Updates on COVID-19 related changes to university business and finance protocols.
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.
UB units are now permitted to purchase wearable PPE (such as masks, gowns, face shields); units may contact Purchasing as they normally would.
The university has temporarily paused individual unit purchases of COVID-19-related cleaning and sanitizing products, in order to:
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 (email@example.com) that includes:
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 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.
Purchasing has already begun establishing relationships with licensed vendors to streamline the procurement process.
For more information please contact:
UB Trademarks and Licensing:
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:
Type of barrier requested
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 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.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
Students will receive prorated credits for certain fees where services have been discontinued or curtailed due to the COVID-19 emergency.
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:
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:
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
* 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.
Shipping Information for Purchase Requisitions
Email us at UBstudentaccounts@buffalo.edu
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 email@example.com.
State (Citibank Visa)
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
The Interdepartmental Invoice (IDI) Form information has been updated to provide guidance on electronic submission. Some changes to note:
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.
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.
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.
Additional information from SUNY and RF can be found at the below:
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.
Continue to follow established UB, SUNY, state and RF guidelines and policies.