Darden: Many travelers, lots of questions

There’s a significant amount of travel occurring amongst the faculty and staff of Darden Business School. 

Between the admissions and career development group and the faculty, who are involved with global student programs and research conferences, travel expenses are a significant portion of the expenses processed by Beth Van Hook’s office.

Van Hook, the Manager of Financial Analysis and Reporting at Darden, is also an ExpenseUVA Ambassador, and as such, she and her colleagues have been working hard to prepare their school’s users for the new system.

“To start out,” she said, “we invited department heads, T&E Card holders, and the fiscal person from each department to a general training in March.  Upon learning that we were getting rid of paper, they hit the ‘Accept’ button pretty quickly.  We offered three sessions and almost everyone was able to attend a session.”

Van Hook said all attendees to the training were given an overview of the new system, a login to go check out the system in test mode, and a link to the training provided by Finance Outreach and Compliance.  They were encouraged to practice with the system to provide the Finance team additional system experts for go-live, see what additional questions they had and what questions they thought users in their departments would have. 

“Each session ended up being unique and the questions that were brought up allowed me to tailor the next session to address what was confusing or not covered adequately,” said Van Hook.

The issues raised in the sessions created a sizable list of items to add to a “Best Practices” reference document she has been compiling.  

 “Emails have been sent to all faculty and staff within Darden, announcing the new system and its positive impact, and it has been received with a mixture of excitement and nervousness about a new process,” she noted.

Van Hook said more drop in sessions will be made available post go-live for the “trial and error” period that will surely be part of those first few weeks. 

Although she and her fellow ambassadors have spent a lot of time already training and helping to address questions, she expects to see a return on that investment of time and effort once the system is live.

“We’ve worked hard to train our fiscal people and provide tools to help them succeed.    When April 17 arrives, I hope to have a lot of subject matter experts to help provide a smooth transition for our employees.”

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