Streamlining - Financial Planning & Analysis

Attachment 4
Council of Deans
October 20, 2009
TOPIC: Streamlining
Phase II of President Gee’s Streamlining initiative involves improvements directed
at Purchasing and Travel policies and processes.
Phase II has now completed, effective with the start of Fall Quarter. The
improvements are clustered around three key objectives:
 More consistent and easy to understand policies and procedures
 Reduced paper
 More timely approvals
Changes implemented or in process include several areas that have been a high
priority for the faculty:
Electronic reimbursement for travel expenses
More efficient process for managing group and extended travel
More consistent application of policies across units (eg. “Ask BuFi”)
Closer alignment between the University and the Office of Sponsored
Programs (formerly OSURF) (eg. integrated travel)
 On-line travel booking that allows faculty to arrange their own travel while
utilizing the benefits of University pre-payment and discounted fares.
A more detailed list of initiatives is attached.
For information.
Office of Business and Finance
Status Update
Streamlining Initiatives
October 2009
A. Consistent, easily understood policies and procedures
B. Maximize paperless processes
C. Efficient compliance and approval processes
A. Consistent, easily understood policies and procedures:
Previously Reported:
Streamlined existing policies and made all policies available on one web-site
Implemented policy requiring central university approval of unit specific
policies (effective July 2009)
Recent Accomplishments:
Implemented “Ask BuFi” a central website for submitting questions
concerning implementation of University policies with responses received
within 24 hours. (see attachment)
Since its implementation in August 2009, “Ask BuFi” has received and
responded to over 200 questions from areas throughout campus. The site has
been very well received by the University community and has assisted us in
ensuring that policies are understood and that they are applied consistently.
Under the leadership of Vice President Caroline Whitacre, restructured
Research Foundation, integrating the administration of sponsored programs
into the University through creation of the Office of Sponsored Programs
within the Office of Research effective August 2009.
In order to bring the organizational and budgetary structure into alignment with
university operations, the Office of Research is undertaking a process to fully
integrate OSURF into the university. Aligning sponsored program
administration facilitates the integration of sponsored research activity with
other university transactions and allows for one shared set of policies and
processes. This has been a high priority for research faculty as reflected in
the recommendations of the Streamlining and Simplification Task Force. Our
Office of Business and Finance
first success has been implementation of a new travel system that includes all
university travel – campus, sponsored programs and medical center.
Provided web-based on demand training for critical policies and procedures.
Time and resource limitations do not allow for classroom based training
programs. On-line delivery of training improves employee access to required
information as well as facilitating monitoring of compliance with training
requirements. For example, all training for the new travel system was
delivered on-line including post-training assessments.
In Process:
Redesign of approval routing for vouchers charged to sponsored research
projects to allow continued integration of campus and sponsored research
processes. Routing all vouchers through one process provides for a single
process for all activity, more consistent review of transactions and eliminates
manual processing within the Office of Sponsored Programs. Estimated
completion Winter 2010.
Customer Service improvements are being implemented to improve response
time for telephone calls and ensure consistent answers to requests. These
efforts include a campus wide implementation of the Student Customer
Services Center (SCSC) a one-stop call center for student questions
concerning registration, enrollment, financial aid and fees that was
implemented; implementation of a new Accounts Receivable System that
allows access to records by university departments rather than requiring calls
to the Bursar’s Office; and implementation of a Customer Support Department
within the Bursar’s Office to focus on answering phones and assisting with inperson traffic and e-mail. These initiatives have been implemented within the
last four months and will be evaluated over the course of the year to determine
their effectiveness. In addition, the telephone system used by the Bursar’s
Office is being reviewed to determine if additional features or changes in
functionality are needed to improve services.
Transition responsibility for the Payroll Department from the Office of
Human Resources to the Office on the Controller to facilitate standardization
of control processes across all functional areas. This realignment will result
in strengthened controls around payroll processes and integration of payroll
tax and accounting activities with those of the rest of the University.
Preliminary work underway with responsibility shifting by January 1st and
physical move in Winter 2010.
Office of Business and Finance
B. Maximize Paperless Processing
Previously Reported:
Implemented eStores system to provide on-line ordering of high volume
commodities at contracted rates with electronic ordering and invoicing.
(March 2008)
Contracted with new vendor for procurement card program, simplified
policies and processes and expanded program to allow for additional usage,
reducing volume of purchase orders and invoices to be processed. (April
Rebid travel agency contract and awarded to new vendor with increased
services including on-line travel search and booking tool and access to
discount air carriers with lower transaction fees. This was a priority request of
the faculty who arrange their own travel and were limited as to their access to
available tools. (September 2008)
Implemented Group Extended Travel (GET) Card program to replace cash
advances for expenses while on travel status for extended periods or with
groups. This new program eliminates the need for travelers to utilize
personal bank accounts to manage funds designated for use while in travel
status and provides a simplified mechanism for reconciling funds expended.
(December 2008)
Recent Accomplishments:
New campus-wide Travel System incorporates on-line booking tool
functionality, allows for attachment of trip documentation and provides e-mail
notifications to travelers and travel approvers as well as electronic signatures
for travelers receiving reimbursements and automated exception reporting.
Implementation was first piloted in February with full campus implementation
completed in August 2009. New system has been very well received by
campus community will minimal issues and a high level of customer
satisfaction. In addition to replacing an aging platform, using this tool
integrates the travel processes with our other systems, allowing for electronic
workflow and approval as well as electronic monitoring and controls.
Implemented payroll deduction for graduate student fees not covered by their
graduate student fee authorizations.
This program was requested by the Graduate Associate Compensation and
Benefits Committee and supported by the Council of Graduate Students. It
provides a mechanism to both eliminate the need for these students to submit
Office of Business and Finance
payments to the University Bursar and to provide a payment plan for these
student employees to assist in managing their cash flow. (Autumn Quarter
In Process:
Implement a web-based request system for electronic collection and routing of
financial requests (requests to purchase, requests for travel) for approval and
deliver to service center staff for processing. Implementation of this system
will complete our efforts to provide electronic workflow and approval for all
procurement types as well as provide the tools needed to support “paperless”
processes within service centers. Workgroups are defining requirements with
pilot implementation set for Spring 2010.
Implement an electronic general ledger reconciliation system to facilitate
validation of transactions and provide an automated tool for monitoring
completion of reconciliation activity. Today, areas can be challenged to
perform timely account reconciliations due to the high volume of transactions.
The electronic tool will allow units to prioritize reconciliation activities
focusing on the higher risk items first as well as allowing for us to discontinue
printing of thousands of pages of detail transaction reports each month.
Design completed in FY10 for implementation if FY11.
C. Efficient compliance and approval processes
Previously Reported:
Electronic ordering of high volume contracted items through eStores with
electronic approvals, dispatching and invoicing (March 2008).
Expanded use of PCards with changes in logging and tracking requirements
(December, 2008)
Implementation of on-line booking tool through designated travel agency to
facilitate travel arrangements. (January 2009)
Completed composite assessment scorecard to assist in identification of key
process issues within individual units. (July 2008)
Full implementation of college/vp unit sub-certification process to identify
areas of institutional financial reporting risk. (July 2008)
Implementation of service center models in Business and Finance and Student
(January 2008)
Office of Business and Finance
Recent Accomplishments:
Second year of procurement assessment has been completed with substantial
improvement in results, even with a more restrictive rating scale in place and
second year of payroll certification validation has been completed with
minimal violations. (June 2009)
We are now experiencing increased effort on the part of operating units to
establish controls structures and operate within them. Using these assessment
tools has enabled us to clearly identify problem areas and target resources to
resolving those issues rather than impose broad based restrictions that
negatively impact units that are performing well.
Electronic notification of travel requests and reimbursements. (August 2009)
Processing of university travel no longer requires distribution of paper
documents for signature approval, reducing the amount of time required to
receive a reimbursement and eliminating the manual distribution process.
Implementation of service center in College of Engineering and planning for
consolidated service enter for the Arts and Sciences.
Engineering has implemented a service center some of its departments,
reducing the flow of paper and consolidating approval functions. (January
2009). The Arts and Sciences is in the process of developing a service center
for processing all business transactions throughout the divisions which should
lead to more efficient processing and more consistent application of policies.
In Process:
Financial Request System to provide electronic routing and approval of all
financial transactions due in Spring 2010
Workflow of sponsored program vouchers eliminates distribution of paper
invoices for signature approval
Electronic general ledger reconciliation system to facilitate elimination of
printed reports and provide electronic review and approval of financial
Service Center model planned for College of Medicine.
Office of Business and Finance