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An overview of Fiscal Services policies and procedures is available in the Fiscal Services Orientation Packet and the Intro to Financial Transactions PowerPoint Presentation. Click below for a list of commonly used terms and forms.
Commonly Used Fiscal Terms
Account – An abbreviated term referring to the expenditure account code used in Banner to classify an expense by type (i.e., service, supply, equipment).
Banner Finance – The university’s administrative system which allows departments to review budget and expenditure information, including transaction details.
Encumbrance – Budget funds which are reserved for making payments toward certain salaries and purchase orders.
EP# – A purchase order issued to a vendor for the procurement of goods or services. The number is generated through eVA.
eVA – The electronic procurement system used to purchase goods and services. It is mandated that all purchases are placed in eVA unless specifically exempt by the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Fund/Org Approver – A fiscal officer with signature authority for a university fund or organization.
Grant Code – A code used in Banner to identify a specific sponsored research project. This code is used to retrieve grant transaction data and is used to make payments against purchases for the grant.
Org Code – An abbreviated term referring to the organization code used in Banner to represent a department unit. This code is used to retrieve financial transaction data and is used to make payments against purchases for the department.
P-Card – A purchasing charge card issued to an individual on behalf of Mason. The P-Card is the preferred method for making purchases of goods and services less than $2,000. It may be registered with eVA for ease of use. The credit card bill is paid by Accounts Payable on a monthly basis.
PI – A Principal Investigator (PI) is a faculty memeber who has responsibility for a grant project.
PR# – a purchase requisition (request) submitted through eVA for the procurement of goods or services.
PCO# – a purchase requisition (request) submitted through eVA and paid for with the P-Card.
Recharge – The method in which a department unit may recover costs incurred by providing a service to university departments (i.e. telecom services).
Senior Approving Official – These individuals are usually department heads and other administrators who have authority to authorize purchases of food and beverages expenditures.
TRS – The Travel Request System (TRS) is used to process authorizations and reimbursement vouchers for university business travel electronically.
Commonly Used Forms
All Fiscal Services forms may be found on the Forms and Instructions page. Users should avoid saving copies of the forms to their desktop as these forms are often updated.
Food and Beverage Authorization and Payment – Multi-purpose document to (a) pre-authorized an event which includes a food and beverage expenditure and (b) to reimburse an individual for post-event food and beverage expenses.
Honorarium Payment Request – To request a token of appreciation payment to a non-Mason employee when a contract or invoice is not required.
Journal Voucher – To move revenue and expenditures between orgs and accounts.
Mason Bookstore Charge Form – To purchase items under $2,000 at the Mason Bookstore.
Payment Request – To request advance payment of conference registration. To request reimbursement of business expenses (excluding travel) and other limited reimbursements.
Sales & Use Tax Certificate of Exemption – To present to vendors for removal of Virginia Sales & Use tax on goods, services and food purchases made on behalf of Mason.
Sponsorship Justification – To justify the business need for Mason to provide event sponsorship.
Substitute W-9 – To request a domestic vendor’s tax ID information to establish or update a Banner record.
Banner is the comprehensive information system for the university. Banner Finance is the administrative software used to record financial information resulting from transactions at the university. Banner Finance Self-Services is a web based interface used by department representatives to query budgets, revenues and expenditures. To learn more visit the Banner Finance page.
Cash and Payment Card Transactions
The guides below provide an overview of the state and university policies and guidelines for revenue collection.
The guides below provide an overview of the equipment procedures for the university. To learn more visit the Equipment Inventory page.
eVA is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s e-procurement system for goods and services purchased by state agencies and institutions. Use of eVA is mandatory, except for the exemptions noted in the training material. Most non-P-Card orders integrate with Banner Finance and the funds are immediately encumbered against the departments budget. Some registered vendors in eVA provide a Punchout Catalog which allows the user to easily order items and place them in the cart. If the vendor does not have a Puchnout Catalog, the user will complete a Noncatalog Order and is required to provide greater detail on the items being purchases. It is recommended that the user obtain a quote from the vendor prior to completing a Noncatalog purchase in eVA. In depth information is available on the Use eVA Purchasing page.
Food and Beverage Expenditures
The Commonwealth of Virginia rules generally prohibit the use of state funds to purchase food and beverages for employees.Mason has a public obligation to ensure that all exenditures are essential, reasonable and support the mission of the university.
Food and beverage may not be provided:
- To promote goodwill or boost morale
- At planning meetings, regularly scheduled or routing meetings or as an incentive
- Alcoholic beverages and flowers may not be purchased at university expense
In depth information and requirements may be found of the Food and Beverage Overview page.
International Tax Matters
The International Tax Office provides resources for determining the tax implications for transactions involving non-U.S. citizens. Foreign national non-immigrant visa holders (including Canadian walkovers) receiving payments of any type or financial benefit from Mason are required to visit the International Tax Office (Merten Hall, Ste 4403). In depth information is available on the International Tax Office page.
MicroStrategy for Reconciliation
A reconciliation is a systematic review of Banner financial activity to verify that all charges and credits are accurate and appropriate. This process usually compares source documentation (invoices, purchase orders, payment requests) to the Banner data to confirm the accuracy of postings and identify expected transactions that have not yet occurred. All funds/orgs must be reconciled on a monthly/bi-monthly basis. MicroStrategy is the business intelligence tool recommended for reconciliation. In depth information and examples may be found on the Reconciling page.
Purchase Card (P-Card)
Small Purchase cards (P-Cards) offer state agencies and institutions the opportunity to streamline their procedures for procuring and paying for small dollar goods and services. Standard P-Cards have single transaction limits up to $2,000 and monthly limits up to $10,000. P-Cards are only issued to Mason employees. Mason uses Bank of America Works for online cardholder reconciliation and supervisor approval. In depth information and resources may be found on the Use a P-Card page.
Individuals within the department have delegated purchase authority and may purchase goods and services up to $2,000 without seeking approval from the Purchasing Office. These individuals must still utilize the proper procurement and payment methods. A purchase over $2,000 must be submitted through eVA for Purchasing Office approval. In depth information and procedures for various types of purchases is available on the Purchasing Office page.
The Commonwealth of Virginia imposes limitations on travel expenses including per diem and lodging amounts. All business travel authorizations and reimbursement requests must be submitted through the Travel Request System (TRS) and approved electronically. In depth information is available on the Travel Office page. Additional guides may be found on the TRS Resources page. In order for business travel expenses to be reimbursable the following requirements must be met:
- Travel must be consistent with the university mission
- Travel must be performed in the most economical manner
- All expenses must be incurred while in travel status
- Actual expenses must be reported (except for meal and incidental per diem)
- Expenses must not exceed Commonwealth limitations
Workflow is a tool that is used to automate business processes and electronically route the right information to the right people at the right time. Workflow users are notified of pending work, which helps information move through the review/approval process more efficiently. Additional information is available on the Workflow page.