Financials Modernization Project Progresses

March 29, 2023

Cross-unit collaboration and focus on campus goals is a highlight of the project’s continuing development


Campus business managers are significantly closer to an easier, more modern, financial system.

The Financials Modernization Project has been in the making since 2019, when the University formed a team comprised of Financial Services, UITS, and campus business units to establish a plan to modernize the University’s financial system. The initial team developed a direction forward outlining scope, time, and cost of the initiative.

The project has recently progressed from its planning and discovery phase into an eight-month period of designing and building the new system. Highlights of the next phase includes mapping and designing a new Chart of Accounts, along with preparing and engaging stakeholders with workshops and demonstrations about the business processes. These will continue through late 2023, when the project moves onto its testing phase.

The primary goal is to replace the system behind UAccess Financials, which has been Kuali since 2011, with Oracle ERP Cloud by July 1, 2024. The new system will help the University reach modern efficiency and will allow business offices easier access to and management of financial data. Ultimately, it will be a more powerful tool for campus business offices and leaders to make strategic decisions.

The highlight of the project includes a new Chart of Accounts, the structure through which all financial transaction data is organized in the general ledger of the University. This will make business transactions faster and more transparent, along with the increased ability to collect, report, and analyze data.

In addition to the improved functional, technical, and reporting aspects of the project, collaboration and engagement across the University is a priority. “We are focused on cross-campus collaboration and engaging campus units early in the process through the active participation of project liaisons representing every college and department on campus,” observed Stacey Lemos, Assistant Vice President and Comptroller in Financial Services. “The success of this project relies on the knowledge of how these units conduct their business, and establishing open communication lines has been of utmost importance.”

The Financials Modernization Project is mainly a business-driven initiative for the University, with UITS teams providing IT support from the initial planning through deployment.

From an IT standpoint, there are numerous technical benefits that come with the move to the new system. Unlike the current UAccess Financials system, Oracle ERP Cloud is a cloud-based application with robust infrastructure support from the vendor. Updates to the application, such as code, will no longer fall on the University to handle.

“The use of more modern products like Oracle Cloud Financials SaaS and Boomi, will allow for stronger and more adaptive integrations to improve system integration and connectivity which is one of the project’s guiding principles,” remarked DJ Parslow, Information Technology Manager and Technical Lead of the project.

The technical staff in UITS, along with business and finance staff, are responsible for software design and configuration. They play a key role in supporting and identifying methods to improve business processes with the new system along with providing technical support to end-users.

Business analysts in Financial Services have conducted interviews and documented the business processes and requirements in the initial discovery phase. In addition, they have participated in familiarization sessions to help the project team determine future possibilities with the implementation.

“The biggest thing is being able to have the technical and business teams concentrate on the University’s goals,” noted Tim Schwab, Executive Director of Administrative Technologies in UITS. “Having a more versatile Chart of Accounts and much improved business processes is where we want to concentrate our resources. It gives UITS more flexibility to concentrate on satisfying customer’s needs and less on infrastructure and data storage issues.”

Another key benefit of the project is increased reporting on metrics. Most of the reports the University uses today are based on 13 years of reporting from enterprise data and UAccess Analytics. The new solution with the Oracle product has increased reporting opportunities and unique data sets based upon the type of data individuals are searching for.

When it comes to metrics, University Analytics & Institutional Research (UAIR) is responsible for the continuity of reporting, which impacts approximately 40 subject areas that allow analytics users to perform self-service reporting tasks and create reports. The system will provide the institution significantly more flexibility when it comes to reporting on certain metrics that couldn’t be done in the prior system.

“The project has the promise of completely changing—in a very good way—how the institution manages its resources,” explained Eddie Caratachea, Assistant Director of Administrative Reporting and Analytics. “This new in-system reporting capability will be very useful and opens up many new possibilities for financial reporting.”

Information about the project, including its timeline and future goals are available on the project Financials Modernization project website.

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