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Plan for financial changes

I want to be sure you are aware of and begin to plan for an unusual event occurring next year on March 1. 

All of our universities and System offices are changing to a new accounting system that will require the suspension of most financial transactions during part of February. This “blackout period” is unusual and potentially disruptive unless you plan for it now and in January.

In 2014 we discovered serious deficiencies in the way our accounting and computer records had been set up and operated for many years. Instead of just patching over these flaws, we committed to a total makeover – implementing a much more modern system of financial records and budgets that will take full advantage of available technologies.

On March 1, we will implement three major elements of our new financial environment:

  1. Upgrade of the PeopleSoft Enterprise Information System (EIS) to version 9.2;
  2. Implementation of a new Chart of Accounts with different codes for all financial transactions; and
  3. Implementation of Hyperion Planning, a widely used budget planning and reporting system compatible with PeopleSoft records.

I’m confident you are going to have better, more timely and more useful information quickly in 2016 from these new systems, but it’s a real challenge to implement a change of our basic accounting codes and software while we’re operating a $1 billion organization – like changing the engine on an airplane while it’s flying! So we need a period of time when no new transactions are entered and all the prior transactions are recorded in the old system before the new records start.

In order to provide the appropriate amount of time to seamlessly and effectively accomplish the processing of all transactions in the existing system before launching the new system, we must establish some blackout periods. During these blackout periods, you will not be able to process certain transactions. Following are the blackout periods for the impacted modules/functions:

ePro (eProcurement):  used by departments to submit and approve requisitions for goods/services.

  • PURCHASING BLACKOUT PERIOD:  Feb. 12 to March 1. The deadline for submitting new requisitions is Thursday, Feb. 12 and no further requisitions will be accepted until March 1.

ePAR (electronic Payroll Action Request): used by departments to submit and approve payroll/HR transactions such as hires, terminations and employee changes.

  •  PAYROLL BLACKOUT PERIOD: Feb. 1-March 1. The deadline for submitting new employee hires and employee payroll changes other than termination is Monday, Feb. 1. During February, the only payroll related actions accepted in the system will be to approve the pending ePARs by Feb. 15 and submitting certain employee terminations by February 25. All other new payroll actions will resume on March 1.

Other Financial Transactions (e.g. Account Budget Authorizations, journal worksheets, Interdepartmental Orders/Transfers, deposits, etc.):  used to record financial adjustments to both budget and/or actuals.

  • BUDGET ADJUSTMENT BLACKOUT PERIOD: Feb. 22 to March 1. For these 10 days, no further budget adjustments or recording of actual account transactions will be possible and the transactions will be recorded starting on March 1 in the new budget accounts.

I encourage you to:

  • Plan ahead. Don’t wait until the last minute to process your transactions. Start planning now.
  • Monitor your submitted transactions. Notify approvers when approvals are not occurring in a timely fashion.
  • Review budgets early for funding change /change order requirements. Retroactive adjustments are not permitted due to system restrictions, so review your budgets.
  • Know who to contact. For procurement, contact your buyer. For payroll/HR, contact your campus Human Resources team. For grants, contact your research/grant office. For budget transfers/adjustments, contact your campus budget office.

All of our finance and information technology staff members have worked hard to make sure we have a successful implementation of improved processes and now it’s going to require everyone’s cooperation to make these changes integrate smoothly. I appreciate your assistance and understanding and I commit to you that, with your help, we are going to operate in a much more professional environment that you can be proud of. We have a tremendous opportunity in front of us to put in place much more effective tools and systems to help us achieve our goals.

Lee JacksonWe will provide more information and training in January, but for additional information regarding the blackout periods, please visit the FIT website at http://fit.untsystem.edu. If you have any questions, please email FIT@untsystem.edu.

Best wishes for the New Year.

Lee F. Jackson 

Chancellor

UNT System

Posted on: Mon 04 January 2016

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