By Linda Powell, Director of OSU Shared Services
This spring marks the start of our third year publishing the BC Connector newsletter. I want to express my appreciation to the members of the Communications Coordinating Committee, who work hard to research and develop the articles we bring you each quarter. I also want to thank all of you for your support and readership. We invite you to let us know if you have suggestions on how we can make the newsletter more valuable to you: BCComm@oregonstate.edu.
As you know, the division of Finance and Administration conducted a broad review of the university’s business operations last year. With recommendations now in hand, the review is transitioning to the planning and implementation phase with the hiring of Heather Riney as project manager. Heather is well-suited to manage this effort, given her experience leading various projects at OSU, including the Professional Faculty Job Grouping and Compensation project, EvalS for Professional Faculty, the Student Employment Project and, currently, the Benny Hire project. Heather was also part of the first cohort of employees to be trained under the OSU Shared Services Lean facilitator initiative.
Operating under the guidance of an executive steering committee, Heather and a core project team will bring together subject matter experts and stakeholders across the division and university to develop implementation plans. Vice president Mike Green expects that this planning and implementation phase will likely take two to three years. There will be opportunities for Business Center staff to be involved and provide input at all phases and levels of the Business Operations project.
Beyond the Business Operations project, Mike Green previously announced some changes to the division’s organization, including the hiring of a new Controller who will oversee Business Affairs; Financial Accounting and Analysis; Procurement, Contracts and Materials Management; and the Business Centers. This aligns with one of the recommendations from the business operations review. This change in reporting lines will begin July 1, 2018. The search for a Controller is currently underway. Another senior leader in the division, the Chief Human Resources Officer, is expected to be hired soon as finalist candidates are currently visiting the campus.
You may notice a common theme in all this activity: change. There are many changes happening around the university, in our division and within Business Center operations. Change is inevitable and it will not stop. Even when it’s welcome, however, it can be a challenge to go through the uncertainty of change. Personal resilience is key to successfully navigating such times. I encourage you all to engage in good self-care. Try to keep things in perspective—focus on what you can control, and let go of what you can’t. Adopt a growth mindset and consider the positive outcomes we are working toward. Keep your own professional and personal goals in mind and look for opportunities to engage in the change process—choose to be part of the solution.
I also want to encourage you to continue talk to each other and help support each other during this time, and be patient. Remember that everyone is doing their best. I wish you a wonderful spring season and a successful end of the fiscal and academic year.
Diana Lindsley, Business Intelligence Center Operations Manager
The new eProcurement system, Benny Buy, was launched in August 2017. The system is designed to provide an online shopping portal for OSU staff, improve the purchasing process, provide improved tracking of purchases, and provide analytics to improve the university’s purchasing practices.
As with all system implementations, there were some technical issues that were encountered during the implementation. The project team has been working to identify, prioritize, and correct these issues with the software vendor They have had success in these efforts and are now working to increase adoption of the system. Currently there are about 965 users of the system, making purchases and creating purchase orders and invoices. In April 2018, there were about 4,500 invoices created in Benny Buy, about 24% of the total invoices created at the university. The team’s goal is to continually increase that number, while realizing that not all purchases can be made through the system. Policies and processes regarding existing procurement tools, such as departmental procurement cards (P-cards), and direct pay may be changed or clarified over time.
The Executive Steering Committee continues to meet and provide the project team with support and direction. University leadership is committed to this project and to supporting efforts to increase user adoption, which continues to be a high priority for the Steering Committee. The Benny Buy project is important in advancing the goals of the division of Finance and Administration and the university.
In order to provide additional support, enhance communications and training, Diana Lindsley has been added to the project team as the new project manager (on loan from Information Services). Diana’s focus will be on providing additional regular communications from the project team on system changes, updated timelines, adoption benchmarks, additional training opportunities, updating the community on policy and process changes, and other items of interest. A new email list-serv is being established to regularly share information about the project, tips, and system changes. You can sign up for the list-serv at lists.orgegonstate.edu; the list-serv name is BennyBuy_Updates. We anticipate sending out weekly updates on the Benny Buy project.
In addition, User Advisory Groups are being formed to allow the user community to provide the project team with feedback, share tips, and learn from each other. Additional training will be provided this summer and fall as implementation and adoption increases. If you need a refresher on Benny Buy roles and processes, please sign up for the training sessions as they are announced. In addition, please work with Business Center partners to ensure they are trained in the new processes. The project team will assist you with this effort.
Interim Associate VP & Controller Jan Lewis and Chief Procurement Officer Kelly Kozisek met with the Business Center managers at the end of 2017 to gather feedback. This has provided the team with good information and they are using it to troubleshoot and address the concerns that were raised. In addition, Diana has met with Jack Breen, Manager of the University Administrative Business Center, to discuss and review a recent survey he conducted. The Benny Buy team is utilizing that feedback to develop additional training and communication vehicles to provide you with the help you need to fully utilize the system. We are listening to you and appreciate your feedback.
By April Cummings, Accountant, AMBC
Sometimes we have a form that is working well, but it needs to be useable online. Don’t recreate the wheel—you can use Adobe Acrobat to easily turn it into an electronic fillable form. You can also make a fillable form from an existing Word document.
1. Open the pdf document that you’d like to turn into a fillable form. If you are creating a form from scratch, it’s easiest to create and format the document in Word and then turn into a pdf. Lines will be recognized by Adobe and turned into text fields when the form is created. Check boxes, drop down menus, radio buttons, etc., can be added once the document is turned into a form, so be sure to leave space for these items. See example below for a sample Word document.
2. Create the fillable form
In Adobe XI, go to Tools, select Forms and then click Create (see Figure 1). Select “From Existing Document” and click next. Then select Current Document and click Continue (see Figures 2 and 3).
Figure 1-Adobe XI
Figure 2-Adobe XI
Figure 3-Adobe XI
In Adobe DC, go to Tools and select Prepare Form (see Figure 4). Select the document and click Start (see Figure 5).
Figure 4-Adobe DC
Figure 5-Adobe DC
By Kelsey Herman, Finance Coordinator, FOBC
What is Goal Seek?
A quick way to determine what input to use to get a desired output; essentially, it’s a way to make Excel quickly solve an algebra problem. This is a great tool to use when you have a spreadsheet that has several formulas built from one input to get an output.
Why do I need it?
I find this is a really nice tool to use when I have an exisiting spreadsheet already set up. I can quickly use this to play with different scenarios or to quickly determine what the input needs to be to get the output I’m looking for.
How do I use the Goal Seek tool?
You can find this tool in the Data ribbon in Excel, clicking What-If Analysis, and selecting Goal Seek form the drop down menu. From there, enter the requested inputs in the pop-up box, and sit back while Excel does the algebra for you in a matter of seconds. Hint: The input has to be a number, i.e., can’t be a formula.
Example: I often use this tool with a proposal budget template when I’m helping a faculty member develop a capped budget and need to know how many months of salary can be charge to stay within the budget.
For more information on how to use this tool, check out the helpful information on the Microsoft support website.
By Kelsey Herman, Finance Coordinator, FOBC
Working in FOBC, Eric Vicinus gains experience he hopes will one day help him open his own Physical Therapy practice.
For the last two years, Eric Vicinus has been splitting his time working for the College of Earth, Ocean, & Atmospheric Science administration team and FOBC, all while pursuing his degree in Kinesiology with an option in Physical Therapy and Allied Health and a minor in nutrition. Currently a junior, he plans to graduate in June 2019 and will then pursue a doctorate in physical therapy at Pacific University. Eric explained that his favorite class so far has been Exercise Physiology with Dr. Newsom, saying “I liked seeing how microcellular response to exercise causes macro movement and I liked Dr. Newsom’s approach to his field of study.” Eric, who has made the Dean’s list every term of his college career thus far, hopes to someday practice physical therapy, focusing on post operation recovery and rehabilitation.
Though doing administrative work in the College and Business Center might not seem to relate to his education and career goals, Eric says, “I enjoy the new challenges and opportunities to learn and grow. It’s really interesting to learn how the College functions and how the financial processes work. Learning about business processes and financial transactions will be useful in effectively running a physical therapy practice someday.”
When not working or studying, Eric is a proud cat dad to Chihiro, or Chi Chi for short. He also finds time for rock climbing, running two to three miles a day, and playing badminton. Eric also enjoys eating out and trying new restaurants and foods.
By Melanie Rose, BC Connector Editor, and Donna Chastain, Interim Chief Human Resources Officer
Business Center staff members are often in a position of making sure their business partners know where to find the training they need. This task is getting easier as the Office of Human Resources recently launched a series of online training modules for faculty and staff. Oregon State University is committed to ensuring a healthy, supportive and safe environment for all faculty, staff and students, so the first trainings released on the new system are mandatory. Over time, additional training modules will be added, including items that are necessary for specific jobs. Human Resources also plans to develop a system to help employees keep track of trainings and professional development classes taken outside the online system.
The Office of Human Resources partnered with the university’s Professional and Continuing Education program to deliver the trainings using a learning management system known as BRIDGE. This online format allows employees to complete the training in an accessible, self-paced format from any location.
Employees have 60 days (counting from April 30, or from their hire date if that is later) to complete the first set of mandatory trainings. These required trainings underscore the university’s commitment to community well-being and focus on topics such as ethics, mandatory reporting of child abuse, protected leave and information security. Later this spring, additional required training modules related to prevention of sexual harassment and misconduct, other forms of prohibited discrimination, and the Americans with Disabilities Act will be launched as the modules for these topics are finalized.
If you have a specific question or concern about training content or requirements, please contact the Office of Human Resources.
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