FAQ’s for Contracts

  1. I have a zero-dollar contract.  Do I need to enter it into IRIS?
    Yes. All contracts regardless of dollar amount must be entered in IRIS and routed through normal contract workflow for approval.   

  2. What do I do if the vendor does not have a vendor number set up in IRIS?
    Please consult the Accounts Payable section of the Treasurer’s Office website for all information about vendor creation in IRIS.

  3. How can I link an amendment to the original contract?
    When entering the amendment in IRIS, select “Yes” in the Amendment field, and in the box that pops up after selected “yes”, enter the original contract number. Be careful that you have chosen the correct vendor for the amendment, because if the vendor numbers on the original and the amendment do not match, IRIS will not allow you to submit the contract into workflow.

  4. How can I link an NCJ to a contract?
    When entering the contract, in the payable information section, select Non-competitive as the competitive type. Then, in the ‘non-comp justification nbr’ field, enter the NCJ number you wish to link to the contract.

  5. What should I put in the description field?
    The description field should be just that- a description of the contract. This field is virtually unlimited as far as number of characters, so take all the space you need. Anyone reading the description of this contract should have a good understanding of the transaction involved. Any information pertinent to the contract that will not be included in the IRIS data entry fields should be placed in the description (not in the comments section).

  6. What information should I put in the title? Is there a good example of a title?
    The title of a contract in IRIS is one of the most important parts of the contract entry. It is very important that you take your time and create a good title for the contract. Include the vendor’s name if possible and avoid abbreviations that will be hard to decipher (i.e. DOE could be Department of Education or Department of Energy).  Giving as much information as possible is the best practice, but IRIS does have a text limit for this field.                 
    Some examples of well-written titles are:

    • Speaker Engagement for John Doe to Present at Dental Conference
    • MOA with East TN Children’s Hospital for Social Work Clinicals
    • Consulting Contract with Jane Doe for UTK Engineering Prog Development
    • Federal Subaward from North Carolina State for Chemistry Research
    • Purchase of Advertising from Rocky Top Co for Fall ’13 Campaign
    • Space Rental Agreement with Henry Horton State Park for 4-H Event

  7. Which contract type should I select?               
    Using your best judgment after reading the entire contract, select the contract type that best fits the contract. Lots of contracts can fall under multiple types, but generally there is one contract type that is best. If you have any questions about which contract type to select, please contact your campus contract office. 

    Also, there are certain types that should never be used for a payable contract and certain types that should never be used for a receivable contract. These can be found below.

  8. How do I know whether my contract has a contingency amount?
    A contingency amount is present if the contract has a contingency clause. Generally a contingency clause would obligate the university to pay a certain fee or fine if a certain event does not occur. These are most often seen in athletics agreements or in hotel contracts.

  9. The contract is receivable.  Do I still need a vendor number?
    No. Receivable contracts can be entered using the code “CONTRACTS” in the vendor field. If a vendor does exist in IRIS for the contract, please use it, but a vendor number does not need to be created for a receivable contract if one does not exist already.

  10. The contract is receivable but I know that it will be payable in the future.  Do I still need a vendor number?
    Yes. All payable contracts in IRIS require a vendor number, and Accounts Payable cannot issue payment to a vendor without a valid vendor number in IRIS. Please consult the Accounts Payable section of the Treasurer’s Office website for all information about vendor creation in IRIS.

  11. What do I put in the “Comments” section?
    Nothing. The “comments” field in the IRIS contract transaction should be disregarded.

  12. My contract is for an event being sponsored by multiple departments or groups on campus. How can I make sure everyone who needs access to this contract in IRIS can access it?
    To give multiple departments access to a contract in IRIS, simply add their cost centers in the responsible fund section of the contract entry. You may add as many cost centers as needed. The IRIS default is three, but you may add rows as needed.

  13. Will my contract entry in IRIS encumber funds?
    No. There is absolutely no way to encumber funds through the IRIS contract transaction. In the “payable information” section of the transaction, there is an encumber funds option, but it is locked in IRIS and is always set to ‘no’.

  14. The amendment to my contract increases UT’s maximum financial obligation, putting it above the delegation limit. Should the amendment be considered a delegated contract or a non-delegated contract? Who should sign it?
    Any amendment that places the cumulative amount of a contract above the delegation limit should be considered a non-delegated contract.  The Treasurer of the University or other individual with signature authority for non-delegated contracts should sign the contract. If you have any further questions regarding amendments and the delegation limit, contact your campus contract office.

  15. I entered the wrong responsible fund before I submitted my contract in IRIS. Can this be fixed? Who should I contact?
    Please select the contract in IRIS and view the workflow history. (You can either run a workflow history report or view the workflow from the services for object button.) Once you identify whose workflow your contract is in, please contact that individual or office and ask them to either a) reject the contract and allow you to fix the error or b) change the responsible fund directly and continue routing the contract through workflow.

  16. Who completes the Characteristics fields?
    The characteristics fields are completed by the System Contract Office once the contract is fully signed and ready to be filed. Departments should not complete these fields.

  17. What if my contract begins on the last date of signature? What should I put in the start date field?
    If your contract begins on the last date of signature, please use the date “01/01/0001” as the start date of the contract. System Contract Office staff will complete the IRIS entry with the correct date once a fully executed copy of the contract is received.

  18. What if my contract auto-renews? What should I put in the end date field?
    If your contract does not have an end date, or if you are not sure of the end date, please use the date “12/31/9999” in the end date field. When this date is used, IRIS requires text in the ‘date comments’ field, so please complete that field with “end date not specified.

  19. Do I need to attach any forms in IRIS prior to submitting the contract data into workflow?
    No. In fact, departments and campus contract offices do not have the ability to do so. Once the contract has been fully executed (fully signed), the contract, contract review and approval form, and all other documents pertaining to the contract will be uploaded in IRIS by the System Contract Office.

  20. Will I be notified when my contract is activated?
    Yes, once a contract is activated, the creator of the contract is emailed automatically from the IRIS system.

  21. After my contract is activated, will I be able to view it in IRIS?
    Yes, once a contract is activated, anyone with access to the responsible fund listed on that contract will be able to view the contract entry. Additionally, the System Contract Office staff image the contract and attach the imaged contract to the contract entry in IRIS, so every page of the document is viewable.

  22. I pulled up my active contract data in IRIS, and it says “Expired.”  What does this mean?  Do I need to re-enter it into IRIS?
    No. Once a contract’s end date has passed, its status goes from “Active” to “Expired”. It simply means that the contract is not active and the transaction between the University and the vendor should be complete.

  23. Is the contract data in IRIS the actual contract?
    No. The contract data in IRIS simply produces the Contract Review and Approval Form that is attached to the contract. If there is a discrepancy between the two, the information in the contract itself should rule and the IRIS data should be changed to match the contract.

  24. Can contracts be deleted?
    No. Contract data in IRIS is permanent. If the contract is not yet fully signed, it can be discarded. If the contract is already fully signed, it can be cancelled.

Contracts Graphic

Sabrina SoltauAssistant Director,
Contracts Administration

Contracts Administration Office of the Treasurer301 Andy Holt Tower
Knoxville, TN 37996
865.974.2701 Fax