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As a member of the Kuali Foundation, Cornell has partnered with other colleges and universities in a community-source model to develop the Kuali Financial System (KFS). KFS is a contemporary, comprehensive suite of financial accounting software based on Indiana University’s financial information system, and built to meet the unique requirements of higher education.

Cornell is implementing KFS to replace its aging, unsustainable mainframe financial systems and bring Cornell’s financial technology into the 21st century. The current systems have been in place since the 1970s, and Cornell’s ability to support and maintain the legacy mainframe application is a significant risk that KFS addresses. Additional goals are to improve financial transaction processing with standardization across departments, new workflow features that include a single inbox of action items for users, and enhanced reporting.

This system will provide better financial data for decision making through a new chart of accounts informed by reporting and analysis needs, and will result in more effective and efficient use of reporting tools, minimizing the number of different tools used and eliminating the need for ancillary systems.

On this page:

KFS Modules

KFS at Cornell will include these modules:

  • Chart of Accounts
  • Financial Processing
  • Purchasing
  • Accounts Payable
  • Capital Assets
  • Labor Distribution and Effort Certification
  • Contracts and Grants
  • Endowment
  • Travel
  • Accounts Receivable

The table below compares the financial tools Cornell uses today with the KFS tools that will replace them.

Existing to KFS Comparison

The KFS Accounts Receivable module will provide new functionality not available in the legacy system.

Legacy Financial System Kuali Financial System
Chart of Accounts Chart of Accounts with KFS structure
Mainframe General Ledger KFS General Ledger, Endowment Module
Automated Procurement and Payment System (APPS) Purchasing and Accounts Payable Modules
Capital Asset information from APPS
Capital Asset management residing in the MAC system
Capital Assets Module
Journal Entry Management System (JEMS) From the Financial Processing Module:
Auxiliary Voucher
Budget Adjustment
Credit Card Receipt
Distribution of Income and Expense
General Error Correction
Internal Billing
Transfer of Funds
  • YE Budget Adjustment
  • YE Distribution of Income and Expense
  • YE General Error Correction
  • YE Transfer of Funds
Cash Receipt Forms Advance Deposit
Large Billings (telephone, etc.) Collector Feeds
Payment Request Disbursement Voucher
Online Travel System (reimbursement) KFS Travel Module
ADAF-Retro Adjustments Salary Expense Transfers
Payment Authority Fiscal Officer and Organization Review


What is the schedule to implement KFS at Cornell?

Implementation began in July 2009 and will occur in three phases toward completion in July 2012. During phase one, we will prepare for the launch of a pre-production chart of accounts and general ledger to be released on July 1, 2010. These will run alongside the legacy system for all of fiscal year 2011.

Work in phase one includes transactional business process analysis to help us understand KFS workflow and map current working processes to KFS functionality. Other efforts build the foundation for the modules, application interfaces, data conversion, and reporting requirements that are scheduled for release in July 2011, at the end of phase two.

At that time, most of the modules and a new data warehouse will go live, including basic reporting. KFS will then become Cornell’s book of record. During the third phase, scheduled to end on June 30, 2012, we will stabilize the system, deliver the remaining modules, and provide enhanced reporting.


What makes the KFS implementation different?
  • KFS was built in a community source model, “by higher ed, for higher ed,” and is tailored for the unique needs of a university. Cornell assisted with functional design and development, and we are among the first to adopt KFS.
  • It’s one of the largest system implementations ever at Cornell, affecting nearly 5,000 staff and faculty. Approximately 500 people will use the KFS operational system, and more than 4,000 will access KFS data through reporting.
  • All implementation work is driven by functional need, a different paradigm from typical enterprise system implementations. Technical work is focused on delivering functionality as defined by the functional teams, though technical staff are encouraged to offer suggestions.
  • Business analysis has been critical to the project. Working with functional experts on process analysis, interfaces, information delivery and reporting, and more, business analysts are integral members of the team.