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President announces first Efficiency Review idea to be implemented

President Janet Napolitano issued the following announcement last week, outlining changes to OP’s travel reimbursement process in response to ideas submitted through UCOP’s Efficiency Review.

Dear Office of the President colleagues:

I’m writing to thank the many of you who submitted ideas for UCOP’s Efficiency Review and to announce the first actions we are taking in response to your suggestions.

We are off to a great start: Since launching the initiative in mid-October, we’ve received more than 400 ideas. The Efficiency Working Group — with my wholehearted support — has chosen to tackle first the outdated way that many OP staff submit and get reimbursed for travel and other work-related expenses. It was clear from your suggestions that this cumbersome process was due for improvement. Almost 10 percent of the ideas submitted so far concerned some aspect of the expense reimbursement routine. There are too many people to individually thank for their ideas, but I want to express my appreciation to all of you who wrote in on this issue.

Effective immediately, employees who submit expense reports to the Business Resource Center will be eligible to have direct online access to UCLA’s expense reporting and reimbursement software — called Express — to submit reports themselves and track them as they are processed through the system. The BRC will announce dates and times next week for Express training and those who complete the training will receive immediate access to the system.

As a further step, effective immediately, I am directing departments to stop requiring receipts for expenses of less than $75 unless they are for one of the specific exceptions detailed here by the BRC. This policy, which saves time and reduces paperwork, has been in effect for well over a year. It is now time for all departments to adhere to it.

The benefits of these process improvements will be immediate and significant. They will eliminate the need to type out a report and send it to the BRC to be entered into the online system. They will reduce paper use and encourage a uniform approach to expense accounting across OP. As long as expense reports are complete, the changes should cut processing and reimbursement time by 25 percent or even more, depending on the nature of the item.

As I said, we’ve received hundreds of ideas so far, and they range from the transformational to the quirky. The Efficiency Working Group is considering them all in consultation with internal operational groups, and we plan to announce additional actions each month so everyone knows what issues we’re focusing on. If you’ve not done so, I invite you to visit the project website to see your colleagues’ suggestions, and to submit your own.

Please keep the ideas coming. Your thoughts and participation are essential to this initiative.

Janet Napolitano


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