Finance

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Overview

Project Ensemble covers the implementation of several financial products: Oracle Financials, Oracle Procurement, Oracle Planning and Budgeting and Fundriver will replace outdated financial systems across the institutions of GMHEC.  The new systems will cover financial reporting, budgeting and monitoring, purchasing goods and services, and in the case of Fundriver, endowment management at Middlebury.  The system will modernize delivery of reports and minimize the use of paper approvals. The improvements will enable the institutions to make better, informed, strategic decisions about financial resources.  Implementation (with the help of implementation partner Hitachi Consulting) started April 2018. Expected go-live is October 2018.

What has been done?

In addition to planning resources, selecting partners, understanding integrations between the current systems and external parties / systems, and other project management activities, some high level design has already started.  Sessions were held with subject matter experts across all institutions to build the desired processes. In these process re-imagine and re-design sessions (PRR’s), major business processes were mapped keeping “best practice” in mind. These maps are being used as a guide to create the blueprints for Oracle.     

What are the largest areas of impact?

The process of making a purchase will get modernized in a significant way: 

Rather than placing an order and then chasing down what account / fund / department to charge and get written approval after the purchase was made, Oracle uses a requisition methodology that requires that information to be determined up front and to go through electronic approvals prior to purchasing.  Although no different information is required than the current approach, this change in timing and entering into the system instead of paper, will allow us to monitor budgets more closely and decrease the time and effort needed to process payments.  When an employee creates a purchase requisition, the behind the scenes processing (workflow) will be able to determine the approval routing and send the requisition to the appropriate person regardless of department or location. This will eliminate much of the paper processes all of the institutions see today.  The organization structure, the item category, and / or the location of the employee can set the approval limits per requisition.

The accounting structure used to account for transactions, the chart of accounts, will change:  

The chart of accounts is comprised of segments that tell the financial system things like, what department / org to use, the funding source, the object / account, associated activity, etc.  The revised structure will likely feel different to users as terms change. The redesigned chart of accounts will be structured to clean up redundancies and be designed in a way that facilitates efficient reporting.

Improved Reporting – Better visibility into data and transactions:

The revised chart of accounts and the Oracle platform will allow us to deliver reports directly from the system with less manual intervention. Reports on purchases, departmental reports, restricted gift /endowments, management reports, etc. will be available in an easier format.

What is next?

The first part of the project will focus on getting the data “mapped” from the existing chart of accounts into the re-designed chart.  Chart design and mapping is followed by the design phase of the project. In the design phase, each financial process will need to be constructed and then configured in the system.   There are dozens of people involved in the project and there will be opportunities for training and involvement as the go-live date approaches.

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