Wednesday, October 4, 2017

From the Rockies to the Blue Ridge: New Director of Payroll Services at UVA

Paul Grisdale has been very busy since joining the UVAFinance Team as Director of Payroll Services on September 25th. During his first week on board, he has spent much of his time meeting people and learning more about his stakeholders and their unique needs as the University and the Health System take up payroll as a shared process.

In his new role, Grisdale will lead the ONE Payroll Services Team, which will encompass UVA’s academic division, the medical center, and the physicians group.

Grisdale, a Detroit-area native, comes to UVA from Colorado, where he managed payroll in both the Community College System and Colorado State University. 

Paul Grisdale,
Director of Payroll Services
He is no stranger to massive organizational change.

“Most of my career has been implementing new systems and coming up with best practices,” he said.

Grisdale has led many projects involving the streamlining of processes and collaborative, centralized work. When he looks back at his career so far, he’s most proud of times he’s been able to help build things that didn’t exist before – for instance, a central payroll office for Community Colleges of Colorado.

The office he established delivered great service to all 14 entities in the system and leveraged technology to give employees access to things they’d never had before, such as reporting.

Complicating this particular change was the fact that those 14 schools in the Community College system had very different cultures: some were in little farming towns, and some were in urban areas. Grisdale found that any work he could do that helped him to understand those cultural differences and individual needs was very worthwhile, and he’s been applying that principle to his new role at UVA.

“I’ve made it a priority to be out and about, learning what each area is doing now and who their audiences are, and finding out what the needs are,” he said.

Grisdale was attracted to UVA because he saw a unique opportunity to use what he’s learned about organization-wide change, working on teams, and delivering great customer service: “UVA is a world-renowned University, seeking to provide an equally great payroll and HR service. I want to be part of that.”
He added that it’s exciting to get to leverage not only new technology but also the knowledge of experts in the three different areas at UVA, to find better ways to deliver payroll to all employees.

Grisdale will soon be joined in Virginia by his wife Rebecca and their three children, all of whom are excited about their new home. He acknowledges that it’s quite a change. “Colorado is beautiful, but in Colorado, you can drive for hours and you’re still most likely in Colorado. Here, there’s so much to see, and so many interesting things to do,” he said.

An avid fly fisherman, Grisdale said he looks forward to exploring what that hobby is like in his new home.

Amidst all the change that has been a part of his professional life, Grisdale says one thing has remained true: “I have had great teams in all of my endeavors, and we have that at UVA, too. There’s always ups and downs, but with a great team, you can achieve so much.”

Yvonne Metheny and the joy of being well-rounded

Yvonne Metheny has taken on a lot of projects in her 9 years in UVAFinance. Her official title is “Accounting and Financial Analyst,” but if you ask anyone with whom she’s worked, that title is deceiving. Yvonne, they say, can do just about anything:

“She’s a jack of all trades.”

“She just overhears you struggling with something and offers to help.”

“She’s willing to take on anything you give her.”

“She takes 20 minutes to find something that would take me hours.”

“She’s a go-to person, a problem-solver.”

“I can give her anything, and, with very minimal questions, she’ll get it done.”

Metheny is a lot of things, but she’s not a specialist. . . . Unless diversification counts as a specialty.

Metheny says she never really wanted to be an accountant. In college, she started with some accounting courses and did well in them, but she joined the Air Force and turned her attention to computers. Eventually, she earned her Bachelors’ degree in teaching and education (business education). A short stint teaching high school classes wasn’t a good fit, so she went back and got an MBA with a specialty in accounting.

While working in the field of accounting, Metheny says she’s tried a little bit of everything: debt accounting, cost accounting, and everything in between. She’s been very “behind the scenes,” even by accounting standards, double-checking department postings and ensuring that everything is correct, closing old projects so schools and units can see their financial situation more clearly, helping set up new software systems, and helping her colleagues navigate UBI.

Metheny’s supervisor, Senior Associate Comptroller Randy Ellis, described how Metheny recently came to him when he was working through a 68-tab spreadsheet that would be submitted to the State. He was working under a tight deadline and the work was painstakingly tedious.

“Yvonne came into my office and said, ‘let me know what I can do,’ so I gave her the piece of the spreadsheet involving UVA’s ten foundations,” Ellis said.

“She worked four long days on it, and then gave it back to me 95% complete,” said Ellis. The report was submitted to the State accurately and on time.

“I like puzzles,” Metheny said.

“I like the challenge of solving problems, and things that are new and different. I like learning the answers and teaching others.”

Indeed, for a person who decided early in her career that “teaching wasn’t her thing,” she has, in fact, done a lot of teaching.

Colleague Josh Breeden says that even when Metheny doesn’t know the answer, she takes on the challenge to find out. “You know if you say, ‘hey, Yvonne,’ – you’re probably halfway there. She can at least point you in the right direction,” he said.

Metheny’s career in accounting so far has defied her early expectations of the field. What she thought of as a day to day, same old, same old job has been much more fulfilling than she ever expected, and the reason for that, she says, is because she’s tried so many different things and found what she really likes to do.

“I’ve been very lucky because I’ve been allowed the opportunities to find the right fit for me. I’ve had supervisors at UVA who’ve allowed me to find, in effect to make the right job for me,” she said.

Metheny points out that the world of business changes all the time, and “you have to embrace it, even though it might be out of your comfort zone.”

She says she’s been vocal with her managers about what she’d like to do, what problems she’d like to fix, and also to keep her in mind for projects and positions that match her skill set. Through this openness, and her willingness to regularly try something different, Metheny says she’s developed a wide range of skills.

“Ultimately,” she commented, “the best fit for me is also the best fit for the University. When people are in the right roles doing what fulfills them, great things happen.”

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The sun has set . . . how did it go?

The sun set on Discoverer reporting for GA, GL, and LD on August 30 -- an event we'd been working toward for what seemed like such a long time.  The UBI team recently polled those users who were involved in the sunset, asking them some key questions on their satisfaction with the process, including communication and support.

A walkthrough of the survey results is posted on UBIC.

Spoiler alert:  most respondents reported that the sunset experience was a positive one for them and that the dedicated support of Area Champions was a key factor in the transition's success.

Check out the rest of the survey results for more interesting responses, and an opportunity to share your thoughts on the sunset.

Thank you to everyone involved in this process!  Your feedback has been (and will continue to be) invaluable!

Monday, October 2, 2017

ePRF Training for ResearchUVA users

UVA’s move to the electronic routing of all sponsored program proposals is well underway; the successful rollout of the electronic Proposal Routing Form (ePRF) has been a key indicator of the research community’s support for this transition.

OSP has seen strong voluntary adoption of the ePRF by schools, with some utilizing it almost exclusively as of the July 1 soft rollout (a big shout out to SEAS on this commitment). At the end of July, 84% of all ePRFs had been generated from the field. As of September 27, 98% of ePRFs for the month have been generated by the schools themselves.

In response to this overwhelmingly favorable uptake by the research community, usage of the ePRF is mandatory as of October 1. 

Training Availability

We’ve already completed two training sessions and will schedule more over the coming months. We’ve posted upcoming sessions, a comprehensive list of FAQs and other ePRF-related content on the ResearchUVA website, with an online training presentation coming soon.

Next session:  Tuesday, October 24:  Zehmer Hall Lounge, 12 - 1 pm.  LUNCH PROVIDED!
Register here.

Friday, September 29, 2017

TravelUVA login page changes

Christopherson Business Travel (CBT) has changed the look of the TravelUVA “AirPortal” login screen as of Monday, October 2, 2017.  Although the page looks different, the changes in functionality are minimal.  

Basically, you will now click on the left side of the page instead of the right. Below are instructions to find your way around the new page.

Log in to TravelUVA from - (no changes here)

To Book a Trip Online click on the Suitcase Icon.

Then click Book/Manage Online Trips

This will take you to the main page of TravelUVA/ Concur where you can begin booking travel as usual.

Please contact the Travel and Expense Services Team with any questions - or 434-924-4212 ext. 2.

Travel & Expense Wins a "Chromie"

The Travel & Expense Chromie up close
Chrome River, the company who provides the software platform for ExpenseUVA, recently awarded Dolores Hildebrand of the Travel & Expense Team in PSDS with a “Chromie Award.”  

Hildebrand was chosen to receive the Chromie because, out of all of Chrome River’s 600+ customers, UVA submitted the most system modification requests.  When presenting the award, Chrome River said that UVA’s system modification requests helped improve the system and enhanced the experience for all their customers.

In the past 12 months alone, during ExpenseUVA development, testing, deployment and continued use, 158 requests for change based on user feedback have been submitted and completed by Chrome River. 

Hildebrand said, “The Travel and Expense Team, our ITS partners, and all the ExpenseUVA Ambassadors have worked hard to gather input from expense owners, fiscal contacts, and administrators.  We hope the outreach we have done to find out what users need have provided our customers with a system that meets their needs.”