Thursday, February 19, 2015

Bookmark This: Tax Information

It’s tax season, and for most of us, that means W-2s and tracking down every last possible deduction.  For those of us with college-age children or who are taking classes ourselves, though, it also means tracking down 1098-T forms to file along with our federal tax returns.  The University of Virginia prints and sends a 1098-T form to students who qualify for one.  Students have the option to receive their form electronically through their SIS, instead, and we make an effort to steer them that direction to save time and money. 

The 1098-T form is the driver of hundreds of phone calls and emails to the SFS Contact Center during tax season, and while we can help customers understand why they may not have qualified to receive a form for the prior tax year, we stop short of providing them tax advice on how to account for their education-related expenses, referring them instead to IRS publications or a qualified tax preparer.  To help the majority of people who have questions about the forms, however, we have prepared a section of the SFS website to address the most common questions about 1098-T forms and other tax information topics.  We invite you to take a look for yourself, especially if you will be claiming any education tax credits yourself for 2014.

Excel Tips & Tricks: Ctrl and Alt-Enter

A recent edition of Excel Tips & Tricks showed how to combine Ctrl and Alt to navigation keys like the arrows or PgUp/PgDown to quickly move around a workbook or worksheet.

Now take a look at using Ctrl and Alt with the Enter key to accomplish a few quick tasks.  Alt-Enter creates a line break in a cell to make text or formulas easier to read. Ctrl-Enter lets you quickly enter the same data or formula into multiple cells at once instead of using Copy/Paste. Check out the examples, and there is a bonus tip that may help you speed up the keying of formulas.

All Tips and Tricks are archived on the blog.  We are also working with UHR to create a training class to bring all these topics together in a more structured class format – more information to come soon.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Barbara Deily's Retirement from U.Va. on January 11, 2015

On January 11, exactly thirty-two years and one day after she started her career at U.Va., Barbara Deily retired from the University of Virginia.  In honor of her long career of service to the University and the Commonwealth, we have reproduced below comments that Pat Hogan shared with University deans and other administrators, as well as with Barbara’s team in Carruthers Hall, back in November; the transcript of a Board of Visitors Commending Resolution from the November 2014 BOV meeting; and finally some comments from Barbara herself.  It seems fair, after all, that she should have the final word.

We will miss very much having Barbara as our colleague, benefitting from her profound perception, her command of the bigger picture and the smallest detail both, her unfailing kindness and commitment to her friends and co-workers, and the exemplary integrity with which she goes about whatever she does.  We are grateful for her work and for her collegiality, and we wish her health and happiness in whatever lies ahead.

Excel Tips & Tricks: ‘COUNT’ Functions and ‘SUM’ vs ‘SUBTOTAL’

Here are two Excel tips—one was raised by a team member in Managerial Reporting and thought that it was worth sharing; the other is common in Excel files where an alternative approach can make a file easier to understand and maintain.

1. The first topic involves a spreadsheet used to track meeting frequency and attendance, and which of the various COUNT functions is appropriate for the task.
2. The second topic is about the SUM and SUBTOTAL functions and when each is the most

All Tips and Tricks are archived on the blog.  We are also working with UHR to create a training class to bring all these topics together in a more structured class format – more information to come soon.

Orange Team Success: Cost Transfer Automation

Cavalier Computers is excited about the recent cost transfer automation that will significantly improve turnaround time and data quality in their operation—as they deliver critical technology and physical assets to the University community. The Managerial Reporting Project team, the Cost Transfer team and the wider Orange Team stakeholders are excited about this recent accomplishment and what it may mean for other departments around the University.

MRP: Recent Trainings

In January, the MRP team delivered three small group training sessions on the fundamentals of the University Financial Model and demonstrations of the UFM Reporting tools. These sessions were similar to this fall’s first two waves of trainings, and included 15 participants (who currently don’t have access to the reporting tools) from both schools and central services units. Find out more about the current Managerial Reporting Project training opportunities.

SFS: Financial Aid Application Deadline March 1

The thermometer screams “February”, but in Student Financial Services, we already have springtime on our minds.  The deadline to apply for need-based financial aid is March 1, just around the corner, and we are busy contacting students, parents, and high school guidance counselors to do all we can to ensure no one misses out on State and University funding sources.  Students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and either the CSS/Profile (for entering and transfer students) or the University Financial Aid Application (UFAA, for all returning students).

After the application deadline, we begin to review application materials, request additional information when necessary, assign awards to students and then notify them by email that their award is available to view in their SIS Student Center.  For first-year undergraduates, we have a very tight turnaround, as regular decision applicants learn of their admission decision right around April 1.  Since they have until May 1 to decide whether to attend U.Va., we work long, hard and smartly to get their awards to them so they have all the financial information they possibly can to make an informed decision about where to attend University.

After the middle of May, when we have also completed the same process for fall transfers, we turn our attention to the returning undergraduate and graduate students, all with an eye to having their awards complete by the time the Fall 2015 statement of term charges comes out in mid-July.  Whew!  It sounds like a lot of time to get things done, but when you factor in the individual counseling sessions with parents and students who want to understand the details behind their awards, as well as other regular activities, our financial aid team is tying up their track shoes for a marathon effort.

OSP: ResearchUVA is Coming!

As has been mentioned previously, the Office of Sponsored Programs--in conjunction with ITS and the Office of Organizational Excellence--is creating an electronic research administration system called ResearchUVA. More details about the project can be found here.

At the recent Research Administrators’ Forum, a demonstration of the system was presented. That presentation was videorecorded and can be viewed here. It is anticipated that the system will go live in April 2015.

ResearchUVA will include electronic access to award documents. It includes a screen of “FastFacts” with information for faculty and administrators about awards that are ending, accounts in deficit, burn rates, and reports due. Faculty and administrators will also be able to see current awards and proposals in progress as well as create internal proposal forms and certify them, prepare budgets, upload proposals, and create other forms to process necessary actions.

If you have any questions about ResearchUVA, please contact Vonda Durrer (vd9k).

Comptroller: University Financial Report and Trainings

2013-2014 Financial Report 
The University experienced another strong year of performance in fiscal year 2013-14. Thanks to the skill and dedication of all of our people, we are better positioned than most universities to address the challenges facing public higher education. We have made significant strides in mobilizing the necessary resources to address the generational turnover of faculty and to pursue the strategic directions established in the Cornerstone Plan. We are focused on advancing the University’s distinctive qualities—an emphasis on close faculty-student interaction in an unparalleled setting, cutting-edge research, and affordable excellence—that continue to distinguish us in a highly competitive landscape and that enable us to deliver value to the citizens of the Commonwealth, the nation, and, increasingly, the world.

Advanced Excel Training
The pilot class developed by Peggy Reitz (University Human Resources) was presented to people from Managerial Reporting, AVPF, OSP and the University Comptroller for their comments and feedback. This is considered a critical foundational class in a rigorous financial training program that will ensure that employees with financial or budget responsibilities have the analytical skills they will need to be successful.

GA/GL Training 
The pilot class of a new combo GM/GL training session has been developed by Lynn Galasso (Office of the Comptroller) and Peggy Reitz (University Human Resources) and will be presented to a targeted group for feedback. The purpose is to develop a session that incorporates technical Integrated System training with related polices and best business practices, for a more integrated approach to how we do business. This is important as we begin to consider how to better integrate our training resources into a comprehensive financial curriculum.