United States Department of Agriculture
Research, Education and Economics
ARS * CSREES * ERS * NASS
|Title:||Billings and Collections Process for Incoming Reimbursable Funds for Federal and Non-Federal Cooperators|
|Date:||August 13, 2003|
|Originating Office:||Financial Management Division|
|Distribution:||Area Administrative Officers
ARS Division Directors
Servicing Budget and Fiscal Officers
Location Administrative Officers/Technicians
Budget and Program Management Staff
ARS Operations Section, NFC
|Expires:||August 13, 2004|
|This bulletin provides guidance for billing and collection activity for incoming reimbursable funds for Federal and non- Federal Cooperators|
Federal and non-Federal reimbursable agreements have evolved over the last several years. For instance, reimbursable agreements now require enhanced partnerships and teaming amongst administrative personnel such as the Servicing Budget and Fiscal Officer (SBFO), Extramural Agreements Specialist (EAS), Contracting Officer (CO), ARS Operations Section (ARS Ops), and others. The Foundation Financial Information System (FFIS) has also highlighted issues associated with billings and collections activity and there is a need to have more detailed billing information provided to cooperators. This bulletin documents the new and improved billing and collection process and provides revised mechanisms to ensure the requirements associated with the ARS financial statements are satisfied.
During FY 2002 and 2003, evidence that field offices are increasingly billing cooperators outside the Foundation Financial Information System (FFIS) has become apparent. These bills are not being captured in FFIS and, therefore, are not being accounted for appropriately in the official accounting system. Per S. M. Helmrich's email dated May 2, 2003, effective immediately, no billings will be issued by any other office, except ARS Operations, NFC, without prior approval by the Director, FMD.
All billing activity is to be centralized at ARS Ops. ARS Ops will enter
all activity into the official accounting system, FFIS, via the IBIL
(Internet Billing System) and ABCO (Administrative Billings and Collections
System). Instances in which the Director, Financial Management Division (FMD),
has given approval to render manual bills (type 63 agreements), must be coordinated
with ARS Ops to ensure the appropriate information is captured in the accounting
Further, to ensure reimbursable billing activity is maintained within the FFIS application, the SBFO, EAS, and CO must work jointly to ensure billing terms can be met and/or negotiated. For example, if the cooperator requires invoices to be submitted using the cooperator's form, the SBFO must seek and be given approval from the Director, FMD, to establish a type 63 agreement. All remittances must be made in accordance with remit to information on the invoice. To expedite the payment process, all remittances must be made directly to the lockbox.
In the event additional authority is received for an established reimbursable agreement in a subsequent fiscal year, a separate accounting code must be established and the obligations and expenditures must be tracked separately for each agreement. For example, if an existing agreement is established with accounting code 2086402111 and additional funds are received the following year for the same agreement, it must be tracked in a separate accounting code such as 3086402111.
Occasionally, remittances might be made using Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) procedures. In the event this occurs, the debtor number, bill number, and lockbox number must be provided electronically along with the payment.
Types of Agreements and Billing Procedures
There are two types of reimbursable agreements that can be established in FFIS based on how the agreement is to be billed. In all cases, ARS Ops is responsible for entering billing information into IBIL based on actual expenses for all reimbursable activity. Actual expenses are defined as actual payments incurred in support of obligations on behalf of the agreement. Actual obligations represent a formal encumbrance of funds but the goods/services have not been provided and final expenditures have not been incurred. Based on the billing information, receivables will be established and upon receipt of the payment from the cooperator, the receivable will be liquidated.
Type 61This program type is used when the details on the Incoming Soft Funds (ISF) report and the instructions on the ARS-324 are sufficient. This program type differs from type 63 in that additional information from the SBFO will be either matched up with the ABCO Bill for Collection or a manual bill from the SBFO will be provided when using type 63.
On a monthly basis ARS Ops will run the ISF report. The ISF report details
the expenses by cooperator and agreement. Based on expenses incurred, ARS Ops
will enter billing information into the IBIL system for IPAC, non-IPAC participating
Federal agencies, and non-Federal cooperators.
The Internet Billing System (IBIL) is a front-end system used by ARS Ops to enter billing data. It interfaces with ABCO to generate bills and establish accounts receivable within the FFIS application. Step-by-step billing procedures for type 61 agreements is provided for IPAC participating Agencies in Enclosure 2 and Non-IPAC participating Agencies and Non-Federal Cooperators in Enclosure 3. These steps include how the billing document (A1 document) is generated and subsequently liquidated in FFIS when the cash receipt/payment is recorded (A2 document).
ARS Ops can accommodate information on bills such as specific budget object codes; cooperator reference data; ARS contact information, etc. as long as the SBFO specifies this in the Specific Billing Instructions and/or Billing Frequency blocks on the ARS-324. ARS Ops can bill based on a specific period/time frame, i.e., quarterly, end of agreement, etc. ARS Ops can also send an email message detailing the agreement number, date billed, amount, the period covered, accounting code charged, etc. However, to accomplish any of these actions, the ARS-324 mustspecify billing requirements and special handling instructions.
This program type is used when additional information will be forthcoming from the SBFO and will either be matched up with the ABCO Bill for Collection or a manual bill from the SBFO will be provided. The Director, FMD, must grant approval in order to establish type 63 agreements. To request approval, send an email message to the Director, FMD, with sufficient justification for why manual/specialized bills are necessary. Typically, type 63 agreements are used when:
Although manual bills will be generated, action must be taken by the SBFO to coordinate with ARS Ops to ensure billing and collection information is appropriately accounted for in FFIS. Based on actual expenses and completion of the IBIL form, special handling instructions provided on the ARS-324, additional information and/or the manual invoice generated by the SBFO, ARS Ops will enter billing data into the IBIL system. NOTE: Before billing can take place, actual expenses must reside on the reimbursable account. If expenses reside on an annual account, they must be moved to the appropriate reimbursable account before billing action can take place.
Similar to type 61 agreements, the IBIL system will interface with ABCO to generate bills and establish accounts receivable within the FFIS application. ARS Ops will designate that special handling is required for type 63 agreements when billing data is entered in the IBIL. ABCO will run the billing process four times per month and will hold these bills for further action by ARS Ops. ARS Ops will either:
When a manual invoice is used there must be a space/blank field for ARS Ops
to cite the debtor and bill numbers. This is critical to ensure the receivable
is liquidated when the vendor submitspayments. Failure to do so will result
in late notices to the cooperator who will subsequently be identified on the
Report of Delinquent Debt and may be referred to a collection agency for further
The manual invoice must also specify the appropriate remittance address for the lockbox. To avoid delays in recording payment activity, all remittances should be sent directly to:
P.O. Box 70792
Chicago, IL 60673
A sample of a manual form is provided in Enclosure 6.
Regardless of the agreement type, if the collection cannot be referenced to a bill (A1 document), a voluntary collection (A3 document) will be processed. When this occurs, the SBFO must work with ABCO to liquidate the A1 document to avoid delinquent debt issues and unnecessary research by the SBFO.
ARS Ops is the official record keeper for records retention purposes, therefore, they will retain a copy of the bill and/or ABCO Bill for Collection.
Internet Billing System (IBIL)The Internet Billing System (IBIL) is a front-end system used by ARS Ops to enter billing data. It interfaces with ABCO to generate bills and establish accounts receivable within the FFIS application. For ARS purposes, ARS Ops has developed IBIL forms to be used when submitting requests to bill another entity. The IBIL form is used by ARS Ops to enter billing information for Type 63 agreements or to record refunds. Note: When processing refund activity, do NOT use a reimbursable accounting code or BOC 0250. These elements should only be used when processing Type 63 agreements.
IBIL forms, instructions, and Debtor/Paying Agency Accounting Requirements
(Enclosure 7) have been created for ARS for Federal and Non-Federal activity.
Specific Cooperative Agreements (SCA)
Steps in the Process
The following provides the steps necessary for the billings and collections process after the ARS- 425 has been approved in accordance with P&P 321.1, Acceptance of Non-Appropriated Funds to Conduct Research or Perform Services, and P&P 324.0, ARS Reimbursable and Trust Fund Agreements. A flowchart of this process is provided in Enclosure 8.
Location Administrative Officers (LAO's) will:
Extramural Agreements Specialist (EAS) will:
Director, FMD, will:
NOTE: This package must include all elements mentioned above.
Do NOT send parts separately to ARS Ops.
ARS Ops will:
ARS Ops will:
Financial Management Division
Enclosure 1:INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE COMPLETION OF ARS-324