Thursday, April 23, 2020

Resources and Information During the Coronavirus Response

  • All Zoomed Out? Mark Anderson shared this great article about Zoom fatigue that might come in handy.
  • UBI Update to find COVID-related transactions and POs: The UBI team has created a new field in GA_Analysis_Actuals and PO_Reporting modules to help identify COVID related transactions - it does this by looking for wildcard matches to "*COVID*" and "*Corona*" in Comments field, Project Name, Award Name, and Task Name. It will not be 100% accurate and may pick up some false positives (especially “*Corona*”) but if you are looking for directional indicators of spending related to the current crisis we hope this helps.
  • Mindfulness:   1% Challenge (sign up 4/13 – 5/11)  Dedicate 14 minutes of your day in live or on-demand mindfulness sessions, plus earn rewards  Sign up between 4/13 – 5/11
  • UVAFinance COVID-19 FAQ:  Updated consistently for your convenience:
  • UVAFinance resources on working remotely in the crisis:

Working Remotely in a Pandemic

Looks about right except for how clean her house is
We all got thrown into the world of remote work over a month ago with little to no preparation.  Although many of us have no doubt been in a phase of ongoing adjustment, what we're going through is not just acclimating to telecommuting, it's telecommuting in a time of crisis.   

We tapped three of UVAFinance's long-term remote workers for discussions about telecommuting and the larger implications of the COVID-19 crisis on all of us as remote workers.  


Check out this piece by Matt Bonham, UVAFinance Communications Team, and our latest episode of Finance Matters, featuring Jessica Rafter of Finance Strategic Transformation and JT Peifer of Student Financial Services.

Creating an integrated UVAFinance service model

Andrew Sallans
from Andrew Sallans, Finance Engagement Manager

Scott Adams (Director of Business Services) and I (Finance Engagement Manager) joined UVAFinance on March 30 with the goal of developing a future, integrated UVAFinance service model. 

In our first few weeks, we've been holding information gathering calls with people throughout UVAFinance to understand the current state of services, experience with Salesforce as a tool for managing services, and goals for a future state. In the future, we will expand out to conversations with external stakeholders to capture more information about their needs.

Our Relationship with our Customers

From our conversations, we have a few common threads to share about current state:
  • Customers often need to know exactly who or what unit does something in order to efficiently get a problem resolved.
  • Each UVAFinance unit has its own approach to customer management and therefore its own customer relationship. Variability in how support requests come in, use of shared email boxes and lists, how support requests are managed, sharing of process/guidance documentation for self-help, and a mix of centralized and decentralized communications.
  • It's difficult for leadership to see the status of customer engagement real-time or at scale. Requests for numbers on how many requests for X over a period of time broken out by Y can be a very laborious effort by multiple people, and may result in varied answers. Sometimes the question can't even be answered.
  • Problems that cut across HR/Finance/ITS are a big pain point internally and for the customer.
A central challenge in our current state is a siloed approach to service. When the customer finds the right person to answer their question, this approach offers quality, personalized customer service that places the person first, with a strong human connection. When the customer doesn't know who can answer their question, it can be a very frustrating experience of being bounced around the organization. It is also difficult to maintain quality service as staff transition in and out and as service volume scales. From a customer's perspective, each service area of the organization appears to operate independently, and in many ways does.

When Workday Financials goes live in about 15 months, the customer will experience a shared HR and Finance storefront for most services. The customer should not need to know how the back office is organized in order to get their problem resolved. In order to make the transition to this new state, we need to move away from a siloed service mindset and embrace the concept of a "one company, one customer" relationship. 

We will seek ways to maintain a human connection in our approach while adding deeper connections between our services to provide the customer with a more connected experience across all the services we provide. With this, we aim to make it easier for our customers to get their problems solved accurately and quickly, and with less work on the backend. Our vision is to use Salesforce (a customer relationship management platform) as a way of relating engagement activities so that we can see all of our engagement with a given customer (or group of customers, such as an org, department, or school). As the Workday experience will span both HR and Finance, we are also currently working with HR partners to figure out how best to coordinate the customer experience with HR (they also use Salesforce).

Read the rest of this post (and share your thoughts or questions) in the Online Community!

Check out the UVAForward website for on-demand resources

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not hold the UVA Forward 2020 conference this year. However, in keeping with the mission of the conference, we’ve redesigned our website to provide on-demand resources for professional development, remote working, and supporting our community. 

We’ve already started curating a list of useful and inspiring opportunities and will continue to add more resources periodically, so please check back often!

Professional development resources include links to:
  • motivating Ted Talks / Videos
  • informative LinkedIn Learning classes
  • Interesting and helpful training offerings from UVA organizations
  • Self-discovery online skill tests
There are also links to many resources to help you adjust to remote working and maintain your wellbeing during this crisis as well as information for supporting our local community and staff at UVA Health.

Finance Strategic Transformation Update

Read more about FST at 

Want to listen to this update instead of reading it?  Click here to listen to WFST Radio!
  • The Fiscal Administrators group got a look at Workday Expenses last week, and they had quite a lot of feedback and questions to share.  Read more in an update from Augie Maurelli. We collected all of the questions we couldn’t immediately answer and as we get answers, we’ll keep everyone updated.
  • Workday also has a supplier management tool that the team is considering in comparison to our current tool, Jaegger. Jonathan Agop and Addie Coe of Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services are on the FST Project team, and they have a post in the Community that will walk you through what’s on their minds as we consider this choice.
  • Future Support Model:  It may seem far in the future, but we're thinking about how we'll support stakeholders once Workday Financials goes live.  Read more about this from Andrew Sallans in the online community.
  • Continuous Improvement is the foundation of our transformative effort with FST.  We’re not just lifting and shifting our current processes into Workday Financials, we’re looking hard at our processes end to end to discover better ways of doing things.  In the Continuous Improvement space in the online community, you’ll find tools, videos, and really practical ways to build a CI mindset into your team.
  • If you’re not sure how to log in to Community Hub, or how to navigate it once you’re in there, we’ve developed a reallyquick, one-page get started guide to get you started.   It’s also no problem if you want a one-on-one walkthrough or a session for your team.  Just reach out to 
  • The Community is only one way you can interact with FST – there’s also our website at for high-level updates, this blog, and of course, we’re happy to visit with you and your team (we'll Zoom on in at your invitation!).  You can also reach out to team members directly, or use the FST email,  
  • If there’s a way that your team likes to get information that we should use to share the updates they want, please let us know.  We want you and your team to have the information you need, and we want to hear your questions and concerns, so please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can get the word out better.

New FST Team Members: 

Former Deputy Clerk and New Mom, Chelsea Barker, Joins Accounts Payable

Barker and family

Along with fellow new hires Leslie Williams and Mohammed AlKaisy, Chelsea Barker recently joined UVAFinance’s Accounts Payable department. She will be working closely with Linda Mayo and the rest of her team on various projects.

Before starting in her new position, Barker worked as Deputy Clerk for the Albemarle County Circuit Court. “I thought that [working in UVAFinance] would be a great way to transfer some of the skills I acquired in the court system,” she says.

“It has been an interesting transition,” Barker continues. “During my first week, we were told that we would be working remotely due to COVID-19. I must say that the team has been great and the training went off without a hitch!”

Barker is also a new mom to her seven-month-old daughter, Maya. She enjoys spending time with her husband and their daughter, as well as socializing with friends at local vineyards. She also loves animals and has owned several snakes throughout her life.

Time & Absence: Proper Timekeeping & Workday Notifications

Managers are required to review and approve all time entries prior to payroll processing. Effective this pay period, we have extended the approval deadline for Managers to 3pm of the Monday following the end of the pay period; this gives you 3 hours after the submission deadline for your employees. 

You will start to see Workday alerts regarding timekeeping deadlines soon.

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.

Accounts Payable Welcomes Leslie Williams

Williams and family
“It’s important to me to work for an institution with integrity and a drive to be innovative.”

Leslie Williams provided the above statement as one of the main reasons she wanted to join UVAFinance. A position on the Accounts Payable team particularly interested her because it aligned with her experience and values.

In her new position, Williams’ primary responsibility is processing invoices. She is also working alongside Paula Chapman, Chelsea Barker, and the rest of Linda Mayo’s team on various Accounts Payable projects.

“I am enjoying the role and learning a lot, but it’s very different from the last Accounts Payable position I held,” Williams says.

“Because of the situation we’re in, it’s been a very unique way to start a new job. Thankfully, my teammates have been very helpful, kind, and patient along the way.”

Outside of work, Williams is a wife to Nick, and a mother to twelve-year-old twin girls, Sadie and Caylin. She loves spending time outdoors with family and friends, baking, crafting, reading, and dancing. She is also a huge fan of all things Disney, after living in Florida for 20 years and working her first job at Walt Disney World.

Strategy, Service, and Process Improvement – Glassman joins PSDS

Jenn Glassman
Jenn Glassman has joined UVAFinance as Director of Procurement and Supplier Diversity Services.

Glassman comes to UVA most recently from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where she led the Procure-to-Pay/Travel & Expense business technology strategy as the organization adopted Workday Financials.

Before that, she served in several Procurement leadership roles at the University of California, San Diego, often times supporting state-wide initiatives across the ten UC campuses. She has an extensive background in managing procure-to-pay strategy and operations and leading process improvement efforts that deliver results organization-wide.

Glassman, her husband Gabriel, and their two sons Henry, age 11, and Charles, age 9, are looking forward to finding a home in Charlottesville that has plenty of room to garden (and perhaps room enough for a few chickens). The family is an intense board game playing family, tackling extensive, multiplayer games that require both short-term/long term resource planning and strategic thinking. “Once the boys started beating us at chess, we knew we needed to spice things up,” Glassman says about their deep dive into board games.

Almost as soon as Jenn Glassman became the new Director of PSDS, the COVID-19 response shifted all UVA staff into a remote-work environment. Luckily, Glassman has abundant past experience working in semi-remote and full-remote situations. Although she hasn’t been on the job a full month yet, she has already had one on one conversations with every PSDS team member via Zoom; and, presenting via Zoom on her second day on the job at a PSDS all-staff meeting. 
Glassman and her family are aficionados of
strategy games; she recommends Agricola
for those new to the genre. 

While Glassman acknowledges Zoom has been a lifesaver, she looks forward to making connections in person, with her team, colleagues, and stakeholders.

“When things are settled, I’m eager to meet with our partners face to face, understand their focus and priorities, and hear their thoughts on how procurement can best support them,” she says.

Her passion to align the procurement function with the core mission at a pivotal time in an organization’s evolution is what excited her about joining UVA.

 “FST’s commitment to not only implement Workday Financials technology, but also take the time to refactor our processes, offers up a chance to increase our operational efficiency in Procurement, which in turn, enables us to take on more strategic initiatives targeted towards generating cost savings for the University and pursuing value-add programs.”

Intelligent business process design is at the core of Glassman’s philosophy on what it takes to build an effective operational unit. But, the secret ingredient, she believes, is how well a team collaborates. 

“Collaboration is often misunderstood as cooperation. We all like the sound of collaborating until we disagree. But, that’s a defining moment for a team – how we behave when we disagree. Our ability to listen and take in a set of diverse opinions and thoughts, to view a situation from multiple vantage points. Our willingness to tackle complex issues and workshop ideas, and above all to communicate honestly and authentically – that’s collaboration. Done well, it elevates the performance of the team and the organization at large. And it can be quite fun!”

Click the image for a larger view

How do I use CommunityHub?

If you haven't yet checked out the online community, there's no time like the present!  Log in today and enjoy the wealth of information about Finance Strategic Transformation and so much more.

The online community (often referred to as "CommunityHub" or "the Hub") space for all finance professionals at the University. Hosted on the Jive platform used for the UBI Community, the Finance Community is a place where you can get all the latest on Finance Strategic Transformation, ask questions about the project, suggest ideas, and much more.  There's also a new space dedicated to Continuous Improvement!

Log on at 

If you have any trouble logging in, please contact the UVAFinance Communications Manager at

CommunityHub is organized differently than the websites you're used to using. You may find it helpful to check out this simple reference guide for using the space:

Click the image for a larger view

Finance Welcomes Scott Adams as Director of Business Services

With just over a week under his belt, Scott Adams is settling into his new role in UVAFinance as the Director of Business Services. Adams comes to Finance from the Batten School. He served as the Director of IT there for eight years.
Scott Adams

What attracted Adams to join the UVAFinance team? According to Adams, it was the vision for change and the commitment to make our customers the center of business services. With the Finance Strategic Transformation (FST) project now in Phase 3: Implementation, the transition also seemed timely. Over the past several years in Batten, Adams led efforts to transform the service experience for students, faculty, and staff. The aim was to fulfill the needs and wants of those in Batten as well as having the school’s systems continue to integrate well with systems across UVA.

“The emphasis was on providing service first and then having strong data analytics behind it,” says Adams.

As part of this transformative experience, Adams oversaw implementation of Salesforce, a platform that assists with case management. UVAFinance plans to use the system as well, so Adams’ familiarity will be a great asset.

His new role is an evolution of the Senior Director Finance and Administration position, and Adams will oversee the Finance Local Support Partner (LSP) group, administrative staff, and the development team. He will also collaborate with Andrew Sallans, the new Finance Engagement Manager, on the Salesforce implementation. Adams explains that continuous improvement is always part if implementation of new systems, such as Salesforce and Workday.

Scott and his wife Grace ready to race. 
“The focus,” he says, “is creating good architecture. The building process happens in layers once a strong foundation has been established. There’s testing with small groups and working with key stakeholders to gather feedback to inform potential changes. It’s important to have the right champions in the room—people with broad institutional knowledge who will ask challenging questions.”

Adams’ first priority will be the service model project and Salesforce implementation to relieve pressure on Finance’s current ticketing system. A benefit of Salesforce is that it’s more than just a case management system.

“The system offers customers a connection to a knowledge bank and FAQs to help them self-support,” Adams explains. “We get to determine how training is attached to that and how information will flow in Salesforce.”

When not running major implementations at work, Adams also enjoys running marathons, and previously ultramarathons, with his wife.

“We use them to explore,” he says. “Our plan is to run a marathon in Berlin in September.”

He typically runs four or five marathons a year, having completed about 120 so far.

Mohammed AlKaisy joins Accounts Payable

Mohammed AlKaisy
Accounts Payable recently welcomed several new faces to their department. One of those new faces is Mohammed AlKaisy.

His position in Accounts Payable has him working with Andrew Clark and Jonathan Agop to provide support for ongoing projects within the department. So far, he is really enjoying all the new challenges and new things to learn.

AlKaisy says he made the decision to join Accounts Payable because he “liked the work culture and the leadership style within the UVAFinance team. A positive culture is the foundation of any organization.”

Outside of work, AlKaisy enjoys hiking, cooking, and spending time with friends. He also enjoys making new friends and learning about different cultures.

Hokie Breaks Ranks, Joins FST Team

Phil Hamlett
Phil Hamlett
The Finance Strategic Transformation (FST) team welcomes Phil Hamlett, a career professional in information technology and project management with 30+ years of experience. Hamlett is part of the FST project management office (PMO) group.

No stranger to higher education, Hamlett teaches as adjunct faculty at the Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg. He’s done so for 22 years, teaching IT classes initially and then solely project management (PM) classes in the past 15 years. Hamlett explains that he had long hoped to have an opportunity to work in the academic environment as a project manager, so the opportunity to work at an esteemed university such as UVA was a natural choice.

“What I bring to the University,” Hamlett says, “is a diversity of experience. I’ve been around a little bit. I have a great deal of experience across many industries and technologies. When you’ve seen a lot like that, you have a good sense of what works and what doesn’t.”

The Hamlett Clan at Walt Disney World:
Sons Noah and Christian, Phil, wife Martha, and Noah’s fiancĂ©e Abbey
According to Hamlett, in addition to his technical expertise, he’s good at collaborating with people, which is key to effective project management. He’ll be helping the PMO group ensure timely completion of key project deliverables.

There is one aspect of discord with Hamlett working on FST at UVA: he’s a Hokie. Hamlett is a big Virginia Tech fan and sports fan in general.  He also enjoys music. He’s played the trumpet since childhood and even earned a Presidential Service Ribbon for playing for President Ronald Reagan with Tech’s Highty-Tighties, the Corps of Cadets' regimental band, in 1986.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

New on FST: Working Remotely During a Crisis

We're joined this week by seasoned remote workers JT Peifer of Student Financial Services and Jessica Rafter from the FST project to talk not just about working remotely, but further, working remotely during a pandemic. JT and Jessica talk about how the unique challenges and rewards of telecommuting change shape during a crisis situation, the natural tension between work and home life, and how we can all "human" (yes, we're using it as a verb now) a little better during this time of upheaval. 

A note from Lynne Schwar as she retires

We'll miss you, Lynne!

Monday, April 20, 2020

Virtual Shout Out Board

From:  Danielle Hancock
To:  Erika Priddy

I would like to give a Shout Out to Erika Priddy for helping me figure out why my online course wouldn’t work outside of Workday.  This will allow FST consultants to get onboarded faster.

From:  Jessie McGann
To: James Cobb

I would like to give a big shout out to James Cobb for helping me set up my printer doing this time of need while we are working remotely.  He was such a helpful person and so pleasant to work with customer service **excellence**.

From:  Brandi Van Ormer
To:  Sarah Doran

Thanks for getting me in touch with JT Peifer for the last episode of Finance Matters.  His special interest in the subject we were working with made the episode even more useful, and I would have never known to contact him without your connection!

Want to give a colleague a Shout Out?  Email it to 

A Window on Telecommuting

Matt Bonham
Contributed by Matt Bonham, UVAFinance Communications

The most noticeable contrast of working in the office versus working remotely/at home is the social dynamic. In the office, you’re working surrounded by colleagues and others coming and going through the workspace, which is inspiring yet can be distracting at times. Opposed to working remotely or at home, where I’m generally working alone - unless from a coffee shop or a bookstore. There are pros and cons to both - though I think I maintain a good balance in both scenarios.

Most days I work from my laptop at the kitchen table, in a room full of windows and natural light. Sometimes I also work from a home office/library multi-use room with dual monitors at the deskspace - yet no windows. Just depends - there’s no rhyme or reason to one or the other. When I’m needing a change of scenery when not in the era of COVID-19, I typically post up in a local coffee shop for a few hours.

As an introvert I think my best work comes from collaborating with others in the early going then creating and delivering a project on my own. I’m very fortunate to live on a farm, and one of the most rewarding - and therapeutic - benefits of that is being able to go for a long walk or mountain bike ride on the property when I need to step away from the computer. Some of my best ideas come from those relatively mindless walks. Additionally, I think working from home helps me focus on detailed projects such as design, illustration, film editing, and so on. When in the office, I tend to work on the more minor projects - early sketches and mockups of projects, photo editing, and/or finishing edits on the larger projects.
Matt's office has a pretty nice view!

With the benefits, there are also challenges to working remotely/from home. There are potential distractions all around - the internet, social media, television - to name a few. Where the distractions in the office may come primarily from external sources, at home, at times we can become our own worst enemy. I admit on the larger projects, like designing UVA's annual Financial Report, there can be pitfalls from time to time - such as working longer hours due to both the scope of the project and being in a comfortable, familiar environment. However, my past work as a freelance writer and commercial photographer over the past decade helps me keep a good balance with establishing boundaries.

One of my primary routines is keeping a daily to-do list, on paper, which helps with accountability and maintaining balance on projects or counting down/checking off steps of a project. I also carry a small pad and pencil/pen for sketching and jotting down notes/ideas of creative projects. That saves a lot of time - and helps refresh my memory - when it comes to creating and completing various projects. The planning/calendar applications like Trello are great, too - I’m just used to handwriting things down on good, old-fashioned paper.

When I first began working freelance and remotely I struggled somewhat with working or sitting too long with a project, though with building habits and a routine to things with experience really helped. Procrastination may also plague some creatives, though I love what I do and that doesn’t seem to be an issue - thankfully!

Every project is different; even the new iteration of a previous project has its own nuances. Over time I think you learn what works best - from your most productive work environment, what time of day you’re most productive, eliminating distractions, taking proper breaks and walking away from time to time for a breath of fresh air - experience builds those habits. I think setting milestones within a project really helps. For example, working diligently for two hours, then take a break afterwards to reset and plan the next milestone or accomplishment. Stepping away to do something mindless - drawing, exercise, and so on, can be most helpful for a refresh and refocus.

Farewell to John McHugh

A note from Augie Maurelli, Assistant Vice President for Financial Operations

After more than 23 years of service, John McHugh has decided to leave UVA for other opportunities with his last working day in the virtual office was April 22nd.

John has been a great colleague during my short tenure here and I know everyone recognizes all of his efforts over the decades. During the course of his career, he has participated, facilitated and executed billions of dollars’ worth of purchases that have gone toward supporting the vision and mission of UVA.

In this current environment, it is unfortunate that we cannot celebrate his accomplishments and experiences in person and typical of his humble nature, John has requested to not have a formal "virtual" gathering.

 All of UVAFinance wishes him and his family well and the best of luck in his new endeavors.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Finance Transformation News

Want to listen to this update instead of reading it?  Check out the WFST broadcast!

The FST project is on-track (see our Phase 3 timeline here).  Currently, a small task force from within the team is putting together different scenarios involving the Coronavirus and its possible impact on the project. They’ll be working with the Steering Committee and Executive leadership to determine if any adjustments to the project timeline need to be made. More on this soon!

Architect sessions are in full swing, remotely of course.  There are 55 of them scheduled between now and May.  Architect sessions, using our "building a house" metaphor, are like framing up the house.    We will take all the information from the Data Gathering sessions --- user stories, transformation opportunities, current processes, challenges, and pain points – and discuss with process owners and subject matter experts how to make our processes work easier and better in the structure of Workday financials. 

Topics of discussion in the architect sessions will be:
  • the setup of our Workday tenant (the tenant is our instance of Workday here at UVA)
  • our own processes
  • how we want to use what’s available in Workday
  • what data we’ll need to convert
  • how the data will be used in Workday
  • what our users need to be able to do their jobs effectively.

The aim of the architect sessions is how to make things better, not just different.  Once those sessions are done, our project tech team will take over and configure the tenant using the data provided by the architect sessions.  We’ll show and tell the tenant, make adjustments based on feedback, and then enter an intensive time of testing in the fall.  By intensive, we mean we’ll be running all of our end to end processes using our data.  Read more about the Architecture Sessions on CommunityHub.

The FST Team has been doing roadshows with Workday Expenses to show how it compares to Chrome River, the solution we use now for ExpenseUVA.  The team has discussed this with both our Steering Committee and Advisory Group, and will be bringing the demo to Fiscal Administrators on April 15.  Read more about feedback so far on CommunityHub.


Say hello to these new team members:  Addie Coe from UVAFinance has joined the project team, and Andrew Sallans, formerly of OSP, has joined UVAFinance as Finance Engagement Manager, and he’s going to be working with the project team to help work out the future state service model.

Resources and Information during the Coronavirus Response

UVA Virtual Town Hall:

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation Covid-19 Resources

Zooming Securely:  Zoom Tips from FOC and your LSPs:

FEAP SEMINAR:  Communicating Effectively During Difficult Conversations

Monica Maughlin, MEd, LPC, CEAP

Learn how to prepare yourself for challenging conversations and how to repair with others when things go awry. Want to learn helpful strategies that will allow you to recognize what is happening within you and between yourself and others in challenging interactions? In this interactive session, participants will increase their knowledge and understanding of how to lay the groundwork for productive and successful interactions with others, and strategies for engaging in and maintaining productive dialogue.

 Live Webinar (via Zoom)  Tuesday, April 21, 3:30 – 4:30 PM  REGISTER ONLINE

WFST Radio Broadcast for April 9, 2020

WFST is your Transformation Station!

Business Continuity in the time of Coronavirus, Workday Expenses and Chrome River, and new team members

Virtual Shout Out Board

From: Mara Hiliar, VP Finance Office
To: Nick Williams, SFS

Over the weekend, I was added to the SFS distribution list, and since yesterday (I don’t know how long he has been doing this), I have been getting a daily recipe from Nick. Food connects us all (you know that SFS group is always having food downstairs). I just wanted to share how it has made me smile during this uncertain time and since all of our communications/connections are centered around business now, really feel like something is missing – missing my UVAFinance peeps. Even though I am an introvert, I do miss the idle chatter, laughing, hiding behind my plants, etc.

Nick is definitely keeping his SFS colleagues “well-fed” and “in the know.” Plus he makes me smile.

Want to give a colleague a Shout Out?  Email it to 

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Andrew Sallans Becomes UVAFinance’s First Engagement Manager

Andrew Sallans
Andrew Sallans
At the end of March, Andrew Sallans joined the Finance team as the Finance Engagement Manager.
He is the first in the role, which is part of Bill Ashby’s finance strategy team. Collectively, Sallans has over 13 years of experience at UVA, most recently as Assistant Director of Electronic Research Administration in the Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP). He’s also a double Hoo, earning both a bachelor’s (CLAS History/Archaeology) and master’s (McIntire MSMIT) at UVA.

Sallans will be working on Finance’s service delivery model—how the department engages with our many diverse stakeholders.

“Everything I’ve ever done has included engagement with the community,” says Sallans. “I enjoy building partnerships, solving problems, and developing technical solutions to advance the mission. This role in Finance is a good intersection of all of those parts.”

As a component of his work on the service model, Sallans will be implementing Salesforce as a backend tool to support Finance customers. The platform will bring an integrated view of the customer’s relationship with the organization, and provide operational teams and leadership with much richer service analytics and trends.

“Salesforce is a powerful tool to provide visibility and enable data-driven decision making. Support staff will be able to see what customers have brought up before and the resolution,” says Sallans. “This makes for more informed and accurate customer service, and it relieves the burden for our customer of having to explain issues repeatedly.”

While Director of Operations at the Center for Open Science, his role before he joined OSP, Sallans led a Salesforce implementation for the organization.

He says, “It was a smaller scale at the center, but had many of the same goals and challenges. I learned many lessons from building that type of environment from scratch. Being able to apply that on a bigger scale in UVAFinance really appeals to me.”

According to Sallans, his previous roles also provided the opportunity to partner with colleagues from many units across Grounds. Though he hasn’t worked in UVA’s Information Technology Services (ITS), he’s partnered with many different groups within. Sallans values this partnership and is eager to continue building upon it in the new role.

A milestone in the next two years related to Finance’s service delivery model will be Workday Financials going live. Members of the UVA community will be using the same Workday portal for HR- and Finance-related tasks.

“People won’t necessarily know who owns which service, and many services cross organizations anyhow,” says Sallans. “Our priority is to develop a customer-centric service model where we can efficiently solve problems and avoid bouncing people around the organization.”

Sallans states that he’s always approached things in an iterative way, with an eye on continuous improvement. That experience and focus will serve him well in this new role. He explains that if we take years to plan everything out before getting started that the changes we’ve planned for may be irrelevant by that point. Instead, an iterative process makes it possible to make changes incrementally, deliver value quickly to the end user, and make progress on the long-term goal.

Sallans says, “We can provide more value sooner to our customers and train everyone as we go.”

When not working, Sallans spends time with his family. He and his wife have four children, ranging from newborn to seven. According to Sallans, that keeps them pretty busy.

Sallans’ family enjoys outdoor activities, he says, “when they’re allowed.” While he and his family are practicing social distancing, as we all are, he does still get to enjoy vegetable gardening.

Addie Coe Joins Finance Strategic Transformation

Addie Coe
After learning more about Finance Strategic Transformation, Addie Coe quickly realized she wanted to be a part of the project team.

“I have always been enthusiastic about change and improvement,” she says. “I like streamlining complex processes and, more importantly, making them clear and easy to understand for the people who use them.”

Transitioning over from the role of Procurement Specialist in UVAFinance, she is leading the Procurement area of FST’s Spend workstream. In this position, Coe will work closely with “stakeholders in the procurement process—both central procurement and departmental financial administrators.”

So far, Coe really enjoys her new FST role and working with her fellow UVA employees as well as the Deloitte consultants. For the moment, the Spend workstream is “considering our current business processes and evaluating challenges and possible solutions.”

She is particularly looking forward to seeing the first configuration tenant because “it will be the first glimpse into the future of UVAFinance.”

In her free time, Coe is a musician with a small collection of instruments and vinyl. She is currently teaching herself the banjo, and she loves to go to concerts whenever she can.

She also claims to “have an embarrassingly large collection of houseplants […] probably over 70!”

Continuous Improvement: Opportunity in every Difficulty

All of us have had to learn new ways of working due to the response to COVID-19-- we're working remotely, interacting with colleagues differently, and in many cases, finding new ways to do our usual tasks.  As James Gorman pointed out in his recent Community Hub post, challenges are often great opportunities for continuous improvement (and Winston Churchill would agree!).   When we are forced out of our comfort zones, we're more apt to be creative and innovative.
Winston Churchill was a fan of Continuous Improvement :)

To help you and your team get in a Continous Improvement state of mind, check out these resources on the Continuous Improvement group in Community Hub

Bright Spots:  See other examples of Continuous Improvement from UVAFinance

P.S.  Have you seen the UVAFinance COVID-19 FAQs?  They're a perfect example of CI in a time of difficulty!

Brought to you by the Continuous Improvement Committee

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Zooming Securely: Some tips from FOC and your LSPs

Thanks to Erika Priddy of FOC and Michael Hayton, LSP for contributing this piece

Now that we're all Zoomers, you may have seen reports in the media about Zoom meetings getting hacked by people who then take over the meeting with disruptive and often disturbing behavior.

There have also been reports of uninvited people hacking into a meeting and then sending malicious links in the chat, stealing people’s Windows credentials. Here are some tips from the FBI to prevent “Zoombombing”:
  • Keep meetings and classrooms private. Do this by requiring a meeting password. Additionally, the “Waiting Room” feature can help hosts control who enters.
  • Do not share invites to Zoom meetings on social media. Instead, send the meeting password directly to attendees.
  • Use a random meeting ID, so it can’t be shared multiple times. According to Zoom’s website, this is safer than using a “Personal Meeting ID."
  • Change screen sharing settings to “Only Host,” so no one but the host can control the screen. The host can also mute participants in their settings.
  • Lock a Zoom session that has already begun so no one else can join. Do this by clicking “Participants” in the bottom of a Zoom window, then clicking “Lock Meeting.”
  • Remove participants by hovering over their name in the Participants menu, and clicking the “Remove” option. The removed participant will not be allowed back in, according to Zoom’s website.
  • Make sure you have the most updated version of Zoom’s software. A recent security update added default passwords and disabled the ability to scan for meetings to join.
Adding a password seems like one of the easiest ways to protect our meetings going forward. When scheduling a meeting, ensure the box is checked next to “Require meeting password."

In addition to not using your Personal ID to host meetings, this Waiting Room feature looks like it should be able to catch any riff-raff trying to enter and ruin a party.

Also- once everyone has joined, locking the session seems like it could accomplish the task as well.

New LSP Starts Just Before Whole University Goes Remote

Cobb and family
James Cobb’s first week as UVAFinance’s newest LSP required him to quickly jump into action, helping employees transition to telecommuting due to COVID-19. Understandably, Cobb describes his role so far as “BUSY!”

However, he claims that this “has been the most interesting first two weeks [he thinks he’s] had in a new position” and that “it has been a good learning experience,” which he’s enjoyed. 

After mostly working in academic environments with faculty and students, Cobb found the chance to work in a different aspect of higher education intriguing.

“Coming to UVAFinance will provide me perspective on the administrative  side of higher education as well as afford me the opportunity to focus on technologies that are more aligned with my career path,” he says.
Cobb kayak-fishing
Now that employees are slowly adjusting to working remotely, Cobb’s role within UVAFinance is primarily LSP for the FST team. Though, he will still support Michael Hayton and Linda Estepp as needed.

When he’s not helping UVAFinance employees with technology issues, Cobb enjoys spending time with his wife, Michelle, and his nine-year-old twins, Jacob and Chloe. He also loves to bowl and to fish, sometimes even kayak-fishing in the bay or ocean! His favorite spot is the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel.

He looks forward to putting more names to faces once employees can return to their offices.

Jenny Godden is UVAFinance’s Newest T&E Card Administrator


The Travel and Expense Department recently welcomed its newest team member, Jenny Godden. She will be assisting Travel and Expense cardholders with their questions and transactions as T&E Card Administrator.

What interests Godden most about this role is the chance to utilize her “experience with customer service, project management, and administration,” as well as the chance to be creative and solve problems.

Godden is enjoying her role so far, particularly because she received such a warm welcome from her team members during the numerous changes made in the last few weeks.

Jenny and family
“Regardless of these unprecedented circumstances, team members took their time to make sure I sincerely felt welcomed. I never once felt lost in the chaos of these changes, and I really appreciate that.”

Godden and her husband keep busy outside of work with their fourteen-year-old, five-month-old, a Great Dane, and a cat.

“In more normal times,” she says, “I am a very on the go person.” In fact, she has “seen more than 200 music artists live, including 4 large music festivals!”

UVAFinance-specific FAQ available

UVAFinance has launched a Frequently Asked Questions page for information and updates regarding the COVID-19 Crisis and its impact on financial operations.

 Our FAQ is updated regularly and is a supplement to the overall UVA FAQs regarding Coronavirus response.

Find our FAQs on the VPFinance site here:

Your questions and suggestions are welcome.

FST Welcomes Anthony Pearson to the Team

Finance Strategic Transformation’s newest team member, Anthony Pearson had an unusual first week in his position as Administrative Assistant. After just his second day, employees were all told to telecommute to prevent the spreading of COVID-19.

He is taking the uncertainty and challenges that come with the current situation in stride and says so far he is excited to be a part of UVA and FST: “to date the role is amazing. I get to work with a lot of interesting and knowledgeable people of all backgrounds. I am also learning a lot from everyone!”

Pearson will primarily be in the FST team’s Old Ivy Road offices. There, he will work closely with the Finance and Technical workstreams—two of the project’s largest workstreams. He is ready to provide support to these areas, stating that “working in this department gives [him] a chance to showcase {his] skills while learning and growing continually.”

Outside of work, Pearson enjoys researching, being actively involved in the Charlottesville community, and cooking.

“I previously owned a catering business for eight years, in memory of my grandmother, who taught me how to cook. Using her recipes, I was able to turn a hobby into a successful business.” 

Pearson’s positive attitude and self-motivation will likely prove great assets to the FST team.

UVAForward 2020 Canceled

UVA Forward 2020 has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic - but that doesn't mean we won't be providing professional development opportunities.

The UVAForward Planning Committee has been working diligently to gather resources for the UVA Community that will help us to stay sharp professionally and also aid us in transitioning to the new world of remote work we find ourselves navigating as a result of this crisis. In the coming days and weeks, we are excited to bring you curated content to inspire and grow you professionally. We appreciate the interest of our attendees and the enthusiasm of our presenters and look forward to seeing you in person at our 2021 conference.

From Linda Leshowitz and April Torres, Planning Committee Co-chairs

Communication Etiquette: New on Finance Matters

As we work remotely during the Coronavirus crisis, our communication channels have changed but best practices still apply. It's more important than ever to be intentional about your communication. 

Check out this episode of Finance Matters for some guidance on sending emails that don't get ignored, connecting with colleagues when you aren't physically together, and more!