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June 2008

UCAR readies new financial management tools

FinTools will streamline financial ­management across programs

For two years, a team of staff from across UCAR, NCAR, and UOP has been defining requirements for a suite of new financial management tools. As a result of this work, FinTools is taking shape.

FinTools will integrate with UCAR’s existing accounting system (BiTech’s Integrated Funds Accounting System) and HR’s information system (iVantage), providing state-of-the-art financial management tools that will let managers make informed decisions on how best to allocate resources, maintain the financial health of their programs, and anticipate future opportunities and challenges.

“A couple of years ago, a group of us went to the President’s Council to explain the need to develop a suite of tools to improve fiscal management of programs,” explains Mike Moran, administrative manager in ESSL. “We wanted to improve the system so that there’s consistency and standardization acrossthe organization.”

UCAR’s budgeting and financial reporting has evolved into a disparate set of processes that vary widely across the organization. Labs, divisions, and programs use unique combinations of online systems of record and offline (shadow) systems, created by individual divisions and programs, to provide the business intelligence they need to make critical decisions.

The current patchwork of systems is not well integrated and requires significant administrative effort to maintain, and the manual nature of some of the processes increases the likelihood of errors. Through the FinTools project, the organization has identified an opportunity to reduce the burden on administrative and support staff, reduce errors, and improve employee work-life balance by providing integrated, enhanced financial management tools to meet the needs of the UCAR community.

FinTools Project Team


Rena Brasher-Alleva,
NCAR Product Lead

Hanne Mauriello,
UOP Product Lead

Melissa Miller,
UCAR Product Lead

Mike Moran,
User Education Lead

Barb Schnell
Project Management Office

Karl Werner, Development Lead

Shawn Winkelman,
Project Manager

Justin Young,
Testing Lead

“A lot of time and energy has gone into this,” says Rena Brasher-Alleva, director of budget and planning for NCAR. “We interviewed administrators, managers, and directors in every program.”

Based on these interviews, the FinTools lead team identified the following high-priority areas:

• budget projections and analysis

• staffing projections and analysis

• NCAR Annual Budget Review

• proposals and awards

• purchasing and payments (including travel)

• accounts administration

The lead team assembled teams of staff experts with skills in each area to analyze business flows and document system requirements. The hard work of these teams resulted in a business requirements document for each priority area. In May, the lead team held meetings with a broad set of stakeholders and launched an open comment period to gather final input.

The project is now moving into the planning and procurement phase during which UCAR will decide which systems to purchase and which to develop in house, evaluate and select vendors, and refine architectural designs. The President’s Council has approved funds to begin the development of FinTools once a more detailed plan is approved. The lead team expects to implement the new system throughout the organization within the next 18–24 months.

On the Web

For more information about FinTools, including a complete project overview, visit
www.wiki.ucar.edu/display/fintools/Financial+Management+Tools+Project


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