The Business Resource Center marks its first anniversary
It’s been a year since the Business Resource Center formed, bringing together nearly 50 people from across UCOP with the task of creating an accountable, transparent and consistent system for processing purchase and payroll transactions.
In September, outside auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers took a look at the new controls and liked what it saw.
“They noted that there was a big improvement with the formation of the BRC,” said Accountability Manager Ginny Blumberg, one of six BRC team leaders who report to director Helen Valness.
In one short year, the department has achieved a lot. Not only did they get compliments for improving processing controls at UCOP from PricewaterhouseCoopers, but during that time, the department came together as a team, established consistent internal practices, and did it all without missing a beat.
Work didn’t stop to give people the chance to sit back, take a deep breath, and figure out in advance the best way to handle all the things that needed to be processed.
“The doors officially opened November 1, but we were working from the first minute,” said team leader Brad Niess. “There wasn’t that luxury of time.”
The new department had three immediate challenges. One was the unrelenting flow of transactions to process – the department handles roughly 3,000 in any given month, with the volume increasing dramatically around fiscal close.
Second, the new department members all had their own ways of doing things based on the organization and practices of their previous departments. Third, many people at OP needed training on UC’s policies for documenting and approving financial transactions.
The BRC decided early on to approach these challenges as a team, documenting (“mapping”) and adjusting processes, training BRC staff, developing communications and outreach to the client departments, and establishing transaction protocols as a group, to ensure standard and consistent processing practices throughout the new department.
“The whole point was to standardize the transaction process and have good documentation,” said team leader Sharon Perry.
A big part of that was educating the various OP departments about how to conform to UC’s financial policies.
“We’ve taken that seriously, and really sought to make sure people know what we need,” said Blumberg, while also making sure customer needs are met.
“If you have something critical or urgent, let us know, and we’ll be right on it,”
said Supervisor Mark Lozano. “Responsibility for processing a transaction can be assigned to anyone on the team, and not just to one specific individual.”
Each team is identified by a color, but the team colors – purple, blue, gold, green, yellow and red – don’t have any special significance.
“They’re our favorite colors,” said purple team leader Gigi Stollar. “We chose colors instead of numbers or letters, so all the teams would be on the same level. All colors are equal.”
Valness attributes her department’s success to the formation of strong teams that work well, both within the teams and as a unified department.
“Everyone came in as strangers, but all of the teams have gelled really well,” she said, “Everyone is willing to pitch in wherever needed.”
The BRC is located on the 9th floor of the Franklin Building. If you have questions about the BRC, UCOP transaction processing policies and practices, or specific transactions, you can drop by and ask in person. Learn more by visiting the BRC website at www.ucop.edu/brc or you can email the department at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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