Accounting Frequently Asked Questions

 
Accounts Receivable:
 

Question: What method of payment is acceptable to pay for personal phone calls? 
Answer: It is against Agency policy to use your office phone for personal long distance calls.

Question: Should offices use a receipt book when collecting conference registration fees? 
Answer: Yes. Each office is responsible for purchasing their own receipt book.

Question: How can I make payments between funds? 
Answer: Complete the Request for Services or Goods form to transfer funds. List the fund, org. code, and reporting category on fund to be transferred to in the body of the request form under "services to be rendered."

Question: Does the Accounts Receivable office provide change for currency and coins? 
Answer: No.

Question: What is the charge for making copies? 
Answer: Use of the Office of Accounting copier costs $0.25 per page. Two-sided copies shall be considered two pages. If a large amount of copying is required, please contact Mike Byrd in the Print Shop at (601) 359-2195 to determine if your copy request meets their minimum quantity criteria and to make arrangements.

Question: On the Request for Services and Goods form, who should the payment for data processing expense be made payable to? 
Answer: State Treasurer 3202.

Question: Is "printing" a commodities or contractual expense? 
Answer: Printing is a commodities expense.

Question: Is "postage" a commodities or contractual expense? 
Answer: Postage is a contractual expense.

Question: How do I find out how much money is left in my budget? 
Answer: By contacting the Budget Office or accessing the budget expenditure information available in SAAS.

Question: How are my quarterly Salary billings computed? 
Answer: MIS is responsible for computation which is based on salary and hours worked per project, while the Office of Accounts Receivable processes the billing and makes the proper entries. 

Contractual Payments:
 

Question: What support information/documentation is needed to process contractor payments timely? 
Answer: Both an original invoice with current address, signature of contractor, purchase order number beginning with "PD" or "SC" and approval signature of appropriate supervisor, and one complete copy.

Question: What is the difference in independent worker and contract worker? 
Answer: The independent contract worker is paid as the request is submitted, and the contract worker is paid monthly with taxes withheld.

Payroll:
 

Question: How do I change my Federal and State Withholding rates? 
Answer: Go to the Human Resources office and pick up the proper withholding forms, complete them, and then turn them in to Payroll the Office of Accounting.

Purchasing:
 

Question: Why do we have to order from state contract? 
Answer: The Office of Purchase and Travel advertised and received competitive bids for items on behalf of state government. By law, we are required to use these contracts whenever possible.

Question: Why can't my name be imprinted on my personal planner? 
Answer: If the Agency paid for the planner, the planner is the property of MDE, not the individual.

Question: Can I purchase a coffee pot and refrigerator for my staff to use? 
Answer: No. It is the policy of MDE not to purchase these for staff use.

Question: What is a purchasing violation? 
Answer: To purchase goods or services prior to a purchase order being issued (if required) is a violation of state law. The individual committing the violation may be held personally liable for the costs associated with any such purchase.

Question: Can I purchase a leather briefcase? 
Answer: No. MDE has approved a black nylon attaché for this purpose.

Question: Can I get a purchase order today? 
Answer: No. Purchase orders are computer generated and are printed overnight. In case of an emergency need, a memo from the Bureau Director to the Director of Purchasing explaining the need and requesting a waiver of this process should be attached to the requisition for review. Failure to plan ahead does not constitute an emergency.

Question: Why was the original vendor changed on the purchase order sent in? 
Answer: The item is on state contract with a different vendor.

Question: Why were items I requested ordered from more than one vendor? 
Answer: The items may have been on state contract with different vendors.

Question: Why did I receive a larger number of items (example: pens) than I requested? 
Answer: The item may be on state contract in a specific quantity other than what was requested.

Question: How many quotes are required for printing done outside the Agency? 
Answer: For print jobs up to $1,500, only one quote is required. Anything over $1,500 requires at least two quotes.

Question: If I purchase an item that is needed in the office, will I be reimbursed by the Agency? 
Answer: No. Purchases may only be made with a purchase order.

Question: How long will it take to receive the items after the purchase order has been entered? 
Answer: Depending on the vendor, anywhere from one (1) to three (3) weeks. Furniture orders may take up to six (6) weeks.

Question: Can I  purchase awards, plaques, gifts or momentos for employees, board members, commission members, or committee members whether they are compensated (state-service) or non-compensated employees? 
Answer: Under state law, regardless of the funding source, such purchases by the Department are not allowable.  For the purpose of the state laws governing these purchases, compensation is defined as salaries, wages, per diem, and/or travel reimbursements. In light of the state laws, the Department will not pay for any awards, plaques, etc. for those persons defined above, whether they are compensated or not. If funding outside this agency is obtained for such purchases, we will consider allowing the purchases; however, under no circumstances will these purchases be made through the Department.

Question:  What is a quick way to find or move within the state contract document? 
Answer: Go to  www.dfa.state.ms.us

  • Under Offices, located on the left side of the home page, click Statewide Purchasing.
  • Click the contract catalog  the you  need, i.e. Office Supplies.
  • Look on the menu bar and click the binoculars.
  • The find drop down box will come up. Type in the name of item you need, i.e. pads. Click find.
  • This will take you to the Office Supply index page. The item will be highlighted. Get the page number for the item, then scroll down to that page number. The page for the item will come up.
  • Then, proceed to look for the item you need.
Question:  Are diskettes allowable purchases on the procurement card? 
Answer: Yes, you can purchase diskettes using your procurement card. See Prohibited P-Card purchases below for purchases that are not allowed.

Question:  Should vendor invoices come to requesting office for payment approval and signature? 
Answer: Invoices should come directly to accounting from the vendor for payment. Should you receive an invoice, send the invoice to accounting.

Question:  If a vendor/contractor is not considered to be a consultant, does the vendor/contractor need to complete the minority vendor form? 
Answer: Yes, each vendor/contractor that we employ will need to complete the Minority Vendor Self Certification Form. Vendors/contractor shall check the appropriate codes for both Minority Business Enterprise and Women Business Enterprise. The Mississippi Development Authority tracks the data to determine that state agencies demonstrate minority participation, the volume of minority participation, and its relation to federal funding.

Question:  The A508 Report shows a total amount charged to the procurement card by Accounting, 62800. Is there a detail break down of those purchases listed on any report? 
Answer: No, we researched the A508 and E031/DISBDTLF. As you know, the expenditures for object, 62800, Credit Card Commodities are summarized by org code on the A508. The DISBDTLF, Detail Disbursement, tracks by fund, reporting category, object code. The vendor is listed for each payment; however, AmSouth is the vendor, and we only use one (1) object code. As discussed during training, the use of the credit card reduced the paper work, detail tracking, and administrative costs. Since we pay only one vendor, Accounting would only have the vendor breakdown for AmSouth. You will have to refer to your monthly log. It is strongly recommended that you set up a spreadsheet from your log each month. The Spreadsheet will allow you to track the detail that you may need, current month and year-to-date. Please contact the Accounting office for further assistance.

Prohibited Purchases with the Small Purchase Procurement Card 
Restrictions are placed on the following items. Any violation will result in revoking of the card and disciplinary action.  Revoked cards will not be reissued. The card shall not be used for the following:

Restaurants 
Membership Dues 
Major Computer Components 
Computer Software 
Computer Supplies and Accessories 
Cables 
Switches 
Adapters 
Zip Drives 
Mice 
Modems 
Ethernet Hubs 
Speakers 
Printers 
Scanners 
Registration 
Subscription Renewals 
Rental of any Items or Services 
No Cash Advances (ATM machines) 
No Equipment over $500 can be purchased. Check the Special Equipment items prior to purchase. 

Special Equipment Items as listed: 
Weapons 
Cameras 
Camera Equipment 
Tape Recorders 
Two-way Radio Equipment 
Typewriters 
Appliances, etc. 
Refrigerators 
Freezers 
Air Conditioners 
Stoves 
Microwave Ovens 
Vacuum Cleaners 
Televisions 
VCRs 
DVDs 
Lawn Maintenance Equipment 
Sterling Silver 
Cellular Telephones 
Chain Saws 
Air Compressors 
Welding Machines 
Generators 
Motorized Vehicles 
Dictating Equipment 
Antiques 
Consulting Services 
Furniture 
Non Business/Personal Items 
Tax Reportable Services 
Travel 
Airline tickets and all related charges 
Single purchases in excess of $3,500 
Repetitive purchases to circumvent the purchasing dollar limit thresholds
Entertainment 
Gasoline  
Out of country purchases 
Utilities 
Clothing (Exception for the Mississippi Schools for the Blind and Deaf; they have a limit of $25 for each piece of clothing purchased for needy students.)

Travel:
 

Question: How far is it from point to point? 
Answer: Please refer to the mileage chart.

Question: What is the daily food allowance? 
Answer: The daily food allowance is $30.00 for all areas of Mississippi except those designated as high cost areas where the daily food allowance is $35.00.

Question: What are the high cost areas? 
Answer: The current high cost areas according to the Department of Finance & Administration are the City of Biloxi and all of Hancock County.

Question: May I use my odometer to track mileage? 
Answer: No, you must use the shortest distance or the mileage chart.  See link above for the mileage chart.

Question: What is the turnaround time for processing travel reimbursement? 
Answer: If the travel is submitted error free, the Office of Accounting policy is to process travel voucher reimbursements within seven (7) working days.

Question: Have you processed my travel yet? 
Answer: Please check signature flow first. All appropriate personnel should have signed and forwarded your travel to the Office of Accounting; then, allow at least seven (7) working days from receipt by the Office of Accounting before calling.

Question: Can I claim a meal reimbursement without an overnight stay?
Answer: No.

Question: If I specify "early departure/late arrival" can I be reimbursed for breakfast/dinner meals? 
Answer: An overnight stay is required and then only if the early departure is prior to 6 a.m. or the late arrival is after 8 p.m.

Question: What is an acceptable hotel receipt? 
Answer: Must be an original receipt with hotel name, address, telephone number, single room rate, taxes, and either a $0.00 balance shown or the original credit card receipt for payment.

Question: Who is the state travel agent, and how do I contact them? 
Answer: Avanti Travel. Their phone number is (601) 981-9111.

Question: What is a contract/independent worker tally sheet? 
Answer: An information sheet that shows the payment activity on a particular contract.

Question: How can I find out the balance of my contract/independent workers purchase order? 
Answer: Although each office is responsible for keeping up with the balance of the individual contracts, a tally sheet is sent with the payment voucher to the originating office after each payment.

Question: Is it necessary to staple multiple times? 
Answer: Please staple one time when all forms are together.

Office of Accounting     P.O. Box 771     Jackson, MS 39205-0771     Phone: (601) 359-3525     Fax: (601) 359-2326
 

Copyright © 2012 Mississippi Department of Education – Agency Web DisclaimerNotice of Non-Discrimination