The Division of Finance and Administration has important updates on efforts to improve the user experience in UC Merced’s Oracle-based financial management system.
Full-Court Press on Project Account Variances
On Monday, April 11, the Division of Finance and Administration will launch a focused drive to fix hundreds of out-of-balance project accounts that impact research efforts. Staff from several DFA units will team up to identify and resolve project variances that are causing inaccurate financial reporting, which negatively impacts users’ confidence in UC Merced’s financial management system.
This task force is determined to clear all existing imbalances well in time for the close of the current fiscal year in June, said Assistant Controller Kelli Maxey, who leads the Oracle Data Integrity Project.
How Will It Work? The task force will initially deploy 16 to 24 additional work hours over two weeks to clean the project accounts. The team will engage staff from the Supply Chain Center of Excellence, Student Business Services, Business and Financial Services, and the Center for Business Services and Solutions. Supervisors of these units say normal levels of service will continue as the task force does its work. Initial work will focus on reconciliation of actuals, then proceed to budget corrections to ensure holistically accurate reporting for projects.
Maxey said the team knows how to fix the project variances. The sticking point has been the time required to process more than 600 out-of-balance project accounts in several areas ranging from contracts and grants to incidental funds. Most of the variances stem from missing POET information on historical transactions. It was decided that temporarily assigning DFA staff to focus solely on addressing the variances was necessary.
Once a DFA staff member on the task force resolves all variances in a project, the university’s professional support partners from Deloitte will process the necessary corrections into the financial system and confirm the project is now in balance. Just as important, DFA has processes and system upgrades in place designed to minimize account variances on future financial transactions.
Follow Our Progress: The task force will post updates on the Oracle Data Integrity Project website. Meanwhile, users should expect to see improvements soon in their account balances and related financial reporting.
More About the Auto-Populated POET Fields for Purchases
In February, DFA updated the Purchase Requisition page to reduce the amount of information that needs to be manually keyed in the Project Costing Details section (POET fields). With this enhancement, the requisitioner only needs to enter the project and task information and the rest of the POET details are populated; the CoA is updated automatically when the user saves the request. This change is intended to minimize manual entry points and help end users enter the correct project information to ensure data integrity in the general ledger and project sub-ledger. To add clarity to the defaulted POET values, please note the following:
Default Expenditure type based on project: Expenditure type will auto-populate to the defaulted value after the end user enters the project value in the Project Costing Details section. Each expenditure type is populated automatically into the POET field based on the associated Purchasing Category used when creating a requisition.
Default Expenditure Organization based on task number: Expenditure organization will default based on the selected task. The Organization assigned to a task is done at the time a PPM Project is established per the requestor’s specifications. When entering the CoA for purchasing, please ensure the value is correct to avoid confusion and delay in processing requests.
Please use the Project Master Data Report to view the valid combinations of Task and related Organization. To access the report, use the following navigation in Oracle: Reports and Analytics – Browse Catalog – Shared Folders – Custom – Projects – Project Master Data Report. This report is available to all users who have access to the Oracle Financials system.
Faculty Support Center Goes Remote
The Faculty Support Center in Kolligian Library transitioned to remote assistance April 1. The center was created in October 2021 as a response to the constraints of the Oracle-based financial system and to increase accessibility to the Center for Business Services and Solutions (CBS2) . CBS2 staff, along with research administrators, assisted university staff, faculty, and students at the support center with requisition entry, access to Oracle, system training, ServiceNow updates, and other needs. As we mitigate issues identified by the Procurement Task Force and bring enhancements to the financial system, we have seen a significant decrease in the use of the support center.
Users can continue to reach out via our CBS2 General Request to direct questions to the research support team. CBS2 staff will continue to be embedded in the schools. Please contact CBS2’s Customer Relationship team via firstname.lastname@example.org for additional questions.
Three New How-To Videos on Requisitions
All are posted in DFA’s Oracle Toolkit and clock in at two and a half minutes or less:
- Creating and Saving Your Favorite COA and Shipping Address
- Adding an Approver to Your Requisition
- Reviewing Your Requisition Status
Find them inside the Videos: Requisition Basics drop-down label in the Oracle Toolkit’s Purchasing section.