Maryland Courts

Message from Tammy Sitar

May 30, 2016

ALL:

FY2016 Year-End Update – Please be sure to review the FY16 year-end memo and checklist on a regular basis to ensure that you are in compliance with all required items and due dates.  Both documents can be found on the GEARS site for further details.  Below are some quick reminders.

  1. Please be sure to review and use the new encumbrance form to request that purchase orders be encumbered.  This form is due by Friday, July 15.
  2. June Local Disbursements – Please process your June local disbursements, only AFTER you have received the June interest amount from the Department of Budget and Finance (DBF.)
  3. Ongoing review of open purchasing documents and vouchers.
  4. Friday, June 10 PTP – Purchasing On-going review and monitoring of open requisitions and purchase orders.  
    Friday, June 10 PTP – Purchasing On-going review and monitoring of voucher statuses utilizing the voucher activity page.  
  5. It is important that the processing of daily deposits is kept current as we get close to the end of the year.  The weekend of June 25th-26th would be a good time to complete any catch-up work as needed.
  6. DBF recommends that you run PO Buydown reports before processing associated vouchers, especially when processing invoices for Xerox.  The buydown will show you whether there is money available for your invoice and will minimize matching issues later in the voucher process.  If there is not enough money available on the PO, you should contact Procurement for the PO to be modified first before attempting to process the invoice. 
  7. DBF also recommends that you utilize the Voucher Activity Inquiry page to review for vouchers that are not complete, such as pending approval, not approved, or not budget checked, so that appropriate action can be taken.
  8. DBF has encountered problems in previous year-ends with Post Office box rentals.  These invoices are due June 30 and the Post Office is not very forgiving if they are not paid by this date.  They will often close the boxes and refuse mail delivery.  To prevent any issues, please process these invoices as soon as they are received and give a quick call to DBF AP staff or do an email to judiciary.finance.accounts.payable.unit@mdcourts.gov to let our staff know.
  9. When creating GL Journals for FY16, please be sure that you use the current date  (but no later than June 30) on the “add a new value” tab and ensure that your journal entry gets approved.  Remember, the approval process for journal entries was new this year.

Other Updates and Reminders:

Closing Periods – The GEARS System will now have an official monthly close schedule, which will closely mirror the state financial system close dates to ease the reconciliation process.  In general, the close date will be around the 15th of each month.  This means all processing that should be reflected in a particular month’s work would need to be completed no later than the specified last posting date, such as order to cash end-of-month (EOM) work, voucher processing, refunds, etc.  To ease in this transition, it has been decided that the monthly order-to-cash interest will be shifted forward and processed in the following month.  For example, if your court processes interest on a monthly basis, the February interest received (usually by March 15th) would be processed in your March EOM work, rather than waiting to receive the interest amount to process your February EOM disbursements.  The same principle would apply to quarterly interest disbursements.  The only exception to this rule will be year-end, at which point everyone will need to wait for the June interest to complete their final year-end disbursements.  Each month on the day following the last posting date, as shown below, months will be officially closed within the GEARS system to prevent further processing and system messages will be received if attempts are made to process transactions in closed months.  The team suggests that courts prepare to have their EOM month process completed by the 10th of each month to comply with the posted close schedule.  There is a document on the GEARS site, which provides details about new system warning messages and how to respond to them.   The full fiscal year 2017 close schedule will be announced at a later date.   ***At this time, the system is closed through April.***

MONTH          LAST POSTING DATE
May                  June 15
June                 approximately August 15 (To be determined based on when year-end tasks are complete.)
July                   approximately August 15
August             September 15

Detail Revenue Activity Report –The GEARS Team has created a new revenue report that should make your monthly reconciliation process much easier for you.  The report is titled Detail Revenue Activity Report and it can be found using the following navigation, General Ledger>General Reports>Detail Revenue Activity Report.  The Detail Revenue Activity Report will contain all of your revenue activity for one accounting month.  You will no longer need to run two different Accounting Periods to balance the activity for one accounting month.  All of the same data will be on this new report, along with new, more detailed level information that has been requested by users.  For example, vendors that were paid revenue refunds and local disbursement vendor names will be displayed, as well as the daily deposits will be broken out between DEP (Deposits) and CRD (Credit Cards).  The GEARS Team is hoping this report will simplify your monthly reconciliation work and provide all of the detail revenue activity information in just one report. 

FY2017 Requisitions – Please note that AY2017 requisitions can now be entered into the GEARS system.  Please review the GEARS email update distributed on March 16 for detailed guidance.  It can be found on the GEARS site under News & Information.  Requisitions must be approved before Procurement can start working on them.

GEARS Security Form – The GEARS Security form and corresponding instructions have been slightly revised.  Both documents can be found on the GEARS site.  As customary with audit and internal control, a statement has been added indicating that the same user will not be provided both a processing role, as well as the related approval role.  In addition, the email addresses to submit the forms have changed. 
   
GEARS Support and the Help Desk – As we get closer to completing our third full year of processing financial data in GEARS, the quantity of daily help desk tickets continues to decrease.  We would like to remind users that direct communication with AOC Departmental Staff is strongly encouraged for assistance as applicable for general questions or issues that may arise.  This means:
*if you have an issue with a voucher, you may contact staff within the Budget and Finance Accounts Payable Unit;
*if you have a budget issue, you may contact staff within the Budget and Finance Budget and Reports Unit;
*if you have a revenue issue, you may contact staff within the Budget and Finance Revenue Unit;
*if you have an issue with a requisition or purchase order, you may contact staff within the Department of Procurement, Contract and Grant Administration;
*If you have a p-card issue, you may contact the p-card administrator within the Department of Procurement, Contract and Grant Administration or staff within Budget and Finance;
*If you are an employee of District Court, you may contact District Court Headquarters for specific District Court processing guidance or contact the offices noted above as needed; or
*for other issues, not specifically noted above, please feel free to contact other appropriate department staff as necessary.

The help desk (410-260-1114) will still be active and should be used for issues more technical in nature, BUS issues, or other issues as needed. 

Paperless Statements – As a note, some vendors are now issuing “paperless invoices/statements.”  This means they are requesting their customers to establish online accounts to receive their electronic invoices/statements.  In some cases, if the customer elects not to do this, the companies are adding a statement fee, such as $2.00, for each printed invoice that is mailed.  As required, please be sure to establish online accounts to minimize these fees.

Purchase Order Buydown – The Purchase Order Buydown report has been modified.  The screen now contains an option to include closed PO’s.  If this check box is not selected, your results will only contain open PO’s.  For reviewing your PO’s to determine any required actions, generally you should NOT select to include closed PO’s.  The “closed PO” option is helpful for audit purposes and other data requirements.


Thank you.

Tammy