Friday, January 20, 2017

Ambassadors play a critical role in Expense Management System rollout

The saying goes, “it takes a village to raise a child,” with the idea being that the involvement of the entire community is necessary to ensure the child becomes a productive adult.

It also takes a village to launch an online solution for expense reimbursement. 

As the rollout date of the Expense Management System draws near, a team of over 60 ambassadors (usually those in fiscal roles, chosen by each school and unit), has partnered with the Travel & Expense Core Team to make sure the system is ready for their unit and that their unit is ready for the system.

Since the beginning of the year, ambassadors for the Expense Management System have been testing in Chrome River, the software that houses the system, to make sure everything is functioning properly.  In addition, as subject matter experts within their area, ambassadors have been assisting the UVAFinance Core Travel & Expense team in preparing their school or unit for the coming transition from a paper-based system of reimbursement to the new online system.

The role of ambassadors is particularly important because anyone who gets reimbursed for expenses incurred in the course of doing University business, anyone who holds a T&E card, and many more fiscal employees will be touched by this new system, which is set to roll out this spring. 

Although their role involves a good amount of work (testing, weekly conference calls, working with their leadership and colleagues to facilitate change), ambassadors remain excited about the new system.

In their own words, here’s what a few of those ambassadors have to say:

On the impact of the Expense Management System:

·        It will help to streamline the process, and allow us to intervene earlier if there are possible issues.  The grants I help manage have strict federal guidelines, and this system give me time to address compliance issues and troubleshoot errors.  – Carey Reinicke, Grants and Contracts Administrator, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

·        We do a lot of travel and meal arranging for hiring and search committees.  We run a lot of charges through and have lots of policies and rules to follow.  The new system should make things easier, in terms of getting approval for reimbursement. – Kadie Signore, Business Operations Manager, Executive Search Group

·        It’s going to have a big impact on us, and it’s going to be good.  The system catches errors up front vs. at the back end of it, and that’s a huge benefit.  – Theresa McDaniel, Financial Service Manager, School of Nursing

On their role as an Ambassador:

·        I try to see things through the user’s eyes.  As I’m testing the system, I look for those small quirks that can add up if you’re doing several transactions at a time. I want to find those on the front end, so end users won’t have to encounter them.  After the system is live, I look forward to assisting those individual users who want more specific help. – Carey Reinicke

·        I think everyone will enjoy the system when it goes live.  It’s intuitive and easy to use.  As an ambassador, I want to help our team adjust to the new system, to help them transition. – Kadie Signore

·        I can’t wait for people to see the system.  I know people who aren’t “finance people” won’t be as excited as I am, but still.  I’m glad to be a part of helping our people handle the change. – Theresa McDaniel

On challenges that the new system creates:

·        Any time there’s a change in process or systems, it’s challenging to transition from the old to the new, but the system will make things easier, quicker, and less of a burden. – Carey Reinicke

·        I know it’s a strength, actually, but you can’t move through the system unless you comply with policy and provide necessary information. Oracle wouldn’t stop you from entering bad data or having missing data, but this system will.  – Kadie Signore

·        The only downside I see is that we haven’t done this sooner! – Theresa McDaniel

Much more information about ambassadors (who they are in each school/unit, and how they can help), training availability for the new system, and other rollout details will appear in February 2017, but until then, know that there is a whole host of people across Grounds at workto ensure a smooth transition. 

Thank you to the Core Team members and all of the ambassadors who are paving the way!

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