Thursday, July 27, 2017

Computer behaving badly? Check out these troubleshooting tips!

Technology.  We tend to take it for granted until it doesn't work the way we need it to, and then, well, we get frustrated pretty quickly.

When time is of the essence and the computer is malfunctioning, we tend to call the LSP first and ask questions later.  While some of your computer's technical difficulties require professional intervention, many others can be easily solved, even if you're not a "technical person" yourself.

Mike Hayton, an LSP in UVAFinance, put together a handy reference guide to reduce frustration and provide quick solutions for those he and his fellow LSPs serve (click on it to view more closely).   The LSP team hoped these suggestions might help their colleagues avoid waiting for external help and get back up and running quickly.

Click the graphic for a larger view
And yes, "restart your machine" is a suggestion at the top of the list.

"You'd be amazed how many problems a reboot solves," Hayton said, adding that this guide is meant to be a quick first line of defense, not a complete 'fix it yourself' guide.

Hayton also offered this "pro tip" to act on now, while your computer is functioning well:  to prevent data loss, save your files in your personal folder on the U drive, not in "My Documents."  When you save to this folder, your files will be safe and sound no matter what happens with your actual machine.  Your LSP can help you set up this folder if needed.

UVAFinance folks:  printed copies on heavy duty, coated cardstock are being distributed so you can keep the info handy!

Happy Fiscal New Year!

In January, we celebrate the beginning of a new calendar year, with all its unwritten possibility. There’s a similar feeling surrounding the beginning of the academic year each fall – the new school year is another fresh start. In the financial world, the real New Year is July 1, when the new fiscal year begins. The transition between old and new doesn’t involve clinking champagne and singing Auld Lang Syne, however: it’s a lot of very hard work done by a team of dedicated financial professionals.

Here’s an inside look from UVAFinance Financial Planning & Analysis and Comptroller team into the hectic transition of putting the old year to bed and getting the new one started, financially speaking.

Judy Rowe, Director of Academic Budgets

June and July are busy months for Financial Planning & Analysis. We have multiple deadlines associated with the Board of Visitors and State, plus deadlines for closing the current fiscal year and opening the new one. One of the interesting activities that some may not be aware of is that every year, on July 1, even if the 1st falls on a Saturday or Sunday, three or four of our staff, along with support from IT, actually load the operating budgets into the Integrated System. We manually stage files to process the uploads, ensuring that installments, funding and budgeting are entered accurately on every PTAO with a year to date boundary code.

Imelda Carter, Manager of Operational Accounting

I guess you could say I’m the keeper of the cash. All of the cash accounts the departments use are reconciled each month in Oracle by Judy McDaniel and me, every month of the year. The only time we stop this ongoing process is on June 30 when Oracle shuts down. That’s when we make sure the cash object codes equal to the bank statement. We love that moment . . . it’s just beautiful when it all comes together. Our Oracle close went very smoothly this year. We had been watching our projections and making the entries we could before the system went down. On Saturday, July 1, I came in to prepare the state expenditure files, and that was a little more tricky. But basically, it is just like reconciling your bank accounts, and it allows you to get a clean start for the new year.

Judy McDaniel, Local Bank Reconciliation Accountant

In my role, I make sure the eight bank accounts we have with Bank of America are reconciled for year-end closing. Every line for each statement must be reconciled or amounts won’t balance with Oracle. It gets hectic at year end, and you always have the feeling that you need to get this done, because something new is coming tomorrow. Then, we basically start the new year for each bank account, making sure all lines are reconciled and researching any problems that may occur. My biggest achievement this year was that I had all bank statements reconciled and reports run by July 5, which was a new record for us.

Anne Marie Cumiskey, Budget Analyst

I assisted units with their FY17 close out activities, and I processed budget reductions for the FY18 budget, preparing for the load into Oracle and making any final changes. I started this job last year and had heard many anecdotes about prior budget loads on July 1. I was full of anticipation, and although this year July 1 was on a Saturday, it was fun. In the middle of the morning, a coworker surprised us with coffee and donuts. We were all huddled together, watching the computer screens, and making certain the load ran smoothly. Richard Parkins from ITS was great help to us getting everything loaded (and kudos to Mike Hayton, our own technical support person, for getting me up and running in a day when my laptop died during the last week of close)!

Christine Maxwell, Senior Budget Analyst
During the year end process, I work very heavily in both current year actuals and the future budget year, which as you can imagine can become confusing…sometimes I even forgot what year it really is and I found myself signing and dating things as 2018 instead of 2017. Although we’re often working in the future budget year, at year-end time, it’s nice to really work on actuals and look at the variance with what we had planned and budgeted a year prior. This was my 2nd budget season and I think every year I’m getting better and improving. The budget process involves lots of moving pieces from all members of our team and I think the process brings us closer. The veterans on our team have lots of knowledge to share and they are willing to share it. I think our new team members are caught up to speed in record time.

James Cathro, Budget Analyst
In my role, I see an uptick in picking up loose ends and cleanup work as we try to reconcile everything for year end. I spend more time than usual in Oracle updating awards and projects and submitting ICOMs on behalf of units. I jumped in with the budget team and EA for a few hours on Saturday, July 1, as they performed the upload, and I was struck by the great attitude and enthusiasm everyone had, even on a Saturday morning. They know they’re doing the necessary work to keep the University on track and on budget.

Rohan Patel, Senior Budget Analyst

The FY18 budget review process was challenging and exciting at the same time. This year, for the first time, I reviewed the budget submissions from the submitting unit from both a budgeting and University Financial Model (UFM) perspective. The challenge was to get the budgets balanced in UFM with zero or positive bottom line with the unit’s budget and allocated/calculated provost support, central services cost, crossing funding, and tuition dollars in the least amount of steps possible and get it ready in time for the Academic Unit’s budget review with the Provost. It was a big achievement for me to do that as accurately as possible, given all of those moving parts, for every single unit.

Yvonne Metheny, Accounting and Financial Analyst

Year-end is different from the rest of the year because of the greater intensity and urgency. My main year-end duties include estimating the State funds that the University needs to spend down before year end, updating and maintaining the files we have to send to the State (which Imelda worked tirelessly on during the July 4 weekend), maintaining the year-end calendar, analyzing data for accuracy, and generally running around trying to put out one fire after another. Almost every day I got asked some unique questions, which meant for multiple collaborations to figure out the correct answer or solutions. The biggest achievement is knowing that as a team, we made it through. I like the fact that I can help with workloads, answer questions, and be a go-to person for those who need help, both centrally and in the departments, and I’m very appreciative of the great bunch of people I work with!

Announcing the Fall 2017 Certified Research Administrator Review Course

Spaces are still available in the August 17 kick off session!

We are pleased to announce the University of Virginia’s Fall 2017 Certified Research Administrator (CRA) Review Course. This is the 12th year that we’ve partnered with subject matter experts from across grounds to offer these study sessions, providing help to those attempting to master the body of knowledge specified by the Research Administrators Certification Council (RACC). Although UVA subject matter experts will be leading these sessions, they are NOT targeted to address practices specific to UVA. Rather, the experts will speak about the requirements for obtaining and managing sponsored awards from a global perspective.

For those interested in pursuing the CRA certification, please review the specific educational and experience requirements available on the RACC website.

The exam to be administered this fall will include some questions drawn from the Uniform Guidance as the RACC has decided to phase those in gradually. Here is the proposed phase in schedule:
  • May and November 2017 – approximately 2/3 of the relevant questions will be based on the new regulations 
  • May 2018 examination – All relevant questions will be based on the new regulations
Fall testing dates are early this year, so our kick off session is scheduled for Thursday, August 17th, with weekly sessions to follow through Thursday, November 2.

These sessions:
  • include a minimum of 10 meetings focused on specific examination topics 
  • will be no longer than two hours (scheduled from 11-1pm or 12-2pm … you are encouraged to bring lunch!)
  • are limited to the participation of 15 individuals
  • will be provided at no cost to you or your department
  • will require a time commitment from you outside of the formal study sessions, particularly if you plan to take the CRA exam
  • will require the support of your supervisor
All sessions will be held in Carruthers Hall.

For more information: Click HERE to be directed to the CRA Review Course information page on the Finance Outreach and Compliance website.

To Register: If you would like to be a part of this intense and rewarding program, please register in OLM. If you are already logged into the Integrated System, clicking HERE will take you to the class, where you can enroll using the button in the top right corner. Otherwise, complete the following steps:

1) Log into Employee/Manager Self-Service from the Integrated System home page.

2) Navigate to your Learner Home.

3) Use the search bar to select “Class” and enter “796783” in the next field, then select “Go.”

4) Enroll using the “Enroll” button.

If you want to study for the CPRA or CFRA exam, please contact Erika Priddy (, and we can discuss which sessions you should come to.

UBIC: Come for the information, stay for the Community support

We’re used to going online for information. We go to Wikipedia for a quick history lesson, to see what the weekend forecast looks like, and, of course, almighty Google for just about anything from how to fix our computer to checking out our health symptoms.

If you’re a UBI user, one online resource you shouldn’t miss out on is the UBI Community (UBIC). From information on the latest releases and quick access to training and resources to connections with other users’ solutions and ideas, the Community is your one stop shop for getting the most out of UBI.

UBIC is like having that one colleague who always knows everything available all the time. UBI users from across Grounds offer solutions, tips and tricks, and share troubles they’ve encountered that can lead to the development team making needed fixes.

The Community becomes more useful (and fun) with each new, active member. It’s your space to ask questions, share solutions, and it won’t be the same without you.

Haven’t joined yet? You already have access as a UBI user; it only takes a moment to sign in. Haven’t checked in a while? Go visit!

What’s new on UBIC:

· Read more about Featured User Rhenea Niece of UVA Wise Check out the tips Niece shares for other users!

· Get the lowdown on what’s changing with GL reconciliation

Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Training Available Online

Anti-corruption laws like FCPA are of great relevance to UVA, as we strive to increase global experiences for students and global impact our academic community.

Finance Outreach and Compliance has provided general guidance, complete with FAQ, Additional Resources, and access to short online training at

Compliance with requirements of the FCPA is consistent with the expectations of UVA’s Code of Ethics and is specifically required by University Policy.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Sponsored Programs Welcomes Matt Winter, Grants and Contracts Assistant

Matt Winter recently joined the Sponsored Programs team as a Grants and Contracts Assistant, working on the pre-award side. Winter is a two-time UVA grad, with a M. Ed. in Higher Education and a B. A. in History. He also studied Secondary Education at the University of Alberta in Canada. Winter became interested in sponsored programs through graduate internships at the Curry School and UVA’s radio station, WTJU. His diverse background includes experience teaching in the public school system, as well as working with local publishing firms. Winter enjoys playing soccer, being outdoors, and following UVA Athletics.

Strategic Sourcing = Serious Savings

In the fall of 2014, Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services, in partnership with Organizational Excellence, began a Strategic Sourcing initiative. The aim of the initiative was to deliver increased savings and better service to those who buy at UVA.

Nearly three years in, the results have been impressive: $2.8 million in contract savings in FY ’17 alone (including office supplies, inbound freight, catering, promotional products and Virginia Higher Education Procurement Collaborative savings such as Grainger, Enterprise and Fisher).

An additional $2.5 million has been saved in FY ’17 on department specific contracts, bringing the grand total to $5.3 million in FY ‘17. That’s no small change!

It’s the everyday support of those who buy at the University that makes these contracts work. Thank you for making the choice to buy on contract!

Travel & Expense Tip

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Traveling to work, staying to play: work life balance through “Bleisure Travel”

The rise of technology has made it easy for professionals to take their work with them. We answer emails in the evenings, we log in on the weekends, we’re committed to productivity to the point of becoming workaholics. Risking burnout and enduring rising stress levels, we stockpile vacation days without ever using the bulk of them.

A growing trend in business travel may go a long way toward alleviating this tension between career and personal life. This type of travel is called “bleisure” (a portmanteau blending “business” and “leisure”), and Travel and Expense Administrator Raegan Harouff of Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services is seeing an increasing amount of it.

Harouff, who worked as a travel agent for 17 years before joining UVA in PSDS’ Travel and Expense Team, says the name “bleisure” may be silly, but the concept is valuable.

A few snapshots from Harouff's travels to Gambia, Thailand, and Cambodia.
“It may be hard for people to work a full week or more of vacation into their schedules, while it’s much easier to tack on a few days at the end of a trip to a conference,” she said.

“Especially when people are traveling abroad, with the commitment of time and money involved in that kind of travel, it makes sense to make the most of the experience while you’re there – to get out and actually experience the city and the culture you’re working in,” she said.

An Expedia Media Solutions study found that 43% of all business trips are extended to include some kind of leisure activity. According to a recent Forbes magazine poll, 78% of employees interviewed said that by adding a few personal days to a business trip, the professional assignment became more rewarding.

Harouff’s familiarity with the ins and outs of corporate travel, gained during her years as a travel agent, have given her an insight that is helpful for UVA’s travelers. She knows the ins and outs of handling arrangements for busy travelers with complex agendas.

An avid traveler herself, she has lent both her corporate and personal travel experience to UVA travelers who want to make some time for fun on their business trips. She says what usually happens is that, once they return, travelers have questions about how to expense their trip, separating the business from the personal.

For all UVA bleisure travelers, Harouff recommends making the required cost comparison between the business/personal itinerary and what the cost would have been for a business-only itinerary at the time of purchase. Doing the comparison at the same time of purchase instead of waiting until later (or even, upon return) means travelers won’t be shortchanging themselves on reimbursement or requesting more reimbursement than actually necessary.

Bleisure travel is a good option for those dealing with tightly scheduled work and personal time. And, as Harouff points out, it’s a great use of time and money.

“Even heading out to a conference a day early – sometimes flights are cheaper that way, too --- can be a great stress reliever. It doesn’t always have to be something big. Even if you’re just heading out a day early to check out the beach or the local food scene, some me time can do a lot to make you feel more relaxed and productive,” she said.

Training & Development Opportunities for Finance Professionals

We hope you will take advantage of these professional development opportunities designed for our finance colleagues across Grounds. Links to enroll via Employee Self-Service are available from the Events section on the Finance Outreach and Compliance website at

As always, if you have any questions, suggestions, or want to discuss training needs, please contact us at

Feel free to forward share this schedule with other colleagues, and managers, please share with your staff. Looking forward to seeing you soon!

Brown Bag Sessions

Supplier Diversity 

Why is Supplier Diversity important? Increasing and maintaining relationships with diverse suppliers helps to support UVA’s mission of delivering high-quality education, research, public service and healthcare. We are committed to supporting this mission by developing and maintaining sustainable and positive relationships with qualified and reliable small, women, and minority-owned (SWAM) businesses. In this session, we will provide information and answer your questions about the mission and history of supplier diversity at UVA, how a supplier qualifies as a SWAM business, resources to help you find and work with SWAM businesses, and SWAM contracts.
July 26, 12:00-2:00 pm
Presented by Les Haughton, Directory of Supplier Diversity, PSDS
Carruthers Hall, Carr-1 and 2

Sustainability and UVA’s Green Workplace Program

Do you know about UVA’s Green Workplace Program? Team members from the Office for Sustainability will join us to discuss actions we can all take to conserve energy, advance sustainability at UVA, and even save money! Come join your colleagues for this session to hear more about the Green Workplace Program, the certification program, and other ways to increase sustainability efforts at UVA.
August 9, 12:00-2:00 pm
Presented by Dana Schroeder, UVA Office for Sustainability
Carruthers Hall, Carr-1 and 2

Using UBI: Tips and Tricks

Discoverer will soon be unavailable for GA, GL, and LD reporting, but like many, you may be reluctant to start using UBI to run your reports. In this session, you will learn about basic navigational tips, how to tag favorites, best practices for exporting and printing data, and customizing and sharing reports. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the UBI Community. This course offers tips for using UBI and is not meant to replace the Introduction to UBI or Advanced UBI courses.
August 23, 12:00-2:00 pm
Presented by Ashley Bagby, Managerial Reporting Project
Carruthers Hall, Carr-1 and 2

Courses, Workshops, and Labs

Finance Fundamentals

What is UVA’s mission? What is the Code of Ethics and why is it important? What is the organizational structure of UVA and where do you fit in? What is a PTAEO? What are the sources of revenue at UVA and how are funds processed? What do you need to know about internal controls, and what are some best practices to follow? In this class you will get answers to these questions and more, as well as have an opportunity to interact and network with other administrative professionals. This class is a required course for access to the finance applications in the Integrated System, but is also open to anyone who wants to learn about UVA’s financial operations.
July 25, 1:30-4:30
August 8, 1:30-4:30
August 22, 1:30-4:30 

All sessions are held in Carruthers Hall, Conference Room 2

Reconciling Expenditures in Recon@UVA (formerly Mastering Account Reconciliations)

All departments spend money, whether it is for office supplies, equipment, or personnel. It is important to reconcile these purchases each month to maintain strong internal control standards. This course is designed to help UVA staff and faculty who prepare, review and approve expenditure reconciliations navigate these processes in the Recon@UVA system. We will discuss how to accurately complete monthly expenditure reconciliations for transactions that occur in the Integrated System’s Grants Management (GM) module in compliance with UVA policy and procedures. 
July 20, 1:30-4:00 
Carruthers Hall, Carr-2

Reconciling General Ledger Revenue – New Class!

To maintain strong Internal Control standards, it is important to reconcile your revenue accounts as well as your expenditure accounts. This course is diesgned to help UVA staff and faculty who prepare, review, and approve revenue reconciliations navigate the General Ledger (GL) revenue reconciliation process at UVA using University Business Intelligence (UBI). We will discuss how accurately complete your monthly revenue reconciliations in compliance with UVA policy and procedures.
July 21, 1:30 - 4:00
August 3, 1:30-4:00
Carruthers Hall, Carr-2

Reconciling General Ledger Revenue: Lab – New Class!

Do you need help with the new Monthly GL Reconciliation Procedure? During this lab, you will be able to log into UBI and complete your monthly revenue reconciliation with help from the UVAFinance team. IMPORTANT: This a lab where you can bring your work with you to get help in completing your revenue reconciliations using the new procedure. It is not intended to replace the instructor-led, Reconciling General Ledger Revenue class where you learn about policy and procedure.
July 24, 9:00-11:30
August 10, 1:30-4:00
All sessions held at 2400 Old Ivy Road, room 136

ExpenseUVA: Lab

Do you need help with UVA's new expense management system, ExpenseUVA? During this lab, you will be able to log into the live system and submit expense reports help from the UVAFinance team. You will also learn where to go for resources and help. IMPORTANT: This class is a lab where you can come for help with entering actual expenses, and is not intended to replace the online training. Please complete the Expense Management System - Online Training prior to attending the lab and bring your work with you. Please arrive at the stated time of the class and then stay as long as you like. For immediate training and help, please refer to the online training Expense Management System - Online Training 
July 21, 9:00-11:00 am
July 27, 9:00-11:00 am
August 17, 1:00-3:00 pm
August 28, 9:00-11:00 am
All sessions held at 2400 Old Ivy Road, room 136

"Intro to UBI" now available as an online course!

click for a larger view

Users can now access the introductory UBI course from OLM in the Integrated System by choosing the Intro to UBI - Finance (Online) offering.

The entire course runs approximately 1 ½ hours and is divided into 13 lessons. Lessons do not have to be completed all at once, and learners can close and return to the course at their convenience and pick up where they left off to complete it.

This course is required to be completed for approval for the EDW_P_Finance permission in ESHARP.

For the latest developments in UBI, visit

Get more from your UBI experience by participating in the UBI Community!

Mindfulness as a practice in the workplace

UVAFinance has embarked on a workplace mindfulness program, offering a variety of activities to team members, all geared toward stress reduction and personal growth.

Patrick Wood, who leads events coordination on the UVAFinance Administrative Services Group, spearheaded the effort to bring the initiative to fruition.

“The purpose of the program is to promote a work environment where people have the strategies they need to cope with stress, where they can develop better relationships, and make proactive changes,” Wood said.

Studies show that mindfulness can help ease stress, provide resilience against negative experiences, and promote empathy and compassion. Preliminary studies even suggest that mindfulness has a positive effect on productivity and can reduce the number of sick days a person takes.

Activities on the calendar include chair massage, yoga and guided meditation, and sessions promoting mindfulness through art.

Wood says the response to the mindfulness offerings has been very positive so far. Attendance was high at the recent art session, and all of the chair massage appointments were spoken for within five minutes of the announcement.

Raegan Harouff from Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services attended the Mindfulness through Art session. She cited it as a great stress reliever.

“I’ve been practicing mindfulness for some time and have been a lifelong art lover,” she said. “I really enjoyed blending the two, and I’ll definitely check out future sessions.”

Mindfulness sessions are offered every week in UVAFinance and are announced via email.

Want to know more about how mindfulness can positively impact your work experience, no matter where you work? Check out this site. There are also several apps you can download for individual practice of mindfulness, including meditation, yoga, and more!

From Melody's Desk

July 13, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

Launched April 17, ExpenseUVA has been live now for almost three months.  Last month, we invited all of those who had a hand in its development, testing, and rollout to a celebratory reception at Carruthers Hall. 

The successful launch of ExpenseUVA is definitely a reason to celebrate.  The system streamlines and automates a labor-intensive and paper-based process, and reduces the amount of time it takes to receive reimbursement, which is great!  Beyond those benefits, though, we sought to celebrate and honor the collective effort given by people from all roles, all over Grounds, to make this rollout successful. 
  We could not have succeeded in this launch without the guidance, feedback, and unflagging support of our Ambassadors, the Core Team, Associate Deans, unit chief operating officers, the Organizational Excellence team, and finance professionals across Grounds.  There were bumps along the road, and the process wasn’t easy, but you stuck with us, and we are very thankful.  

ExpenseUVA is just a case in point of how our colleagues from all across UVA support us with their guidance and feedback.  As we work to deliver excellent service and improve the processes that affect you, it is great to know we can rely on your partnership.

In the coming months, we will continue work to deliver new functionality and improved processes and services (more on ResearchUVA’s major launch of the electronic Proposal Routing Form to come!) throughout UVAFinance.

Once more, thank you all for joining us in this massive work of collaboration.  Our work is not complete – we will continue to improve the system to solve the challenges you face in the field.  We invite you to keep the conversation going – I look forward to what we will achieve in the next fiscal year.

PS:  ExpenseUVA training is available online and on demand!  Access it and other helpful materials (including the database of all Ambassadors, who are ExpenseUVA experts in your area) here!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Stay Up to Date with Travel & Expense

Did you know that the Travel and Expense teams put out a monthly e-newsletter full of tips and tricks on how to use the TravelUVA and ExpenseUVA systems, savings opportunities, events, and more?