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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Announcing Changes in Finance

Part One: ChartField strings, Workflow and Approval

In this three-part series, we’ll explore some of the changes for Finance/EFS. Stay tuned for parts two and three in future issues of the Upgrade.

One of the most common questions people ask about the Finance or Enterprise Financial System (EFS) upgrade is, “What exactly is changing?” Until recently, the finance teams could not answer that question in detail. The teams could have guessed but before now, no one could have known exactly what would change until the work groups completed a lot of analysis work. Nearly all the analysis is complete now and they have information to share!

This effort, for EFS, is an upgrade of the existing system. In general, massive changes to financial business processes are not planned nor are they expected. Nevertheless, there will be changes made, since we have the opportunity to address major pain points for end users of the system and business processes in some areas. The proposed changes to the Financial system and business processes have been warmly received when reviewed by representative affected community members and advisory groups. For more information about the planned changes, see Potential for Change by Module in EFS.

Will the upgraded Financial system (EFS) prevent people from using random combinations of ChartField values?

People who work with EFS or financial reporting asked for improved chart string validation, to reduce the number of erroneous transactions due to the use of invalid chart strings. 

  • An improvement is planned for FY16 (taking effect on July 1, 2015) to edit the full string as a whole rather than merely editing if the individual values are valid. (The edits will check if a unit created a budget line for the string, that is, that the department intend for someone to record activity on the string of values.)

What workflow and approval changes are coming to EFS?

Online approvers asked for more consistent workflow across financial transaction types, to improve the efficiency of transaction review and approvals. Highlights of the new system approval features:

  • Each of the finance modules that use workflow will behave in a similar manner.
  • There will be one primary approver for each department ID and transaction type.
  • There will be a pool of alternate approvers for each department and transaction type.
  • Both the primary approver and alternate pool will be able to access the transaction for approval at the same time (no waiting period before alternates can access the transaction).
  • Certified approvers who hold both the department approver role and the certified approver role will only need to review/approve a transaction one time instead of twice (once for each role).
  • Preparers of transactions will be notified after five days if no approval action has been taken.
  • The actions available to approvers will be consistent across all types of financial transactions: approve, return, hold.

As ESUP moves forward, we will provide additional details and information about coming changes in Finance and the other work streams so stakeholders can get a better idea of their impact.  Please send an email to esup@umn.edu if you have questions about chartfield strings or workflow approval. Watch for parts two and three of this series on coming Finance changes in future issues of the Upgrade.


  1. Good concise information on what is being planned!!

  2. I like the fact that the system is planned to "edit the full string as a whole rather than merely editing if the individual values are valid." This will be better, so we can avoid the need to make corrections later after an erroneous budget line was allowed to be used. Thank you.

  3. A huge win for primary and alternate approvers!