FAQs - Charging, Billing, Paying
- How can I get a cost estimate for my work to share with my advisor?
- How do I create a new billing account/project?
- How do I delete a billing project on my list that is no longer valid?
- When will I be invoiced for the work my research group members do in the facilities?
- When I receive my monthly invoices, how do I pay my bill?
- Who do I contact if I have questions about charges that appear on my monthly invoice?
- What if I selected the wrong project in error when I used an instrument in the facilities?
- What if I forgot to log off when I finished in the facility?
- How do I know how many minutes a transaction is in hour units?
- How can I see what charges are on my project for this month?
- Why is my billing account/project closed?
- Why else could my billing account/project be closed if the account end date is valid?
- What do I do when I get an e-mail message that my billing project is closing in 30 days or in 14 days?
The technical staff members working in the user facilities can work closely with you to cost out a price estimate for the work you would like to have done. While you can view the product pricing and rate schedules, it is a good idea to have the technical staff members weigh in on how long the project work will take and, therefore, how that figures in to the cost.
From the registration link on the right sidebar of the www.rims.psu.edu page, internal users will have access to an "Add a Billing Account" link. Required fields to request a new billing account include Budget Number, Campus, Fund, Funding Source, PI Access Account User ID, and PI E-mail. Make sure you have gotten this required information from your advisor or billing contact prior to trying to submit the request. Tip/Trick: Even though Funding Source is a required field, the choice of "Unknown" appears in the dropdown list to satisfy the required field setting without having to know the source of grant funding at the time of the request. New billing accounts for external users are established as part of the overall paperwork process that external users go through with the facilities administrative and technical staff to create an external account. (See also How to Register a RIMS Account.)
From the registration link on the right sidebar of the www.rims.psu.edu page, internal users can request account deletion. A grid of active billing accounts appears on the main registration page with a red "X" in the far right column to permanently delete the billing account from RIMS.
RIMS billing is based on a monthly billing cycle for invoice generation and distribution. Around the 5th of each month, PIs receive their previous month invoices as PDF documents attached to an e-mail message from rims.psu.edu. For example, invoices for November are issued around the 5th of December. Billing contacts for the projects simultaneously receive a copy of the e-mail messages and attached invoices.
Within five working days of receiving monthly invoices, PIs and billing contacts should review the invoices and e-mail rims.psu.edu with discrepancies or questions. At the end of the fifth working day, internal invoice totals will be uploaded to the University financial/accounting system to direct bill the respective grants and accounts for each billing project invoice. External invoice payment should be remitted to the address on the invoice, terms net 30. External payment can be made in the form of check (preferable) or by credit card for small invoices.
If you have questions about charges that appear on your monthly invoice, please e-mail email@example.com to discuss your invoice and questions/issues as soon as you receive it but no later than five working days after you receive it. Better yet, take a look periodically throughout the month via the Project Transaction Data report in RIMS to monitor invoice charges prior to final invoice generation. CAUTION: Pricing shown on the Project Transaction Data report does not include Facilities & Administrative (F&A) costs which are applied to internal budgets when the charges are billed and external accounts when the invoices are generated.
Immediately upon realizing that you selected the wrong project, contact the technical staff member in the facilities to request that your transaction be adjusted to reflect the correct project. Or you can also e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request the transaction adjustment. CAUTION: You must request the transaction change prior to billing closing for the month to avoid the incorrect invoicing of the charge. Billing closes the 5th working day of the following month.
If you forgot to log off when you finished your work in the facility, you can log into RIMS from any computer and log yourself off. Then e-mail the technical staff member in the facility where you worked to ask them to adjust the transaction unit total. Or you can e-mail email@example.com to request the transaction adjustment. CAUTION: You must request the transaction change prior to billing closing for the month to avoid the incorrect invoicing of the charge. Billing closes the 5th working day of the following month.
If you are checking your transactions and want to make sure the units are correct, there is a "Minutes=Hours Reference Table" posted online here for your convenient reference if you are thinking in terms of minutes instead of the RIMS hour units.
The primary reason your RIMS billing account/project may be closed is if the account end date in the University financial/accounting system has passed. RIMS "talks" with the University financial/accounting system on a daily basis to synch project end dates with account end dates. Per University and Federal grant management policy, charges cannot be incurred on a project/account after the account end date. The facilities technical or administrative staff cannot provide a replacement account for work to continue without disruption. Your department or unit is responsible for providing that replacement account number-either on another project that the user will now be working on or an advance fund number assigned by Research Accounting to bridge the gap between the account closing and establishment of a new account or subsequent year funding increment. Your department billing contact will need to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know if the end date of the account has been extended for a closed project because RIMS only synchs open project data with the financial/accounting system daily.
If you know that you project’s end date is still valid, another less likely reason that your RIMS billing account/project may be closed is that we received a request from your PI and/or Billing Contact to close the project because the balance is running low or some other administrative reason. Please e-mail email@example.com to inquire about why your account is closed, but ultimately, you will need to talk with your advisor and/or department billing contact for guidance and direction on continuing your facilities usage. Your advisor or department billing contact will need to have the project reopened for your use when they wish to do so. We can’t accept an e-mail from a user saying that his/her PI says the project can be reopened.
What do I do when I get an e-mail message that my billing project is closing in 30 days or in 14 days?
When you get the 30-day or 14-day notice that your billing project is closing, you need to follow up as soon as possible with your advisor and/or department billing contact to see what the plan is for continuing your work in the facility. Note that your PI and department billing contact also receive these advance-notice e-mails of the upcoming account end date. Therefore, your PI may already be thinking about switching you to work on another project, or he/she may already be working with the department on a grant extension, subsequent year increment, or an advance fund number. Unfortunately, the account end date in the University financial/accounting system doesn’t update until the paperwork is completed for extensions, increments, and advance fund numbers. And that means that the RIMS project date will continue to synch daily to match the University financial/accounting system end date because that is where we draw the information from for billing projects. If the accounting system update is done prior to the RIMS project closing, it will be caught and updated in the daily synch between the two systems. If the accounting system update is done after the RIMS project has already closed, your department billing contact will need to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know because RIMS only synchs open project data with the financial/accounting system daily.