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UW Moves Toward Finance System Overhaul

July 21, 2015

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees has taken the initial step toward a major update of the university’s financial accounting and reporting systems.

The trustees voted last week to authorize a contract of up to $1 million with Huron Consulting Group to evaluate UW’s financial and reporting processes, which will set the stage for a campuswide transformation of the way the university tracks and reports financial information.

“Our current accounting processes and systems have been automated in pieces over a span of many years, and they haven’t been analyzed in whole to identify opportunities for efficiencies, updates and new technologies. As a result, we lack the robust reporting capabilities that state policymakers and others expect,” UW Vice President for Administration Bill Mai says. “This assessment by Huron will allow us to arrive at a recommendation for realignment of people, processes and systems to achieve a level of reporting that will allow the university to better carry out its mission of education, research and service to the state.”

The initial funding for the evaluation is a $1 million legislative appropriation, accompanied by a match of $750,000 from university sources. The available funding will pay for staffing, office operations and consulting. Megan Hanneman, director of shared business services, heads the effort from the UW staff.

Huron will work with people involved in financial accounting across the university to assess the processes and technology that are used by the various units, in addition to recommending the types of reporting capabilities UW should seek.

UW now has a centralized transactional system for financial and payroll processing, and monthly reporting. This system is supplemented across campus with other systems used for more detailed tracking and management reporting.

Huron was selected from a group of 10 vendors that responded to UW’s request for information from firms with experience in higher education financial accounting and reporting.

Mai says the effort to improve UW’s financial accounting and reporting systems stems, in part, from a program audit conducted by the Wyoming Legislative Services Office for the Legislature’s Management Audit Committee. UW is likely to seek additional funding from the governor and the Legislature to implement system enhancements in response to Huron’s evaluation.

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