Vice Chancellors Kopstain, Sweet explain increased accountability expected of users within Oracle Cloud

On May 3, Eric Kopstain, vice chancellor for administration, and Brett Sweet, vice chancellor for finance and chief financial officer, spoke to SkyVU Change Agents about what the future will look like with Oracle Cloud and how this system will impact the responsibilities of approvers.

After Jan. 1, 2018, once a requisition or expense report is entered into the system, approvals will be routed to the area’s financial unit manager (FUM) to review and approve. If the expense is more than $10,000, it will require the business officer’s approval before it moves forward to Purchasing and Payment Services to initiate an order or payment. In the case of expenses amounting to more than $1 million, the appropriate vice chancellor’s approval will be required. Financial unit managers will be responsible for approving all financial transactions in their financial unit.

Brett Sweet (Vanderbilt University)

“It’s very exciting, because we are going to grossly simplify what we do today,” Sweet said. “Universities by and large underestimate the cost and complexity of the burden it places on our staff and indirectly the burden it places on our faculty and students in terms of business process complexity.”

Kopstain noted that while human resources and financial transactions are necessary, it is the administration’s responsibility to make sure that business transactions are conducted as effectively and efficiently as possible in order to free up employees’ time to focus on Vanderbilt’s mission of conducting groundbreaking, innovative research and offering world-class education to students. For this reason, the university has chosen the Oracle Cloud product to simplify everyday transactions.

“This simplification will be transformative for our institution,” Kopstain said.

Eric Kopstain (Vanderbilt University)

Decreasing the number of approvers to 200 people will increase the accountability and responsibility expected.

“When you have 10 levels of approval across 10,000 cost centers, accountability is diluted. We are going into a new world where we can focus our staff energy and resources more directly on supporting the students and faculty,” Sweet said. “What that’s going to mean is that there’s a much smaller group of people managing the financial and human capital plumbing of the institution.”

The smaller group of people will include the financial unit managers and HCM specialists.

“These 200 key people—the financial unit managers and HCM specialists— are people we will invest in through training and through all of our change management activities,” Kopstain said. “We are here to help you be successful to accomplish this critical accountability that is so important to us.”

In leveraging Oracle Cloud, the university will:

  • streamline Vanderbilt’s business areas from 10,000 cost centers to 300 financial units;
  • reduce account codes from 4,000 to 400;
  • increase the accountability of approvers;
  • introduce real-time approval capabilities; and
  • eliminate the transaction review verification (TRV) role.

“This will make what we do more consistent, more easily understood, and will frankly allow people to focus on the core business of supporting the faculty and students,” Sweet said.

Watch the full webinar to learn more about how simplifying processes will benefit you once SkyVU Oracle Cloud is implemented on Jan. 1, 2018.

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