Kuali Financial System Is a Comprehensive Administrative Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Kuali Financial System is a comprehensive administrative suite designed to incorporate the needs of universities, colleges, commercial firms, and interested organizations that share a common interest of open, modular, and distributed systems in a cheaper, more efficient way. The system is designed to meet the individual needs of each organization that can be implemented for efficiency. The software package contains internal controls that administration can implement for the organizations needs where transactions are input one time and the information is routed to every individual who needs it, including persons who need to approve the transactions, persons who just need to know, and persons who use the information to prepare various reports.

The system can be implemented with administrative controls and features that are unique to the organization. The administrator can dictate in the system the work flow process, internal controls on where information flows, approval mechanisms, including primary and secondary approvals, what each user is allowed to view, as well as "special conditions" for some or all documents (McNeely, 2006). Organizations usually have certain persons who are responsible for the accuracy of the individual business accounts. Large organizations usually have Accountants responsible for certain accounts and a CPA who is responsible for the accuracy of all accounts for financial statement purposes. Transactions can be routed to the Accountants, and once approved by the Accountant, routed to the CPA for a second approval. For transactions above certain amounts, or based on a dollar value, the system can be set up with specialized routing so they can be routed to the CFO and CEO for approval or just for "For Your Information" purposes.

For large organizations, the system can be set up to be managed centrally and each unit, or department, creates their own structure for their department (Hollamon, 2007). The workflow sets the business rules in detail where all transactions comply with laws and the organizational policy. Information is entered once in "transaction documents" one time. The initiator immediately receives feedback on the validity of the information and whether it is in compliance. For example, suppose a new employee working as an Accounts Payable Clerk, still unsure of how things are done, enters an expense for a capital asset fund into a general fund expense account. The system will immediately give feedback of the error for correction. After the error is corrected, the system will route the transaction to the Accountant responsible for the accuracy of the account for approval. Once the Accountant approves the transaction, it is then routed to the CPA for approval for financial statement purposes. The document will then show up on the Accounts Payable Clerk's action list as completed.

For a horizontal view, information can be routed to one person to be compiled into one document and forwarded for approval. For example, department heads do the evaluations of their own employees for annual merit raises. The information is sent to the HR director, who compiles the information into one report. The document is then sent to the CEO for approval. Once the approval is given, the document will show up again in the HR director's Action list. From there, the HR director then changes the employee information in the system to validate the merit raises.

The eDoc Lite is a system mechanism that creates simple data entry forms directly within the routing system with routing rules created around it (Hollamon, 2007). Department heads can use this mechanism to help set up their own department structure for a vertical workflow. The eDoc Lite can be used to create a "things to be done" form in the routing system with routing instructions to department employees. For example, if the department head needs to call a unit meeting with all the employees in their unit, the eDoc Lite form can serve as a notification to all the employees in that department.

Transactions can also be set up using eDoc Lite with routing instructions to the proper person. For example, suppose a donor has donated a sum of money to be designated for a scholarship fund. Once the donor has given the money to the university, the data can be set up in its own fund and entered into an eDoc Lite data form to be routed to the Financial Aide Department Head. The data form will show up on the Department head's action list. The department head can then distribute the funds to students based on the donor's demands.

The Kuali Financial System has the ability to submit purchase orders directly to the vendor (The Kuali Financial System: Community-Developed Software for Education, 2010). Purchases that are needed on a regular basis and pre-approved can be submitted by the Purchase Department Director directly to the vendor even though they are outside the organization. When the vendor has filled the order, they can submit the sales invoice directly to the Purchase Department director through the Kuali system. Outside grant companies can send notices of available grants directly to the CEO. The CEO can communicate directly with the outside grant company through the system.

Downward workflow consists of notices from the CEO to all employees, including procedural changes, policy changes, or new procedural implementations. The downward workflow can also come from the top management to the department directors. The CPA can prepare statistical reports on the performance of each department. Once they are completed, they can be sent to the CEO for review. The statistical reports are then sent to the department directors to review. These reports can also have notes attached to them from the CEO for communication between the CEO and the department heads.

The budget process starts with the department directors. Each department director prepares a departmental budget request. The data is entered into the budget form in eDoc Lite and forwarded to the CFO for approval. The CFO can then evaluate the budget requests from all the department directors into an overall budget request. Once the CFO inputs the data into the request form, it can be forwarded to the CEO for approval. The CEO can then discuss the budget with the Board of Directors. Once the overall budget is approved, the form will show up on the CFO's action list. The CFO then approves and the department budget forms are sent back to the department director's action list. If a department director wants to know the status of the approval, they can search the form in the audit trail and see where the form is in the overall approval process.

The system keeps log of all the forms and transactions with an audit trail. Each document is assigned a unique identifier that is global across the enterprise. The audit trail will show who input the data, where it was routed, who has approved, and what the status is for the particular document. Searches in the audit trail can be searched based on document content associated with work flow in document search screens.

Fiscal Managers, or Accountants and top management, will have the option to approve, disapprove, delete, or send to someone else for approval. For example, suppose the Accounts Payable Clerk has an expense item from the Purchases Department that is not a regular approved item. Once the Accounts Payable Clerk enters the transaction, it is flowed to the Accountant for approval. The Accountant chooses to flow to the CPA for approval. The CPA may choose to flow directly to the CFO for approval. Administrative internal controls can also be implemented where these kinds of items automatically flow to the CFO for approval by the system. If controls are set for these documents under "special conditions" they will flow to the administrator instructed in the control demands.

The Kuali Financial System contains unlimited scalability. There is no limit to the number of users, accounts, eDoc Lite forms,…

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