Please contact your departmental accountant with questions about Service Center Policy or procedures. The policy is owned by the University Controller Office.
To units that provide goods and/or services primarily to University customers. Centers are expected to offer goods or services that are unique, convenient and not readily available from external sources.
Policy Purpose and Description
Please see the Controller’s Office Service Center Policy.
Service Center – Departments or functional units which perform specific technical or administrative services for the benefit of other units within the University. Service centers include university-wide recharge centers, departmental recharge centers, and specialized service facilities.
University wide recharge centers – are operated by the University (centrally supported) to provide services to both the University and possibly the non-university community. Some examples include printing services, fleet services, etc.
Departmental recharge centers – normally operate within an academic division or department and provide support to that division or department. They usually do not have a high dollar volume. Some examples would include small copy centers or stores used only by that department.
Specialized service facilities (SSF) – is defined in Section 200.468 as “highly complex or specialized facilities”. These are often organizations that are focused on research or academic activities, have sales to Federally-sponsored accounts, and do not necessarily market to the entire University. There may be cases where a center is not highly complex in nature but would be considered an SSF based on a consistent level of annual Federal revenue greater than $25,000. Some examples of SSFs would include animal facilities, specialized equipment centers, specialized computing services, core facilities, etc.
The procedures outlined in the Controller’s Office Service Center Policy must be followed. Note that all requests for establishing a new service center must be approved by the Department Executive Officer and the CLAS Dean.
Annually, service center rates must be reviewed, re-calculated, and approved by the Director, Business & Financial Administration. Rates for the next fiscal year should be submitted to the Director, Business & Financial Administration by May 31 of each year. Billing rates should not discriminate between Federal and non-Federal users including internal University activities.
The University Controller’s policy indicates that prior year surpluses or losses should be considered in the rate computation for the next year. Fund balances greater than 10% (positive or negative), as a percent of current year expenditures, will require corrective measures. All College of Liberal Arts and Sciences balances must be within allowable variances by each fiscal year-end close. Any service center outside the allowable variance will be corrected. Departments will be responsible for funding any deficit variance. The College will work with departments to address any positive variances that exceed 10%.
Annual chargeable rates should be calculated using this CLAS Service Center Budget Template.
Frequently Asked Questions
Accounting Guidelines: https://fa.fo.uiowa.edu/service-center-policy/accounting-guidelines
Rate Development: https://fa.fo.uiowa.edu/service-center-policy/establishing-billing-rates
List of Recognized Service Centers: https://fa.fo.uiowa.edu/service-center-policy/list-recognized-service-centers