Business Guidance Related to COVID-19

Updates on COVID-19 related changes to university business and finance protocols.

On this page:

Updated July 23, 2020

Purchasing of PPE and Cleaning Supplies (including Face Masks)

Updated July 23, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the university has centrally procured and will distribute face coverings to all faculty and staff and limited supplies (based on availability) of cleaning products to UB units.

Distribution of COVID-19-related PPE will be handled by University Facilities.

PPE Purchases

UB units are now permitted to purchase wearable PPE (such as masks, gowns, face shields); units may contact Purchasing as they normally would.

Cleaning Products

The university has temporarily paused individual unit purchases of COVID-19-related cleaning and sanitizing products, in order to:

  1. Ensure that the local supply of sanitizing products remains available to others with greater need, such as healthcare professionals, hospitals, COVID-19 testing centers, and first responders
  2. Ensure that we do not engage in panic buying, over-buying or hoarding of these products, many of which are in short supply.

This purchase pause does NOT affect units that need to procure sanitizing products as part of their normal operation (i.e., not related to COVID-19).

Units that wish to procure additional COVID-19-related sanitizing products, beyond what will be provided by University Facilities are asked to have their request approved by Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S). To request approval: 

1. Ensure you have funding and approval from your senior leadership

2. Send an email to Joe Raab, Director, EH&S (jtraab@buffalo.edu) that includes:

  • Reason for your request
  • Types of sanitizing products you wish to purchase
  • Quantity (based on expected use rate)

If your request is approved:

3. EH&S will inform you and UB Purchasing

4. Purchasing will work with you to complete your purchase, based on your funding source.

NOTE: Purchases of sanitizing products for regular operations (i.e., not related to COVID-19 protection) are not affected by this purchase pause and do not require EH&S approval.

In these instances, units may contact Purchasing as they normally would; Purchasing will apply its standard review and approval process. Please be aware that we are still facing a supply shortage for sanitizing products, and that there may be a significant delay in receiving the products, along with increases in cost. 

UB Branded Face Masks

UB has approved the production of UB-branded face masks.

If you’re interested in purchasing face masks using any UB trademark, logo or name, please refer to the following before contacting vendors, getting estimates or creating artwork.

UB Trademarks and Licensing Guidelines

UB’s Face Mask Guidelines

Please note:

  • Only certain marks and layouts are allowable at this time.
  • All vendors and artwork must be pre-approved by UB Trademarks and Licensing (University Communications)
  • All standard procedures for using the university’s marks as it relates to the trademark approval process must be followed.

Purchasing has already begun establishing relationships with licensed vendors to streamline the procurement process.

For more information please contact:

Purchasing:

Dominic LoTempio, dsl4@buffalo.edu
Craig Hooftallen, crh8@buffalo.edu

UB Trademarks and Licensing:

UBTrademarks@buffalo.edu

Barriers Request Process

Updated July 23, 2020

Requestors work with their FPMOs to identify areas for installation asking the following Yes or No questions:

Y/N Only UB Faculty, staff and student approach this area

Y/N This reception area will be manned by one employee during the pandemic

Y/N Are you able to use phones, email, specific appointment times, videos, or videoconferencing to reduce the need for close personal contact in this area

Y/N Are you able to use queue lines or other barriers to maintain social distancing

Y/N Have you or will you post signs stating the social distancing guidelines

Y/N Are you able maintain at least six feet social distance in front of the person/area

Y/N Can the distance within the waiting line be extended to 6’

Y/N If so, can this area be marked (Use tape on the ground to indicate “line starts here”concept and placing tape marker at 6-feet intervals)

Y/N Are you able to provide the employee(s) working at the station hand washing breaks orhand sanitizer:

Y/N Are you able to eliminate/block seating to maintain 6’ social distancing within thewaiting area

If any of the above are NO, a physical barrier may be appropriate.

The FPMO submits a Renovation Request including:

  • Will the physical barrier be permanent and remain after the pandemic?
  • Does the physical barrier require a ‘pass through’ for documents?
  • Does the physical barrier require specialized openings for credit card machines, etc.?
  • We will assume that the barrier will be transparent, unless otherwise stated

Type of barrier requested

  • Free standing
  • Mounted on existing desk or surface
  • Hung from the ceiling
  • Added or mounted to an existing panel system

Master spreadsheet created with all requests (by C. Bailey)

a.placed in UB Box

b. Code review approval column and comments added

c. Cheryl Bailey to email code officials as new requests are added

Code Review takes place (S. Herberger and M. Hohle)

a. Site visit to includei.Review will include the placement of barrier

ii.Review wil l include the size of barrier

iii.Review will include the % of area of the barrier within the space

iv.Some barriers may require specialized materials based on the size requested

b. Approval and additional comments added to the spreadsheet and returned to box

c. Code officials to keep C. Bailey informed of code approvals

Once approved C. Bailey will contact FPMO with results:

a. Option 1: purchase from an outside vendor (purchasing will ensure that a code review was completed)

b. Option 2: build in-house within own department (e.g. Medicine, Engineering, Res Life, CDS and Architecture have own shops where barriers can be made)

c. Option 3: others departments build

2020-21 Budget

Updated July 23, 2020

2020-21 state operating budgets will be implemented on July 1 as scheduled. Each VP/Decanal area will also receive a one-time (fiscal) reduction equivalent to 10% of annual state operating funds in 2020-21.

Please work with your Resource Analyst if you have any questions.

SIRI Dashboard: COVID-19 Reporting

Updated July 23, 2020

The COVID-19 Reporting dashboard may be found in the Financial Dashboards folder in SIRI  This dashboard contains the State Expenditure  Reduction, the COVID-19 Expenditures, and the Open State Purchase Order Encumbrances reports. The purpose of this dashboard is to consolidate the COVID-19 related reports and make them available to a wider audience.  A new report has been added to this dashboard. The State Expenditure Detail report gives you detail on all transactions processed against your accounts, providing greater insight into your spending. Current SIRI users with strategic financial data access will be able to view this dashboard.  If you have any questions regarding this new dashboard, please contact Tom Okon (tokon@buffalo.edu). For security requests, please see the SIRI page on the Administrative Services Gateway at www.buffalo.edu/siri.

Financial Management and Business Reporting and Systems have been collaborating on COVID-19 reporting to track expenditures, i.e. travel reimbursements for cancelled trips, purchases delivered off campus, etc. These reports are now available in SIRI on the Money Management dashboard. 

eStore

Updated May 29, 2020

In an effort to bring efficiency and reduce in-person transaction processing, we are pleased to announce the university wide implementation of a new electronic payment process (eStore), as a touchless alternative to current collection methods for state and UBF funds. 

This new payment process will also replace the current ePay and will allow you to offer additional items or events with upgraded functionality including:

  • Shopping cart checkout
  • Attendee and event tracking
  • Inventory tracking
  • Customizable store front design
  • Shipping and tax options

The Division of Athletics has already successfully rolled out our initial campus eStore. You may view their new Recreation Store at https://recreation-buffalo.nbsstore.net/cpr-training.

A Financial Management staff member will be reaching out to each unit soon to discuss the transitioning of all fees to this online alternative in advance of the Fall semester. If you would like more information regarding this transition process please reach out to UBS-eStore@buffalo.edu for more information.

Research Foundation Scholarship Processing Changes

Updated May 29, 2020

A new Research Foundation scholarship business process and reports are coming. Academic units will be able to add the RF grant account number when they award the scholarship online in HUB. This process will deliver a more efficient way for scholarships to be charged to the grant, and the new reports will eliminate the need for sharing documents amongst the various academic and business offices. Various stakeholders will have reports available to assist in their role of the process, including awarding academic units, RF Sponsored Projects Services, Accounts Payable, Financial Management, and Student Accounts. The goal is to have this new process in place for the Fall 2020 semester.

Financial Scenario Planning

Updated April 27, 2020

Departments should continue to work with their Unit Business Officer (UBO) when conducting scenario planning in an effort to identify financial implications of potential strategies.

Resource Planning analysts continue to serve as a point of contact for resource planning efforts between UBOs and senior leadership.

To aid in planning and decision making Resource Planning has also collaborated with Office of Institutional Analysis (OIA) to provide senior leadership multiple scenarios of the potential enrollment impact on tuition, fee, and other revenues for Spring 2020 – Spring 2021 to the university. Resource Planning also continues to scenario plan the impact of the SUNY imposed expense reductions of 10% - 25% across all state funding sources.

UBOs should continue to work with their unit enrollment managers, department heads and senior leaders to understand any financial implications to their unit related to enrollment and the implementation of state spending reductions across all state sources.

Units should be scenario planning updated spending plans accounting for the 10-25% reductions, reviewing and accounting for all hiring plans, major purchases and capital projects.

Spring 2020 Student Fee Credits

Updated May 6, 2020

Students will receive prorated credits for certain fees where services have been discontinued or curtailed due to the COVID-19 emergency.

Letter to All Students Dated April 30 - COVID Fee Credit Adjustments and Refunds

To all students from the Office of Student Accounts

UB Student Accounts has worked with fee stewards across the university to determine credits due to students as a result of COVID-19 and are in the process of making adjustments to student’s accounts to reflect applicable credits.

These adjustments may apply to housing, dining, Comprehensive Fee and eligible course-related fees (e.g., lab fees). The adjustment amounts are outlined on Student Accounts’ COVID Adjustments and Credits web page at:

http://www.buffalo.edu/studentaccounts/student-accounts-covid-19/covid-adjustments.html

After credits are applied to the student’s account, a refund will be granted where applicable. Students anticipating a refund are encouraged to enroll in direct deposit at: https://www.buffalo.edu/studentaccounts/refunds/refund-direct-deposit.html

Funds should be available in student bank accounts within 2 business days from the time the direct deposit refund is initiated, depending on your financial institution. We expect to process direct deposit refunds the week of May 4, 2020.

For students without a direct deposit profile, refunds will be mailed by check to the student’s permanent address the week of May 11, 2020.

For more information about Student Accounts related to COVID, see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) at the website below, or contact UB Student Accounts at:

ubstudentaccounts@buffalo.edu
716-645-1800

Letter to All Students Dated March 23 - Credit/Refunds on Spring 2020 Semester Costs

To all students from:
Laura Hubbard, Vice President for Finance and Administration
Christina R. Hernandez, Interim Vice President for Student Life

Dear Students and Parents:

The University has been working closely with SUNY leadership to quickly resolve the financial impact remote instruction, distance learning, and campus housing changes have on students and families.

We are developing approaches to credit certain unused fees to a student's account. Our approach includes ensuring that decisions we make do not jeopardize any student's financial aid. Those impacts are currently under study and review.

As previously communicated, resident students who leave campus housing this semester will receive a prorated credit for their housing effective March 23, 2020 through the end of their remaining housing contract.

Students who have meal plan contracts or campus cash will receive a prorated credit for the balance remaining on their meal plan/campus cash on their student account as well. 

Students will receive prorated credits for certain other fees where services have been discontinued or curtailed due to the COVID-19 emergency. A calculated credit amount is being determined for each of these fees:  

* Transportation fee

* Athletics fee

* Recreation

* Campus Life Fee

* Student Activity Fee - to be determined by the applicable student government.

After these credits are applied to the student's account, a refund will be granted as applicable. Students anticipating a refund are encouraged to enroll in direct deposit, https://www.buffalo.edu/studentaccounts/refunds/refund-direct-deposit.html. Absent a direct deposit on file a refund check will be issued and mailed to the student's permanent address. 

We realize this is a difficult, unexpected and unprecedented situation that we are all navigating together. Our goal is to finalize credits and applicable refunds as soon as possible and certainly before the end of the spring semester.  

Business Activities by Department

Updated May 29, 2020

Purchasing and Contracts

Updated June 1, 2020

Contact

General Guidance

  • Each business or entity, including those that have been designated as essential under Empire State Development's Essential Business Guidance, must develop a written safety plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. Refer to the NY Forward Business Reopening Safety Plan Template
  • It is anticipated the university will continue to exercise good procurement stewardship
  • All current procurement guidelines apply, as applicable Procurement Services will enact emergency procurement protocol
  • Due to COVID-19, we are allowing purchases to be delivered to a remote address for purposes of academic or business continuity. We recognize that this is an exception to the university’s procurement policy, and will only exercise this activity during our response to COVID-19 as necessary. In all cases, purchases remain the property of the University at Buffalo. Goods must be consumed for university purposes or be returned to the university for further use
  • Procurement Services is working with the incident response team in an effort to coordinate health and safety supplies centrally. When requesting emergency products, (e.g.) such as gowns or masks, put quantities and usage rates where possible, (e.g.) need 1000 and using 400 per week. Submit requests to emergencymanagement@buffalo.edu with a "cc" to the buyer. Please note the following units at the university have been prioritized for emergency related supplies, Student Health Center, Campus Living, University Police, and University Facilities
  • Continue to create eReqs or ShopBlue POs
    •  Contact your buyer with any questions
  • Buyers will select suppliers based on availability but, will not substitute products without permission
  • Review specific guidance related to IT purchases
  • Confirming received orders are no longer permissible when utilizing foreign suppliers. When engaging with a foreign supplier:
    • Contact Purchasing and Contract Services prior to finalizing a purchase
    • Purchasing and Contract Services will conduct a Visual Compliance (vendor audit) and obtain required vendor banking information
  • Products from China maybe have outages or extended lead times
    • USA or other manufactured products requiring components from China have shortages and lead time delays
  • Inventories of existing products, particularly China-produced or contain Chinese contents, are being consumed quickly and have been, in many cases, consumed
  • Order quantities needed for current activities or needs only; don’t build inventory
  • Typically these issues end abruptly and you may have far too much product with an expiring shelf life
    • Small orders are filled and shipped faster than large orders
  • Contracts continue to be executed. All NYS required contract procedures are occurring including advertisement in the contract reporter and OSC/AG approval. It is imperative we continue to process all construction related contracts, as many of these contracts come with long lead times. Doing so will more positively position the university to aggressively execute activities once the ban on construction is lifted
  • Purchasing is establishing a stringent process to limit adding new suppliers. The addition of suppliers, at UB, far exceeds other SUNY schools our size and is putting a tremendous burden on Purchasing staff

Shipping Information for Purchase Requisitions

  • When placing an order in ShopBlue or eReq you must identify any perishable and hazardous items on the purchase requisition by adding a note/comment to the requisition and follow up with an email to the appropriate buyer. The buyer will confirm back to the department with an email acknowledgement.
  • Perishable and hazardous products may not be shipped to residential addresses. The ordering department should make the necessary arrangements to receive the item on campus if the item is perishable or hazardous.
  • Departments placing orders need to provide complete ship-to information including contact name, contact email and telephone number, department name, room number and building, street address, city, state, zip code.
  • Helm Warehouse (Central Receiving) is not equipped to accept deliveries of perishable, hazardous, refrigerated or frozen items as they do not have the equipment to store these items.
  • Procurement is not responsible for an order that was delivered incorrectly due to the shipping information that was provided by the ordering department or was returned to the supplier by the shipper because there was no one available at the location to accept the delivery.

Student Accounts

Updated May 8, 2020

Contact

  • Student Accounts has worked with fee stewards across the university to determine credits due to students for the spring 2020 semester as a result of COVID-19. Students have received prorated credits for certain fees where services have been discontinued or curtailed due to the COVID-19 emergency. A calculated credit amount has been determined for each of these fees. After credits are applied to the student’s account, a refund will be granted where applicable.  Students anticipating a refund are encouraged to enroll in direct deposit. Funds should be available in student bank accounts within 2 business days from the time the direct deposit refund is initiated, depending on your financial institution. Direct deposit refunds were processed the week of May 4, 2020. For students without a direct deposit profile, refunds will be mailed by check to the student’s permanent address the week of May 11, 2020.
  • A memo to all students was distributed on Thursday, April 30, 2020 providing further details on credits to their student account. 
  • The office of Student Accounts is currently working remotely
  • At this time it is best for students and parents to contact us via phone at 716-645-1800 or via email at UBStudentaccounts@buffalo.edu
  • Students are highly encouraged to sign up for direct deposit for any potential refunds. For more information on direct deposits, visit http://www.buffalo.edu/studentaccounts/refunds/refund-direct-deposit.html
  • A memo to all students was distributed on Monday, March 23, 2020 providing further details on credits to their student account. You may view the memo at: http://www.buffalo./administrative-services/business-and-finance-guidance-related-to-covid-19.html#refunds-letter
  • Late fees that were assessed on March 13, 2020 have been reversed. The university will not assess late fees for balances owed on the due date of April 15, 2020
  • Student Accounts staff is doing their very best to respond to student, parent, and departmental inquiries in a timely manner, however we ask that you please be patient with us as we adjust to new technology and a new work environment during this unprecedented event
  • The university will only be adjusting Presidential and Athletic scholarships for COVID-19 credits. Other institutional scholarships that were awarded for Spring 2020 to pay a student’s fees will not be adjusted, regardless of the funding source
  • Beginning Tuesday, April 14, 2020, Student Accounts in Crofts Hall will be available to post checks each Tuesday
  • Our counter for departmental deposits (checks only) will be open each Tuesday between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm.
  • Student Accounts resumed taking phone calls remotely on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. The phone number is 716-645-1800.
  • The final billing statement for Spring 2020 will be delayed
  • The new dates for the final billing statement for Spring 2020 will be generated on May 6, 2020 with a due date of June 5, 2020

Financial Management

Updated JUly 23, 2020

Financial Management Units

Financial Management Activities

PROCUREMENT CARD

Procurement Card certification templates have been sent out to all UBOs during the week of May 4. This annual certification process will include both State and Research Foundation procurement cards and will be due back to the card programs team by May 29 at ubs-cardporgrams@buffalo.edu.

State (Citibank Visa)

Contact: ubs-statepcard@buffalo.edu

  • Continue to follow all State Procurement Card Guidelines and UB Procurement Guidelines and Policies
  • Refer to Find Commonly Purchased Goods and Services to locate a responsible supplier to meet your needs or contact a Procurement Expert through the For Buying Goods and Services search by commodity option
  • When certifying your future statements via the SUNY Portal for any transactions related to COVID-19 or items shipped to remote locations
    • Refer to Step 5 of the SUNY Web Reconciliation Instructions
      • Click Edit button located next to the transaction
      • Click Edit Funding
      • Enter the following information within Funding Description Field: "COVID-19, [state the business purpose, brief item description, delivered to insert name and addresso of recipient]"
      • Click Save and Return and Save
      • Proceed with certification as usual
      • The description you enter will display in SIRI in the Procurement Card tab of the Procurement dashboard
  • Under normal circumstances, all shipments must be sent to a UB address. However, if shipping essential items off campus during this crisis is necessary, include the following statement within your documentation: 

Due to COVID-19, this purchase is being delivered to a remote address for purposes of academic and business continuity. We recognize that this is an exception to the university’s procurement policy, and will only exercise this activity during our response to COVID-19 as necessary. In all cases, purchases remain the property of the University at Buffalo. Goods must be consumed for university purposes and/or be returned to the university for further use.

  • Monthly review and approval of all cardholder transactions by assigned departmental personnel remains a requirement. If signatures will be obtained remotely, signatures must be in accordance with best practices for electronic signatures

Faculty and staff should consult with their unit leadership regarding any large purchases needed for the continuation of services.  Ensure a plan is in place to track credits from any purchases (i.e. conference registrations) which are cancelled due to COVID-19. Responses to commonly asked questions are available at FAQs About State PCards or you may email us with any questions related to one-time limit increases for emergency purchases.

Research Foundation (RF) AMEX

Contact: ubs-rfpcard@buffalo.edu

  • Continue to follow all Research Foundation Procurement Card Guidelines and UB Procurement Guidelines and Policies
  • Identify any purchases related to COVID-19 or items shipped to remote locations by indicating as such in the Business Purpose field of the RF Monthly Summary Form.
  • Recipient name and address of items delivered to must be included in the Business Purpose field on the RF Monthly Summary Form.
  • Under normal circumstances, all shipments must be sent to a UB address. However, if shipping essential items off campus during this crisis is necessary, include the following statement within your documentation:

Due to COVID-19, this purchase is being delivered to a remote address for purposes of academic and business continuity. We recognize that this is an exception to the university’s procurement policy, and will only exercise this activity during our response to COVID-19 as necessary. In all cases, purchases remain the property of the University at Buffalo. Goods must be consumed for university purposes or be returned to the university for further use.

  • Continue to review and submit monthly summaries as timely as possible
  • The Principal Investigator or authorized signature remains a requirement on the monthly summary form. If signatures will be obtained remotely, signatures must be in accordance with best practices for electronic signatures
  • Faculty and staff should consult with their unit leadership regarding any large purchases needed for the continuation of services
  • Ensure a plan is in place to track credits from any purchases (i.e. conference registrations) which are cancelled due to COVID-19
  • All purchases must be compliant with all sponsor requirements
  • Responses to commonly asked questions are available at FAQs About RF PCards
  • Email us with any questions related to one-time limit increases for emergency purchases

TRAVEL SERVICES

Contact: ubtravel@buffalo.edu

  • Faculty, staff and students should consult with their unit leadership regarding any planned travel related to university business
  • Responses to commonly asked questions available at Guidance for Travel Reimbursements Related to COVID-19
  • When submitting expenses in Concur due to COVID-19 cancellations, under Report Type, select COVID-19 Cancellation
  • Ensure a plan is in place to track credits from unused tickets for UB business travel
  • Non-refundable costs associated with sponsored program related travel that has been cancelled due to public health emergencies such as COVID-19 may be charged to an award if those costs would have otherwise been allowable and the sponsor guidelines related to the treatment of such costs are followed. Please check with your sponsor for specific document requirements

ACCOUNTS PAYABLE

Departments should be requesting to liquidate encumbrance balances that won’t be expended prior to fiscal year-end. This will provide a more accurate carry forward balance.

  • Please review your Open State PO Encumbrances reports delivered to your email inbox weekly.
  • Note any purchase orders you wish to disencumber or roll over, as applicable. Purchase order balances cannot be rolled over if a payment has been processed against the purchase order. The funds must be liquidated, and a new requisition should be processed in the 20/21 fiscal year.
  • Purchase orders with no payment activity for 12 months must be liquidated according to the Office of the New York State Comptroller Guide to Financial Operations Chapter III.7 Data Quality (https://www.osc.state.ny.us/agencies/guidelines.htm)
  • Submit your request for liquidation by completing the Purchase Order Disencumbrance Request (http://www.buffalo.edu/administrative-services/forms-catalog/finances/purchase-order-disencumbrance.html) form before the July 17, 2020 fiscal year-end payment cutoff date. 

Note: On or about 7/22/2020, a mass liquidation of 2019-20 encumbrances will be completed.

Additionally, when creating a receiver in ShopBlue, the Receiver Date will default to today’s date.  Be sure to change the date to the actual date you received the item or services, especially if charging 2019/2020 funds.  Expenditures associated with merchandise received or services rendered after 6/30/2020 must be charged to the 2020-21 fiscal year. Refer to Create a Receiver and State Financial Cut-Off Dates for Fiscal Year End

ASSET MANAGEMENT

Contact: ubs-assetmanagement@buffalo.edu

  • Due to COVID-19 and the current remote work environment for many staff, the biennial asset inventory set to begin in May 2020 has been pushed back to Fall 2020. 
  • Continue to follow the Managing University Assets Policy
  • Asset Coordinators should be aware of all purchases being sent to remote locations and must appropriately document these cases and notify asset management by emailing ubs-assetmanagement@buffalo.edu
  • All equipment removed from campus must have a Property Removal form completed and on file with the department
  • UB asset transfer requests in response to COVID-19 must be directed to emergencymanagement@buffalo.edu. Emergency management and UB Asset Management will obtain necessary agreements prior to the loaning of the asset
  • Review commonly asked questions available at FAQs About Asset Management
  • Contact us with any questions related to managing university assets.

Electronic Submission of Transactions to Financial Management

Effective immediately, Financial Management will accept electronic submission of the following transactions for processing. Please continue to adhere to the Approval Authority Policy and Electronic Signature Guidance.

State Fiscal Year End Shutdown

  • The State fiscal year-end processing is scheduled to begin on Monday, March 30, 2020 at 5 p.m.with expected date to re-open on Thursday, April 2, 2020
  • Statewide Financial System (SFS) production will be unavailable during this time and no documents will be processed in SUNY FMS with a liability date of April 1, 2020 or greater until all State fiscal year end activities are complete

University Fees

Course Fees for Spring 2020
  • A Course Fee worksheet by unit was distributed to UBOs in late March. UBOs have reviewed all the course fees within their unit to determine if services were discontinued due to COVID-19
  • UBOs submitted for each fee whether a full, partial or no refund needs to be given and have returned their completed worksheet by April 17 to ubs-universityfees@buffalo.edu
  • Financial Management is coordinating with Student Accounts to issue refunds on the student account for fees where services were no longer rendered and hope to have all refunding processed by the end of April
Course and Other Campus Fee Submissions for 2020-21
  • 2020-21 fees that go through the SUNY approval process need to be completed and submitted to Financial Management by April 10, 2020 so that final approvals can be obtained before submission to SUNY, by the May 1, 2020 deadline
  • NOTE: It may be a challenge to obtain approvals for new fees or increases to fees from the SUNY Board of Trustees
  • Any fee submissions that do not receive approval for 2020-21 will plan to be resubmitted for Spring 2021 approval
  • Please email our cost accounting group at UBS-universityfees@buffalo.edu for questions or fee submissions

Departmental Refund Checks

  • We are creating a repository for all departmental fees collected that need to have refund checks issued (i.e.), eChecks through ePay or cash or checks collected directly by the department for field trips, events, or deposits for other activities that have been cancelled and need to be refunded by check. Note: ePay credit card refunds are handled through Student Accounts)
  • For our office to be able to process fees that need to be refunded, please include the following:
    • Supporting detail on the fee that was collected, noting this refund is needed due to COVID-19
    • Individual’s full name to be refunded
    • Dollar amount to be refunded for each individual
    • Mailing address the refund check is to be delivered to
  • Financial Management is processing and mailing checks on the repository weekly
  • Department must maintain all supporting documentation and tracking of fee refunds to individuals
  • Please submit refund requests for processing to Sean Gardner spg1@buffalo.edu or Erin Guiffrida erinhunt@buffalo.edu

eProcurement - Staples, UPS Campus Ship, VWR, Fisher Scientific

  • Continue to follow all UB Procurement Guidelines and Policies
  • Contact us at ubconsolidatedbilling@buffalo.edu with any questions related to Staples, UPS Campus Ship, VWR and Fisher Scientific purchases through eProcurement
  • Under normal circumstances, all shipments must be sent to a UB address. However, if shipping essential items off campus during this crisis is necessary, include the following statement with your documentation:

Due to COVID-19, this purchase is being delivered to a remote address for purposes of academic/business continuity. We recognize that this is an exception to the University’s procurement policy, and will only exercise this activity during our response to COVID-19 as necessary.  In all cases, purchases remain the property of the University at Buffalo.  Goods must be consumed for University purposes and/or be returned to the University for further use.

  • Visit the eProcurement website for more information
  • Consult with your unit leadership regarding any large purchases needed for the continuation of services

State Interdepartmental Invoices (IDI)

The Interdepartmental Invoice (IDI) Form information has been updated to provide guidance on electronic submission. Some changes to note:

  • An IDI Journal Template is available on our webpage and can only be used for state to state transfers (option 1)
    • Utilization of the Excel template is encouraged for state to state transfers as this provides an efficient option to process multiple transactions for campus recharge activity and expenditure transfers
    • A scanned image will not appear in SIRI for Excel templates and questions regarding these transactions will be directed to the individual that submits the file for processing
  • The individual IDI Request Form has been revised for electronic submission (option 2)
    • This form can be utilized for all funding sources (state, Research Foundation, UB Foundation) 
    • Individual forms for state to state transfers will be scanned into SIRI as access and time permit  
    • All Excel templates and Individual IDI Forms should be submitted electronically

Revenue Transfers

  • Revenue Transfers may be submitted by email to Financial Management utilizing electronic signatures. Ensure all accountholders are copied on the submission to verify authorization
  • As an alternative, authorized documents may also be accepted by signing, scanning and emailing. The scanned images will serve as the original document
  • Paper copies should not be submitted to avoid the possibility of transactions being duplicated
  • Revenue transfer submissions should be sent to erinhunt@buffalo.edu

Inter-agency Journal Request Forms

  • Inter-agency Journal Request Forms may be submitted by email to Financial Management utilizing electronic signatures. Ensure accountholder is copied on the email to serve as authorization to use the identified account
  • As an alternative, request forms may also be accepted by signing, scanning and emailing
  • Paper copies should not be submitted to avoid the possibility of transactions being duplicated
  • Interagency Journal Request Forms should be sent to erinhunt@buffalo.edu

Independent Contractors

  • Independent contractor forms may be submitted by email to Financial Management utilizing electronic signatures. Ensure accountholder is copied on the email to serve as authorization to use the identified account
  • As an alternative, Independent contractor forms may also be accepted by signing, scanning and emailing
  • Paper copies should not be submitted to avoid the possibility of transactions being duplicated
  • Independent contractors forms should be sent to NSGroup@business.buffalo.edu

RAP Forms

  • RAP forms may be submitted by email to Financial Management utilizing electronic signatures. Ensure accountholder is copied on the email to serve as authorization to use the identified account
  • As an alternative, RAP forms may also be accepted by signing, scanning and emailing
  • Paper copies should not be submitted to avoid the possibility of transactions being duplicated
  • RAP forms should be sent to NSGroup@business.buffalo.edu

Stipend Forms

  • Stipend forms may be submitted by email to Financial Management utilizing electronic signatures. Ensure accountholder is copied on the email to serve as authorization to use the identified account
  • As an alternative, stipend forms may also be accepted by signing, scanning and emailing
  • Paper copies should not be submitted to avoid the possibility of transactions being duplicated
  • Stipend forms should be sent to NSGroup@business.buffalo.edu

Policy, Compliance and Internal Controls

Updated April 27, 2020

  • It is of the utmost importance that, regardless of any potential changes to operations, the University remain compliant with all University Policies, SUNY Policies and Procedures, and OSC Laws and Regulations.
  • Review the Electronic Signature guidelines 
  • The Office of Policy, Compliance and Internal Controls continues to be a source of reference to the university and will work to ensure compliance through business continuity efforts
  • Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests continue to be processed in accordance with FOIL law
  • Records Management web content has been updated to provide additional guidance related to managing email records, records destruction and implementing a records management program in your department. As the university complies with NYS on Pause and employees work from home, consider the guidance to:
    • Review your work email and identify email records that must be retained in accordance with retention requirements, delete emails that are not records, and set up a system to file and organize what must be kept
    • Develop a plan to implement a records management program in your department: outline a plan, communicate the plan to others in your unit and obtain feedback, and identify steps to move forward when we unpause NY

Business Reporting and Systems

Updated March 26, 2020

SIRI

SIRI is accessible with the most current data available through any closure.  Users need to log in to the university VPN first.  Instructions on accessing UB resources like SIRI from off-campus locations can be found on UBIT’s website at http://www.buffalo.edu/ubit/service-guides/connecting/vpn.html.

BUSINESS APPLICATION SUPPORT

The Business Application Support team continue to assist the campus with SIRI, Travel and Expense, and ShopBlue system questions. At this time all staff are working remotely, therefore please, utilize email for support. Online chat tools, if applicable, continue to be available as well.

APPLICATION AND DATA SECURITY

Requests for access to business applications and data will be satisfied as per usual. Please continue to submit requests, keeping in mind the new guidelines on electronic signature found on the Administrative Services Gateway at: http://www.buffalo.edu/administrative-services/business-and-finance-guidance-related-to-covid-19.html#electronic-signatures

ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES GATEWAY

The Administrative Services Gateway will continue to be updated with current information for all Division of Finance and Administration units.

Campus Mail

Updated July 8, 2020

University Print Services

Updated March 26, 2020

Sponsored Activity

Updated May 8, 2020

Payment Processing

Currently, payment forms are received in SPS as hard copy documents.  (Payments are defined as: Cash Advance Requests, Independent Contractor setup and payment forms, Non-Employee Reimbursements, Participant Stipends and Subject payments.) Due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, we have determined that there is a need to adjust the process to ensure continuity of services as we work from alternative worksites.

Until further notice, the following process should be followed for Sponsored transactions which would normally be received as hard copies.

  1. Payments will be processed through UB Box to ensure compliance with the University’s data security standards. UB Box is safe and secure for documents that contain sensitive information such as social security numbers and bank account numbers.
  2. SPS Administrative Support will set up UB Box payment folders by department.
  3. Departments will submit a request to OVPR.SPSMail@research.buffalo.edu to gain access to their UB Box payment folder.
  4. Departments will upload payment forms including all applicable backup documentation to their UB Box folder. Payment forms can be signed with e-signatures or with scanned copies of original signatures. Paper copies should not be submitted to avoid the possibility of transactions being duplicated. Multiple payments should not be combined together in one file.
  5. SPS Administrative Support will direct the payment forms to the Award Analyst for review and approval.

Electronic Signatures

An electronic signature is data, in digital form, attached to an electronically transmitted document as verification of the sender’s intent to sign the document. This is the equivalent of a handwritten signature, and is used to confirm approval of an action or the terms of a document.

While portions of the campus are operating from an alternate work location, the use of electronic signatures are acceptable for internal transactions, approvals or authorizations. SUNY does not currently accept electronic signatures as legally binding on state contracts or appointment letters.

Best Practices for the Appropriate Use of Electronic Signatures

  • Consult the Approval Authority Policy to ensure proper approval authority is maintained.
  • To verify authenticity of an electronic signature, the use of email or a system/form that would require the employee to be logged in under their own credentials is preferred.
  • Where employee log in under credentials is not possible, a scanned version of an actual signature is acceptable.  The signor must maintain a hard copy with a physical signature during this time.
  • Do not ever attach the electronic signature of someone other than yourself unless you have express written consent to do so.  In those cases, such consent must be maintained in your records.

Additional information from SUNY and RF can be found at the below:

  • The Research Foundation Policy on Electronic Signatures: RF Electronic Signature Policy
  • SUNY Guidance on Electronic Records: download and read the file:

Download and Read

For further guidance on attaching a digital or electronic signature to documents, please consult your departmental IT support at buffalo.edu/ubit/get-help/get-help-from-your-department.html.