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Financial Reporting Project - Overview

UCL uses Oracle Financials to record all financial transactions using the following modules: General Ledger, Grants Ledger, Sales/ Purchase Ledgers, and Purchase Ordering. Although Oracle Financials deals with the basic processing very well UCL Finance staff found it necessary to use Excel spreadsheets as the basis for reporting financial information to the Senior Management Team (SMT) and Finance Committee.

Using the spreadsheet approach the reporting process took too long, was too cumbersome, and was overly dependent on one person using complex spreadsheets. There were delays at the year end particularly with reconciling UCL’s Operating Budget position to actual financial accounting data.

Increasing importance is now placed on the production by Finance and Business Affairs of monthly budget information, through the updated RAM position for SMT In addition, it is essential that budget information is enhanced to provide detailed comparison with actual and forecast information. The deficiencies of the previous reporting systems were such that a more robust, integrated and automated system was essential for financial management within UCL.

KPMG were commissioned to undertake a detailed review of the processes currently employed by UCL for budgeting, reporting and forecasting. Their report was produced in December 2006, and included recommendations for the establishment of a dedicated project team to deliver a more reliable and robust reporting system, in tandem with UCL’s main accounting system, Oracle Financials.

The KPMG report included a recommendation that there should be a change in the way that Financial Statements are prepared for the Senior Management Team and Finance Committee in that the reports should move to a full financial accounting approach rather than concentrating mainly on the Operating Budget. This change will represent a major shift in approach, and will require the new arrangements, and the implications arising, to be conveyed to users at all levels of UCL.

Following the KPMG report a project team was set up and new software, Business Objects Planning, was purchased in June 2007.

The implementation phase is in progress and will involve a large scale deployment (‘roll-out’) of the reporting software, requiring engagement with approximately 300 staff across 70 departments. The primary objectives of this project are to:

  • Implement Business Objects Planner to facilitate accurate and timely reporting of summarised financial data.
  • Facilitate the introduction of tighter financial routines at departmental level. This will include ensuring responsibility for managing accounts, including discretionary funds.
  • Improve the processes for the collection of budget data and preparation of budgets, the review/ monitoring of actual activity, and preparation of revised budget forecasts.

The initial Budgeting and Forecasting capability was piloted before Christmas 2007. The feedback from that pilot has been included into an updated version of software and supporting processes which have also been piloted in May 2008. This is now being followed by the departmental rollout which will run through from June to December 2008.

Departments are being consulted through their Faculty Management accountant and administrative management to develop the rollout out plan and schedule training for all departments.

Updates are also being communicated through the FRP newsletter.


This page last modified May 19, 2014 by Web Editor.




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