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  Are you curious about any aspect of Resources and Operations? Email your question to rocreport@uwo.ca and we will publish the answer in our next issue.  

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Craig Clifford, Stephen Cribar, Melanie Harvey, Gitta Kulczycki, Emmet Lecompte, Mike McLean, Gord Robinson, Elaine Roswell, Ashley Royer, Katie Wall, Brandon Watson, Carolyn Young

Louise Gadbois and Kelly Hunt, Graphic Services, Western University

Kelvin Wu

The purpose of the ROC Report is to inform our colleagues about people, activities and events in Resources and Operations.
Phone: 519-661-3520 ext 88251
E-mail: rocreport@uwo.ca
Internet: www.rocreport.uwo.ca

2008 Spring/Summer
2008 Fall/Winter
2009 Winter
2009 Summer
2009 Fall
2010 Spring/Summer
2010 Fall
2011 Spring/Summer
2012 Spring/Summer

Financial Services

Elaine Roswell, Purchasing, Financial Services, roswell@uwo.ca

Since the last ROC Report was issued, Financial Services has been a busy place and we are happy to share some of our stories and successes with the Resources & Operations Team:

Long Service Awards

This spring, we set aside time to recognize our long service employees. Staff members who had reached service milestones of 5, 10, 20, 25, 30 and 40 years of service within Financial Services, were celebrated. A special thank you to the 10 staff members with 20 years of service or more - together they have more than 270 years of experience! Thank you to all our staff for their commitment and loyalty.


In late July, we wrapped up our 3rd annual summer doubles badminton tournament. The 20 players who signed up were randomly paired up to create 10 teams who challenged for the title of champion. The double-knockout format ensured every team played a minimum of 2 matches and all games took place over the lunch hour at the Western Student Rec Centre.

Congratulations to this year's winners, Lape Adeniran and Alberto Alvarez.

Financial Services Olympics

As the world's best athletes made their way to the "other" London to compete in the Summer Olympics, Financial Services was making final preparations for its own version of the games. Staff members were randomly assigned to one of ten country teams and, following our own version of the opening ceremonies (complete with an Olympic torch), competed in five different events: boxing, sailing, table tennis, discus, and a trivia challenge. Winners were announced at the closing ceremonies with gold, silver and bronze medals presented to the victors by Western's very own Olympic specialist, Dr. Bob Barney. Congratulations to gold medalists Team Brazil - Diane Stechly-Hoover, Ab Birch, Jennifer Maxwell, Kirsi McLandress and Kim Groves!

Sustainability Challenge

Organized by co-op students from Western's Masters in Environment and Sustainability program, Facilities Management and Financial Services squared off with an environmental challenge this summer. The goal was to see which department was more diligent in reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. Reusable cups, composting, and finding ways to reduce our collective environmental impact were the order of the day.

  Kirsi McLandress donned rubber gloves to rummage through our waste to ensure that we were all compliant with our sorting. "Trash" talking was rampant between the parties, but by the time the results were in, it was clear that Finance took the lead by reducing their landfill waste output by an impressive 82%. Thanks to Kirsi, we are all now very aware of the waste diversion options available on campus and continue to look for ways to reduce our waste output to minimize our impact on natural resources.

Western Office Supplies Closes

After more than 50 years of service to the Western Community, Western Office Supplies closed their doors at the end of July. While we were sad to see this chapter of our history come to an end, we welcomed three new companies as preferred vendors for office supplies. Training sessions were held to introduce Grand and Toy, Xerox and OE London to Western and to ensure a smooth transition to online ordering. In an effort to ease the transition to these new processes, we created a number of tip sheets, order guides, FAQ sheets, and even an instructional video. There have been a few growing pains with the new processes, however, they have helped to reduce costs campus-wide and provide a more efficient delivery method.

Financial Services Retreat

In October, Financial Services held a Team Retreat. Event objectives included:

Identifying and sharing team successes
Learning about major improvement initiatives in Financial Services
Learning about Western's international and research priorities and our clients' changing financial needs
Reflecting on the changing nature of Financial Services and our role at Western
Providing feedback to update the Financial Services' Mission, Vision, Values

The agenda also included a visit from local artist Sarah Cowling - she encouraged everyone to tap into their creative side with an artistic activity. The results will be on display in SSB 6100 in the new year! Stop by to learn more. You'll be amazed to see just how creative financially-minded individuals can be!

Janet Biondi, Financial Risk Officer, shared the status of the Annual Administrative Accountability Report and the Tri-Council Review. The Accountability Report was extended to all faculties and departments in 2012. It is designed to strengthen Western's accountability framework and to maintain our commitment to the highest standard of financial management. The report assists in highlighting the most important areas and ensures a continuous awareness on the part of those with financial management responsibilities. This report is to ensure compliance with the University's policies and procedures in addition to ensuring that standards are maintained and consistent.

In February 2011, the Tri-Councils (NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC, NCE and CRC) conducted a monitoring visit at Western to assess the administrative and financial controls in place for managing agency funds in accordance with their guidelines. The final report was received in August 2012 and contained several findings and recommendations. Several of these findings have already been addressed, and Research Finance is currently reviewing and implementing practices to ensure that we are compliant with government requirements, the Tri Council guidelines, and corporate policies.

The Research Accounting unit has changed its name to Research Finance to better reflect the scope of activities and services provided (financial reporting, expenditure monitoring, cash flow management, financial analysis and forecasting, compliance oversight, fund transfers/disbursements and audit facilitation).

e-Procurement was another point of discussion at our retreat. Elizabeth Krische and Alexis Fowler talked about their investigations in various e-Procurement solutions available on the market. The goal of e-Procurement is to provide our users with end-users with easy access to preferred suppliers offering cost savings and opportunities of collaboration. In addition, an e-Procurement solution automates many of the low value transactions and frees up time for the Procurement and Accounts Payable teams to focus on more value-added activities such as strategic sourcing, vendor and invoice auditing and management. Elizabeth noted that since the beginning of the Procure to Pay (P2P) project in 2008, the volume of purchase orders has decreased by 36% and the volume of invoices have dropped by 50%, while the use of the corporate VISA has increased by 600%. However, we are still seeing far too many purchase orders under the $10,000 limit for true procurement involvement: only 2,000 of the 24,000 purchase orders processed last fiscal were over $10,000. So we need to do something drastically different to be able to move from our very tactical processes to a strategic focus. An RFP to look at potential solutions has been issued and is under evaluation. As well, a business case recommending the implementation of an e-Procurement at Western is anticipated to go forward to senior management in the next few weeks.

The day concluded with a revisit to the unit's Vision, Mission and Values statements. A sub-committee was struck to review the current Vision, Mission and Values statements and come back to the unit in February with their recommendations on any changes required.

A special thank you to guest speakers Julie McMullin and Dan Sinai, as well as our retreat facilitator, Andrew Fuller!

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