BSC Solution Source Newsletter - May 2013
In this issue:
Annual Enrollment Information Coming Soon
In May, UNT System employees will begin receiving updates on Annual Enrollment in News About Your Benefits from ERS.
In July, employees will receive their Personal Benefits Enrollment Statements, which include information on benefits, Annual Enrollment choices, and dates for the two-week enrollment period. ERS will also post the schedule of the enrollment periods on the ERS website.
More information regarding Annual Enrollment for Plan Year 2014 will be available in the June Solution Source Newsletter.
Deadline Set for Purchasing TRS Credit at Lower Cost
Employees contributing to TRS will have until August 31, 2013, to purchase service credit at the old, lower cost, provided certain requirements are met.
Purchasing service credit is a beneficial way for employees to gain service years toward retirement. If any employee is interested in purchasing service credit, the employee will need to contact TRS at 1-800-223-8778 in order to discuss the eligibility requirements, the type of service that will be available to purchase, and the payment options.
Vision Benefit Savings
HealthSelect participants are covered for one routine eye exam - for a $40 copay - per calendar year through United Health Care. A referral for the routine eye exam is not necessary, but participants need a referral to see an eye care doctor for other issues, such as an eye infection. Participants should use a network optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Glasses, contact lens exams, contact lenses, laser vision correction and eyewear are not part of the state benefit plan. However, state employees can purchase these items at a discounted price when they use certain providers.
New Travel Guide Established
Revised Travel Guidelines are now posted to the BSC website with updated procedures for travel processing.
Travel on Local Funds Only
As previously communicated with the start date of January 1, 2013 travel was restricted to local funds only with the exception of state funds listed below:
DeptID/ProjID holder responsibilities for approving travel expenses.
DeptID/ProjID holders will be responsible for reviewing and approving each travel expense. If an expense is submitted with supporting documentation (paid receipt) and the DeptID/ProjID holder and the Research Office for projids approve the expense as presented, the travel area will process the payment/reimbursement.
Supervisor approval is no longer required by the BSC when submitting a travel voucher. However, additional signature blocks are provided on the travel voucher form for any approval the department chooses to require.
The approval form and travel voucher have both been revised. The approval form, formally the RTT or RAT, is now referred to as the Approval Request to Travel (ART). An employee agreement/power of attorney is no longer required. DeptID/ProjID’s will be charged for the outstanding expenses when advance services have been provided. Advanced services are defined as those utilizing university funds for travel expenses, ie CTP, Travel Advance Card or cash advance.
There are now two worksheets to assist with travel reconciliation and mileage comparison - both will be available from the BSC website.
All UNT, UNT Dallas, and UNT System Administration employee reimbursements for travel are now mailed to the address on file in the EIS financial system. While the BSC handles all payments for UNT, UNT Dallas, UNT System Administration, and the UNT Health Science Center, this delivery method does not apply to the UNT Health Science Center. Delivery of payments will continue to be managed from that campus at this time.
Electronic Funds Transfer/Direct Deposit (EFT)
Employee reimbursements through travel can be directly deposited into your bank account by means of an electronic funds transfer. Electing to receive payments by EFT provides several benefits:
NOTE: If you have reimbursements pending disbursement in the system, it will not be processed as an EFT. The EFT setup will take effect for new reimbursements after the setup has been completed by the BSC.
To receive reimbursement payments by EFT, complete the EFT Agreement Form on the BSC website, http://bsc.untsystem.edu/employee-eft.
Supporting documentation (maps) will no longer be required to be submitted with travel vouchers, but the supporting documentation must be retained by the department for audit purposes. Mileage verification should be performed at the department level. Please note that the documentation may be submitted with the travel voucher, but it is no longer a requirement.
NOTE: Mileage reimbursements for non-employees should be processed on a requisition and must include maps for supporting documentation.
Expenses for meals and lodging will require supporting documentation (paid receipt) for reimbursements. Departments may set a limit for meals and lodging within their area. The travel area will process expenses as supported by a paid receipt.
Corporate Travel Planners (CTP)
CTP is the preferred travel booking agent for employee travel and offers services that allow employees and/or designated administrative staff to book airfare, hold hotel and rental car reservations as well as manage their travel arrangements online. CTP uses Concur booking tool; you will see CTP and Concur used interchangeably. Discounted airfares, hotels, and rental cars may only be achieved through the online travel booking tool.
Individually Billed Travel Card (IBT)
This card is issued by the State of Texas through Citibank. The IBT card is the preferred method of payment for employee’s business related travel expenses that cannot be covered through direct payment within our online travel booking tool with CTP.
Employees must complete an application to Citibank for approval. Upon approval, the card is issued in the employee’s name and will be sent to the employee’s home address.
Cash Advances are limited to:
BSC to Host Discussion & Training Sessions for Online Travel Planning Tool
BSC Procurement Services has scheduled discussion and training sessions for the Corporate Travel Planners online travel planning tool, available to all departments at UNT System campuses in mid-May.
These sessions will introduce the complete, preferred process for booking and securing airfare, hotel and car rental. Since the approval process is online, it is important for travelers, travel coordinators, supervisors and DeptID/ProjID holders to attend. During the sessions, the BSC will be requesting volunteers to pilot the process to assist us in the best possible product to roll out to everyone.
Discussion sessions will be held May 14, and 15 according to the following schedule:
Video conference sessions and web streaming are available May 15. Web streaming is available by accessing http://cms2.untvn.unt.edu, and logging in with a EUID and Password. Web streaming is a convenient way to watch live training from your desktop. Employees using web stream, must log in just prior to start time. Once the session has been watched, employees must send an email to BSC@untsystem.edu indicating viewing of the session so that the training record is updated. There is no registration necessary for web streaming.
All live training sessions have limited seating. Please register as soon as possible online using employee self-service. Utilizing the Human Resources Tab, choose "Request Training Enrollment" under the heading of Training and Development to search the catalog for courses titled Online Travel Booking.
As a reminder, The UNT System Business Service Center (BSC) has contracted with Corporate Travel Planners (CTP) to serve as the preferred vendor for advance travel planning. In addition to the convenience CTP provides, using the preferred vendor alleviates paperwork submission required to pay for advance travel, and increases the level of customer service offered to travelers. Negotiated travel discounts with American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, and Enterprise rental cars are also available through the process, thus, saving money when booking department travel.
More information regarding working with CTP for travel advance planning, and how to find the dedicated web portal will be available soon. For questions regarding travel planning, call the BSC at 940-369-5500, toll free to 855-868-4357, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To continue increased efficiencies implemented by the BSC, all non-payroll disbursement checks for vendors (suppliers) will be mailed to the mailing address on file.
While the BSC handles all payments for UNT, UNT Dallas, UNT System Administration, and the UNT Health Science Center, this delivery method does not apply to the UNT Health Science Center. Delivery of payments will continue to be managed from that campus at this time.
For UNT, UNT Dallas and UNT System Administration, special handling of vendor checks will require the approval of the BSC Executive Director of Procurement Services or the Director of Payments.
The BSC now offers – and encourages – all vendors to utilize direct deposit (EFT) for the distribution of future payments. To sign up for EFT, complete the EFT Agreement (Supplier), http://bsc.untsystem.edu/sites/default/files/BSC_Supplier_EFT_Form.pdf. Once established, all future payments will be made by EFT. When an EFT payment is made, an email message will be sent to the email address specified on the EFT agreement form.
Departments with questions are encouraged to contact the BSC at email@example.com or 940-369-5500.
Check Request Forms
Check requests may be submitted electronically by scanning and emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please use CHECK REQUEST in the subject line of your email and include the supporting documentation (see sample email message format below). Electronic signatures are also accepted, and original documents should be maintained by the requesting department.
As we move closer to the end of the fiscal year, the UNT System Business Service Center (BSC) is also moving closer to allowing full access to the electronic Payroll Action Request system (ePAR).
Beginning in June, all departments at UNT System institutions should be able to create payroll transactions through ePAR. Transactions include new hires, additional jobs, funding changes, promotions, demotions, salary changes and additional pay. The BSC will continue offering additional training sessions to keep department personnel up to date. As of September 1, 2013, the UNT System will no longer be using HRM forms for employee-related payroll transactions; all processing will instead be done electronically. More information will become available as we continue to move forward.
Learn more about the ePAR system by accessing http://bsc.untsystem.edu/epar.
Hourly Payroll Deadlines
Hourly paid employees' time must be in "approved" status by noon on the deadline dates noted above.
Introducing the Equipment Maintenance Management Program
In an ongoing effort to facilitate savings and greater operational efficiencies, the BSC Strategic Sourcing team has contracted with Specialty Underwriters to implement a University System Wide Equipment Maintenance Management Program (EMMP).
The EMMP will offer alternatives to help reduce equipment maintenance expenses and better manage the service of equipment. We request your assistance in implementing the full potential of savings and administrative efficiencies we believe this program can bring to the UNT System.
Under the new program, departments are guaranteed minimum discounts of up to 30% off of current eligible equipment maintenance agreements (depending on the type of equipment included and the existing service coverage and contract terms). In addition to the savings, this initiative provides a consolidated approach with a single toll-free # for all service requests while allowing department’s to retain their current service providers or to utilize an alternative vendor of their choice.
For your department’s review, we have included the following link to a dedicated program website that has been created by Specialty Underwriters for the Equipment Maintenance Management Program: (www.su-group.com/login, Username: UNT1 and SavewithSU).
Please contact a Procurement Services member or your representative from Specialty Underwriters, with any questions or comments you may have regarding the program.
For additional information regarding the company or a sample quote of savings, review the documents online at http://bsc.untsystem.edu/introducing-equipment-maintenance-management-program.
Co-op Spotlight – Sigma Aldridge & University of Texas System Supply Chain Alliance
A number of state and privately sponsored buying cooperatives offer special pricing. Purchasing from a cooperative or taking advantage of a state contract may exempt the purchase from bidding requirements. To find a complete list of the cooperative agreements available for University of North Texas System member institutions, access http://bsc.untsystem.edu/contract-pricing.
Highlighted in this issue is Sigma-Aldridge, a member of the University of Texas System Supply Chain Alliance (UT Alliance). Sigma-Aldridge specializes in laboratory supplies such as oligos, PCR reagents and cell culture products. Any research department at UNT, UNTHSC and UNT Dallas may register for a login for the Sigma-Aldrich website and view the UT Alliance pricing online once logged in. Sigma-Aldrich estimates approximately a 50 percent savings by purchasing PCR reagents and cell culture products using co-op pricing. Additionally, Sigma-Aldrich offers free shipping to institutions using the co-op.
HEAF Purchasing Procedure
Higher Education Assistance Funds (HEAF) are state appropriated funds and all purchases must be requisitioned through BSC Purchasing.
The guideline amounts below are for single item costs and not total costs. For example, a printer costing $200 would not qualify for purchase using HEAF, but a $250 project that includes small-dollar parts would.
HEAF dollar limitations and purchasing documentation requirements follow:
May-June Training Opportunities
More details regarding training opportunities are available online at https://untranet.unt.edu/untsystem/untsbsc/Lists/Calendar/calendar.aspx.
BSC to Host UNT A-Team Meeting May 23
The BSC will host a meeting of the UNT A-team May 23 from 3-4 p.m. in Training Room 4202 at Woodhill Square. For more information, call 940-369-5500 or email to mailto:email@example.com.
BSC Offices Closed May 27
The UNT System Business Service Center will be closed Monday, May 27, 2013, in observance of a UNT System-designated holiday.
The BSC will re-open for regular operating hours on Tuesday, May 28, 2013. View the complete BSC and UNT System holiday schedule online at http://bsc.untsystem.edu/holiday-schedule.
UNT System Business Service Center (BSC) sends updates to employees to announce new programs, changes to procedures, or reminders about deadlines. In order to stay up-to-date with news from the BSC, UNT System employees are encouraged subscribe to BSC Updates online at http://bsc.untsystem.edu/Updates.
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