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Research Newsletter Report 9/9/22

September 9, 2022

A report for the Research Newsletter from interim Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Kurt Schnier:

This week our team has been focused on completing the fiscal close process, which ends today. Given that this effort has overlapped with the Oracle Data Integrity Project efforts, many of them have been working above and beyond to support the financial system for the entire summer and I greatly appreciate their efforts. The data consistency checks we have put in place for FY23 continue to provide valuable information for our team and will provide additional data consistency benefits over the coming year to ensure the reports provided by your RAs are consistent across the various financial data structures.

Data consistency is our responsibility and we have put processes in place to prevent the issues that arose last year. However, we are seeing a number of questions regarding the accuracy of the data provided in the system. It is the responsibility of PIs and RAs to ensure the data represented in our financial reports is accurate and accords with the PI’s spending plans. Please work with your RAs to regularly review your financial data and validate that the expenses you are seeing accord with your spending plans. If you see a discrepancy, please have your RA reach out to our team immediately so we can rectify the issue. Doing this will help us prevent many of the last-minute concerns being raised while invoicing grant agencies.

Over the past year we have experienced several issues with invoicing, and our restructuring of the division to address this issue is in effect. We now have a nearly fully staffed accounting department with a new Director of Financial and Accounting Services and new Director of Accounts Payable, Travel and Tax . We have bifurcated the accounting and budgeting responsibilities out of PPFM and reallocated those responsibilities to other departments. This, along with our transition of all non-contracts/grants to the general ledger, will allow the PPFM team to focus on your contracts and grants and timely invoicing. This reorganization of DFA was necessary to ensure we had the appropriate support for your contracts and grants and we are optimistic about its performance moving forward.

In the coming months, we will hold an Oracle Town Hall in October so please look for an announcement soon. In addition, we will hold a third Oracle Reboot Camp on Oct. 17 to help support the use of our financial system. We have also reinitiated the monthly Oracle meetings with the deans and school financial staff to help disseminate information in the schools (meeting on Sept. 12) as well as the Oracle Advisory Committee (meeting on Sept. 19) that was formed with advice from the Academic Senate last year to ensure faculty participation.

These forums will help the development of our focus on process evaluation and improvement during the 2022-23 academic year. Although we have made progress, there is still work for us to do over the coming years to ensure our financial system evolves with the university. Thank you for your partnership.