Thursday, December 14, 2017

The Taming of the Queue

When members of the UVA research community submit sponsored program proposals, those proposals, and the resulting awards, as well as various post award requests go into a pipeline for processing by the pre award team. This pipeline, often referred to as the queue, has long been stuffed with up to several hundred transactions at a time. In an attempt to work through the backlog, pre award team members have sometimes been able to make admirable headway, but the actions have always piled up once more, seemingly insurmountable.

Until now.

In the last four months, the pre award team has not only focused diligently on the speedy processing of the queue
but also, they’ve tackled the underlying processes that cause the delays and backlogs.

The team has implemented process improvements for certain types of transactions, like the implementation of the ePRF, and then began to work on different types of transactions, making big process changes even while they “kept the trains moving” in the queue.

Kelly Morrison, Director of Pre Award, said the team’s focus was shoring up basic business processes, adding checklists and appropriate levels of review, and removing bottlenecks in the workflow. Morrison also re-evaluated staff roles during this process, making sure that not only did they have enough staff, but also, that the right people were doing the right jobs for their skill sets.

“The focus in the past had been just pushing through transactions,” Morrison said, explaining further that the problem with that approach was that haste made for errors that had to be corrected later on, slowing the process.

Morrison said that even though additional review and checklists might sound counterintuitive when the aim is to speed up a process, taking the time to make sure things are done correctly the first time has produced big, sustainable results for the team: they’ve seen a 70% drop in the number of actions in the queue.

Investing in Managers: UVAFinance Management Development Program begins second cohort

A Gallup poll of over 1 million employed US workers concluded that the number one people quit their jobs is because of issues with their immediate supervisor. Gallup also determined that poor management results in work groups that are on average 50 percent less productive and 44 percent less profitable than well-managed groups.

The recognition of how much is at stake when it comes to properly training managers to manage was the inspiration behind UVAFinance’s partnership with the Center for Leadership Excellence to launch the Management Development Program (MDP), a year-long course for UVAFinance managers.

The course curriculum includes three components: 360 feedback, four skills development sessions, and individualized leadership coaching. This January, the first cohort of 18 managers will graduate. The second cohort of 13 managers has already begun the program.

Calling all UVAFinance artists: Help make our office space beautiful!

You may have noticed that there are lots of blank walls around Carruthers Hall. To help make our environment more pleasing, we’re calling on UVAFinance team members to consider submitting original artwork or photography for display, so we can showcase their talents and brighten up our space!

The UVAFinance Employee Engagement Committee is seeking images that capture UVA, Charlottesville, and/or the surrounding area (Grounds, nature, sights, etc.).

Total Supplier Management: Automation, Integration, and Improved Experience for Procurement Customers and Vendors

Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services has been working to implement a new portal invoicing system to replace Transcepta. The portal represents one step toward in an ongoing initiative to streamline the procure-to-pay process, called Total Supplier Management (TSM), a tool that will streamline and automate vendor registration and payment. TSM will provide benefits to both vendors and UVA customers.

The invoice portal provides automation to our vendors. Electronic invoices mean increased payment discounts and increased accuracy. Schools and units will also benefit from the clear PO and invoice visibility they have within the portal. Because of error reduction and being able to track their documents, vendors won’t have to contact departments with payment questions.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

ResearchUVA is changing the way we pursue, manage and think about sponsored programs, and we’re seeing the results!

The business of research at UVA includes more than $1B in proposal activity and $370M in awards annually, and the latest results from the National Science Foundation’s Higher Education Research & Development (HERD) Survey results show strategic investment in research infrastructure, including ResearchUVA, is paying off as UVA moves up the rankings. Read more about the HERD results here.

Changes to food purchase categories in ExpenseUVA

“Catering” is a frequently-chosen category within ExpenseUVA for food purchases, but most UVA food purchases are actually within the category of “business meals.” The distinction is even more important now, as “catering” will no longer be a reimbursable category after January 1, 2018. The Travel & Expense team encourages ExpenseUVA users to review the food purchase categories available within the system.

 Please see for a breakdown of the categories, including examples.

From "a mess" to managed: ASG Team wins award for Carruthers cleanup

Connie Alexander, Stacey Rittenhouse,
and Patrick Wood of ASG, receive
recognition from Caroline Walters
 of Records Management.
This summer, the Administrative Services Group within UVAFinance partnered with UVA Records Management to address the Carruthers Hall basement storage area. Long-neglected, the area was a mess of boxed records, old filing cabinets, and a hodge-podge of junk. All in all, the cleanup effort saw 931.25 cubic feet of material  destroyed and 1309 cubic feet sent to storage.

This fall, the seven weeks of hard work the team put in was recognized at the 2017 ISPRO Conference whey they were awarded the Records Management Award. Records Management staff lauded the team for having a strong “plan of attack” for the project, having high-level support and communication, and great attitudes and cooperation during the massive effort.

Read more about the cleanup effort here.

Congratulations, ASG!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Holiday Staffing in UVAFinance

This year's holiday break at UVA runs from 12/25/2017 - 1/1/2017.  During that time, Carruthers Hall will be closed.

See below for UVAFinance staffing during break:

Student Financial Services:  A greeting on the main phone line will direct callers to leave a message if their need is urgent.  The mailbox will be monitored periodically during break and staff will respond accordingly.  Emails received will be sent an auto-reply directing the sender to call the main phone line for information on how to leave a message for a faster response. 

Finance Outreach and Compliance: Listserv will be monitored for emergency issues.

Office of Export Controls:  Listserv will be monitored for emergency issues.

This post will be updated as further departmental details become available.