Purchase and Payment Simplification Program

From: Pierre Ouillet, VP Finance, Resources and Operations, Lisa Castle, AVP Human Resources, Ian Burgess, Comptroller, Jackie Podger, AVP Administration and Finance UBCO

Re: Purchase and Payment Simplification Program

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Simplifying UBC’s Purchasing and Payment processes is one of the most important initiatives in the University’s commitment to reduce bureaucracy. This strategic initiative also reflects a commitment to Simplification, Sustainability, and Alignment to Policy; Accountability and Control; and Focus on People. In 2010, UBC processed over 400,000 travel, expense, P-card and professional development transactions requiring significant time and effort by faculty and staff.

What will change?

Today, we use a combination of American Express, P-Card, personal credit cards and cash advances. Tomorrow, we will use one single Visa card (UBC Travel and Expense Card); you will no longer need to use personal funds to cover university-related expenses. Result: Single Card paid by the University

Today, we use multiple forms for Travel Reimbursements, Purchases < $3,500, PO exempted expenses, cash advances and for missing receipts. Tomorrow, we will use one single on-line form for payments and reconciliation. Result: Single On-line Form

Today, claimants use multiple paper forms and systems, physically move paper forms across multiple sites, approvers manually sign them, reimbursement processes take several weeks, and receipts are stored throughout the campus. Tomorrow approvals will be paperless leveraging per diems and the growing inclusion of detailed transactional information from Visa merchants (level 3 data), reducing the need to print paper backup; all other receipts will be electronically submitted and available to view in FMS. Result: Paperless Approval

Today, every claim is reviewed and up to 50% are sent back to request missing information; oversight is at times inconsistent. Tomorrow, all claims submitted will be complete, oversight will be made simpler, large transactions will be flagged to higher levels of leadership, and audits will be performed before and after reimbursements on a more rigorous basis. Result: Increased Accountability and Control

Today, requests for centrally funded professional development (PD) reimbursements are manual; eligible staff and faculty have limited visibility of their account balances; and the approval process can take 2-3 weeks. Tomorrow, requests and reimbursements for centrally-funded PD will be made online with users able to view their balances and claim history, while notification of the status of their fund request will be received within days Result: Paperless PD Applications and Approvals

What does it mean for me?

When the new processes are rolled out in 2012-13, you’ll experience a number of benefits including:

1. One credit card to support your travel and non-travel expenses under $3,500, rather than a separate Amex card for travel and Visa for P-card

2. Enhanced acceptance of Visa over Amex for travel

3. Easier submission of reimbursement requests and payments for non-PO items, by using a single online guided form with paperless approvals

4. Simplified processing of expenses with auto-populated fields where possible

5. More efficient approval and reimbursement/reconciliation of your expenses and PD requests

6. Increased per diem rates (TBD)

7. Reduced manual processing and paper receipt storage (TBD)

8. Reduced “out-of-pocket” expenses and cash advances

9. Improved reimbursement processes

What are the benefits to UBC?

1. Improved visibility of requests and claims throughout the process

2. Reduced claimant frustration with delays

3. Enhanced support to end-users

4. Reduced administrative complexity and costs

5. Improved oversight, data and controls

6. Increased spend reporting to achieve greater negotiating power with vendors for airfare, accommodations, equipment etc.

7. Decreased paper consumption to contribute to sustainability goals

What is the timeline?

The design phase of the Purchase and Payment Simplification Program is well underway. In November, a cross-section of end-users from both campuses participated in discovery sessions with our selected vendor to refine the design. In July 2012, the new processes are scheduled for introduction to several pilot groups, based on their availability and representative volume of transactions. The campus rollout is planned for the fall of 2012.

Who is involved in the project?

To ensure the success of this ambitious initiative, we are working in close partnership with key stakeholders (faculty and administrative leaders from each campus, industry and other University experts). The Project Leaders are Dennis Silva (Payment and Procurement Services), Carla Waters (Finance Okanagan), and Julie Stockton (Human Resources). An Advisory Group and Working Group have been created to ensure the diversity of campus interests is represented.

UBC faculty and staff are invited to contribute to winning the University’s battle with bureaucracy through active participation when your faculty/department is contacted. Regular updates will be provided, as more information becomes available, and when milestones are reached. Project updates are available at http://finance.ubc.ca/ppsp/travelexpense

Please forward this announcement to faculty, staff, and researchers who may be impacted by these changes.

Should you have any questions please contact the Project Leaders noted above.

Thank you,

Pierre Ouillet, VP Finance, Resources and Operations Lisa Castle, AVP Human Resources Ian Burgess, Comptroller Jackie Podger, AVP Administration and Finance UBCO