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A New Era Begins!

July 1, 2011 - Division of Financial Affairs, Kuali Financial System at Cornell

Keywords: Kuali Financial System, Kuali Foundation

The following is a post from the Kuali Financial System at Cornell Blog.

A new era of finance begins at Cornell University!

In a shower of cheers and confetti, Cornell began a new era in finance with the launch of the Kuali Financial System (KFS). The new system was christened in a ceremony held in the East Hill Office Building where Leslie Planck, account representative from the College of Veterinary Medicine Accounting Service Center, submitted the first e-doc (electronic document) of fiscal year 2012. Following the ceremony, KFS was released campus-wide.

KFS is a Web-based, comprehensive suite of accounting software that replaces Cornell’s decades-old, unsustainable mainframe financial systems. The new system provides electronic routing and approval of paperless documents and is supplemented by a new data-modeled information delivery and reporting tool.

"We did it! We have the best financial system ever. I want to thank every person here for your blood, sweat and tears. The fruits of our labor are just beginning, and we are really going to see the potential of this system over the next 20 years," said Cornell Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer Joanne DeStefano, who opened the ceremony.

More than six years after the system was first introduced to DeStefano, the project has come to fruition. The majority of work was completed during a two-year collaboration among the Division of Financial Affairs, Cornell Information Technologies, and the campus community. "It takes vision and a huge amount of initiative, guts, as well as tenacity . . . to arrive at this extraordinarily important moment in the development of systems at Cornell: software of, by and for higher education," said Ted Dodds, Cornell Vice President for Information Technology and Chief Information Officer.

The project solicited functional input from more than 500 financial professionals across campus to create a new accounting structure, business processes, and financial reporting tools. "This implementation impacts thousands of people; we would not have been able to accomplish it without the help of our many, many partners on campus. I am enormously appreciative of their efforts," said Kim Yeoh, Cornell Associate Controller and KFS Project Director.

While the campus-wide release of KFS is an important milestone – as it includes rollout of the Chart of Accounts, Financial Processing, Purchasing, Accounts Payable, Labor Distribution and Contracts and Grants modules, as well as a new data warehouse and basic reporting features – it is still largely limited to Cornell’s "business critical" financial needs.

Over the next year, the KFS team will stabilize the system, deliver additional modules (Capital Assets, Effort Certification, Budget Construction, Endowment, Travel, and Accounts Receivable), and provide enhanced reporting. The final phase of the project will culminate June 30, 2012, with the completion of these tasks.

Anne Shapiro, University Controller, perhaps said it best: "I had only one goal all along, and that was to turn on the switch. I always knew my goal would be met through the concept of a team pulling together for two years; not just the KFS team, but the entire university. And I am actually quite moved by that."

Extensive support resources for KFS are available on DFA’s KFS Support Web site. Project information can be found on the KFS Web site.

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