Finance

To deliver efficiencies, improve our financial outlook, and create a better work environment for staff, we must rebuild finance processes, policies, and technology at all University of Wisconsin System campuses. At present, our complex workflows and rigid systems make it difficult to meet the demands of the future.

ATP will move us forward by streamlining finance operations and creating an administration that adapts and grows as we do. Our goal is to redesign essential finance processes so we can access more accurate data for decision-making, expand our reporting capabilities, and increase the security of our financial information.

To make this possible, the UW System has selected Workday, a cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, to replace the PeopleSoft-supported Shared Financial System (SFS). Workday’s integrated platform will unite all finance functions in a single system and allow us to share information easily between different administrative units and areas, including research administration and human resources.

ATP is a people-first project. Our Finance Strategy Team has spoken with hundreds of staff members from all 13 UW System universities and gathered valuable information about current systems and future needs. We will continue to involve staff as we work on processes, policies, and system design.

What It Means for You

ATP will deliver improvements that will benefit you, your department, and the entire UW System. These are just a few examples.

End Users – Business Support Staff

  • An easier-to-use system, with clear processes and less manual entry
  • A streamlined year-end process to compile information and reports
  • Standardized business processes

Division and Department Leadership

  • Better information for decision-making
  • Clearer business process approval structures

All Faculty and Staff

  • One source of truth for financial information
  • Fewer ancillary systems needed for financial business processes
  • HR, finance, and reporting in one system

What's Involved

Collaborations and conversations with faculty and staff at campuses across the UW System have helped us understand the current state of our financial systems. From completing daily work to year-end reporting, almost every aspect of the way we perform finance functions will be modernized.

We have agreed that making the following foundational changes is a critical step toward unifying finance business processes and workflows.

Transitioning to Accrual Accounting

Staff across the UW expressed a willingness to transition to accrual accounting, in which revenues are reflected as they are earned and expenses as they are incurred. Benefits include more accurate operating results and better cash-flow forecasting.

Close-up of UW System 2015-16 budget book
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Redesigning the Chart of Accounts

Redesigning the chart of accounts (COA) with clear definitions and consistent use will resolve many of our current challenges and dependency on ancillary systems. The goal is to provide a COA that is easier for end users to understand, while giving us the ability to provide better data and reporting across the UW.

Retiring UDDS

The UDDS values that were developed in the 1970s will be retired with the transition to Workday. Workday functionality offers organizational structures specific to finance and human resources functions, as well as a structure dedicated to academics. In HR, supervisory organizations give us new opportunities to consistently manage our workers. Similarly, cost centers and cost center hierarchies will give us a consistent structure for organizing the financial activities of our campuses.

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Working in Workday

Expand the fields below to see which processes and tasks will be performed within Workday’s Financial Management (FIN) suite.

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Accounts Receivable (Customers)

The accounts receivable process supports billing and revenue collection. New processes will maximize our collection of delinquent accounts receivable and minimize the administrative cost of those efforts. Specifically, we will update the way we handle invoice generation, adjustments, cancelations, write-offs, collection efforts, and payment applications.

Budget

The process supports the annual and multi-year budgeting plans for the UW System. This includes budgets and allotments, budget transfers, revenues, expenditures, reconciliation, forecasting, and reporting.

Cash Management (Banking)

Banking supports both payments made to and from the university. Banking will reduce complexity by eliminating bank accounts and leveraging Workday functionality for automatic bank reconciliation and payment application.

Expenses

The expenses process supports the reimbursement of travel and non-travel-related expenses. It applies to any miscellaneous travel expenses paid on behalf of or reimbursed to employees, students, contractors, invited guests, and other non-employees with university funds. Purchasing cards (PCards) will also be managed with Workday Expenses.

Fixed Assets (Business Assets)

The fixed assets process supports the accounting for and tracking of capital equipment and depreciation. Each institution ensures accountability for capital equipment and the accuracy of information for financial reports and indirect cost calculations.

General Ledger (FDM)

The Foundation Data Model (FDM) is the cornerstone of Workday, providing a blueprint of the key elements within the system that are used to complete processing and reporting. The FDM is used across Workday HCM, Payroll, and Financials to establish a baseline for Workday transaction processing and reporting.

Gifts and Endowments

The gifts and endowments process supports the receipt, management, and spending of donations in the form of money and gifts-in-kind. Gifts and endowments includes gifts received from UW-associated foundations as well as dollars donated to UW trust funds.

Internal Billing (Internal Service Delivery)

Workday provides internal service delivery (ISD) functionality for managing internal billing, both within and between UW institutions.

Projects

The end-to-end projects process supports the management of capital and non-capital projects. This process plans, manages, and analyzes the accounting for capital projects that maintain, renovate, or construct new buildings. Capital projects also include IT software development. Capital project planning involves a lengthy process of forecasting, modeling, and estimating before the project and funding is approved.

Non-capital projects plans, manages, and analyzes operating expenses, such as clinical trials, supplies, and repairs. It also includes faculty start-up funds, bridge funds, and professional allowances.

Supply Chain Management

The end-to-end supply chain management process encompasses all functions to support procurement, payment, and inventory tracking requirements. This includes supplier setup, ordering and delivery of goods and services to the right person at the right time, and timely payment of invoices. This will be accomplished in combination with the ShopUW+ JAGGAER system.