This is your periodic newsletter from the Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Charles M. Peccolo.



Shipping on International Purchases

On occasion, it is necessary to procure items from an international source, but international shipping can be tricky.  Failure to follow these best practices can cause unnecessary charges for both customs brokerage, storage of goods, and in some cases, the shipment will be returned to the sender.  Click here to learn the best way for receiving international shipments.

Staples Discount Savings

In accordance with the terms and conditions of our current contract with Staples, the University receives an additional discount based on the average order size (AOS).  Currently, the AOS is $300 per order, which both helps us offset price increases and offers additional discounts.  For the month of February, if at all possible, please consolidate your ordering or consider partnering with another unit within your department to maintain the AOS.  Maintaining the AOS at the $300 level is very advantageous to the University system-wide.


Contract Administration

New master agreements finalized

The contract administration office has finalized a number of master agreements with various vendors. The goal of these agreements is to make the contract process much more efficient.

Contracting and Purchasing policies must still be followed when transacting with these vendors. 

Here are the master agreements that have been finalized since our last newsletter:
  • Tennessee Theatre
  • Illumina
  • MainStay Suites, Knoxville
  • Bijou Theatre
  • Leica Microsystems, Inc.
  • PerfectForms
  • Steris Corporation
  • ProQuest
  • Mergent
  • SpringShare
Click here to see the list of all master agreements.

Follow Contract Administration on Twitter

Contract Administration is now on Twitter! Follow @UTContracts to keep up to date with the latest news and accomplishments. 


Risk Management

Unemployment Benefit Changes

Changes were recently made to State statutes affecting unemployment benefits. Click here to learn about these benefits.



Direct Bill of Airfare Available

In case you were not aware, the university will directly pay for your airfare for business related travel. This is an optional service but prevents the employee from incurring the cost and requesting reimbursement. Click here to learn how to advantage of this service. 
The Update, January 2013, Issue 5

Office of the Treasurer

Changes to payroll taxes

Legislation passed by the United States Congress will affect taxes on compensation received in 2013 by University of Tennessee employees. For more information about the changes, click here to read a memo from Charles Peccolo, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer.


Flexible spending cards have been mailed

If you enrolled in the Flexible Spending Program during the open enrollment period, you should have received your Health Hub Card by now. The card enables you to purchase eligible medical and dependent care expenses with pre-tax dollars. If you have not received your card, you may contact your campus/institute payroll office or contract Health Hub at 1-800-284-4885. Remember that 2012 expenses should be submitted to the System Payroll Office. You have until March 15, 2013 to incur expenses with these funds and until April 30 to submit your reimbursement request. You should not use the Health Hub Card until you have exhausted all of the funds available for 2012. 

Action required to retain lower health insurance premiums

In an effort to reduce health care expenses for all employees enrolled in the State of Tennessee’s Group Insurance Program, including University of Tennessee employees, the State restructured their fees and offerings in 2011. To receive lower premiums, copays, deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums, employees had to promise to complete various requirements in an effort to stay healthy and to slow or stop the progression of disease among those currently living with chronic illnesses. Click here to learn how to retain those lower premiums. 


All University employees have the option, when hired, of enrolling in the State of Tennessee’s Group Insurance Program. Listed below are ten facts related to this Program:
  • The State of Tennessee is the largest purchaser of employer-based health care services in Tennessee.
  • The State Plan provides coverage for 148,000 employees of State government, higher education, pre-65 retirees, and the spouses and dependents of these employees.
  • The plan is self-insured and Tennessee taxpayers pay for 80% of the medical premiums through State appropriations, with employees contributing the remaining amount.
  • BlueCross Blue Shield and Cigna administer the plan for an administrative fee.
  • The State will spend an estimated $615M in 2013 for State and Higher Education employee health insurance (direct State appropriations for the campuses/institutes in the University of Tennessee System totaled $411 million for 2012).
  • Premium increases averaged 7 to 8 percent a year from 2003 to 2008.
  • Prior to the 2011 health screenings associated with the Partnership Promise, very little biometric data had been collected on the members in the plan.
  • The 2011 data indicated:
    • 21 percent were severely obese or morbidly obese.
    • 60 percent had hypertension or pre-hypertension.
    • 31 percent of the members where diabetic or pre-diabetic.
  • Requirements of the Partnership Promise are an attempt to keep the same array of benefits at a reasonable price.

Treasurer's Tips

Pay Federal Express with a P-Card

In 2012, over 6,200 invoices were entered into IRIS for payments to Federal Express. Most of these invoices were less than $100. Many of these were paid with an invoice.

In 2010, employees were instructed to use departmental procurement cards for these purchases. Despite these instructions the number of invoices being processed has increased by 11 percent. Processing payments in this fashion is very inefficient and expensive. 

Click here to learn how paying FedEx with a P-Card can save you time and the university money.

Accounts Payable

Beware of false invoices

There have been reports of false invoices being sent to offices. These invoices look real, but are not. An example is posted on the system accounts payable website (click here to see an example). If you get one, forward the email to and they will take appropriate action.

Copyright © 2013 Office of the Treasurer, University of Tennessee, All rights reserved.
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For questions or comments, contact B.J. Roberts.
To see past editions of The Update, click here.