Service Center Fee

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A service center is an organization that provides a specific technical or administrative service that supports the internal operating activities of the university.

Service Center Guidelines

Policy Information

The Financial Management of Service Centers Policy provides guidelines for the financial management of service centers to support:

  • Accurate cost allocation
  • Consistent billing practices that document costs, charges, and billing rates
  • Compliance with federal government cost principles
  • Adequate internal controls

Forms

Begin the process for developing a Service Center Fee by filling out the fee approval form. 

Account Options

All newly established service center fees must be deposited in a separate account. 

All service centers should have their own entity for tracking purposes. 

Allowable Accounts
Funding Source Allowable
State - IFR Yes
Research Foundation (RF) Service and Facilities Account With prior approval from Financial Management and the University Controller
University at Buffalo Foundation (UBF) With prior approval from Financial Management and the University Controller

Reserve Accounts

Reserve accounts are non-transactional accounts used to carry forward funds for a specific purpose from one year to the next.

Financial Management recomends that service centers who charge for equipment depreciation use reserve accounts, in addition to their service center operating account. Service center managers should transfer revenue collected for equipment depreciation to the reserve account and save it for future equipment repairs or replacements.

Approval Process

Once rates are agreed upon by the department and Financial Management, the approval process can begin.

The approval process begins within Financial Management. Once the approval forms are signed off by Financial Management they are sent to the following individuals for approval:

  1. Service Center Manager
  2. Department Head or Chair
  3. Unit Business Officer (UBO)
  4. Univeristy Controller
  5. Provost Designee

Billing and Revenue Collection

Invoicing Guide
Service Center's Funding Source Customer's Funding Source Invoice Template Customer Payment Method
State - Income Fund Reimbursable Account (IFR) State Interdepartmental Invoice (IDI) Signed and returned IDI
RF Interdepartmental Invoice (IDI) Signed and returned IDI
UBF Invoice UBF Disbursement, eReq (State as Vendor)
External Customer Invoice Check, ACH, Wire Transfer, ePay
Research Foundation - Non Sponsored Service and Facilities Account (RF) State Invoice eReq (RF as Vendor)
RF Interdepartmental Invoice (IDI) Signed and returned IDI
UBF Invoice UBF Disbursement, eReq (RF as Vendor)
External Customer Invoice Check, ACH, Wire Transfer
University at Buffalo Foundation Account State Invoice eReq (UBF as vendor)
RF Invoice eReq (UBF as vendor)
UBF Invoice UBF Disbursement, eReq (UBF as Vendor)
External Customer Invoice Check, ACH, Wire Transfer, UBF Checkout

Invoicing Best Practices

  • Invoices must be based upon documented and properly approved rates.
  • All invoicing should be processed in a timely basis (i.e., within one month from the time of service) and with approved service center billing rates. 
  • An invoice must not be issued until the service has been rendered or the materials provided (prebilling is not allowed).
  • Invoices should include the following information:
    • Name and account number of service center
    • Invoice number or another unique identifier
    • Date of service or sale
    • Nature of the service rendered or number of units sold (must match approved price list)
    • Related unit charged and extension to show total cost per line of time
Acceptable Payments
User Payment Type
Internal User Interdepartmental Invoice (IDI)
Purchase Order (eReq)
Revenue Transfer
Campus Cash
External User Wire Transfer (ACH)
Electronic Payment (ePayUBF Checkout, eStore)
Paper Check (StateUBF)
Credit Card (requires prior approval)

Items of Consideration

Reasonability

Consider the time involved in the development and review of the educational program fee and consider if this is reasonable due to amount of expenditures and revenues that the program provides.  Does this fee need to exist or can the costs be absorbed into the department.

Safeguarding Cash and Cash Equivalents

University departments that collect cash and cash equivalents are responsible for implementing strong internal controls.

Inventory

A physical inventory is required at least annually at the end of the fiscal year and reconciled to the inventory records by completing an inventory settlement. A physical inventory may be taken more frequently (i.e., quarterly) to improve accuracy.

Inventory settlements will allow your center to track true expenditures for future rate calculations and will also allow you to calculate a loss percentage for the center. 

Contact an Expert

Cost Accounting Team

Ashley Butcher Picture.

Ashley Butcher

Cost Accounting

Financial Management

Phone: 716-645-1521

Email: ambutche@buffalo.edu

Ian Frost picture.

Ian Frost

IFR, Revenue Accounting and Treasury Management

Financial Management

Phone: 716-645-0232

Email: ianfrost@buffalo.edu

Carrie Hutchins.

Carrie Hutchins

IFR, Revenue Accounting and Treasury Management

Financial Management

Phone: 716-645-2640

Email: chutchin@buffalo.edu