COVID-19: How FBS is Helping Campus Continue Business

Financial and Business Services has been working hard to accommodate the business needs of our campus users during this time of Stay at Home orders and in consideration of Social Distancing. Below, by department, you can read of these temporary changes to procedures that will be in place until we can return to a normal campus environment. We will send additional updates when necessary.

Accounts Payable

We continue to process payments in Accounts Payable, but social distancing has required significant changes to procedures on transactions involving physical invoices, paper checks, etc. 

Electronic processing and payment methods like ePR, UShop, and direct deposit will continue on a daily schedule but checks will be printed only twice per week.  Also, the Park Building is effectively closed so checks will not be held for pickup and must be mailed instead

Please use the email address ap@admin.utah.edu to send invoices electronically or to ask about anything related to making a payment. 

Accounts Payable: Temporary Exception to Ink Signature Requirement

An electronic signature or e–signature is defined by the ESIGN Act as, “an electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.”  Basic electronic signatures, such as an image of a wet signature copied onto a document, are legally binding but they don’t strongly indicate the intent of the signer or the integrity of the document.  

Digital signatures on the other hand, use a trusted third party and cryptography to guarantee the integrity of the document and to better demonstrates the intent of all parties to sign.  The trusted third party is required to generate, store, verify and guarantee digital signatures.  There are many digital signature services providers available.  Without them, even cryptographically generated signatures don’t cover all of the requirements of a digital signature.

For low-risk transactions (under $5,000) electronic signatures will be accepted while social distancing is in effect.  Once the University of Utah campus returns normal operations, we will again require wet signatures or digital signatures where appropriate.

As always, the best way to ensure a good outcome is to know and understand the party that you are working with and document your communications and interactions.

  1. Check their history through personal knowledge, references, Google search, etc.
  2. Review their business license, professional credentials, reputation, years of experience, etc.
  3. Ensure that they will not have access to U of U health protected, intellectual, proprietary or other confidential information.
  4. Order a criminal background check if required by U of U Minors on Campus policy (Link) or other applicable U policy.
  5. Determined that there are no conflicts of interest. 

For transactions over $5,000 a wet signature or fully compliant and verifiable digital signature is still required.

Travel & Reimbursement Services

UTravel Concur & ePR Transactions: These systems are completely electronic and have been running without significant disruption.

Paper Legacy Reimbursements/Documentation: We are all working remotely, so please do not send paper to our office at this time. Please submit requests using this web form. For more detailed information regarding these procedures, refer to this post dated March 19, 2020. If paper was enroute in the last couple of weeks, you can use the ASK US form and we will help you determine if you will have to re-submit your request using the web form.

UTravel Concur Conversion: We have learned through this COVID-19 experience the value of a system like Concur, and we are thrilled that much of our campus has already discovered the advantages! For those who are still using the Legacy Travel System; we encourage you to review the online training materials and request set-up in the UTravel system.

UTravel Concur Training/Deadline for Conversion: We have cancelled all in-person training through the end of May, 2020. Due to this unforeseen disruption, we will not be able to meet our goal to convert our campus to the new UTravel Concur system on May 22nd. We will publish a new date when we better understand when travel will resume.

Out-of-Pocket for a cancelled trip during the Travel Ban? For reimbursements related to cancelled trips, we will require this form to better document how credits may or may not be applied to future trips. For more detailed information, please refer to this post dated March 19, 2020. This is a temporary procedure meant to help departments identify and track these unusual expenses.

Please submit an ASK US form if you have additional questions.

Purchasing

Purchasing, PCard, UShop, and Contracts employees are working remotely and fully functional.  Please feel free to email or call staff members directly for assistance or you may call Purchasing’s main number at 801-581-7241.  Although there are a limited number of personnel working on-site Monday to Friday and you may call the office to make an appointment if an on-site visit is necessary.  If you need your PCard, please email PCard@purchasing.utah.edu.  The PCard staff will assist you in a way that best meets the demands of the situation.

Deliveries to Campus

With many employees working from home, freight companies are facing challenges delivering packages.  The information provided below is the current status, however, things are fluid and changing rapidly.  As warehouses reach capacity they may be keeping packages for shorter periods of time or make other policies.  If your department has shipments on order with future delivery dates and your facility is not open for deliveries, you will need to contact the shipping company with the tracking number to redirect or make arrangements to pick the package up within the stated time period.  Please contact the vendor/sender for the delivery tracking number if that was not provided in a shipping confirmation email that some vendors send. 

UPS 1-800-pickups

UPS will hold packages for closed businesses for 9 days.  On the 10th day, if the company is still closed, the package will be returned to the shipper.  You may call UPS if you have the tracking number and redirect to another campus address that is open.  If the shipper has a block on redirecting packages as some do for security reasons (cell phones, computers, and high value items) they will not be able to redirect.

FedEx 1-800-GO-FEDEX

FedEx will hold packages for 5-15 days for closed businesses.  They ask that you call with your tracking number to redirect to another address on campus that is open.  Some packages may not be redirected for security reasons.

US Postal Service – Foothill Branch – 801-583-3629

General Stores, Shipping and Receiving

General Stores remains open.  Items can be ordered through the traditional methods on their website at https://fbs.admin.utah.edu/stores/. Delivery or Will Call (with parameters) is available. 

Shipping and Receiving:  Due to vacant offices and labs it has become very difficult for Central Receiving to make your deliveries.  Please help us help you by having someone in your building designated to receive your packages. In the current situation, that is the most efficient method from the Shipping and Receiving perspective.  Call 801-581-7409.

As a temporary exception and as a service to departments, packages may be shipped to Receiving for Will Call pick-up.  For instructions when using UShop to place an order and listing the shipping address as Stores and Receiving, please contact the UShop team at:  801-585-2255. An instructional guide has been created that will be emailed. It is critical that your name, a phone number, and “Hold for Will Call” be placed on the shipping label.  These items must be retrieved from Receiving, at 253 USB, within 5 business days.  Receiving’s hours are 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM Monday to Friday.  The entrance is by the dock area on the north side of the building.  Stores and Receiving do not accept responsibility for loss or damage for items shipped for Will Call pickup.  A UCARD ID is required when retrieving your shipment.

Surplus

University Surplus and Salvage Department remains operational with some limitations.  Retail sales to the public closed on Monday, March 23, 2020. Other aspects of the department are open.  

  • Online surplus sales through govdeals.com will continue
  • Pickup of property from departments will continue and can be scheduled by appointment. 

Please complete the online work order request at https://fbs.admin.utah.edu/surplus/for-departments/work-order/ or email surplus@utah.edu for other information about a pickup request.
*departments may email surplus@utah.edu for appointments to purchase property.

Research Management and Compliance

Cost Transfer Submittal During University Mandatory Work-at-home

During the time while University employees are working from home as part of the University’s effort to help minimize the spread of COVID-19, Grants and Contracts Accounting continues to work and go about the day-to-day accounting routines.  For submitting cost transfers, the following temporary guidance is provided to help mitigate the difficulty of obtaining “wet signatures” on the cost transfer form.

Unless otherwise extended, GCA will accept cost transfers under this process until May 31, 2020 or the University lifts the mandatory work-at-home requirement, whichever occurs first.  If the mandatory work-at-home requirement extends beyond May 31, 2020, an extension beyond this date will be considered and a notice sent out for any extended date.

Non-Personal Expense Cost Transfers:

Non-personal cost transfers can be submitted as an eJournal Entry with the following conditions:

  • The cost transfer paperwork MUST be completed as normal, per the Non-Personal Cost Transfer Checklist, except for the requirement for signatures and sending in the original CT documentation.
  • The department will create an eJournal Entry and add persons (PI, Dept. Chair, and Cognizant Dean, etc.) normally required to sign the CT as eJ approvers and also verify the eJ adds the responsible GCA person for the sponsored award as an approver.
  • The department will scan and upload all the CT paperwork/documentation to the eJ.
  • GCA will print off the scanned CT documentation for review and then approve/disapprove of the CT as per normal procedures.

Personal (Payroll) Expense Cost Transfers:

Personal (Payroll) Cost Transfers will be processed as normal with the exception of signatures and the original documentation being submitted to GCA.  Approvals must still be obtained, but GCA will temporarily accept either (1) an email stating approval of the CT (email response must include the CT# and the dollar amount of the CT), (2) a scanned signature on the CT form, or (3) a digital signature (Digital ID in Adobe Acrobat) applied to the CT form.

  • Once ALL required approvals are obtained by the department, the department can scan and send a completed copy of the CT (per the CT checklist) to kevin.yu@admin.utah.edu for processing.

GCA will review and approve/disapprove of the CT as per normal procedures.

Tax Services and Payroll Accounting

Tax Services and Payroll Accounting employees are working remotely and fully functional.  Please feel free to email or call staff members directly for assistance or you may call Tax Services and Payroll Accounting’s main number at 801-581-3428 or fax at 801-587-9855.  See our department contact list here.

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