One of the three key areas of campus to transition to a Shared Services model is the Finance Office, which has been working diligently to streamline financial support and transactional processing for faculty, staff and students. Ernie Barry, associate vice president for budgets and finance, gives an update on the transition:
Where is your organization in the Shared Services transition process?
All staff have been transitioned to Finance Shared Services. We are currently in the process of physically moving members of the staff to the second floor of the Expressway Tower building. Most staff have assumed their new roles in the organization; however, the physical moves will allow for more collaboration and cross-training. As processes are redesigned, the transition will be completed.
What has been the biggest surprise you’ve encountered during the transition?
The amount of variation in transactional processes among the different departments/areas.
What has been the most challenging aspect of this transition?
The transition timeline has been longer than anticipated as we redesign and consolidate decentralized processes into centralized, more efficient solutions.
What are the top priorities for your organization right now?
We are focused on implementing electronic solutions for transaction processing. This includes:
· Implementing Electronic Payroll Authorization Forms for both temporary and benefit-eligible staff
· Identifying ways to streamline Accounts Payable payment processing using electronic solutions. This is in an early design phase, but our goal is to have some portion of the solution in place by fiscal year-end.
How has your organization changed with the addition of your newest team members?
Grant and Contract Accounting has been restructured in order to provide better customer service to Principal Investigators in two ways:
· It has been relocated to the main campus (Perkins Administration Building) for accessibility to Principal Investigators and to collaborate with the Office of Research and Graduate Studies.
· Staff are assigned to schools as opposed to processes.
What key improvements have you seen so far?
· Learning about operations is helping us identify the business processes/decisions we need to review and/or change.
· We are able to provide development opportunities to staff.
· Reassigning tasks has led to improved processing times.
· The implementation of some electronic solutions has allowed for more streamlined and efficient processes. As we progress, these solutions will be more widespread and utilized throughout the University.