a critical component to a sound business operation.

Each campus has its own Accounting Services office which processes money flowing into and out as requested and approved by their staff.  They pay bills to vendors, deposit receipts from students and donors, get you your paycheck on-time– all these functions keep the University operations running smoothly.

Our Controller, Jane Closterman, and her staff, are responsible for directing and ensuring the financial integrity of the University.  They do this on many different levels:

  • Oversight of the four campuses’ financial transactions
  • Development and implementation of financial accounting policies and procedures
  • Transactional analysis and review
  • Internal and external financial and tax reporting
  • Primary liaison with external auditors on all financial audits
  • Functional support for the PeopleSoft Finance system
  • Central payroll activities; such as, processing payrolls so all employees are paid timely and processing W-2s and 1099s at the end of the calendar year
  • Maintaining compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations.

Each year the Controller’s Office sets strategic goals designed to improve University financial operations.  Here are a few of this year’s goals:

  • Developing a customer satisfaction survey to ensure customer needs are met,
  • Implementing and streamlining both the Travel Reimbursement Process (TRIP) and the “time entry” process for payroll,
  • Collaboration with the campuses in developing a training strategy for sponsored programs activity, and
  • Identifying campus requirements in developing a data warehouse for institution-wide managerial reporting.

Check out the two articles in this newsletter which highlight two more projects the Office of the Controller is working on – the NEW Accounting Policy & Procedure Manual and IMPROVED Web Applications to assist you in your financial transactions.

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OwlWISDOM'S CORNER

Featuring Challenging and Inspiring Thoughts

Less than a Second

As a high school basketball coach, John Wooden created a 'Thank You' rule for his players.  Every time a player scored, he was required to acknowledge the person on the team who’d assisted.

Of course, some of the players thought this was a silly rule that would take too much time away from the game.  But Wooden explained to his team that a simple gesture like a nod, a thumbs-up, or a wink would take them less than a second.

Wooden believed that if you didn’t show your appreciation to others, they’d have no way of knowing their contributions were recognized.  And without recognition, people start to pull back – both from performing and from cooperating with others.  It’s a key element of teamwork and success.

So the next time you need to foster a sense of cohesiveness among a team or group, remember John Wooden’s philosophy.  Gratitude takes almost no time to convey but can have a tremendous impact on your achievement.

- From The Essential Wooden by John Wooden and Steve Jamison, McGraw-Hill

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accountAccount-ability

Screen capture for application
Click above image for larger version.

Using PS Financial Reports in UM Web ApplicationsHyperlinks

When looking at the PeopleSoft (PS) Financial Reports or PS Search Options in UM Web Applications, you will see many numbers or phrases that are highlighted in blue and underlined.  Hyperlinks are an indication that more information is available just a click away.  When using the financial reports, clicking on a number will give you the detailed financial transactions that make up that total.  But you can also keep clicking to see many other details about the entry!

Here are some of those details:

  • Clicking on the Journal ID shows you all lines on the journal entry.  Click on the ID again and it takes you into the Journal Entry system and shows you who created the entry, a description of why it was done, and the date it was created and posted.
  • Clicking on the Source can give you detail from a feeder system.  Quite a few of our feeder systems provide additional detail for the particular transaction you are investigating.  For example, on a Purchasing card transaction, the person who initiated the charge and the vendor that was paid are fed into the line description that you see on the financial reports.  But if you click on the transaction source (e.g. UPC), you see additional information from the PaymentNet system such as the transaction date, posted date, and if available, transaction notes and details about the transaction. 
  • Clicking on the Source PRL gives Payroll information for that particular payroll.  The detail shows those individuals who were paid on that pay run and the PS Accounts that were charged for both earnings and associated benefits.  If you want to see a history for a particular employee, click on their Emplid and their payroll history will be displayed. 
  • Clicking on a hyperlink in a Line Description or Line Reference allows you to see Work Order, CRR, or Voucher details.   These hyperlinks can take you to other web sites that store information for departmental systems or to the PS Search Option pages that have a subset of information from PS.  A link to a Voucher can also have additional links to Purchase Orders, Vendor Information, or Payment Information.

By becoming more familiar with the PS Financial reports and all the information available behind the numbers, it will be easier to reconcile your ChartField string each month and keep track of the University funds that you manage.

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riskyRisky Business

Attention all pilots!

AirplaneIf you pilot a personal or a rented aircraft, you should be aware of the University ’s policy for using this mode of transportation when conducting University business.  The employee piloting an aircraft – while permitted with authorization – is not a recommended mode of travel.

However, if you find it necessary to travel by private airplane, here’s what you need to do:

  1. Get approval.  You must have approval from your dean/vice provost or director.
  2. File a Certificate of Liability Insurance.  At least 10 business days before taking off, you MUST file with the UM Office of Risk & Insurance Management a certificate of liability insurance showing the Curators of the University of Missouri as an additional insured with minimum limits of $2,000,000 per person, per occurrence and property damage.
  3. Get insurance.  Because the University will not be responsible for damage to the aircraft, it is recommended that you arrange for physical damage (hull coverage) insurance in all cases.

The Business Policy Manual addresses this mode of transportation in Section 504.  For questions regarding this policy, please contact Risk & Insurance Management at (573) 882-8100 or send an e-mail to Assistant Director, JoAnne Flowers at FlowersJ@umsystem.edu.

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newsNews & Updates

arrowOffice of the Controller

Book icon**NEW** University of Missouri Accounting Policy & Procedure Manual

Each department is responsible for safeguarding the University’s assets by using internal controls.  Internal controls include such actions as having someone else approve your Purchasing Card statement, sign your timesheet, and approve the pay raise on your PAF.  To make sure internal controls are in place and working, the University’s Internal Auditors conduct audits – and the most common findings are the lack of internal controls and the lack of consistent policies and procedures among the campuses.  Both are extremely important for maintaining good stewardship of financial resources and ensuring regulatory compliance.

Internal Controls and Consistency...important concepts!  In order to have accurate financial reports for management and stakeholders, everyone needs to play by the same rules or standards.  To support this, Finance & Administration recognized that a compilation of University-wide accounting policies was needed for everyone to follow.

The Office of the Controller – with the collaboration of each campus and the hospital – made great strides during fiscal year 2007 in developing and implementing University-wide accounting policies.  Although still a work in progress, we wanted you to know that the Accounting Policy and Procedure Manual is available on the Office of the Controller website.  Take a look!  You can see which policies and procedures are finalized and which are coming soon.

Here are some completed sections which might be of interest:

  • Under the “Fiscal Responsibility” section, you will find the guidelines of responsibility for every employee in maintaining departmental Internal Controls
  • If you are responsible for assets in your department, such as artwork or equipment, take a look at these in the “Capital Assets” section. 
  • If your department receives Cash Gifts, you can find out how to process them.
  • Do you need to re-issue a check to a vendor?  See the Stop Payment and Replacement policy.
  • If you work with Grants, then the “Sponsored Program” section is definitely for you.

These policies provide guidance for good consistent accounting processes and for establishing strong internal controls.  Where a policy does not provide detailed steps and procedures, you have the flexibility to implement the process to meet your specific department needs.

If you are unable to find a policy that addresses your particular needs, you can contact your Campus Accounting Office or the Office of the Controller at (573) 882-2412.

To HAVE  or to WITHHOLD

W-4 FormAh, Income Taxes.  Although not something most of us think about at this time of the year, this is truly the best time to be taking a look at where you are now so that when it is time to fill out all those forms, you are prepared.

The federal income tax is a pay-as-you-go tax.  This means you must pay the tax as you earn or receive income during the year.  As a wage earner, you pay federal income tax by having it withheld from your pay during the year.  This is your “withholding.”  Your withholding is based on the number of allowances you claim when you filed Federal Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate.

WHY Should I Check My Withholding?

The goal is to have your withholding match your actual tax liability. 

  • If not enough tax is withheld, you will owe tax at the end of the year and may have to pay interest and a penalty. 
  • If too much tax is withheld, you will lose the use of that money until you get your refund.

Always check your withholding if there are personal or financial changes in your life or changes in the law that might change your tax liability.  Here are some examples:

Factor

Examples

Lifestyle change

Marriage
Divorce
Birth or adoption of child
Loss of an exemption
Purchase of a new home
Retirement

Wage income

You or your spouse start or stop working, or start or stop a second job

Increased or decreased income not subject to withholding

Interest income
Dividends
Capital gains
Self-employment income
IRA (including Roth IRA) distributions

Increased or decreased adjustments to income

IRA deduction
Student loan interest deduction
Alimony expense

Increased or decreased itemized deductions or tax credits

Medical expenses
Taxes
Interest expense
Gifts to charity
Job expenses
Education credit
Child tax credit

WHEN Should I Check My Withholding?

The earlier in the year you check your withholding, the easier it is to get the right amount of tax withheld.  You should check your withholding when any of the following situations occur.

  • You receive a paycheck stub (statement) covering a full pay period in 2007, showing tax withheld based on 2007 tax rates.
  • You prepare your 2006 tax return and get a Big Refund or Balance Due that is more than you can comfortably pay or subject to a penalty.
  • There are changes in your life or financial situation that affect your tax liability
  • There are changes in the tax law that affect your tax liability.

You must give your employer a new Form W-4 to adjust your withholding within 10 days of any event that decreases the number of withholding allowances you can claim, such as your divorce if you are claiming married status.

HOW Do I Check My Withholding?

You can use the worksheets and tables Publication 919 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p919.pdf) to see if you are having the right amount of tax withheld.  

Follow these steps.

  • Fill out Worksheet 1 (see page 10) to project your total federal income tax liability for 2007.
  • Fill out Worksheet 9 (see page 17) to project your total federal withholding for 2007 and compare that with your projected tax liability from Worksheet 1.

If you are not having enough tax withheld, line 6 of Worksheet 9 will show you how much more to have withheld each payday.

Nonresident alien employees, before completing Form W-4, should see the instructions for Form 8233, Exemption from Withholding on Compensation for Independent (and Certain Dependent) Personal Services of a Nonresident Alien Individual

WHO Do I Talk With About Changing My Withholding?

Your Department Human Resources Associate – usually the person entering your vacation and sick leave.  Have your updated Federal W-4 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf) completed.

If you have a tax question, visit www.irs.gov or call 1-800-829-1040.

arrowProcurement Services

Show-Me Shop Goes LIVE!!

ShowMe ShopOn October 1st, our new eProcurement solution featuring the “Show-Me Shop” electronic marketplace made its debut with the first live orders flowing through the system!  Show-Me Shop will be pilot tested by approximately 125 users representing each campus’ selected 3-5 departments to refine the system before complete campus wide roll-outs begin in January, 2008. 

The initial eighteen suppliers which comprise our virtual shopping mall as of the “go-live” date, represent negotiated annual material cost reductions in excess of $4.9 million dollars.  As we continue to identify and negotiate those contract opportunities with the most strategic and economic impact, process efficiencies and cost savings will continue to grow. 

Of course the key to realizing maximum benefit from the contracts and the ePro delivery system is YOU!  If the overall reception by those pilot department users is any indication, we’ve got a winner. 

At UMSL the user friendly solution drew “rave reviews,” with each training session ending to the sounds of excited applause.  This same level of excitement and anticipation was evident at each of the Campus Vendor Fairs held the August 28th through September 5th.  Turn-outs exceeded expectations with over 250 faculty and staff at Rolla coming out to meet and learn more of their new ePro vendor/partners.  Kansas City had 115 attendees,  St. Louis over 200, and the Columbia fair brought out over 400 people despite the rainy weather.  As with the campus demos, some lucky registrants received great prizes as a result of their faithful attendance.

So, get ready for University-wide access to Show-Me Shop – coming in January 2008!

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arrowFinance & Administration

Hat's off iconHats Off!

Hats Off Award Winners!

The HATS OFF AWARD is the recognition of a Finance and Administration (F & A) employee or a group of employees who have made an Exceptional Customer Service Contribution to the University of Missouri.  We thank the following people for doing their jobs...and then some!

Nominee/
Date of award/
Department

Nominator

Reason

Laura Darrow
Fiscal Analyst

07/18/2007

UMSL Facilities Planning

Dave Sheahen, Director of Facilities Planning & Development

Laura “… took the initiative to have signs placed at the Millennium Center directing contractors to the meeting room.  She also arranged to have the meeting notice placed on the scrolling electronic sign at the campus entry of Natural Bridge, as well as signs placed from the Florissant entry, to direct these visitors to the right place and parking lot on campus.  Laura not only recognized the need for this, she took care of all the details.”

Ronald Edwards
Audio Visual Supervisor

07/18/2007

UMSL Administrative Services Division of Auxiliary Services

Ronald “… stepped up to help me out when about 10 minutes before it was to begin, I discovered I had deleted my presentation from my laptop.  Ronald helped me to connect with my office and transfer a copy of my presentation, and we were only minutes late starting the presentation.  Ronald never balked and was continually helping me troubleshoot the problem.”

Zhijian “Jane” Ye
Jane Ye
Senior Investment Specialist

07/18/2007

Office of the Treasurer

Ann Toellner, Manager of Investments, Office of the Treasurer

Ann wrote that “On July 10, 2007, Jane Ye passed the CTP (Certified Treasury Professional) exam.  Sponsored by the Association for Finance Professionals (AFP), the CTP designation is the standard for highly skilled finance professionals who are serious about their profession, who are an asset to their organization and meet the high standards of an internationally recognized organization.  Passage of the exam indicates a mastery of risk management, capital structure, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and cash management.”

Fran Haverich
Haverich

Administrative Assistant

07/18/2007

Management Services / Facilities Planning and Development

Dave Sheahen, Director of Facilities Planning & Development
AND
Jann Amos, Prevailing Wage Coordinator

Dave and Jann wrote, “Fran is often the first person that callers talk to when contacting FPD and sometimes those callers are difficult.  Fran still has the responsibility to connect these callers with whomever they are trying to reach or to give them information they need to conduct business with the University.  Recently our office was the recipient of several calls from two different people who were angry and rather rude.  ….  Despite the hostility of these callers, Fran handled these situations with courtesy and professionalism.  She helped those callers connect with information and individuals who could help and she promptly kept key people in the office informed of follow-up issues.  Her level headed professional manner helped FPD resolve these issues and defuse potentially volatile situations.  Her efforts went above and beyond the normal requirements of her job …

Tanya Haeussler
Haeussler
Coordinator

07/18/2007

Management Services / UM Business Services

Memoree Bradley, Secretary to the Vice President

Memoree wrote “I believe that Tanya should receive the Hats Off Award for all of her hard work she has put in to the “Hats Off” award program as well as the work she has put in to the F & A Quarterly Division Newsletter.”

Becky Dieckmann
Becky Dieckmann

Executive Staff Assistant III

08/13/2007

UMC Office of the Chancellor

Memoree Bradley, Secretary to the Vice President

Scheduling meetings with University staff with heavily booked schedules is a constant challenge for their Administrative Professionals.  During the scheduling for the A-133 Audit Findings meeting, Becky Dieckmann, Kirsten Olson, and Gloria Smith re-arranged the calendars of so that everyone who needed to be in the meeting were free to do so at the same time.

Kirsten Olson
Executive Staff Assistant III

08/13/2007

UMC Provost’s Office

Gloria Smith
Gloria Smith
Executive Staff Assistant II

08/13/2007

UMC Office of Research

Susan Potrafka
Susan Potrafka
Manager Campus Procurement

08/17/2007

Management Services / Procurement Services (UMR)

Bill Cooper, Associate Vice President Management Services and Chief Procurement Officer Procurement Services

Bill nominated Susan and Stacy for the Hats Off award after reading the letter from Bob Phelan, UMR SDELC Project Manager.  Bob wrote that Susan and Stacy “… understand and support our needs in a cheerful and dedicated manner and are a key component to our success.  We can’t imagine doing this on our own.”  The SDELC has 10 teams working on projects such as the Champion Solar Car, Human Powered Vehicle, Solar House, etc.  which often have unique, complex, and time-sensitive procurement actions (i.e., shipping a solar car to Australia, moving the solar house to Washington DC and back, etc.).  Susan and Stacy “… have been very responsive to our needs, even suggesting new and innovative ideas to obtain better service and economies for our students.”

Stacy Jones
Stacy Jones
Sr. Buyer

08/17/2007

Management Services / Procurement Services (UMR)

Memoree Bradley
Memoree Bradley
Secretary to the Vice President

08/17/2007

Finance & Administration

 

Natalie “Nikki” Krawitz, Vice President for Finance & Administration

Memoree helped solve the mystery of the meal plan!  When she received a telephone call from Kim Perdue, a UMC parent trying to figure out why her son was unable to use his meal plan anywhere on campus, Memoree connected her with UMC Dining Services who helped set up this student on Easy-Charge.

Stacy Jones
Stacy Jones
Sr. Buyer

08/22/2007

Management Services / Procurement Services (UMR)

Susan Potrafka, Manager Campus Procurement

When 2 of the 3 support staff positions were vacant, Stacy’s “… willingness to take on the extra tasks of printing working requisitions, processing purchase orders, answering phones, posting bids, faxing bids, and whatever else needed to be done made it possible for Procurement to continue to provide excellent service to our customers.”

Karen Walberg
Karen Walberg
Procurement Support Specialist

08/22/2007

Management Services / Procurement Services (UMR)

 

When 2 of the 3 support staff positions were vacant, Karen’s “ … willingness to take on the extra tasks of accounts payables, Enterprise Rent-A-Car direct pay, answering phones, greeting visitors, and whatever else needed to be done made it possible for Procurement to continue to provide excellent service to our customers.”

Bob Mullen
Mullen

Associate Director

08/24/2007

Institutional Research & Planning

Natalie “Nikki” Krawitz, Vice President for Finance & Administration

Nikki nominated Bob for the Hats Off award after reading the note from Steve Graham, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs. Steve wrote “I probably don’t tell you often enough just how good Bob Mullen is.  He’s very flexible, interested in doing the right thing … and just a treat to work with.  I write him a note now and then to tell him he’s the man – but thought you [Mardy Eimers, Bob’s supervisor] might want to hear it too.  Both you and Bob take the approach “how can we help”.  It’s wonderful and I hear a lot of complimentary things about IR these days.”

Nicole Beaumonte
Beaumonte

Administrative Assistant

8/27/2007

Management Services / Facilities Planning & Development

Dave Sheahen, Director of Facilities Planning & Development

During the FPD move, Dave wrote, “Nicole spent many hours packing the FPD files and getting things ready for the move.  On move day, Nicole arrived with her own cart and began moving boxes, etc., on her own.  Needless to say, if she had she not taken the initiative, we may still be moving.”

Toni Henley
Henley
Administrative
Associate I

8/27/2007

Management Services / Facilities Planning & Development

During the FPD move, Dave wrote, “I asked Toni to take care of the move logistics, but little did I know how large of an effort it was.  Toni did not just take care of the move, she spearheaded the effort by arranging and monitoring the movers performance, coordinating the phone and IT connections, arranging for and coordinating surplus, arranging for and coordinating campus maintenance staff to prepare the new space, arranging for the takedown and set-up of the support staff systems furniture, scheduling all activities, and countless trips between the 8th floor Lewis and 6 Clark Hall.

Larry Madore
Larry Madore

Project Design Manager

8/27/2007

Management Services / Facilities Planning & Development

During the FPD move, Dave wrote, “I asked Larry to make sure our furniture would fit in the new space.  Not content with that, Larry spent many hours working with SOA to make sure the support staff furniture fit in their new space.  Close to moving day he tagged all the staff furniture, including the systems furniture for support staff, to make sure the items arrived at the right locations   On move day, Larry, like Nicole, arrived with a cart and began hauling up boxes and other things.  As with Nicole, we may still be moving without Larry’s initiative.”

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Focus On: Answer

UMKC Main Quad
UMKC, Main Quad

The sidewalks of the Quad are well traveled, framed by Flarsheim Hall, Haag Hall, Royall Hall, Manheim Hall, Newcomb Hall and Scofield Hall.  There are lecture halls, classrooms, offices and even an observatory on the roof of Royall.  Four of the six buildings are physically linked, and two are connected to a five-tier covered parking garage. You'll become familiar with the Quad in your first week, enjoying the fountain and the relaxing benches and seats where friends can gather.

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