Bid Limit Increasing to $75,000 – Effective October 1, 2022

The State of Alabama has approved a new procurement law for goods and services that will go into effect on October 1, 2022.  The new law will allow for a more modern approach to standard procurement practices, provide needed flexibility, and will be easier to understand.  The primary change that will impact campus is the competitive bid limit will increase from the current $15,000 to the new limit of $75,000.  The new limit will put the University more in line with our peer institutions across the southeast.  While the bid threshold will change, all other Purchasing Guidelines and applicable University policies will remain the same.  As a reminder, all purchases for goods or services less than $75,000 should still be made using Approved Contract Vendors whenever possible.  If the good or service needed is not available from a contract vendor, then multiple quotes should be obtained whenever possible.  Please contact Purchasing staff with any questions you may have about this upcoming change.

As mentioned above, the primary change that will impact campus is simply a higher competitive bid threshold.  All Purchasing Guidelines and applicable University policies will essentially remain the same.  This increase will provide many benefits to campus such as more flexibility to independently source goods or services at the departmental level that are less than $75,000 and not available from approved contract vendors.  This increase will also result in less sole source justifications for required purchases that are only available from one source.  While this is a positive change for campus, we do understand that you may have some questions or concerns about how this change may impact your area.  Purchasing’s staff of Senior Buyers have already been meeting with many areas of campus to discuss the impacts of this change.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to a Purchasing Senior Buyer to schedule a meeting to discuss.  

Fiscal Year-End 2022 Reminder

With FY2022 ending in a few short weeks, it is important to note the below dates to ensure that Procurement Services can process all orders and post all transactions to Banner within the Financial Accounting deadlines:

  • New bids should have been requested by Wednesday, August 31, 2022, at 5 p.m.
  • buyBama Purchase Orders must be created and approved by Monday, September 19, 2022, at 5 p.m.
  • Concur PO Invoices that have been assigned to users need to be submitted and approved as soon as possible for purchase orders where the product has been delivered.  For questions regarding Concur PO Invoices, contact Accounts Payable.  
  • Concur Invoices must be submitted, approved by all approvers, and to Accounts Payable for processing by Thursday, October 6, 2022, at 5:00 p.m.
  • Concur Expense Reports must be submitted, approved by all approvers, and to Accounts Payable and P-Card for processing by Thursday, October 6, 2022, at 5:00 p.m.
  • Banner Encumbrances will roll forward on Monday, October 17, 2022

Standard Single Purchase Limit Increase – Effective October 1, 2022

Effective October 1, 2022, the standard single purchase limit for all p-cards will increase to $25,000. For cards with monthly limits lower than $25,000, the single purchase limit will increase to the monthly limit amount. If you have any questions, please contact P-Card Services. Effective October 1, 2022, the standard single purchase limit for all p-cards will increase to $25,000. For cards with monthly limits lower than $25,000, the single purchase limit will increase to the monthly limit amount. If you have any questions, please contact P-Card Services.

Airfare Classes Available in Concur

We have communicated previously (https://accountspayable.ua.edu/travel-news/) that our travel agency did not recommend the offering of the lowest basic airfare options due to the lack of benefits and the increased restrictions associated with these fares.  As a result, when reviewing flights on both Concur and external booking sites, travelers would contact us stating that cheaper flights can be found outside of the system.  When researching these instances, we typically determined that the traveler was not comparing the same fare/class of ticket.  We have worked with our travel agent to add the lower-class fares to the online booking tool, so basic economy fares are now included in the search results.  Please remember that these fares are very restrictive (no changes, no seat assignments until check-in, no frequent flyer points earned, one carry-on, etc.).  Please always be aware of which fare option you are booking in the system and know that all available options in the system are allowable flights.  Accounts Payable can continue to review any variances you see between Concur and external sites.

International Airfare Bookings

Due to the availability of local carriers in various countries and locations, we are exempting international airfare bookings from the Concur booking requirement.  These bookings must still be paid for with a UA P-Card.   Travelers do not need to reach out to Accounts Payable for prior approval of international bookings outside of the Concur system.  All domestic air travel is required to be booked through Concur or Christopherson Business Travel using a UA P-Card. 

Rental Car Bookings

Concur is the preferred booking method for rental cars, and the UA P-Card is the required method of payment.  However, we understand that there may be issues with presenting the physical P-Card when picking up the vehicle (for example, when UA guests arrive at the Birmingham airport for a campus visit).  The best alternative is to contact National/Enterprise and set up a billing account for your department.  The instructions for doing this are listed in National Car Rental and Enterprise Rent-A-Car Reservation Guidelines on the Purchasing website.  When billed, the department can then use the UA P-Card to pay for the car rental.

Concur Travel Itinerary – Claiming Travel Allowances

When a user completed an Expense Report Header in the old Concur User Interface, the system would open a window asking the user if the Expense Report would include GSA per diems for overnight out-of-state or international travel.  The user had the option to select Yes or No and continue with the report.  If the user selected Yes, the appropriate screen would appear to begin inputting the travel itinerary for the system to then calculate the GSA per diems.  The new user interface still includes this question, however, it does not appear in a new window.  It now appears at the bottom of the Report Header screen.  Please be sure to scroll down through that screen to see the question and input your selection accordingly.  The question will default to “No, I do not want to claim Travel Allowances.”  Please see the guide for Building a Travel Itinerary for detailed steps on selecting the appropriate option and then completing the travel itinerary. 

Checking the Approval Flow

Reports with previous cycle charges are due to P-Card Services by the 25th of the month following the cycle. To make sure your report makes it through the approval flow and to Procurement Services in time, it may be helpful to review the Approval Flow of any outstanding or recently submitted reports.
 
To review the approval flow, first open the report. Next, click Report Details and then Report Timeline. A dialog box will open showing the Approval Flow and Report Summary. Once a step has been completed in the approval flow, there will be a green circle and check mark to the left. The report will have a status of, “Approved and In Account Review,” when it is in the queue of either Accounts Payable or P-Card Services.

New Concur User Interface – Now Live!

The new Concur User Interface (UI) went live for all campus users on Monday, June 13.  All training reference documents on the Concur Website have been updated to provide users with ample resources to navigate this change. Additionally, we will hold Help Sessions in the Procurement Services Building to provide in-person assistance related to this update. After using the new interface, if you would like to attend a help session, please sign up using this Registration Link.

As a reminder, this update will only impact the Request and Expense modules for the user creating and submitting reports. Concur Travel Bookings, Concur Invoice, and the Concur Mobile App will not change as part of this UI change.

This new UI is intended to provide users with a more accessible design and an improved user experience. It is easier to learn, should save users time, and make it easier to complete many tasks. Accessibility is also improved as the new UI provides a more intuitive and approachable experience for users with visual, auditory, motor, cognitive, or speech disabilities to use our solutions, making them more inclusive.

Throughout the pilot phase, we have received questions primarily on two topics – Available Expenses and Available Receipts.

Available Expenses
The Available Expenses section includes items that could be true P-Card charges, e-Receipts, or itineraries. In the Old Concur User Interface, P-Card transactions, e-receipts, and itinerary items had a “Source” column that colored icons to indicate what type of expense the line item was. In the New Concur User Interface, the Source column has been replaced with a “Payment Type” column.

  1. US Bank PCard – this Payment Type indicates that the transaction was paid with a US Bank P-Card.
  2. Pending Card Transaction – This is an itinerary, e-receipt, or mobile app receipt picture that has not yet matched with a p-card transaction. This line item does not have to be reconciled until the card charge posts.

Please be mindful that P-Card transactions typically take 3-5 business days from the date the card was swiped to post into Concur. Please make sure you are waiting until card transactions post and reconcile only US Bank P-Card items from your Available Expenses.

This is summarized further with screenshots included in the Available Expenses Changes Guide.

Available Receipts
The Available Receipts sections includes receipts that have been uploaded to Concur or emailed from a verified email address. Previously, in the Old Concur User Interface, users could drag and drop multiple files at once from their desktop or another folder to their Available Receipts section. In the New Concur User Interface, the drag and drop ability has been removed. Pilot users have been frustrated with this change as they do not want to upload many receipt files separately. There is a solution. When you click Upload Receipt Image and navigate to the folder that houses your receipt files, you can select multiple files to upload at once by holding down the Ctrl key as you are selecting files for upload. This will allow you to select multiple files to upload at one time.

If you have any questions, or need any help, please reach out to the Concur Help Desk.

P-Card Storage in Concur

P-Card Services distributed new US Bank P-Cards to College/Department Budget Managers in December prior to the University’s Holiday Break.  The Regions P-Cards were then deactivated at the end of December.  As more and more P-Card holders are beginning to travel, we are receiving reports of credit cards declining during the travel booking process.  In the instances reported, the individuals had not updated the P-Card in their Concur profiles from the Regions P-Card to the new US Bank P-Card.  This causes the card to decline and the reservation to be routed to Christopherson Business Travel (CBT).  CBT will email the traveler with instructions to correct the issue within 24 hours.  Once the card is updated in the profile, the user must respond to CBT who will then complete the booking. However, as a travel agent must be involved in the booking, this will trigger a $17 agent assist fee on the reservation.  In order to prevent this issue and the resulting fee, please ensure that you have updated the credit card in your profile to your new US Bank P-Card (instructions below). 

  1. From the Concur Homepage, select Profile and Profile Settings
  2. Select Credit Card Information.  This will direct you to the Credit Cards section of your user profile. 
  3. Select + Add a Credit Card.
  4. Complete the fields in the form. 
  5. In the “Use this card as the default card for:” section, please ensure that you have selected the modes of travel that you will be booking in Concur.