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COLLECTIONS SECTION OF RESEARCH ACCOUNTING

OBJECTIVE

The primary goal of the Research Receivables Collections Section for Research Accounting is to recover overdue receivables from sponsors for expenses incurred under their contracts. Efforts are made to minimize the amount of time taken to recover the funds.

 

CONTACTS

Contact Ann Koski, Receivables Manager by phone at 413-545-1117, by fax at 413-545-4233, or by e-mail at akoski@admin.umass.edu if there are any questions about Research Accounting collection procedures.


REFERRALS TO THE RESEARCH RECEIVABLES COLLECTIONS SECTION

Referrals to the Collections Section are made periodically by the accountant or Receivables Manager and are approved by the Assistant Controller for Research Accounting. Referrals are generally made on the basis of information provided on the monthly Aging Report. The invoices referred to the Collections Section have already been billed by the accountant and follow up has already been started.

 

FEDERAL WORK STUDY

Often the staff in the University Financial Aid Office assists with collection of these accounts. Monthly Aging reports are supplied to Financial Aid, if requested, so that their staff may track delinquent accounts. The contract with the sponsor specifies that invoices are to be paid within 30 days of issuing the bill. Any follow-up on work-study accounts is coordinated with the Financial Aid Office. If an account remains unpaid for an excessive amount of time, the Financial Aid office may terminate the employment of any students paid from that account.

 

STATE FUNDED ACCOUNTS

Contracts between the University and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (State) are covered by a master Interdepartmental Service Agreement (ISA), known as the "Master ISA." This document specifies certain terms and conditions by which the University must abide for State funded contracts. The section entitled "Service Contract (SC)/Payment Voucher (PV)," which is found at the bottom of page 4 of the Master ISA, states:

Service Contract (SC)/Payment Voucher (PV). The Buyer agrees to establish a Service Contract (SC) for the maximum obligation under an ISA in compliance with the rules of the Office of the Comptroller. The Buyer shall submit the original SC transaction form with the completed original 815 CMR 6.00 AUTHORIZATION FORM including appropriate secretariat signoff and attachments, to the Office of General Counsel for approval and PEND5 approval of the SC. Promptly after the period in which services are performed the Seller shall submit to the Buyer a Payment Voucher (PV) with copies of all relevant supporting documentation. The Buyer will review the PV and either return the PV unapproved within (10) days with written reasons for disapproval, or shall process the PV for payments within (30) days of receipt in compliance with the rules of the Office of the Comptroller. If the Seller has not received payment within (30) days of the submission of the PV, the Seller shall immediately notify the Buyer that the PV has not been processed. If notification is made by telephone, the Seller must document the date of notice to the Buyer by a follow up memorandum, fax or letter. If the Seller does not receive payment within ten (10) working days following notification to the Buyer, the Seller shall forward a copy of the unprocessed PV, with all relevant supporting documentation, and a copy of the notification given to the Buyer, to the Office of the General Counsel requesting an informal hearing pursuant to the provisions of section 10 "Disputes." The Seller shall notify the Buyer immediately, but in no event later than April 30th, if the maximum obligation will not be encumbered by the Seller prior to June 30th of the fiscal year. The Buyer and Seller may amend the ISA to reflect this reduction pursuant to the procedures of section 19 "AMENDMENTS."

Therefore, for state funded contracts, if payment is not received within 30 days of receipt of the PV by the state (presumed to be 40 days after mailing), the accountant must notify the appropriate state agency. If payment is still not received after another 10 days, the University may go to the Office of the General Counsel to pursue collection. The accountant in charge of State accounts records the date of mailing by date-stamping the yellow copy of the PV which is kept along with a copy of the transaction report and any additional reports or documents submitted with the PV. If a sponsor submits payment on a subsequent PV (i.e. pays # 5 before paying # 4) it is important to check with the sponsor immediately in case they lost or did not receive the missing PV. It is especially important to follow up on missing PVs between May and August to make sure that all billings have been received. In August, call all sponsors and confirm that all outstanding PVs have been received.

 

REFERRALS TO COLLECTION AGENCY

The Collections Section may determine that it has expended much time and effort without sufficient progress in collecting the outstanding amount due from a particular sponsor and decide to refer the account to a collection agency.

NOTE: It is not the practice of the University to refer state or federally funded accounts to the collection agency.


Prior to Referral

Recommend to the Assistant Controller that the sponsor be sent a letter which mentions sending the account to a collection agency if payment or a response is not received by a specified date. A copy of this letter is also sent to the P.I. If payment has not been received and/or an appropriate response has not been made by the specified date, and the Assistant Controller has given approval, then the account is referred to the collection agency


CONTACT WITH SPONSOR AFTER REFERRAL TO COLLECTION AGENCY

The University will cease collection efforts for any invoice(s) referred to the collection agency. If the sponsor contacts the University, they must be referred to the Collection Agency. The only exception is if the sponsor pays the amount in full or asks to pay the amount in full. At this point, we will accept only full payment, not partial, or payment plans. If payment is made, or a promise to pay is made, the collection agency is notified and the commission must be paid.

 

SLOW PAYING SPONSORS

The Collections Section informs the Office of Grant and Contract Administration (OGCA) about any sponsors who are slow (or do not pay) research receivables. That office will make an effort to get advance payments on any future awards with that sponsor.

 

Controller's Office
Room 405 Goodell Building
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Tel:  (413) 545-0806
Fax: (413) 545-4233

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Last Updated: 12/30/03