Campus News

June 24, 2011

Payment processing improvements save time, trees

New improvements to the payment requests process for Compass, Emory's one-stop shop for financials information, are already streamlining workflow and reducing waste.

The changes, which took effect June 17, will make it easier for the nearly 600 staff members across the University tasked with making payments, such as honorarium, to outside individuals for services performed.

Some improvements include:

• New imaging capabilities, allowing the submitter to link documents directly to the payment request; a more efficient approval process, minimizing lost documentation;

• Improved query capability to allow an easier search for vendor names; and

• New on-screen messaging, reminding submitters and approvers of important actions to complete requests.

"These changes help payment submitters focus on their core duties, such as supporting research, while saving the University time and money," says David Thurston, associate vice president for financial operations.

Emory's Finance Division, in cooperation with University Technology Services, demonstrated the details of the improvements to nearly 200 Compass users in two full webinars held earlier this month. Watch the webinar via Adobe Connect.

Additional webinars will be scheduled as needed, as Thurston and his team continue to streamline the process.

The payment request improvements affect an estimated 1,200 payments delivered each month to individuals, such as study participants and non-Emory faculty and staff participating in lectures or conferences on campus. The improvements are not related to the current payroll process. 

Previously, employees handling these payments to individuals were required to print out backup documentation to submit with payment requests, resulting in delays or missing paperwork. After reviewing the payment request, Emory Payment Services would send it to department administrators and others for final approval.

Now, submitters can scan and upload forms electronically and secure the necessary approvals before sending their requests to Payment Services. They also can view helpful reminders to ensure speedy processing of requests. A new search feature offers the latest information about where their requests are in the system.

The improvements mirror recent changes to Compass' travel and expense reimbursement process, which took effect in March. Among the enhanced accounting features, individuals approving expense reports are able to view a one-page summary. Itemized receipts are now only required for meals over $25.

"These are simpler, more logical processes now,"  says Thurston. "All of the feedback has been positive."

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