Maryland Courts

February 2, 2014

Hi everyone,

The below changes were made in GEARS and are effective 2-1-14:

COMMITMENT CONTROL (BUDGET LEVEL) CHANGE - A change has been made to the method of budget monitoring to allow more flexibility and to reduce the potential for receiving budget errors. Basically, GEARS will be tracking your expenses against your budget, rather than controlling the expenses.

What does this mean for you? GEARS will continue to track pre-encumbrances, encumbrances, and expenditures against the existing budgets when the transactions are budget checked, but the system will no longer be enforcing the existing budget amounts against expenditures. (Transactions still need to be budget checked.) As an example, if you have a total object-level budget of $100, GEARS will allow you to create an expense or other type of transaction against that budget for $101 without causing a budget error. Please note, two pop-up warnings will display but you just have to click OK to acknowledge the messages. When warnings are received, the budget status will still be "valid." Note: A budget error will still happen if a transaction is processed for an account in which a budget has not been established at all. The exception language will state "no budget exist."

If you have documents (i.e. voucher, requisition, PO) that are in a current budget error, please re-budget check the document.

EXPRESS PO RECEIPTS - A Judiciary business process decision has been made, which eliminates the requirement to complete receipts for Express PO's. The process for creating an Express PO has not changed and the Quick Tip Sheet - Creating an Express Purchase Order is still valid. Procurement has revised the list of available contracts/Blanket Purchase Orders (see attached file) to include additional helpful information. Please note, while the requirement for a receipt has changed, receipts may still be completed in GEARS for these purchase orders, if that is a local choice or requirement.

Please note - Under the guidance of District Court Headquarters, DISTRICT COURT staff will still need to create receipts in GEARS for Express PO's.

When vouchering Express PO invoice payments, when a receipt has not been completed, please make sure you follow the new Quick Tip sheet created for this purpose - Creating a PO Voucher. Basically, instead of pulling in from the receipt on the voucher (as you currently do), you will need to pull in from the purchase order.

Please note - receipts are still required for all Purchase Orders created by the Department of Procurement and Contract Administration.

WORKFLOW CHANGES (effective 2.1.14):

EXPRESS PO DENIAL NOTIFICATION - With this change, Denial notifications (email and Worklist) for Express POs correctly route to the Express PO Field Buyer (Express PO originator).

JIS VOUCHER (INVOICE) APPROVAL - This update removes the workflow of sending approval notifications to JIS for certain vouchers, related to IT invoices, which are generated outside of JIS. These vouchers should only need their local approval to proceed to the Department of Budget and Finance (DBF) for processing now..

PURCHASE ORDER NOTIFICATION - With this change, when a Purchase Order has been approved or denied, a GEARS notification (and worklist item) will be sent to the requestor on the requisition.

TRAVEL INVOICES - With this change, invoices charged to travel related sub-objects (0401,0402,0403) will route directly through workflow to the Department of Budget and Finance for payment processing after local approval. The additional routing that was in place to Administrative Services for approval has been removed.

Other items to note:

DISTRICT COURT FOXPRO - The District Court Finance Office sent a status email message on 1/24 in reference to FoxPro and GEARS. The below was excerpted from the message: "At this time, due to various issues, including the inability to electronically convert data from PS/GEARS into MDEC, we have decided to stop the PILOT to replace the District Court local accounting system, aka FoxPro, with GEARS. To be clear, revenue and other disbursements will continue to be recorded in GEARS via your current methods, BUS, journal entries, and refunds."

SECURITY FORM - The security form is currently under review to make it more user friendly. Just a reminder that the revised Security Role Definitions with functional descriptions is listed on the GEARS website.

TIMING OF INVOICE PROCESSING - It is important to note that all invoices should be processed in a timely manner to ensure that our vendors are paid in a timely manner and delivery of goods and services is not interrupted. Once an invoice reaches the Department of Budget and Finance, it generally takes approximately one week for the invoice to be reviewed, prepared and sent to the state for payment processing.

TRAINING - Please review the recent email sent on January 20 announcing upcoming training sessions. If you plan to attend, please make sure that you register early. There are still additional work sessions planned as well, and staff are always welcome to come into DBF to work on one of our GEARS stations with assistance from our staff.

Any questions or comments, please let me know. Keep the GEARS moving!

Thank you,

Tammy Sitar, CPA
Deputy Director
Budget and Finance
Project Director - GEARS