The Bottom Line

About the Newsletter

The Finance newsletter – The Bottom Line – launched in November of 2022 with the goal of creating new communication channel for the Finance (4009) team. The Bottom Line is published monthly and provides organizational updates and promotes new initiatives. The newsletter also celebrates the achievements of the Finance team, from meeting signficant deadlines and refining processes to the achievements of staff recognized through promotions and Bravo awards.

The newsletter mailing list is refreshed from a Cogos query of current Finance/4009 employees for each separte publication. Have suggestions for anewsletter topic? Submit ideas to Angie Delworth, Director of Finance Training and Communication.

Newsletter articles that are business topic or process specific are archived below.

FY24 Articles

FY23 Articles

FY24 Newsletter Articles

July – Finance Website

July – Reducing Overpayments through Workflow Changes

August – In Depth: New Research Administration System Promieses Efficiencies Across the Organization

September – In Depth: Overpayments and Reconciliation Reminders

September – Cybersecurity and You

September – Reduction in Offcycle Availability

September – PERA Update: Meet the Finance Representatives on the PERA Initiative

September – Accounts Payable and Electronic Signatures

October – In Depth: Bot Updates

October – Team Dynamix Coming to Finance

October – Professional Development Retreat Planned for Finance Management/Professional Staff

October – Finance Service Project: Keep Your Community Warm!

November: It’s the One YearAnniversary of The Bottom Line!

November: In Depth Facilities and Administration Rate Comparisons and Applications

November: Financial Planning and Analysis Announces Professional Development Series

November: Evaluation Request Professional Development Retreat for Finance Management/Professional Staff Held on Campus

November: PERA Update

December: The Bottom Line Updates

December: Professional Development Retreat for Finance Management Professional Staff Held on Campus

December: Finance Service Project

December: Reduction in Off-Cycle Availability

December: Heads Up: TDX Coming in February

January: In Depth – TDX Transition Update

January: Transition of Purdue Global Payroll from ADP to ECP Completed

January: Highlighting Purdue Research: Does it Pay to be Nice at Work?

January: Termination Workflow Changes

January: New List Serve Moderation Tool Implemented in December

February: In Depth: Response to Travel Process Review Includes New Tools and Processes

February: TDX Transition Delayed

February: Attempts to Defraud the University Continue

March: In Depth: Payroll No Longer Approving “Saved” Timesheets

March: Sponsored Program Updates

March: One Less Signature Initiative

March: New Travel Dashboard Available to Business Office Staff

March: 2023-24 Performance Feedback Process and Resources:

March: Finance Blood Drive

FY23 Newsletter Articles

(launch through June)

November – Welcome to the Finance Newsletter!

November – In Depth: Nodine Named Assistant Treasurer

December – Welcome To: The Bottom Line!

December – Engagement Team: Culture and Communication Group

December – In Depth: Finance Reorganization

February – In Depth: Bot’s: Valuable New Tools in the GR/IR Process

March – In Depth: Subject Matter Experts: Making Impacts and Growing Leaders

April – New Finance Website

April – In Depth: Research Card Pilot Program Announced

May – Technical Tips and Tricks

May – In Depth: Process Reviews General Procurement Reminders

May – Interviewing Reminders and Resources

June – New Finance Website and the Detailed Business Management Directory

FY24 Newsletters

Finance Blood Drive

We set a goal of 20 units, and through a combination of in-person and local donations, we surpassed that goal by 3 for a total of 23 units.  The Versiti staff commented that we had AMAZING participation.  Other than some unavoidable cancellations, everyone who signed up showed up, making our blood drive one of their most productive!  Thanks to all who reported their local donations and those who were able and willing to donate in person! Watch for announcements about future blood drives!

2023-24 Performance Feedback Process and Procedures

Completing the Feedback Process
Performance Feedback Season is upon us!  Performance management resources can be found on the Human Resources Performance Management @ Purdue website and includes the timeline shown above.  Employees should be wrapping up their self-assessments now.  Once the employee completes their work, the supervisor can begin their evaluation work.

It is important to note that Unit Leads should not discuss final performance ratings with employees until after the unit calibration meeting which should occur between April 8 and April 30.

LMS Learning History Query
The Cognos based Learning Management System training report will be refreshed weekly from March 4 – May 6.  Anyone can access the report to obtain a list of training taken during the FY23-24 performance cycle.  The report can be found at the following Cognos path:  Team content > Departmental Content > PWL > Treasurer > Non-Standard > HR > 02 – In Testing > LMS Reporting > LMS Training Report.  Questions about the report can be directed to Angie Delworth.

New Travel Dashboard Available to Business Office Staff

The travel dashboard announced in the February issue of The Bottom Line is now available to Business Office staff across campus. Business office staff have been granted access to the dashboard for use in monitoring the aging of pending reimbursements and identifying issues that need to be resolved.  With this access, business office staff can: review expense reports pending with fiscal approvers; obtain additional data for use in evaluating requests for Travel Card (tcard) increases and cash advances; obtain reports on charges of significant dollar amount which may need reviewed; and access reports on the aging of charges and expense reports.

Questions about the dashboards and expectations for use can be directed to your supervisor. 

One Less Signature Initiative

In support of their continued pursuit of excellence, a new initiative was announced by Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer Chris Ruhl, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Diversity Patrick Wolfe and Executive Vice President for Research Karen Plaut in their March 6 Academic and Research Excellence Update. The “One Less Signature” initiative targets reductions in approval stops for any administrative process or form at Purdue.  

The initiative asks, “where can processes be streamlined for improved efficiency?” Finance teams are encouraged to engage with units who are evaluating processes for approval streamlining.  Finance teams are also asked to review their own processes. Where can a signature or approval “stop” be eliminated?  While some approvals are required and cannot be eliminated, Principal Investigator signatures for example, others could be evaluated for elimination. 

Do you have ideas for streamlining a form or approval process?  Faculty and staff are encouraged to pass along their ideas by emailing

New Training Videos from Sponsored Program Services
Sponsored Program Services (SPS) recently posted instructional videos and associated infographics for five different topics on their Training page including a great overview of Post Award Roles and Responsibilities in the Business Office and SPS. Finance staff with sponsored program responsibilities are encouraged to check them out. 
PERA Update
The PERA project continues to progress. As milestones are achieved, established communication channels, including The Bottom Line, leadership meetings and the  newly-created Business Management Listserv, will be used to provide updates, links to resources and training opportunities.

Specific questions about PERA can be directed to the PERA team directly at or to one of the Finance representatives on the project:

  • John Higgins, Executive Director, Research Finance and Account Management (Executive Sponsor and member of the Steering Committee)
  • Erin Fetter, Associate Director for Financial Affairs in Engineering (Module Sponsor)
  • Dana Simms, Research Specialist in Engineering
  • Andrea Kane, Extension Account Manager and Business Manager in Agriculture

Payroll No Longer Mass Approving “Saved” Timesheets

The March 7 Business at Purdue message highlighted a change in timesheet processing that can impact individuals who have not submitted their timesheets for approval.  This change only impacts employees who have a positive time entry profile, typically students and temporaries, who have to submit their timesheet for approval each pay period. 
Current Process:  After the payroll deadline, payroll pulls a list of timesheet that have: 1) been submitted to their supervisor but have not been approved or 2) have made changes to their timesheet but have NOT submitted it to their supervisor (it is in saved status).  Payroll currently pushes these two types of timesheets through the system and pays the hours.
New Process:  In an attempt to pay employees more accurately and reduce overpayments, effective with the March 27-April 7 pay period, Central Payroll will no longer push the “saved” timesheets (2nd type of timesheet mentioned above) through for automatic payment.

Timesheets submitted to supervisors but unapproved will still be paid. 

Employees needing a refresher on timesheet approval processes can reference these resources: Time Entry and Submittal – Positive Entry QRG or SuccessFactors Time Sheet Tour and Approvals to review instructions. 

Questions about these changes can be directed to your Employment Center.

Attempts to Defraud the University Continue

Attempts to defraud the University continue and require all of us to remain diligent in evaluating requests for payment. Accounts Payable has received notices from several vendors who are experiencing fraud attempts on their bank accounts. Using an email address that closely resembles that of the real vendor, scammers are contacting customers and attempting to change where payments are sent.  

Payables Manager Judy Ewbank shares that in the “past two weeks, six vendors have reached out regarding fraud attempts. All six vendors advised the attempts were related to slight changes in an email address.” 

Below are the specific discrepancies shared by the vendors:  

  • JenKem’s domain is; a scammer added an ‘s’ at the end,
  • Production Automation Corp is; the scammer added “inc”
  • Applied Image is; scammer replaced “I” with “L”

Staff are encouraged to review all vendor emails with skepticism and to rely on validated vendor data (using t-code BP) when evaluating new payment instructions. Vendor websites are also a good way to find the phone number to use to validate the vendor information in the email. 

Staff needing assistance with locating a phone number to use for validation should contact the Vendor Data team at

TDX Transition Delayed

The transition from Footprints to Team Dynamix (TDX) announced in previous newsletters has been delayed until early March. The delay will allow for further training and orientation for center staff and allow more time for units to share details about the upcoming change to their customers. As implementation plans evolve, more details will be shared with center staff, unit leads and customers. Questions can be directed to the appropriate Procurement or Employment Center Lead or Whitney Beutel.

In Depth: Response to Travel Process Review Includes New Tools and Processes

Process reviews are a critical part of our internal control measures. A recent review of travel transactions by Internal Audit has resulted in new tools and process changes to support our oversight responsibility as it relates to travel expenditures. Tools, changes and reminders are highlighted below.

Business Offices will soon be able to access the Travel Dashboard currently in use by the central travel office. The dashboard will provide business office staff with access to: expense reports pending with fiscal approvers; data for use in evaluating requests for Travel Card (tcard) increases and cash advances; reports on charges of significant dollar amount which may need reviewed; reports on the aging of charges and expense reports. Business Office staff will be encouraged to review the dashboard weekly and act or elevate issues where needed. An overview of the Dashboard including access instructions will be provided to Unit Leads at their March meeting.

The travel office is responsible for managing the outstanding tcard charges and addressing tcard misuse with travelers. As the primary resource for campus travelers, the office is expected to reach out to the Business Office for assistance if issues arise with a specific charge or traveler. The travel office is also addressing misuse of tcards through the implementation of a new escalation process. The process is very similar to the purchasing card escalation process:
• 1st Violation – email to cardholder, supervisor, with copy to the Business Office manager.
• 2nd Violation – email to cardholder, supervisor, with copy to the Business Office manager and tcard is suspended.
• 3rd Violation – email to cardholder, supervisor, with copy to the Business Office manager and tcard is suspended for one year.

The travel review also highlighted issues with timely expense report submissions and approvals by employees. The University follows the IRS “accountable plan” rule on submitting and reimbursement of expenses found in IRS publication 463. It is helpful to regularly remind travelers that under these IRS rules, expense reports not cleared within 120 days after the last day of travel on official University business are reported as additional wages.

It is critically important that Fiscal Approvers process Travel expense reports within 3 business days for good customer service and accurate account management. Issues delaying approval need to be escalated to supervisors to avoid the expense report totals from being reported as taxable income for the employee.

With the help of the Travel Dashboard and the new escalation process, it is hoped that issues found in the travel review can be minimized in the future. Business offices should use these new tools and processes to monitor travel expenditure activity in their units. Roadblocks delaying completion of expense reports or other issues of concern should be elevated to Directors of Financial Affairs and to the Executive Director of Finance and Business Operation. Additional information and expectations will be shared after the March Unit Lead meeting.

TDX Transition Update

Planning for the transition from Footprints to Team Dynamix (TDX) is ongoing with a new go-live date of February 15. Leading up to that date, center staff will finalize the TDX interface, test functionality, complete training and develop reference resources for business offices and customers.

Transition planning includes cutover protocols. Anyone submitting an order to Footprints after February 15 will receive an autoreply with instructions for accessing the new submission process. Existing Footprints tickets that are “in process” at the time of cutover will be diligently worked for two weeks to resolve or close. Open tickets not resolved by February 29 will be transitioned to the new system on March 1 if still active. Historical ticketing documentation will remain accessible by center staff for reference. 

Resources in development include a list of the forms available, step-by-step instructions for users, links to helpful videos about navigating in the TDX interface and communication resources for business offices to use with their customers. These resources will be assembled into a handbook to be shared in advance of the go-live date and also accessible via center websites.  

The most notable process change, shared in previous newsletters, is the use of online forms to submit requests. In support of that transition, the implementation team is narrowing down the list of services that will require a unique form. The team is also focused on the appropriateness of the data collection fields that are incorporated into each of the forms. This will aid in collecting complete and accurate data at the time of submission which will eliminate “back and forth” communications that could delay execution of the request. 

As February 15 approaches, additional information can be expected via direct email using the standard list serves, B@P communications and Purdue Today. Questions can be directed to employment and procurement center leads or Whitney Beutel.  

New List Serve Moderation Tool Implemented in December

On December 16, 2023, Purdue IT switched their moderated email lists management platform from Mailman to LSoft Listserv. The most significant change is from the perspective of individuals who submit messages for distribution.   

A security enhancement intended to minimize the impact of SPAM messages now requires some individuals who are submitting messages to the lists to confirm the message is legitimate. Individuals sending messages to a list need to monitor their in box to see if they receive an auto message asking them to “ok” to confirm they sent the message. If the sender does not reply, the message will not move forward to the moderators for review and release. Questions or concerns about the list serves can be addressed to Angie Delworth or the specific list moderator. A full list of Finance moderated lists can be found on the Finance Email Lists website.

Termination Workflow Changes

Effective January 1, terminations of employment processed through SuccessFactors will no longer require action from Budget Approvers.  This change was recommended by Internal Audit following a review of payroll overpayments and discussed at the July Business Operations meeting.  This workflow modification will eliminate a step in the termination process with the goal of streamlining the process and reduce the number of overpayments due to delayed approvals.  Budget approvers will still receive a SuccessFactors workflow notification of these terminations.

At the January Unit Lead Meeting, there was a discussion to see if additional information could be provided in the notifications.  More information will be shared when known.   

Budget Approvers will also no longer approve non-pay employee data changes or terminations and instead will receive SuccessFactors workflow notification.  Questions about either of these changes can be directed to Whitney Beutel. 

Highlighting Purdue Research: Does it Pay to be Nice at Work? 

In addition to our signature strengths in agriculture and engineering, many Purdue faculty researchers conduct research that directly impacts our work and personal lives.  One such researcher is Dr. Allison Gabriel, Professor and Thomas J. Howatt Chair in Management and Director of the Center for Working Well.  The center’s research blog has several articles of interest to working professionals and one such article is highlighted below. 

Does a desire to help others at work make you better or worse off?  “Being a Giver in the Workplace,” by Tobias Dennerlein, Assistant Professor of Management, highlights the positive impacts of being “prosocial” for individuals and teams.  Prosocial is the term used by the author to characterize someone who has a strong motivation for helping others at work.  This approximately five-minute read highlights how individuals and their teams can benefit from practicing “prosocial” characteristics. 

If you have suggestions for additional Purdue research topics that would be of interest to the Finance team, please reach out to Angie Delworth

Transition of Purdue Global Payroll from ADP to ECP Completed

Payroll associated with all three Purdue company codes, Purdue Applied Research Institute (PARI), Purdue Global (PG) and Purdue University, can now be processed in the Employee Central Payroll (ECP) system. Over the winter recess this transition was finalized with an import of employee data into SuccessFactors and ECP. The first PG payroll was successfully processed on January 9. Prior to this integration, PG employee payroll was processed in-house through ADP (payroll software). 
With this transition comes a reminder that when planning a payroll action, the employee’s full appointment should be taken into consideration. Reporting changes are in process to make it easier to identify PG (and PARI) employees and view their full appointment. The central payroll team is working with Jennifer Helfrich on new Cognos reporting to assist with managing these appointments.  
It is strongly encouraged that business office and employment center staff reach out to Central Payroll with questions or concerns when making changes that could impact appointments on other company codes. Questions about this information can be directed to Brittany Poore or Whitney Beutel. 

Heads Up: TDX Coming in February

The rollout of Team Dynamix (TDX), the replacement for the Footprints tool, has shifted to early February to allow time for training of center staff as well as ensure thorough communication with all groups impacted is achieved. The implementation team is excited about the efficiencies the TDX tool will bring to both the procurement and employment center service request process. 

The TDX tool has similar functionality as Footprints when it comes to managing requests for services received by the operation centers. The most significant change for customers will be that the new process will utilize forms instead of emails to submit the service request. The use of forms will ensure all information needed to start a service request is obtained at the time of the request, eliminating the back and forth email exchanges that can delay task completion as well as save time for customers and staff. 

As mentioned previously, this tool is already being utilized by the Purdue IT department and will be implemented to a multitude of other groups across Purdue’s campus in calendar year 2024.

A communication plan detailing these process changes for center stakeholders and customers is in development. Be on the lookout for the finalized communications to be distributed in early in January.  

Reduction in Off-Cycle Availability

As previously shared in the September Bottom Line, the 2024 payroll calendar will feature reduced off-cycle payroll opportunities. The changes are part of an overall effort to streamline payroll processes and reduce the administrative tasks associated with off-cycle payrolls. The 2024 payroll calendar has been modified to reflect these adjustments.

Business offices and employment centers should be prepared to adapt to the reduced off-cycle payrolls in the new calendar year. Where appropriate, departmental business office staff should educate customers on this change as well as communicate the impacts of these payments. Questions about the reduction of off-cycle payroll runs can be directed to Whitney Beutel.  

Finance Service Project: Help Keep Your Community Warm

Thanks to the efforts of staff across the Finance team, nine boxes stuffed with hats, gloves, blankets and other supplies were donated to Lafayette Transitional Housing and the Lyn Treece Boys and Girls Club. In addition to warm clothing items, enough blankets were donated to Cover Lafayette to fill TWO of their collection bins!  

Additional donations were delivered directly to the organizations by various members of the team. Thanks to all who made our first Finance service project a great success! 

The Bottom Line – Updates

Feedback Survey Highlights

Thanks to all who contributed to the newsletter feedback survey! Below are a few takeaways from the results:  

  • 72% of respondents responded that they always read the newsletter; 28% said they sometimes read it.
  • 100% of the survey respondents stated that the information in the newsletter was either Very Useful or Useful.  
  • 87% of respondents agreed with the statement “I feel better informed about the Finance organization thanks to The Bottom Line.”

In response to the question “What do you enjoy most about The Bottom Line”, responses included:  it is finance specific and helps to build community; it is a good alternative communication source that helps me stay current on Finance news and issues; I like the variety of information and the new employee/welcome aboard section.

In terms of how The Bottom Line could be improved, suggestions ranged from content ideas to formatting changes. Some of the same content ideas appeared in response to a request for content suggestionsThese improvement ideas and content suggestions will be reviewed with the culture and communication committee for potential adoption.  

Again, thanks to all who took the time to contribute their thoughts. The finance team is always busy and we really do appreciate the time each respondent took from their busy schedules to provide feedback on this new communication channel. It is sincerely appreciated. 

Archive for Past Bottom Line Articles

Past articles from The Bottom Line are now available on the Finance website! Linked from the Culture and Communications page under Communication Channels, the searchable archive page will be updated each month with the business specific articles from The Bottom Line.

Professional Development Retreat for Finance Management/Professional Staff Held On Campus

Over 190 members of the Finance management professional staff gathered on the West Lafayette campus for a Professional Development Retreat on November 8. Objectives of the day-long event were to provide development opportunities for participants through presentations from experts on professional development topics, provide cross functional team building opportunities and promote re-engagement, networking, and retention with an in-person, on-campus experience.

Dr. Rick Johnson-Sheehan, Professor of English, kicked off the day with a presentation on “The Art of Delicate Communication” in which participants learned about our “Judge Brain” and our “Gator Brain.” Dr. Allison Gabriel,  Thomas J. Howatt Chair in Management from the Daniels School of Business followed, presenting “Zoom Fatigue and the Science of Recovery – How We Can Thrive at Work and Home”, a topic that provided welcome tips for our remote and hybrid work environments. 

The afternoon featured a Q&A with Tiffini Grimes, Deputy Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator for Purdue Athletics. Tiffini’s description of her career path and decisions she made along the way provided us with a great perspective on the power of persistent pursuit of our goals. Tiffini was followed by a panel of Purdue managers and an external executive coach who provided their own thoughts on the importance of owning our own professional development. The final presentation, “The Audited Financial Statement: How does it relate to your position?” highlighted the interconnected role we all play in the development of Purdue’s annual financial statement. 

A post retreat evaluation found that participants felt the speakers were excellent and the content of the presentations were relevant to their positions. From Dr. Gabriel’s research on the impact of virtual work environments to Dr.Johnson’s presentation on difficult communiation, participants received information that could be immediately applied to their jobs. The survey also revealed that the highlight of the day for most participants was the opportunity to reconnect and network with colleagues from across the organization!   

Copies of the presentations can be obtained from Angie Delworth.

November PERA Update

Did you miss it? Check out the most recent news on the PERA News and Media website.

Evaluation Request: Professional Development Retreat for Finance Management/Professional Staff Held On Campus

The management professional staff within Finance participated in a day long professional development retreat on November 8. Attended by over 190 management professional staff, the retreat featured speakers from across campus as well as campus and facility tours.  If conversation, making connections and laughter were the barometers for evaluation, the retreat was a great success! However, to provide a more robust evaluation we want to hear from the participants.

Retreat participants are encouraged to complete the Finance Professional Development Retreat Evaluation.

Financial Planning and Analysis Announces Professional Development Series

The staff of Financial Planning and Analysis are pleased to announce a series of professional development opportunities targeted to business management staff (business managers, research account specialists, Assistant/Associate/Directors of Financial Affairs). The series topics, dates and times are shown below for calendaring purposes.

Dates and times may change. Specific invitations will be sent closer to the date.

  • The Audited Financial Statement (see below)
  • Fringes – Central / Department Impact (December 12, 1:30-2:30)
  • PIPC Income & Endowment Distributions (January 30, 1:30-2:30)
  • Scholarships (February 20, 1:30-2:30)
  • Construction – Backstops and Non-Op (March 5, 1:30-2:30)
  • Tuition and Fees (April 9, 1:30-2:30)

The Audited Financial Statement topic was presented at the November 8 professional development retreat. This material will be recorded and shared at a later date.

While specifically targeted to the business management staff previously mentioned, it may be beneficial for other staff to participate. If you have a staff member who would benefit from participation or you personally believe a specific topic is applicable to your position, please discuss with your supervisor.

In Depth: Facilities and Administration Rate Comparisons and Applications

In November of 2022, Purdue received approval to implement new Facilities and Administration (F&A) rates including an increase in the research rate from 55% to 57%.  Rate changes, especially increases, often spur questions around the reasonableness of the rates.  Are the rates reasonable?  Or are they excessive? How do they compare to other institutions? At a recent Council on Governmental Relations meeting, Ken Sandel, Associate Vice President of Sponsored Programs Services (SPS) received data that can help address those questions. 

In order to compare rates across institutions, COGR grouped higher education institutions by overall research expenditures. Purdue fell into the $400M+ grouping and shows that the average rate across these institutions sits at 58.4% compared to Purdue’s rate of 57%.

F&A Rate Comparisons

$400M+ Research Expenditures

Average        Purdue
Instruction                              50.4              50.0
Other Spons Prog                  35.7              38.0
Research                                 58.4              57.0

Knowing that Purdue’s F&A rates are in line with similar institutions, and in some cases actually lower, is helpful information to know when discussing research costs with faculty and staff. It is equally important to understand what F&A is and the role it plays in Purdue’s financial infrastructure. 
F&A, sometimes referred to as indirect costs or overhead, are costs incurred to conduct research and sponsored program activity that cannot be easily allocated to a specific project. Examples include facility costs such as depreciation, utilities, general maintenance, and capital improvements as well as administrative costs such as departmental administrative costs and sponsored program administrative expenditures. F&A is recovered by charging the rate on a percentage basis to specific direct costs and allocated to the general fund as part of the annual plan.   

Want more information?  There is a briefing document on F&A available on the SPS web site.  Additional questions about F&A and its use can also be directed to your supervisor, senior director or SPS post award staff.

It’s the One-Year Anniversary of The Bottom Line

The November issue marks the one-year anniversary of The Bottom Line! The newsletter was launched with the goal of creating a new communication channel for the Finance team. By providing an opportunity to gather input on a variety of topics using surveys, share details about new Finance initiatives and welcome new staff, we were seeking to not only build engagement among our teams but also greater awareness of Finance topics across the organization.

Finance Service Project: Help Keep Your Community Warm

As winter approaches, many in our communities face a very real struggle to stay warm.  To help ease the need, the Finance team is invited to collect gloves, hats, scarves, blankets and even coats for donation to several Greater Lafayette community organizations. This service activity is sponsored and coordinated by the Culture and Communication Committee.  

The Greater Lafayette organizations we are targeting are listed below.   

  • Lafayette Transitional Housing – LTHC Homeless Services (formerly Lafayette Transitional Housing Center) is the coordinated point of entry and initial assessment for anyone experiencing homelessness or a housing crisis in Tippecanoe County. Donated items will be distributed to LTHC clients.  
  • Lyn Treece and Boys and Girls Club – The Lyn Treece Boys & Girls Club of Lafayette is an after-school and summer youth development organization providing positive, educational, leadership, and character building programs for youth ages 6 to 18. Many of the children who participate in their programing lack winter clothing essentials and club staff will be happy to receive and distribute our donations!
  • COVER Lafayette – The COVER Lafayette Project is a grassroots movement to collect and make available cover to any BODY (collect blankets in central locations and are available to anyone who needs them). Blankets will be collected at the retreat and delivered to a Cover Lafayette drop off location.  

Our target agencies were very excited about our initiative.  The Boys and Girls club shared that warm clothing is a persistent need among the young children they serve. How many hats or gloves can your team contribute?  Or would your team want to focus on collecting scarves and hats? All are needed. Please contribute if you can! 

There are several ways to participate: 

  • Individuals attending the November 8 Professional Development retreat for Management/Professional staff can tuck their items into their travel bags and bring them to the retreat.  
  • Work teams are encouraged to collaborate to identify the best collection and delivery method – either at the retreat or the organization directly – for your unique situation.
  • Drop off your donation to one of the three organizations.  
  • Donations can be made directly to Lyn Treece and Lafayette Transitional Housing via their websites (please reference Purdue Finance in your donation).
  • Don’t live in or around Lafayette? Feel free to make donations to similar organizations in your communities!

New items are preferred but clean, gently used items are also appreciated.  All donations should be completed by November 17.

Do you have questions about this activity?  Reach out to Yvette Rosas, Angie Delworth or any member of the C&C team.  Also, if your team isn’t delivering items to the retreat, let us know if you were able to participate! We would love to have a report out in the November or December newsletter about this activity. 

Let’s do what we can to help keep our communities warm!

Professional Development Retreat Planned for Finance Management/Professional Staff

Finance management/professional staff have been invited to campus for a Professional Development Retreat on November 8.  With 170 staff committed to attend, this will be the largest in-person gathering of Finance staff since before the pandemic.  Details are still being finalized but the day will feature networking opportunities, speakers from across campus and a panel discussion about professional development.

A program and logistics document will be shared with participants before the retreat.  

This event has been developed as part of an ongoing effort of Finance leadership, in collaboration with the Culture and Communication group, to offer professional development opportunities for all Finance staff

Team Dynamix Coming to Finance

The electronic ticketing system, Footprints, currently in use by our Employment and Procurement Center teams is targeted to be replaced by Team Dynamix (TDX) in January 2024. TDX has been in use by the Purdue Information Technology teams since July of 2023. Deployment plans are just getting started and will include the development of communication strategies as well as standardization of processes.  Details will be passed along to impacted parties as the transition schedule is finalized.

Anyone interested in learning more about TDX can visit the Information Technology Latest News page to access FAQ’s and other resources developed in support of the IT launch. 

In Depth: Bot Update

Three bots (short for robot) launched since August 2022 have been quietly reducing the workload of procurement center staff across campus while improving our vendor relations and the accuracy of account management reports. The overarching goal of these new tools is to reduce the amount of attention required by skilled staff on repetitive tasks that, while important, are straightforward and simple. Specific examples of where the bots are being used and the impact on staff workloads are shown below:

  • The Invoice Reconciliation (IR) bot launched in August of 2022 has saved 925 personnel hours by identifying when an invoice is needed and emailing the vendor.
  • The Goods Receipt (GR) bot launched in February of 2023 has saved 924 personnel hours by identifying when a goods receipt is needed and contacting the requisitioners. 
  • The most recent bot to launch was in June of 2023 and it is tasked with gathering data for purchases less than $1000 on grant funds.  By pulling data on 102K unique PO’s since June, the Less than $1K Bot avoided thousands of hours of manual work by providing staff with the backup documentation needed to spot check items that can require a higher level of scrutiny. 

Since August of 2022, Ariba PO volume has increased by 10%.  With bots taking care of these repetitive tasks, our staff has been able to absorb this higher volume more effectively and still provide value added services to customers; identify and address inefficiencies; and work with customers to resolve complex issues. Additionally, even with the increase in PO volume, the number of items on the GRIR report have decreased during this timeframe.

Additional Bots are in development. The EOBOC is testing a ZV60 bot that will read and extract data from an invoice and the associated footprints ticket and then log into SAP, locate the vendor and key the payment. The bot will also attach the backup documentation gathered as part of the process. Another Ariba invoice bot is currently in development with Accounts Payable will read and extract data from an invoice submitted for payment on an associated purchase order.

Bots are perfect for repetitive tasks that, when automated, can be processed very quickly, saving personnel hours across the organization.  Do you have ideas for processes that would be perfect for completion by a bot? Reach out to Kristi Mickle or  Whtiney Beutel to discuss further!

Accounts Payable and Electronic Signatures

Effective October 1, authenticated electronic signatures will now be accepted on W-9s and Purdue’s Sub W-9 and Purdue’s EFT/ACH form. A review of best practices of our peers, combined with the ongoing requirements of the global remote work environment that limits the ability of some vendors to obtain physical signatures has led to this change. Documents presented to the university by our vendors with an authenticated electronic signature can now be used to establish and update vendor master data. Filelocker continues to be Purdue’s preferred method for transmitting documents containing restricted data. Restricted data should never be sent via email. It is important to note, if Purdue initiates DocuSign, restricted information cannot be included.

What is an authenticated electronic signature? It is a specific type of electronic software that includes a security procedure designed to verify that a signature is that of a specific individual. We are not responsible for monitoring the system individual vendors are using to create their electronic signature. However, we ARE responsible to take every precaution necessary to minimize the risk of fraud and remain compliant with Purdue’s data handling requirement. Additionally, staff are required to validate the authenticity of the vendor and ensure any restricted data is safely shared among peers. Individuals seeking to refresh their knowledge in this area are encouraged to take (or retake) Fraud Prevention:  Protecting Purdue, Protecting You (LMS 81004).  Questions about this change can be directed to Judy Ewbank or Whitney Beutel

PERA Update: Meet the Finance Representatives on the PERA Initiative
As shared in the August issue of The Bottom Line, the Purdue Excellence in Research Administration (PERA) project will transform Purdue’s research administration environment. Several members of the Finance team are actively engaged in the project. John Higgins, Executive Director, Research Finance and Account Management, is serving as an Executive Sponsor and on the project Steering Committee; Erin Fetter, Associate Director for Financial Affairs in Engineering, is serving as a Module Sponsor; and Dana Simms, Research Specialist in Engineering and Andrea Kane, Extension Account Manager and Business Manager in Agriculture, are participating on the Functional Team.  

While all have been busy in their various roles, in these early stages, Andrea and Dana have been involved in an exploratory activity referred to as “onboarding.” In onboarding, representatives from Huron, the software company, are meeting with the full project team to learn more about Purdue’s processes. Conversely, the Purdue team is learning more about Huron’s software. The end result will be a melding of practices and processes that best serve the Purdue research community.    

This holistic approach is providing the Finance team with a deeper understanding of the efficiencies the system will bring to Sponsored Program Services (SPS). Kane shared, “I had no idea how much time SPS spends uploading documents to a shared location so that administrative staff can find them when needed.”  The new system will feature an award record that incorporates all of the documentation associated with the award such as the actual proposal, associated agreements and amendments. According to Kane, “the elimination of this manual upload process will create efficiencies for both SPS and the Finance account management staff, who today have to log into a separate system to search for these resources.”

The Finance team is excited to share PERA updates as the project moves along. These updates will be featured in The Bottom Line as well as other communication channels. Additionally, a new PERA website is now live with a variety of reference resources. Do you have questions about the PERA project? Finance staff can also reach out to any of the Finance representatives listed here, or their senior director, with questions about the project.

Reduction in Off-Cycle Availability 

The 2024 payroll calendar will feature reduced off-cycle payroll opportunities. Efforts to minimize the need for an off-cycle payroll have always been important due to their inherent inefficiencies but are even more important now due to the reduction of opportunities in the payroll calendar going forward. Off-cycle payrolls require extra auditing to ensure benefit contributions are processed in the correct amounts.  In addition, off-cycles are taxed at a higher rate, resulting in a decrease to the employee’s net pay. These known issues, combined with the incorporation of Purdue Global payroll responsibilities, makes the historical quantity of unscheduled off-cycle payroll runs unsustainable. 

The 2024 payroll calendar has been modified to reflect these adjustments. Business offices and employment centers should be prepared to adapt to the reduced off-cycle payrolls as we approach the new calendar year.  Where appropriate, departmental business office staff should educate customers on this change as well as communicate the impacts of these payments. Questions about the reduction of off-cycle payroll runs can be directed to Whitney Beutel

Cybersecurity and You
When it comes to cybersecurity protocols, it is important to stay on top of Phishing, SPAM and other cyber threats. The Secure Purdue group within the Information Technology organization have compiled  a comprehensive Cybersecurity Awareness section on their website. 

As SPAM and Phishing attempts have become an everyday occurrence in both our personal and professional lives, examples provided on this page can help us identify cyber threat email we receive in our inboxes. Check out the site for real-world example messages and the clues that can help us identify them as phishing emails. This area also contains Cybersecurity FAQs and Updates. 

Need to report suspicious or malicious emails to the security team?  You can report emails directly by forwarding them to Users can also utilize the Report Message button inside Outlook, which can be found in the top banner or by right clicking an email in Outlook on the web (OWA).

In Depth: Overpayments and Reconciliation Reminders

The start of a new academic year brings a significant increase in the number of payroll actions and sometimes overpayments as well. Onboarding new students and faculty, combined with offboarding individuals who will not continue into the new academic year can lead to inadvertent overpayments. As we move towards the end of September, most of our new employee payroll actions are complete and it is time to turn our attention to reviewing overpayments. Communicating with employees and supervisors about overpayments during the next few months is especially critical as we approach the end of the calendar year. 

Federal Tax Law stipulates that payroll overpayment repayments received in the subsequent tax year are to be repaid at the gross amount of the overpayment. Efforts focused on the accounting and collection of overpayments in a timely fashion not only benefits the university through clean financial statements, but also the individuals who have been overpaid. Additinally, payroll overpayments are unallowable on grants and federal funds and prompt attention can ensure these charges are removed.  

From on-demand training courses to dashboards and process instructions, staff tasked with overpayment responsibilities have several resources available to help guide them through the various overpayment processes. A list of training modules and dashboard resources can be found below: 

Training Resources: Comprehensive overpayments training is available through SuccessFactors and can be found using the training matrix. Direct links to each course can also be found in the Training Matrix maintained on the Finance Website under Operations and Training Resources. PDF versions of each course can be found on the Human Resources SuccessFactors site (see SuccessFactors Payroll Resources section below):

  • Module One – Payroll Overpayment Repayment & Reconciliation Training General Overview
  • Module Two – Payroll Overpayment Repayment & Reconciliation Training Processes and Expectations
  • Module Three – Payroll Overpayment and Reconciliation Training – Overpayment Dashboard
  • Module Four – Payroll Overpayment Repayment & Reconciliation Training – Account Management
  • Module Five – Payroll Overpayment Repayment and Reconciliation Training – Overpayment Reconciliations
  • Module Six – Payroll Overpayment Repayment & Reconciliation Training High Level Overview for Managers
  • Module Seven – Timekeeping, Time Off Requests and Employee Pay Change Responsibilities for Supervisors
  • Module Eight – Payroll Overpayment Repayment & Reconciliation Training – Resources
  • Module Nine – Payroll Overpayment Reconciliation

SuccessFactors Payroll Resources: Human Resources maintains a  multitude of payroll related resources on the SuccessFactors SharePoint site. In the Payroll Resources section, users can access email templates to use when communicating with supervisors and employees,  process diagrams and fact sheets. Users can also find the Overpayment Dashboard Reports. The dashboard is a “drillable” report that allows users to easily access data for their units as well as for specific time periods. 

Individuals tasked with Overpayment Reconciliation and Repayment responsibilities know that success is reliant on a team approach, with everyone doing their part. Managerial Accounting, business office account managers, business office leaders, sponsored program services and employment centers all play a key role in the overpayment reconciliation and repayment process. Thanks to all who are actively monitoring and taking the appropriate actions where needed. If you are unsure of your role in this process, please reach out to your supervisor.

In Depth: New Research Administration System Promises Efficiencies Across the Organization

This past April, the Board of Trustees approved an almost $9.9M investment in the development and implementation of a new research administration system.  The Purdue Excellence in Research Administration (PERA) system represents Purdue’s first fully integrated research administration system and will replace a variety of independently configured research administration systems. PERA is a ‘next generation’ system that automates many processes required to apply for research grants, manage research funding, and apply to regulatory committees such as those responsible for the oversight of research with human subjects, vertebrate animals, biohazards, and compliance practices.

Selecting and launching such a comprehensive system that touches so many teams across Purdue, including Finance, requires considerable planning and integration.  The Office of Research and subject matter experts from across the research enterprise participated in a 12-month evaluation and selection process, leading to the selection of the Huron Research Suite, rebranded as Purdue Excellence in Research Administration (PERA).  Dana Simms, Research Specialist in Engineering, participated in the team that evaluated proposals from six different vendors and believes that the consolidation of a variety of systems into one will create greater transparency for all involved in managing a research project across its lifecycle. Simms shared that, “Today, if I need Institutional Review Board (IRB) information, I typically work through the Principal Investigator. Since they are very busy individuals, this can take days or even weeks to obtain. In the new system, I will have direct access to the IRB information needed or to process human subject payments.  I truly believe research administration is going to become more efficient and better.”

To assist with the monumental implementation efforts, the Office of Research has hired instructional designers to assist with the development of training opportunities and is partnering with communication professionals to support dissemination of project updates across the organization.  Following the April approval, project planning kicked into high gear over the summer months leading to an implementation plan that will span a little over two years.  Initial efforts will focus on Grants (Pre and Post Award), Agreements, and IACUC – as well as implementation of an integrated Financial Forecasting module.

 As the project moves forward and modules are developed and launched, Finance team members can anticipate regular updates through our standard Finance communication channels, including The Bottom Line, the website and using leadership meetings and email lists for the more critical and time sensitive updates.  Through these communications and completion of new system training, it is anticipated that Finance staff will be prepared to transition their day-to-day grant related activities into the PERA system.

The links below are to previous communications as well as current websites containing helpful background information for anyone looking to get caught up on the initiative.

Resource links:

Questions about the PERA project can be directed to your supervisor, Senior Director or to

Reducing Overpayments through Workflow Changes

The recent completion of an Internal Audit of overpayments is spurring changes in the SuccessFactors ‘Termination’ action workflow.  Audit data revealed that in calendar year 2022, slightly over 1,000 terminations resulted in payroll overpayments totaling $1.1M.  Why do terminations result in so many overpayments?  The reasons vary from delays in communication of termination decisions between the supervisor and finance staff to delays in the approval of termination actions in SuccessFactors by Budget Approvers.  Regardless of the reason, recovery of termination overpayments is extremely time consuming and some funds are never recovered.  In response to the findings and in an attempt to reduce the number of overpayments, approval for a workflow process modification has been obtained. 

Effective January 1, 2024, Budget Approvers will no longer directly approve termination actions. Instead, they will receive a system notification email whenever a termination action has been entered.  The audit revealed that 94% of terminations processed through SuccessFactors workflow are approved without any changes and 33% take more than 4 days to approve. Given this high percentage of “no issue” actions and delays in SuccessFactors approvals, the switch from approval to notification is expected to significantly reduce the number of overpayments by speeding up the termination processes.  This change will also be enacted for terminations of non-pay appointments as well.  

This process modification was shared with Finance leaders at a recent Business Operations meeting.  Process updates, training and communications about this change will continue through the fall semester.  Individuals with questions about these changes should contact their supervisor or Senior Director.

Finance Website

Training Matrix
On the Finance website, the Treasurer’s Training Matrix is presented through “profiles” that are organized by position or area.  Within these profiles, a direct link to SuccessFactors has been added to the LMS course number. By clicking the course number, users are taken directly (after login) to the registration for that specific course in SuccessFactors.  

The training profiles have also been updated with recent course additions including: an Introduction to the Use and Management of Ag Funds; Summer Pay (SEEMLESS) for Business Offices and Payroll Centers; and Fraud Prevention: Protecting Purdue, Protecting You. 

Similar updates have been made to the downloadable version of the Treasurer’s Training Matrix which can be found in the last section of the webpage.

Generic Email Addresses Added to Directory
Generic Business Office email addresses used by Sponsored Program Services and Business Offices across campus have been added to the Finance Directory.  These addresses can be found by using the search box or the Department Selector dropdown box.  Individuals needing assistance with a task associated with a specific unit but unsure who to contact can use these generic email addresses to connect with the right individual.  

Questions about any of these changes can be directed to Angie Delworth.

November 2022 Launch – June 2023

The New Finance Website and the Detailed Business Management Directory

Users of the new Finance website may have noticed that the Detailed Business Manager directory was not migrated to the new site.  Maintenance of the detailed directory was time intensive and the content was frequently out of date.  Recognizing that some Finance staff used this directory to find business contacts for a specific unit, a tool shared in the May newsletter is an alternative method for finding this information. As many business office staff typically hold a Fiscal Approver role, results obtained from the “ZFI_WF_Approvers” t-code can help identify business office staff associated with a specific unit.  Instructions for the t-code can be found on the Business Management page in the Fiscal Approvers section. 

Technical Tips and Tricks

Do you need to know who the fiscal approver is for a specific business area? Lisa Rile, Assistant Director of Financial Affairs for the Office of the Provost, has documented a quick process to “Generate a List of Current Fiscal Approvers”.  Using the ZFI_WF_Approvers SAP T-code, this easy to follow process creates a list of fiscal approvers for areas across the university including the regional campuses. Click the link above to download the process document and check it out! Do you have a tip or trick that others may find helpful? Feel free to send it to Angie Delworth so we can share with others! 

Interviewing Reminders and Resources

Have you ever faced the task of filling a vacancy that you supervise? Or been asked to serve on a “peer” interviewing team?

Hiring new Finance staff is one of the most important aspects of our roles at Purdue.

Part of the process includes knowing what questions or topics are appropriate in an interview or should be avoided. Whether you are leading the interview or you are a member of a peer interview team, it is important to be familiar with these topics and be prepared to steer the conversation in other directions. Awareness of these topics is particularly important in the peer interviewing process. Candidates often feel more at ease in these settings and conversation may digress into sensitive areas. 

Human Resources maintains a Staff Recruitment Manual with a section specifically dedicated to Appropriate and Inappropriate Interview Questions (page 24). The guide also provides guidance on the recruitment process including the use of search committees, actions that can ensure a good applicant pool, evaluating candidate credentials, sample interview questions and other helpful information. 

Please take a few minutes to review this resource and keep it handy for future reference. Your supervisor or Justine Sailors, our Finance Human Resource Business Partner, are also great resources.

In Depth: Process Reviews Generate Procurement Reminders

Process reviews, whether conducted by an internal team of subject matter experts or through a formal audit, generally result in opportunities to improve processes and reinforce the importance of adhering to standard processes and guidelines. Recent reviews of our procurement processes are an example. Please see below for a refresher on critical steps of procurement and receiving processes. 

Purchasing Processes and Procedures

Procuring goods and services is a vital operation within Purdue University. Stakeholders in every phase of the procurement system benefit from simple and efficient processes. Here are some helpful reminders to ensure compliance with process requirements


  • The University’s e-Procurement tool, Ariba, is a valuable tool for procuring goods/services. Contingent on cost effectiveness and product suitability, Ariba’s built-in document storage, receipting processes and approval records make it the preferred procurement method.
  • In order to be given access to procure goods/services, users are required to complete annual trainings. Requesters must receive an online certification for Purchasing Delegation Authority. This requirement includes two online courses, Delegation Authority Certification and P2P 201 – Creating Requisitions in Ariba. Both courses are available in the SuccessFactors Learning module and must be completed before the requisitioner role can be assigned to a position. 
  • Finally, to properly procure items, orders for goods should never be entered as a lumped together single line item. Each unique item purchased must be entered as a separate line item. Entering items as lump sum orders results in inaccurate receipting of goods.


  • Receipt of goods and services is a very critical step in the procurement system. Confirmation that the goods have physically been received is required for all orders, regardless of dollar amount, even in instances where the system automatically executes the goods receipt. Failure to confirm physical receipt of goods/services may result in loss of university resources and unidentified fraud. Preferred method of confirmation of goods receipt is attaching the packing slip to the order in Ariba. 
  • Confirmation of goods receipt varies based on procurement method. Below is a list of primary procurement methods and the preferred receipting method as well as alternative methods:
  • e-Procurement System (e.g. Ariba)
    • Preferred Method:  Packing slip attached to the PO
    • Other Acceptable Methods: Email/written notice confirming goods receipt
  • Invoice Paid as a Direct Payment
    • Preferred Method: Email/written notice confirming goods receipt
    • Other Acceptable Methods:  Packing slip, if available
  • Procurement via Credit Card
    • Preferred Method: Email/written notice confirming goods receipt
    • Other Acceptable Methods:  Packing slip, if available
  • Assignment of the role required to receive goods/services in the e-Procurement (Ariba) System requires completion of an online certification available in the SuccessFactors Learning module: P2P 151 – Receiving in Ariba. If you are unsure if you should take this course, please contact your supervisor. Also, note that this course is available “on demand” anytime someone wants to take it as a refresher.

Valuable and informative training resources can be found on Procurement Services training website. For assistance on entering or receiving orders please reach out to Questions can be directed to your local procurement center or contact Whitney Beutel,    

New Finance Website

A small team of Finance staff have been working with an outside vendor to create Finance webpages that reflect our current structure.  Pages will also comply with Purdue branding standards and include some new content. The group plans to complete their work in April.

The publication date will be announced in Purdue Today and Business at Purdue articles.

In Depth: Research Card Pilot Program Announced

Reducing administrative burdens on faculty and increasing research productivity have been hot topics of conversation between Purdue researchers and campus leaders over the last year.  One specific topic has also been a long standing goal: the ability to quickly obtain needed research supplies.  The addition of Purchasing Cards (Pcards) over 20 years ago was a step towards that goal.  Pcards are used when items are needed quickly, items need to be purchased in person or items are being purchased from vendors we use infrequently. Now, a new initiative takes the PCard innovation one step further in an effort to generate time savings for faculty researchers. 

Announced in January by President Chiang, the Research Purchasing Card (RCard) pilot program is an opportunity for faculty researchers to more easily obtain the supplies needed for their externally funded research project.  Representing six business areas across the West Lafayette campus, 25 faculty have been identified to participate in this program and have been issued Rcards in their name.  These faculty signed RCard agreements addressing processes and responsibilities and have been provided resources for reference purposes. The resources are available on the Procurement Card Services page and will also be helpful to the Finance staff supporting the researchers.

The RCard pilot will conclude June 30. Pre and post surveys will gather metrics to help identify successes as well as opportunities for improvement. Examples of metrics gathered include number of transactions, dollar volume, workload impacts to both the faculty and administrative staff, and the type of items purchased.  Lessons learned and follow-on recommendations will be summarized and used to tweak processes to gain further efficiencies in the effort to save time for faculty researchers. 

In Depth: Subject Matter Experts – Making Impacts and Growing Leaders

Subject Matter Experts, also known as SMEs, play a special role in our organization. SMEs are individuals that hold deep knowledge or expertise in a specific area and serve as a resource to others, often advising leaders on process issues or developing training.  SMEs exist in all organizations and within the Finance team SMEs have been integral in developing many of the processes and standards in place today. From research to payroll to the culture and communication group, eight SME groups are active across the organization with three in development. 

Some SME groups are long running, providing strategic feedback and guidance that can have significant organizational impacts.  When SEEMLESS, the university’s effort reporting and summer payroll system, was launched in 2018, the need for a SME team comprised of experienced finance staff quickly emerged.  Kim Hoebel, Assistant Comptroller for Managerial Accounting Services, shared “these people aren’t newbies! We need our SMEs to know what they are doing. We take proposed solutions to them to ensure they really work. They help with testing and assist with training and communications to make sure we are hitting the mark.”  By providing real world feedback, these SMEs help monitor and validate one of Purdue’s core financial systems. 

An example of an ad hoc SME group is the I-9 Process Improvement Group.  Formed in the spring of 2022 as a payroll and finance cross functional team, this group developed tools targeted to improving the timeliness of I-9 Employment Eligibility Verifications.  The work of this group brought Purdue’s I-9 non-compliant rate from 48% in the Spring of 2022 down to 5.7% in the Fall of 2022. 

Payroll isn’t the only business activity where cross functional teams can have an impact.  When the Research Quality Assurance (RQA) team in Sponsored Program Services identified audit risks due to inadequate documentation for purchases less than $1000, RQA joined forces with Business Management and Financial Planning and Analysis staff to develop a review method. This ad hoc SME group built on efforts already underway in the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships and developed a process utilizing a Cognos query. “The query has made it incredibly easy to identify issues before they become problems,” said Donna Brown, Director of Financial Affairs for the College of Pharmacy.  “Using data from the query, we have been able to identify individuals who need training on the documentation we need for purchases less than $1000 and have been able to build stronger processes,” Donna stated. 

SME groups such as these not only add value to the organization, but participation also develops future leaders. SMEs gain an organizational perspective that cannot be obtained from their day to day role.  This broader perspective opens up knowledge about career possibilities across the organization.  Additionally, the development of negotiation, teamwork and process mapping skills can benefit the individual throughout their careers.  In this way, SME groups can maintain the cycle of leadership development within our organization. Are you interested in becoming a SME? There are many ways to share your expertise either in one-on-one situations or as part of a SME group.  Your supervisor can be a great resource in this area and you are encouraged to discuss your ideas further with them

In Depth – Bot’s: Valuable New Tools in the GR/IR Process 

As research expenditures and student enrollments increase, associated procurement activities also increase.  To address increased workloads, efforts are underway to minimize time spent on routine, repetitive tasks so procurement specialists can focus on more complex, value added activities.  As part of this effort, Eva Nodine, Vice President, Deputy CFO and Assistant Treasurer, and Kristi Mickle, Executive Director of Finance and Business Operations, turned to a newly created Purdue team – the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Center for assistance.  According to Will Oprisko, interim manager of the center, the primary goal of the RPA Center is to “maximize the human element across the university and streamline business efficiency, by identifying standardized and routine processes that can be offloaded to a machine and completed automatically. We want to increase the feeling of meaningful work with all our campus partners by automating the monotony, so individuals can focus their time and energy solving more dynamic problems.”

These objectives aligned perfectly with what Nodine and Mickle were looking to achieve and a partnership was formed. Using tools developed through this partnership and in collaboration with outside vendors, the procurement operations group is realizing significant efficiencies with the assistance of customized “bots.” Read on for more information about these bots and how they are creating efficiencies in Procurement Centers across the organization. 

What is a bot?

Bots are computer programs that can be configured to complete repetitive, routine tasks and since August 29, an Invoice Reconciliation (IR) Bot has been in place as a new Finance Team tool. Short for robot, the bot has been tackling some of the more simplistic tasks associated with the procurement related Goods Receipt/Invoice Receipt (GR/IR) process. 

How does it know what to do?

Tammy Haddock, PARI Operations Coordinator Lead, assisted with the initial programming of the IR Bot.  Working with potential bot vendors, Haddock demonstrated the steps taken by reconcilers when determining if an invoice is needed and also documented the amount of time this process typically takes for a reconciler.  A  bot was then programmed to complete these same steps. 

What is it doing?

The IR Bot works an overnight schedule identifying orders where goods have been received and an invoice is needed from the vendor.  The IR Bot logs into a SharePoint site where a weekly Procure-to-Pay report is maintained.  The IR Bot reviews the spreadsheet and identifies line items marked “goods have been received” and then sends an email to the vendor asking for an invoice.

How do we know what the bot is doing?

The bot doesn’t work in a totally independent fashion.  The appropriate procurement center is copied on the vendor communication and center staff will follow up as needed.  Additionally, a weekly report of IR Bot activity is provided to Whitney Beutel, Director of Business Operations and Administration; Julie Smith, Procurement Serves Lead Business Analyst; and the IT support team. 

Is the bot helping?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Since launch, the IR Bot has sent 11,349 emails and saved an estimated 473 hours of staff time.  Since implementation, the number of items on the list for greater than 60 days has dropped 18% and procurement staff are getting vendor responses on a timelier basis, often within 24 hours. This results in GR/IR report items being cleared more quickly with minimal staff intervention and netting improved communication with vendors. Haddock reports that “we have been able to resolve more line items than before as the bot can send emails more quickly and regularly than our manual efforts.  An added benefit is that we are receiving information from vendors beyond the actual invoices including Ariba adjustments that actually remove an item from the GR/IR report.”

What has surprised you about the impact of the bot?

Miranda Parsons, Business Assistant in the Purdue Veterinary Medicine Purchasing Service Center, finds that she now has more time to work on items that are more complex or need a personal touch.  GR/IR report maintenance is one of her primary duties and until the bot started working, she didn’t realize how much of her time was consumed with “Invoice Needed” tasks.  For example, a recent GR/IR report had 481 items and 436 were Invoice Needed items.  “Knowing that the bot is going to take care of communications on all of those items means I have a much more manageable number of items to clear.  It really ‘takes a weight off’ from a stress perspective.” 

What is next?

A Goods Receipt Bot was launched on February 6.  The GR Bot contacts requestors (using the Ariba on behalf of field, as applicable) when it finds that an invoice has been received but the item has not been marked received in Ariba.  Marking an item received is a critical step in the Procure-to-Pay process but is often overlooked. In these instances, the GR Bot can speed up the resolution of GR report issues. As items continue to be cleared from the GR/IR through the work of the bots, the university should begin seeing quicker turnaround times in the invoicing process.  This quicker turnaround will allow the time saved to be redirected to more complex, value added activities, reaping additional administrative savings to the university. It should also help to improve vendor relations which could have benefits beyond the initial scope. The procurement operations team will continue monitoring the work of both bots, refining their processes to take advantage of these new tools.

In Depth: Finance Reorganization

As recently shared at the December Bravo and Promotion events and in other communications from Eva, several organizational changes are in process and will be effective January 1.  These changes are intended to group similar functions together for strategic advantage.   Specifically,

  • The Comptroller, Accounting Services, Treasury, Bursar and Accounts Receivable functions will report through Andrew Bean, newly promoted Associate Vice President of Finance and Accounting.  He will continue to lead Financial Planning and Analysis.
  • Kristi Mickle, newly promoted to Executive Director of Finance and Business Operations, will manage the strategic direction of the financial operations across the West Lafayette system, and assume responsibility for Accounts Payable.  In addition, Kristi will lead the administrative components of the Finance organization. Kristi will retain responsibility for her current portfolio of administrative units.   
  • To provide a more strategic focus on research finance, John Higgins, newly promoted to Executive Director of Research Finance and Account Management, will assume oversight of units most integrated with the research enterprise including the Executive Vice Provost for Research and Partnerships, Centers and Institutes and Purdue Applied Research Institute in addition to his current responsibilities for several academic units.  
  • The final change, the movement of all West Lafayette finance staff under the Vice President for Finance and Deputy CFO organization, has been in process since the spring of 2022 and will conclude by Winter Recess. This change will create greater personnel transparency, improved ability to monitor financial and workload equity across positions and streamline communication and process change efforts.

Questions about these changes can be directed to your immediate supervisor or your Senior Director

Engagement Team: Culture and Communication Group

Earlier this semester, a new work group – the Culture and Communication team – was launched with members from across the Finance team.  The objectives of this new group were simple:  foster the development of a collaborative, supportive and accountable culture within the Finance unit by creating opportunities for engagement and communication across a variety of settings and channels.  Some of our early initiatives have included a webinar on procrastination, the launch of two new book clubs, a series of Happy Hour events as well as resources to support the Emotional Intelligence initiative.

Members of the committee include Lisa Rile, Kelli McDowell, Donna Brown, Cassondra Rucker, Robin Becker, McKenna Williams, Felisha Clifton, Yvette Rosas and Alyssa Cotten.

Projects currently in development include the ongoing support of the Emotional Intelligence initiative, website improvements, generating newsletter content, and identifying and promoting a variety of engagement activities.  The group will use this newsletter to solicit ideas for future events and to that end, we would like your suggestions for future Happy Hours.

Welcome to: The Bottom Line!

The Finance team has spoken!  233 of our teammates took the time to weigh in on a title for our newsletter and the top vote getter was “The Bottom Line”.  See the results below and thanks to all who participated.

In Depth: Nodine Named Assistant Treasurer

Associate Vice President and Deputy CFO Eva Nodine was appointed as the new Assistant Treasurer for Purdue University at the August Board of Trustees meeting. The appointment represented a transition from retiring Jim Almond to Eva and ensured the continuation of key business processes. When a transition like this occurs, as a part of “routine business”, observers might interpret the role itself to be somewhat inconsequential. However, a deeper exploration of the role of the Assistant Treasurer reveals the importance of the position to the financial integrity and day to day operations of the university. So, what exactly is the role of the Assistant Treasurer?

The role begins with the functions of the Treasurer. As defined in the bylaws, the Treasurer shall “receive, take charge of and, under the direction of the Board, manage all securities, properties and funds belonging to the” University. To further support those functions, the bylaws allow for the election of an Assistant Treasurer who “shall have the authority and perform the duties of the Treasurer in the case of the Treasurer’s absence or incapacity and any other duties prescribed by the Board.” (Bylaws of the Trustees of Purdue University). The guidelines that operationalize those functions can be found in several university policies including Delegation of the President’s Authority (V.B.5) and further delegations in Executive Vice President and Treasurer Memorandums A-19 and A-35.

Within the authorities granted in these documents, the Assistant Treasurers duties range from executing contracts and agreements on behalf of the Treasurer to approving endowment agreements to directly approving any transaction or contractual commitment over $500,000. The Assistant Treasurer also assists with pre-reviewing and recommending approval contractual commitments over $500,000 including real estate leases and professional services.

And, finally, but perhaps the most significant role, the Assistant Treasurer is responsible for monitoring the delegation and application of treasurer authorities throughout the organization. This responsibility can be seen in the ongoing emphasis on training, transaction audits and process improvement initiatives within the Finance unit. It is through these activities that the role of the Assistant Treasurer, through the Finance team, safeguards the financial integrity of the university.

Welcome to the New Finance Newsletter! 

We hope you find some helpful information in our “inaugural” edition of a new communication tool for the Finance team.  The purpose of this new communication channel is to provide organizational updates and promote new initiatives.  Content will be driven by organizational needs but also from suggestions and requests from Finance leaders and staff.  The newsletter and the infrastructure around it are still under construction, however, there are several topics that are important to share.  Please see below for information about the FY23 Engagement Initiatives, the recently launched Emotional Intelligence professional development initiative, and other Finance related information. Finally, don’t forget to vote for a Newsletter name!