A Team Leader Update
Selkirk College has three strong teams with solid leadership working to tackle implementation of Project Aurora. Each team lead has a working group managing the incredibly important details that will take Aurora from concept to reality.
Implementation will involve three functional areas: Finance, HR/Payroll and Student. Finance and HR/Payroll will see the implementation of a solution called Business World. Finance is the first area to undergo implementation, followed by HR/Payroll and Student.
Meet the Implementation Team Leaders
- Liana Zwick, Project Aurora Transformation Lead
- Marianne Walsh, IT Manager -- Operations & Applications
- Holly Steenvoorden, Change Manager
- Justine Jarrett, Finance Team Lead
- Michele Laurin, HR/Payroll Team Lead
- Kathleen Ayre, Student Module Team Lead
The first step for each functional area is a process called “Requirements and Solution Design.” This involves conversations between Selkirk College and Unit4 about our business processes to establish our system requirements. Then, Unit4 presents a solution design that will fit our needs and when we are satisfied, Selkirk College signs off and implementation begins.
Following this step is a labour intensive implementation period called “Train/Build.” Both the Finance and HR/Payroll teams are very active in each of these phases. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Finance.
Meet Justine Jarrett – Finance Lead
Justine Jarrett has worked at Selkirk College for four years managing in the Finance Department, and as Finance Team Lead for Project Aurora is heading-up implementation for this module.
“We have the opportunity to imagine things in a different way; from streamlining business processes, automating our manual forms, and working with end users to determine their needs for financial reporting,” says Jarrett. “To be successful, we need to be open to doing things in a different way and have patience and trust in the process.”
Jarrett is pleased with how the process is going so far with tremendous support from Unit4 and realized benefits of collaboration with Vancouver Island University (VIU).
“Our counterparts at VIU are going through transitions from the same legacy systems (SRS, FRS, StarGarden), so we share departmental communication strategies, work through challenging changes together, and support each other when the training feels overwhelming,” says Jarrett. “Even though we are two very different institutions, we both need to pay the bills and have a clear audit trail on our transactions. Knowing this, we can provide and receive support on these core processes.”
After the intensive period of Requirements and Solution Design, the Finance Implementation team is now active in Train/Build. Selkirk College’s Finance subject matter experts spend up to a week training on how to configure the new system followed by a week of building the system.
Each session is led by a Unit4 project lead, and attended jointly by VIU and Selkirk College. The participation institutions alternate hosting sessions with the Unit4 project lead on site, while the other joins remotely via videoconference.
The Finance Train/Build sessions include:
- Record to Report: The activities involved in providing strategic, financial and operational feedback on how our institution is performing: This module maps the matrix of our accounting structure and focuses on relations between the hierarchies in our reporting structure. This module focuses on the account rules, noting that any time you want to purchase supplies, you need to specify which department this is for and how you are planning to fund the purchase. An example would be that a department can purchase supplies using base operating grant funds. Kennedy Ferrier, Andrea Hall and Lareena Rilkoff were involved in reviewing our General Ledger structure and activities in Record to Report.
- Project Life Cycle: Business World follows a project model where one can track various tasks and activities involved in planning and executing projects. We also review grants and award details within this module. This is a continuation of building the General Ledger structure. Kennedy Ferrier and Andrea Hall assisted with configuring this module.
- Procure to Pay: The activities involved in the procurement and payment of goods and services, starting with the purchase requisition through to goods receipting to invoice payment: We also look at contract management within this module. Jocelyn Templeman and Gina Fitzpatrick assisted with the configuration in this module.
- Budget to Control: The processes by which a business estimates its finances for a future period and plans its operations accordingly. Barb Ihlen and Andrea Hall will be assisting with the build for this module.
- Asset Management: The activities involved in the registration, capitalization, amortization, and management of the College’s assets. Tarunjit Jassar and Andrea Hall will be involved in the build for this module.
- System Administration: Focused on the management and administration of the Business World system: This includes activities such as allowing a user to access specific windows and system functionalities as well as having rights to perform specific activities in the system. Marianne Walsh, MaryAnn Keeler, Niki Menard and Lori Bakken will be involved in the build of this module.
- Sales to Cash: The activities involved in creation of the customer record, invoicing and the payment follow up of the resulting Accounts Receivable transactions: This module will also be the key interface with the Student Billing module in the Unit4 Student Management system. Selena LePage and Kennedy Ferrier will be assisting in the build for this module.
- Expense Ledger: The activities involved in the reimbursement of employee incurred expenses such as travel, mileage, hotel accommodations, etc: Gina Fitzpatrick and Tarunjit Jassar will be assisting with the configuration for this module.
- Purchase Card: The activities around the purchase card reconciliation and approval within Business World. This configuration will be support by Jocelyn Templeman, Gina Fitzpatrick and Tarunjit Jassar.
Selkirk College and VIU elected to use a Train/Build implementation approach instead of one which involves purchasing a pre-built system that the vendor then trains client employees to use. A primary benefit of opting to build our system is the ability to learn and understand our system while we configure and build BusinessWorld. This method ensures that the end product reflects the way we do business and, more importantly, invests in training our internal resources to understand and know our system so that we can grow and expand it to meet our evolving needs without relying on external resources.
In addition to leading the Finance transformation, Jarrett is also part of the HR/Payroll and Student Module Implementation Teams.
“Finance is connected to all of our enterprise systems so understanding the touch points between Finance, HR/Payroll and Student is important,” she says.
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