Who wouldn’t want to start the morning by talking about recharge rate setting and service center policies and audits?
The presentation by Florida International University (Charlene Blevens and Joseph Barabino) on operating service centers was comprehensive and informative.
They discussed the process of rate setting, the types of recharge centers typically found at universities and the use of sponsored funds on recharge accounts. They also reviewed the proper management of equipment purchases and when to depreciate (only when purchased by the university).
Audits of recharge centers have revealed common management errors that can be avoided:
1. Failure to update rates is the basis for a false claims act, old rates that are subsidized by internal accounts are not the basis for an accurate charge to a federal grant.
2. Administrative costs cannot be included in recharge rates in order to circumvent grant requirements.
3. Everyone needs to pay for services, even internal users (investigators using their own equipment). Every time a service is performed, someone is paying for it, and there needs to be an invoice generated to support it.
4. There is a need to analyze billing rates in order to avoid overcharging.
5. Manage surplus or deficits, balance goes back into center(calculation of rates or benefit of center). Surpluses cannot be used for other purposes.