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Sale of Goods and Services

  • Responsible Office: University Controller’s Office
  • Current Approved Version: 01/13/2020
  • Policy Type: Administrative

Policy Statement and Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to set forth the requirements for university units to engage in revenue generating activities and the rates those units can charge for such activities. 

Units may engage in the sale of goods and services only when the production of those goods or services is consistent with the normal activities of the unit and is substantially related to the mission of the university and that unit. The sale of goods and services must conform to all university policies and procedures. The provision of services must not duplicate services already performed or provided by another unit at the university.

This policy does not apply to instructional programs listed on the VCU Bulletin or sponsored program activities reviewed by the Office of Sponsored Programs. If the sale or service is provided to a federal agency, the proposed activity must be reviewed by the Office of Sponsored Programs.

This policy is not intended to address service centers. Service center activities must follow the Financial Management of Service Centers policy.

This policy does not apply to circumstances in which the provision of services results in compensation directly to an individual VCU employee.  In those cases, the employee should comply with the relevant Outside Professional Activity and Employment Policy, Research and Continuing Education (Faculty Specific).

Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. VCU supports an environment free from retaliation. Retaliation against any employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question, or participates in an investigation is prohibited.

Who Should Know This Policy

Vice presidents, vice provosts, deans, directors, and department heads are responsible for knowing this policy and familiarizing themselves with its contents and provisions.

Definitions

Financial business plan

Plan that details the anticipated revenue streams and quantifies annual revenue as well as all cost components including administrative overhead, space, and equipment.

Sale of goods and services

The exchange of property or services by the university with external customers for monetary consideration.

Service center 

A university unit that provides goods or services primarily to other university departments on an ongoing basis at cost.

Contacts

The Office of the Senior Vice President and CFO officially interprets this policy. The Office of the Senior Vice President and CFO is responsible for obtaining approval for any revisions as required by the policy Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures through the appropriate governance structures. Please direct policy questions to the Controller’s Office in the Office of the Senior Vice President and CFO.

Policy Specifics and Procedures

1. Initial Recommendation by the Dean or Department Head:  The sale of goods and services must be initially reviewed by the dean or non-academic department head who will consider the following factors prior to recommending direct sale activity for approval by the provost, VP of health sciences or SVP and CFO:

• The goods or services represent the transfer of knowledge or expertise from the university to the public.

• The provision of goods or services substantially support the mission of the university and the applicable unit.

• The prices charged for the goods or services capture all direct and indirect costs of providing the goods or services.

• The goods or services are not commonly available or otherwise easily accessible in the public market.

2. Approval by the Provost, VP of Health Sciences or SVP and CFO: If the requesting unit is an academic unit, the dean must seek approval by the Office of the Provost or the VP of health sciences for the activity prior to requesting review of the rate proposal by the controller. If the requesting unit is a non-academic unit, it must seek approval to conduct the activity from the SVP and CFO.

3. Approval of Rates for the Sales of Goods and Services:  All rates charged for the sale of goods and services must be reviewed and approved by the controller. The dean or relevant unit head must send a written rate proposal to the controller.

• If the requesting unit is a non-academic unit, the sale of goods and services activity and the corresponding rate proposal can be submitted for review by the SVP and CFO and the controller simultaneously.

4. Accountability and Operating Plans:  The requesting unit must provide the following information when requesting a rate approval:

• Approval Form for New Revenue Generating Activities

• Financial business plan

• Demonstrate compliance with the Export Compliance and Research Security policy

• Controller initial review followed by subsequent reviews of rates every two years

5. Pricing and Tax Requirements

• The requesting unit and approving entities must take into account all direct and indirect costs of providing the goods and services as well as competitive price of such items in the public market.

• The activities cannot be conducted for the purpose of carrying on a trade or business and cannot be conducted in competition with taxable organizations. The only exception is activities conducted for the convenience of faculty, staff and students.

• As part of the review by the controller’s office, a determination will be made if the revenues from the activity are subject to unrelated business income tax (UBIT). If UBIT does apply the department chair or person responsible for the activity must provide annual financial reports to the controller for tax reporting purposes. Any taxes owed will be charged to the applicable unit.

• Generally, sales tax must be collected and remitted for sales of goods. This will be part of the tax review that is conducted.

6. Use of Contracts

• After the activity has been approved by the provost, VP of health sciences, or SVP and CFO, the unit must draft a contract that articulates the parties, activity, and fees. If the external entity provides the contract it still must follow the same reviews outlined in this policy.

• For recurring activities, units must work with the Office of University Counsel to develop a template. The unit must contact the Office of University Counsel at least four weeks prior to the first transaction. Once approved, this template may be utilized without additional legal review if the terms have not been substantially changed.

• For one-time or infrequent activities, units should work with the Office of University Counsel to develop an appropriate contract. The unit must contact the Office of University Counsel at least four weeks prior to the anticipated transaction.

7. Billing and Receipt of Funds (cashiering, accounts receivable, receipts)

• Billing must be based upon documented utilization in units that can be measured. Revenue generating units must maintain a published price list of all services or products available. All billing must be processed on timely basis, but no less frequently than monthly.

• Billing and receipt of funds must comply with the Cash Receipting policy.

• For external sales that will exceed $50,000 per year, the unit should consult with the controller’s office for assistance with the miscellaneous accounts receivable module in Banner and instructions for collections.

8. Exceptions

• The SVP and CFO may grant exceptions to the policy based on written justification.

Forms

1. Approval Form for New Revenue Generating Activities

Related Documents

1. VCU Policy: Financial Management of Service Centers

2. VCU Policy: Export Compliance and Research Security

3. VCU Policy: Cash Receipting

Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

Approval/Revision DateTitle
February 1991 Sale of Goods and Services
August 04, 2015 Sale of Goods and Services

FAQ

There are no FAQ associated with this policy and procedures.