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Financial Training in a Changing World

As Penn's financial processes evolve from a paper-driven environment to one which is more decentralized and facilitated by technology, so too must the financial training evolve to ensure that those who use the processes can do so in as efficient and effective a way as possible. Financial training was a key recommendation of the Task Force on Fiscal Accountability when it rendered its report to the Trustee committee on Audit and the Administration in June of 1993. An early outgrowth of the task force recommendation was the establishment of an Accounting and Business Certification Program in order to better equip our financial administrators to fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities in accordance with internal and external policies, procedures, laws and regulations.

The introduction of the new business processes associated with the implementation of FinMIS necessitated the training of upwards of 1200 individuals through the Summer of 1996. Since that time, monthly training sessions have been conducted, both for new employees and for those individuals who want, or need to enhance their skills in those areas. Given the changes associated with the new accounting system and the lack of formal accounting training on the part of some of our financial administrators, a basic accounting course will be initiated in November, 1997 in order to assist all individuals with general ledger access to better comprehend the accounting/FinMIS relatedness.

In order to better assess and address current and future financial and business training needs, during Fiscal Year 1997, a Training Advisory Board comprised of both school and central financial administrators was established. The group meets regularly to monitor current training offerings and to prioritize future training initiatives. One example of their deliberations was the development of a soon-to-be -offered course for individuals with FinMIS access. The course is intended to increase their understanding of how to schedule, view and run financial reports and to develop report sets and report extracts as expeditiously as possible.

As all of the above suggests, financial training is critical to successfully evolving our business processes and enhancing our management capabilities in the future. Training is in everybody's best interest and requires a partnership between the schools and the center to ensure success. At the center, we will expand our training capabilities over the next several months in order to better meet the need. We expect that the schools will do their part by continuing to identify both training needs and those individuals who would benefit from the training opportunities; continuing to participate in conducting training as required and, in general, lending their wholehearted support to the overall training effort.

Let's all keep the momentum going.

- Alfred F. Beers,
Associate Vice President for Finance

Return to:Almanac, University of Pennsylvania, October 28, 1997, Volume 44, No. 10