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FY2013-21: Internal Control Questionnaire and Department Representations Due May 8, 2013
CTR Memo FY2013-21 has been posted to the CTR Web Portal. This memo announces the FY2013 Internal Control Questionnaire (ICQ).  The ICQ application is located on the Comptroller Intranet.  See the attached Instructions for Completing the FY2013 Internal Control Questionnaire for details.

Departments should complete the ICQ on or before May 8, 2013.  Auditors, and staff from the Comptroller’s Quality Assurance Bureau review ICQ responses and may contact departments to follow up on specific answers.  Department management is responsible for implementing and maintaining effective internal controls.  The ICQ’s Representations Section confirms this for the Commonwealth.

2013/2014 Close/Open News

Instructions and Department Key Dates Posted
The Close FY2013/Open FY2014 Instructions and Department Key Dates have been posted to the Close/Open page of the CTR Web Portal.

Annual Close/Open Meeting Dates
thank you to those who have already registered. If you have not done so already, please register now for the upcoming Close / Open meetings. The Comptroller of the Commonwealth Annual Close/Open meetings have been scheduled for:

    • Thursday, April 25, from 9:30 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston. Pre-registration is required for entry to the Federal Reserve Bank on April 25. The registration deadline is Tuesday, April 23, at 5 PM.
    • Thursday, May 2 from 9:30 A.M. to 11:30 P.M. at the annual MASSbuys EXPO at the DCU Center in Worcester. If you plan on attending the Close/Open session on May 2, you must also register for the MASSbuys EXPO.  The registration deadline is Wednesday April 24.

The May 2 session will also be webcast live for those who cannot attend in person.

Chief Fiscal Officers (CFO) and staff with fiscal responsibilities are encouraged to attend the annual Close/Open meeting.  Please register for the in-person meetings or webcast on the Comptroller's Training and Meeting Schedule. If you plan on attending the Close/Open session May 2, you must also register for the MASSbuys EXPO.

Plan Your Day at MASSbuys
At the MASSbuys EXPO, with over 350 vendors and 20 workshops, there is a lot to see and do in one day.  Visit the MASSbuys Essentials page on the web and use the daily planner to organize your day.  Review the floor plan, search the exhibitor list, and don’t forget to check out the Buy it NOW! special offers from vendors on the right-hand side of the page.   Save your department money by taking advantage of the limited-time opportunities on items or services on Statewide Contracts. Join your peers on Thursday, May 2, and don’t forget to register at: the MASSbuys EXPO website.

Close/Open for Beginners Training Session
If the Close/Open procedures are new to you, please register for one of the Close/Open for Beginners trainings:

    • Friday, May 17th                1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.
    • Wednesday, May 22nd   1:00 P.M. – 4:00 P.M.
    • Wednesday, June 5th         1:30 P.M. – 4:30 P.M.

All Close / Open for Beginner training sessions will be held in the Training Room on the 9th Floor of One Ashburton Place, Boston. Register for these sessions via the Comptroller's Training/Meeting Schedule.

If you have any questions please contact the Comptroller Help Desk 617-973-2468 or via email comptroller.info@state.ma.us.

Departmental Budgets Changes Due April 25
Departments should notify Bryan Hightower, Budgetary Unit Manager in the Comptroller’s General Accounting Bureau, by April 25 if they want their departmental budgets to roll from FY2013 to FY2014. Departments that plan to utilize Departmental Budgets must review the department's chart of account set-up needs and if necessary, request changes for FY2014. Changes to the Chart of Accounts (COA) must be in by April 25 to be included in the automatic table roll performed by CTR. After the roll, changes can still be made but must be entered in MMARS for both FY2013 and FY2014.  Departments should submit changes to unit or unit roll-up via the table change request process by April 25.

After the departmental budget roll, departments must review all of their departmental budgets prior to encumbering. For those accounts with both subsidiarized and non-subsidiarized departmental budget structures, the department must select the appropriate departmental budget structure and delete the erroneous one.

Departments that use departmental budgets should not change the rollups of division and district on existing units. Such changes cause payment disbursement problems and create budget out-of-sync conditions.

Remember departmental revenue (BQ85) and expense (BQ83 and BQ84) budgets MUST be established before any FY2014 activity is processed. Departments that maintain departmental budgets (BQ 83, 84 and 85) should determine whether they want to roll those budgets into FY2014. If a department will not budget at the same level in FY2014, please notify Bryan Hightower (617-973-2324) by April 25, 2013.

Budget Re-Synchronization Complete
The quarterly re-synchronization for departmental budgets (Subsidiary Expense, Department Expense, and Department Revenue) was completed the weekend of April 13. MMARS budget structures were in-synch as of Sunday, April 14.

MMARS Saturday Hours
MMARS and LCM will be available Saturday, April 20, from 9:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. The Help Desk will not be staffed and any Saturday Help Desk calls will be returned on Monday, April 22. 

Weekly Fraud Awareness and Prevention Fact – Red Flags for Kickbacks
In kickback schemes, a contractor or subcontractor misrepresents the cost of performing work by secretly paying a fee for being awarded the contract, therefore inflating the job cost to the government.

Red Flags for Kickbacks include, but are not limited to:

  • Unexplained or unreasonable limitations on the number of potential sub-contractors contracted for a bid or offer.
  • Continuing awards to subcontractors with poor performance records.
  • “No–value-added” technical specifications that dictate contract awards to particular companies.
  • Non-qualified and/or unlicensed sub-contractors working on prime contracts.
  • Poor or no established contractor procedures for awarding of subcontracts through competition.

Additional red flags for Kickbacks can be found in the Toolkit for Departments to Combat Fraud, Waste and Abuse.

Please visit the Fraud Prevention section of our Internal Controls Page for a link to the Toolkit for Departments to Combat Fraud, Waste and Abuse and the Brochure. 

If you have any questions regarding this or previous Fraud Awareness and Prevention Facts, please contact the Comptroller Help Desk at 617-973-2468 or via email Comptroller.Info@State.MA.US. To report Fraud, Waste or Abuse, contact one of the Commonwealth’s Whistleblower Hotlines.

Upcoming Training Sessions and Meetings

  • Risk Management – Friday, April 19, 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. One Ashburton Place Boston, 9th Floor Executive Conference Room
  • Appropriation Management – Wednesday, April 24, 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. One Ashburton Place Boston, 9th Floor Training Lab
  • Close/Open Meeting – Thursday, April 25, 9:30 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. Federal Reserve Bank, 600 Atlantic Ave., Boston
  • CIW Report Building with MS Access – Tuesday, April 30, 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. One Ashburton Place Boston, 9th Floor Training Lab
  • Intro to State Finance MMARS Navigation – Wednesday, May 1, 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. One Ashburton Place Boston, 9th Floor Training Lab
  • Close/Open Meeting – Thursday, May 2, 9:30 A.M. – 11:30 A.M. DCU Center Worcester, Grand Ballroom South, 3rd Floor
  • Webcast Close/Open Meeting – Thursday, May 2, 9:30 A.M. – 11:30 A.M. online training
  • Encumbrance Management – Tuesday, May 7, 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. One Ashburton Place Boston, 9th Floor Training Lab
  • Payment Management – Wednesday, May 8, 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M. One Ashburton Place Boston, 9th Floor Training Lab
  • Intro to MMARS Warehouse – Thursday, May 9, 9:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. One Ashburton Place Boston, 9th Floor Training Lab

Register for these sessions via the Comptroller's Training and Meeting Schedule which lists classes scheduled for the next two months and Payroll User Groups through December 2013.

MMARS Hint of the Week - Encumbrance Activity Report
Reports NPR605SA/NPR605S0 provide a general inventory of encumbrances that display original and modified encumbrance amounts at the document line level, amounts paid to date, expenditure refunds received, and any un-disbursed payments.

The reports display the encumbrance document identification number and line number, vendor name and number, original and modified encumbrance amounts, object code, program code, out-year obligation amounts, and acceptance dates for last modification and payment actions. These reports run at the end of the month and have a retention period of 3 years.