Memo: CALS Business Operations Temporary Relocation
Posted: January 7, 2017
CALS Business Operations staff will be moving to a new location while the ground floor of Patterson Hall undergoes renovations. During the week of January 9-13 CBO staff, with the exception of the budget team, will move to Broughton Hall. We have been working with a move coordinator for several months to ensure a smooth transition. We expect this to have very minimum if any impact on our business operations, however there may be some brief disruptions in service during our scheduled move week. Please take a moment to read the information below as it may impact our departments and customers.
Who is moving?
All CALS Business Operations Staff located on the ground floor of Patterson Hall. This includes Accounting Services, CALS Contracts & Grants, the Business Liaison team, and CBO Administration. The CALS Budget Office will remain at their current location on the second floor of Patterson Hall.
What is the move timeframe?
The move is scheduled to take place during the week of January 9-13. This is a temporary move and CBO staff will return to Patterson Hall towards the end of 2017 once the renovation is complete. We will provide updates as we have a better idea of when we will return to Patterson Hall.
How will I contact the CBO during and after the move?
Staff members may be working remotely or at an alternate location on campus during the week of January 9-13. While our intention is to provide continuous service during this period, there may be brief points of time when you are unable to reach some individuals. If you find you are unable to reach a CBO staff member by phone at any time during the move week, we recommend following up with an email to ensure a more timely response.
Following the week of the move, you will be able to contact the CBO as you did prior. Phone and fax numbers for individuals as well as the CBO main office will remain the same. If you would like to visit us in person, we are not far from Patterson Hall. Please see the campus map of Broughton Hall as well as the floor plan layout to see where our business units will be located in the new building.
Please note, the new deposit drop-off location will be in Broughton Hall room 4165.
In an effort to improve customer service and the quality of our post award consultant support, CALS Contracts & Grants is changing how we assign projects to our post award team. Effective January 1, 2017 each of our post award consultants will be assigned to serve one of CALS’ four systems. In turn, each PI will be assigned a post award consultant who will be their single point of contact for their post award needs. With our Post Award Team now fully staffed, (we’ve added three new full-time post award positions!) we are prepared to move forward with this change which we anticipate will positively impact our customers’ experience.
We hope to answer some of your questions below as we prepare for this transition. In addition, our post award consultants will be contacting departments and PIs for introductions and project meetings to review portfolios.
How will it work?
As of January 1, Contracts & Grants’ Post Award Consultants will no longer be assigned to a project based on the sponsor. Under the new plan, post award consultants will be assigned to one of the following CALS Systems: Animal Systems; Food, Biochemistry & Processing Systems; Human Resource Systems; and Plant Systems. PIs will be assigned a primary post award consultant within their system as the point of contact for their entire project portfolio. If the PI’s primary post award consultant is unavailable or out of the office, team members within each system will serve as backups to ensure a consultant is always available to the PI.
Once these changes take effect, PIs will still be able to lookup their post award consultant through the My Grant Accounts search tool.
Why the change?
Our goal is to best meet the needs of our departments and PIs. This shift in processes will eliminate the need for PIs to interact with multiple post award consultants to manage their various projects. We hope by providing a single point of contact, we can provide enhanced customer service, more personal interactions and better overall portfolio management.
What impact will this have on my current projects?
We aim to make the changeover as seamless as possible. Newly assigned post award consultants will work closely with current consultants to ensure a smooth transition. Please note, projects ending prior to January 1, 2017 will remain with the current post award consultant for the purpose of completing closeouts. Projects extended beyond January 1 will be transferred to the PI’s newly assigned post award consultant who will manage their portfolio under the new system.
We believe this change will improve communications and simplify processes for our departments and PIs. We will periodically seek your input to gauge the success of these assignment changes. Lastly, we continue to pursue other service improvements in Contracts and Grants that will enhance your customer experience. Please share your ideas and feedback as we move forward together in the new year ahead.
CALS Business Operations (CBO) wrapped up fiscal year 2015-2016 celebrating successes and accomplishments, while reflecting on changes and challenges that will shape the upcoming year. While the CBO has only been in operation since 2014, great strides have been made that have shaped the foundation of the department.
Leadership and staff changes
Several notable changes in leadership and staff positions have occurred in the CBO over the past year including the loss of Assistant Dean for Business Operations, Robert Watling, who accepted a position at the University of North Texas. During this transition period Milburn Holbrook, Associate Director for University Contracts and Grants, has stepped up to the plate providing guidance and leadership for the CBO. “While these types of changes can often cause a period of instability, the transition is going smoothly and the CBO continues to move forward with a focus on excellent customer service and continuous improvement,” said Dr. Sylvia Blankenship, Associate Dean of Administration for CALS.
CBO Contracts & Grants also filled a number of new positions and transitioned old positions to better fulfill the needs of the college. Additionally, the CALS budget office filled several key positions and is now fully staffed. The travel team was relocated back to the CBO where they will continue to provide customer service to CALS.
Policies and principles established and revised
Throughout the fiscal year, several CBO policies and principles were created and revised to provide transparency and clarity of business processes. The CALS Budget Principles were revised with the goals to make the budget process transparent to the college administrative team, faculty, and staff; to make timely decisions on priorities shared across functions; and to provide effective oversight for the college’s three budget lines – Academics, Extension, and Research. “We believe this to be the best representation of budget practices,” said Joyce Munro, CALS Director of Budgets. “However, as with all of our practices, we are committed to reviewing and revising these principles each year.”
In late 2015, The CBO Customer Service Principles were established to outline the core principles agreed upon by CBO staff to ensure customer satisfaction is built and maintained to the highest standard. Additionally, the Accounting Services Processing Commitment was created reflecting the commitment by the CBO to process accounting transactions in a specified time period in a manner that supports business needs.
Continued training and customer support
Providing training materials and standard operating procedures for customers and stakeholders has been an important goal of the CBO. Over the past year, CBO staff worked with subject matter experts to create training modules to provide guidance on various systems and processes used by the CBO. These modules were designed to be specifically geared towards PIs, departments & staff, and the internal CBO. Trainings will continue to be added and updated as needed.
In early 2016, more than 15 CBO staff completed introductory training in “Lean” business principles. The goal of “Lean” is to enhance performance and customer value by eliminating inefficiencies and improving quality in the workplace through a collaborative team effort. This training is ongoing and eight CALS staff will go on to receive certification in facilitation of lean events – a skill that will contribute to the continuous improvement culture of the CBO and CALS.
In addition to ongoing trainings, the Business Liaison Team has continued to provide departmental support by serving as the point of contact for CALS faculty and staff seeking assistance from the business center. The Business Liaisons have spent approximately 1,120 hours in department offices over the past year. “As the first point of contact for our customers, we strive to provide the opportunity for face-to-face interaction with our departments as frequently as needed,” said Molly Bradshaw, Business Liaison Manager. “While it is critical we remain easily accessible by phone and email, we understand that many matters are better addressed in person and we hope these in-service hours are valuable to our customers.”
ServiceNow and CBO statistics
The CBO continues to use ServiceNow as a dedicated issue resolution tracking system. During the past year, departments became required to submit all documents electronically to the CBO through ServiceNow. This has enabled departments to verify the CBO’s receiving these documents and the status until entry into the accounting system. It has also enabled the CBO to manage workflow and to help mitigate the possibility of documents getting lost in emails.
During the 2015-2016 fiscal year 46,966 documents were submitted into ServiceNow. Approximately 46,923 (99.9%) issues have been resolved in the past twelve months, or about 3,910 per month. Through ServiceNow, Accounting Services processed 3,455 JVs/IDJs; 20,557 PCards; and 18,064 vouchers/invoices.
Additionally, during the 2015-2016 fiscal year the CBO Contracts & Grants Pre-Award team processed 856 proposals totaling $160.4 million. The Post-Award team awarded $70 million and is currently managing 1,564 project accounts totaling $316.7 million.
More statistics including CALS invoices processed and travel processing times can now be found on the CBO Stats page and are updated regularly.
The CBO is entering the new fiscal year with a positive outlook and determination to continuously improve business practices and processes that impact CALS and the University. “While we narrow down the search for the new Assistant Dean of Business Operations, the management and leadership in the CBO continues to make steady strides towards meeting the goals of the college,” Dr. Blankenship said. “We are eager and excited to see the direction and progress over fiscal year 2016-2017.”
Revised CALS Budget Principles
Posted: May 1, 2016
Revised CALS Budget Principles will go into effect July 1, 2016. The goals of the principles are to make the budget process transparent to the college administrative team, faculty, and staff; to make timely decisions on priorities shared across functions; and to provide effective oversight for the college’s three budget lines (Academics, Extension, and Research). View CALS Budget Principles here.
Memo: Travel Mileage Rate Change and New Rental Car State Term Contract
Posted: January 13, 2016
Effective January 1, 2016, the Office of State Budget and Management (OSBM) will decrease the mileage reimbursement rate for official university business from 57.5 cents per mile to 54 cents per mile when a state-owned vehicle is not available or when the roundtrip mileage does not exceed 75 miles. However, if a state-owned vehicle is available and an employee chooses to use his/her personal vehicle on trips that exceed 75 miles roundtrip, the employee will be reimbursed at a rate of 34 cents per mile.
Mileage reimbursement rates for employees using courtesy/lease vehicles in accordance with Board of Trustees Policy 05.15.3 “Non-Salary and Deferred Compensation” will be 19 cents per mile for employees authorized in section 4.4.1 and 30 cents per mile for employees authorized in section 4.4.2.
In addition, OSBM revised the Travel Policies and Regulations to address availability of a new state term contract with private rental car companies Hertz, Enterprise and National Car Rental (State Term Contract 975B Vehicle Rental Services). The following guidelines apply:
- An employee travel authorization must be completed to request prior approval to travel and vehicle rental.
- For in-state and out-of-state travel, rental vehicles shall be obtained through the State’s term contract vendors when available.
- A compact or standard class vehicle should be rented unless additional employees are traveling and a larger vehicle is needed. Rental of a larger vehicle must have a documented business purpose and prior approval from the department head or designee.
- The employee will be reimbursed up to the rental rate of a standard class vehicle on the State’s term contract unless prior approval has been obtained from the department head or designee as documented on the employee’s travel authorization.
- Direct payments to rental car companies must adhere to the rental rates in the State’s term contract.
- No reimbursement or direct payment will be made for rental insurance purchased for in-state and out-of-state employee travel. Employees are covered under the State’s auto insurance program.
More details on Travel Requirements for University Employees can be found on the University Controller's Travel Guidelines website. These changes will be updated in the Travel Guidelines and Travel System.
If you have any questions, please contact Kim Kelley at 515-7132 or firstname.lastname@example.org.