Emory Report
February 4, 2008
Volume 60, Number 18

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February 4, 2008
System integrates and unifies financials

By nancy seideman

Whether submitting a travel expense form, tracking a grant or overseeing a budget, virtually every aspect of the University and Emory Healthcare operation will benefit from a new project that will create one unified financial system.

In a gathering led by the project’s executive sponsors Mike Mandl and John Fox, the Emory Enterprise Financial Systems Project was formally “kicked off” Jan. 24 by 200-plus University and Emory Healthcare staff members involved with the project.

Speaking to an overflow audience, Mandl, executive vice president for finance and administration, and Fox, president and CEO of Emory Healthcare, expressed their commitment to providing the resources needed to migrate to a new, integrated financial system.

The 20-month project entails the implementation of PeopleSoft Financials version 9.0 for the University and Healthcare, and integration with Purchasing Solutions (SciQuest and PMM), PeopleSoft Human Resources and PeopleSoft Student Administration.

The resulting benefits are many, including the ability to produce consolidated reports for EU and EHC, improving analytical reporting to inform business decisions, and improved financial management, grant reporting and tracking capabilities.

More than 75 employees in areas including accounting, billing, grants and capital projects, will play a role in some aspect of the project’s implementation.

Mandl said that he and Fox had a “deep understanding” of the resources required for such an ambitious undertaking, acknowledging that those present will be looked to as “Champions of Change.”

“John and I have overseen similar projects in our careers and we know what it takes. We are committed to making the necessary investment in program management, change management, communication tools and technical infra-structure required to succeed,” said Mandl.

Fox thanked the group for their work leading up to the project launch, which he acknowledged was considerable. “The way in which we work together during this project will indicate how effectively the system will operate for us well into the future,” Fox said. “Executive leadership is committed, your colleagues on the steering committees are dedicated, and now it’s time for all of us to make the commitment.” He congratulated the group for their skill in “squeezing the last drop out of FAS,” a comment that drew appreciative chuckles from the audience.

Indeed Emory has grown tremendously since the Financial Accounting System was first introduced in 1986: from about 7,200 employees to more than 22,000; $52.2 million to $354 million in sponsored research; $453 million to $2.7 billion in operating budget.

Continuing beyond 2009 with the existing financial system presents unacceptable risk to Emory since it is no longer supported in the marketplace and has been in place beyond its useful lifespan, Mandl said.

The advantages of an integrated system were obvious to meeting participants who received a PeopleSoft demo of how the new system will function across the board.

“We’re excited about what this system can do for us in terms of streamlining work, developing new technological skills and analyzing data,” said Sage Singleton, controller for Emory Clinic, who works with a staff of 18. “What’s especially important is that we all — the Hospitals, Clinic, EHC management and University — will be able to speak the same language.”