Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Workday Expenses and our partnership with Fiscal Adminstrators’ Group

by Augie Maurelli, Associate Vice President for Financial Operations

I had the pleasure of speaking to the Fiscal Administrators’ Group last week at their April meeting. The group had just seen a demonstration of Workday Expenses and was carefully considering it in comparison to our current solution, Chrome River.

I was impressed by the amount of insight and critique the group provided at the meeting. We were able to answer some of the questions posed, but there were too many to get to in the meeting, and those have been collected to be addressed soon. 

 I wanted to give a condensed version of my remarks during that meeting here so that those of you who weren’t able to attend could catch up and get involved. We appreciate your comments and questions in CommunityHub, or you can email them directly to me, or anyone on the project team.

The current Finance Strategic Transformation project plan is for Workday Expenses to roll out as a part of Workday financials during July of 2021. That sounds like a long way away but it is right around the corner.

Obviously a new system would be a huge change: 8,000 across Grounds use Chrome River. It’s imperative that we continue to engage our fiscal administrators on all aspects of FST, especially travel and expense. Our April 15 exercise is only the beginning of the expense journey. The Fiscal Admin group can fully expect to be invited to participate in that as we continue in the transition.

Fiscal Administrators should be better able to do their jobs if we get the configuration right. As long as this group pays attention and shares feedback on how to apply the tools, we should be on the pathway to success. I’ve been through two prior rollouts of a travel and expense platform, and the interaction at last week’s meeting made me incredibly appreciative.

Although I’m relatively new and still learning all the nuances of UVA, I can assure you that we already recognize the details we’ll need to cover during this transition. We’ll have to address the details of per diem, mileage, accountable plan rules, and questions around policy and travel booking as we configure the system. We need to have appropriate controls around the chart of accounts and budget so we can tie those things into expense. Having details such as book to grants, the one/two car discussion, duty of care, and managed travel integrated into the system of record will give us visibility at a transactional level. Higher education has a habit of delegating all authority down, and that puts us at risk. We definitely need your direction in order to succeed.

You’ll be hearing from the project team and finance leadership throughout the project. We want you fully engaged and aware of the decision processes. Things like controls, receipt thresholds, workflow, policy, ownership, and many other questions the group brought up last Wednesday will require further future dialogue so that we can fully unpack them. With this close partnership, we won’t have any surprises when we reach go-live.

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