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Business Matters November 2016

November 1, 2016

Quarterly Business Forum

The next Business Forum is scheduled for Tuesday, November 8, 2016 from 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm in Baker University Center 240. The meeting will be broadcast via Adobe Connect and can be accessed here: November Business Forum Broadcast. Please mark your calendars.

Questions? Contact Finance and Administration Communication & Training at

Holiday and Winter Break Closure Days

As indicated in Ohio University’s Policy #41.125, Human Resources annually issues an official list of holiday observance dates. Please note that Winter Break Closure (WBC) is not considered holiday leave. Refer to policy #41.001, Vacation and Winter Closure Time for Administrative and Classified Employees for details.

As a reminder, the Holidays and Winter Closures schedules were posted in the August Business Matters on pages 2-3 as well as on the Human Resources web page in the Holidays and Winter Closure Schedules Memo.

Questions? Contact the Employee Service Center at or 740-593-1636.

Benefits Advisory Council Takes on New Tasks

Ohio University’s Benefits Advisory Council (BAC) has resumed meeting this fall. Chaired by Professor of Biomedical Sciences Susan Williams and Chief Human Resources Officer Colleen Bendl, the BAC was established in 2014. The group is charged with analyzing, and making recommendations related to, University benefit plan designs in conformance with the guiding principles and strategies defined by the Total Compensation Committee (TCC) under the direction of the President. The BAC explores options and suggests changes that meet the objectives and goals established by the TCC.

Goals for the BAC this year include developing a new three-year strategy regarding benefits costs, ensuring health plans are not subject to the Affordable Care Act high cost “Cadillac Plan” tax while minimizing any negative impact on employee costs and benefits, and a review of dental plan benefits.

In the past two years the BAC’s recommendations have included changes to cost sharing and premiums paid by employees, the addition of two new vision plans, the addition of a short term disability plan, and changes regarding benefits eligibility rules for administrative and classified staff positions.

Questions? Find more information on the BAC web page.

University to Stop Courtesy Tax Withholding January 1

As a reminder, beginning January 1, Ohio University will discontinue its practice of courtesy tax withholding for municipalities. This change will affect any employee who currently has a local tax withheld in addition to the tax for the municipality they work in.

As taxpayers, all Ohio University employees pay taxes in the town where they live and in the town where they work. If these are separate municipalities, employees owe taxes to both. In Ohio, employers are required to withhold federal and state taxes from an employee’s paycheck, as well as local taxes for the municipality in which the employer is located or maintains a physical presence. However, employers are not required to withhold local taxes for the municipality in which the employee lives.

This information was shared via e-mail to Ohio University employees on September 30, published in the October Business Matters and published in Compass on October 4.

Questions? Contact Robert A. Payne, tax manager, at 740-597-1721 or

Performance Management Pilot Begins

As a reminder, in response to the recent Campus Climate Survey, Ohio University is exploring a new approach to performance management with a pilot program that began in August. Administrative staff and supervisors from several planning units including College of Health Sciences and Professions, University College, Undergraduate Admissions, Office of Information Technology, and Human Resources are participating in a pilot program to evaluate new performance management training, forms and processes. A similar pilot involving Classified staff and supervisors is planned for 2017-2018. The Performance Management Pilot will help the University move towards the goal of a consistent, campus-wide approach to performance management.

The new process focuses on the importance of providing performance feedback and frequent “check-in” discussions between employees and their supervisors throughout the year.

The performance management pilot group will evaluate this training, and training modules will be updated as needed based on comments and insights from the pilot training sessions. Several general sessions on these topics will be offered to University employees beginning this fall.

More information regarding specific dates, times, and locations for the general training sessions will be available soon. For more information about the Performance Management Pilot program, please contact your HR Liaison or Lewis Mangen, Director of Talent and Organizational Development, at

University Launches OHIO Ready Staff Program

Ohio University will launch a pilot program for providing temporary office and accounting staffing assistance in December. The OHIO Ready Staff pilot program will be run by the Finance and Administration Business Service Center, but open to all University departments on the Athens campus, and will offer temporary accounting or office staffing support to fill gaps left by sick leaves or other paid or unpaid time off, peak work times or hiring processes.

All staff hired into, or placed through, the OHIO Ready Staff program will be trained full-time Ohio University Employees. Those employees will be trained in software and systems including BobcatBUY, OnBase, Peoplesoft, Cashnet, Concur, Microsoft Office, FMS, Oracle, and more. OHIO Ready Staff will be equipped to perform duties such as travel itineraries, calendar management, customer service, clerical support, journal entries, procurement, business and accounting.

According to Tina Payne, Chief Finance and Administrative Officer (CFAO) for the division of Finance and Administration, OHIO Ready Staff will create a cost effective pool of employees who can meet short term staffing needs. The program will limit training expenses and downtime for  departments and create a pipeline of trained and tested talent for the University. OHIO Ready Staff may also serve as an entry point for qualified individuals seeking employment opportunities at the University.

Departments wishing to utilize the OHIO Ready Staff program may complete a staffing request form on the OHIO Ready Staff web page. Those departments utilizing the OHIO Ready Staff program will be billed at an hourly rate.

OHIO Ready Staff positions for the pilot program were posted through Human Resources and any future positions will also be posted on the Ohio University Jobs web page.

For more information, please visit the OHIO Ready Staff web page, or contact Mindy Colburn at or 740-597-3269.

PaymentNET Enhancement

PaymentNet is adding software enhancements beginning November 7.

New Cardholder Welcome Screen

On the Welcome screen, a new Activate link will display in the Items Awaiting Your Action panel when the cardholder has a new card account that needs to be activated. Clicking the link will prompt the user to confirm the account number and activate the card so that it is ready for use.

New Password Requirements

With the new release, users will be required to include at least one uppercase character and one lowercase character in their passwords. After the release goes live, all new users will be required to follow these requirements when creating their password. Existing users will be required to comply with the new requirements when their current password expires or when they change their password voluntarily.

Security Questions

Users will be required to review and, if necessary, update their security questions the first time they log in to PaymentNet after the new release goes live. This enhancement provides improved security by replacing two questions for which the answers could be found in public records. Subsequently, when a user is required to answer security questions (such as when resetting a password), two questions will be chosen at random from the questions the user answered. If the user cannot answer both sets of questions correctly, a new set of questions will be displayed.

Browser Support

The following browsers support PaymentNet with this release: Microsoft Internet Explorer® 9, 10, and 11 and Mozilla Firefox® 38 and above.

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at or 740-597-6446.

Updates to JPMC Purchasing Card

Recently there has been a delay in issuance of purchasing cards by JPMC’s card processor; however, Procure to Pay Services can now order cards directly online with JPMC and as a result has seen a reduction in delivery times back to the normal seven to ten days.

JPMC is transitioning away from the company that issues their credit cards and handles the processing on behalf of JPMC/MasterCard for our account and many others. Because a processor issues the actual plastic PCard and processes the transactions, this switch will necessitate the reissuance of OHIO PCards again in March.

This issuance will differ from recent reissuances as all old cards will cease to work on March 20, 2017, which is the tentative date provided by JPMC. It will be very important on this conversion to act expediently on pickup and activation of new cards.

The PCard team will reach out to Financial Managers in each Planning Unit beginning in early December to collect an updated listing of the unit’s PCard holders to ensure that PCards are reissued correctly. Additional information will be communicated on this initiative as it becomes available.

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at or 740-597-6446.

New Direct Payment List Available

Procure to Pay Services, along with the P2P Partner Group, has updated the approved uses for a Direct Payment. Please visit the Direct Payment List web page for the updated listing.

Questions? contact Finance Customer Care at or 740-597-6446.

New Office Depot Platform Launches in BobcatBUY

Effective October 31 the Office Max catalog in BobcatBUY will convert to the Office Depot platform. The punch-out from BobcatBUY will have a new look and feel, with better search capabilities and features. The catalog will more closely resemble the retail website with an easy search tool and better descriptions and pictures. Campus customers can expect the same delivery schedules with next day delivery to their desks.

A user guide is available to support employees in utilizing the new Office Depot platform. For training support and access to BobcatBUY visit the BobCatBUY webpage.

Registering their PCards through Office Depot and the Ohio University Procurement Office will enable users to buy Office Depot products in stores with their PCards. This will impact employees who live and work near regional campuses, such as Lancaster, where Office Depot stores are located.

Also available with the new upgrade is the ability to buy discounted office supplies for personal use (with a personal credit card) by signing up and logging in to the Office Depot Community Portal. This link is for on-line purchases only at this time. 

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at or 740-597-6446.

Delta Standby Benefit Available Through Altour

A new Priority Standby benefit is available for Delta corporate travelers booking through Altour. The new Priority Standby benefit grants travelers tie-breaker priority over other similarly situated customers. When making reservations through Altour, customers must provide a corporate ID, which alerts the ticket counter that the reservation is eligible for Priority Standby. 

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at or 740-597-6446.

Ohio University Purchasing Order Terms and Conditions Updated

Ohio University has updated Purchase Order and Contract Terms and Conditions. They are also included in the Comprehensive IC Agreement Form and the Independent Contractor Agreement EZ Forms found on the Finance Forms web page

It is critical that the terms on the template agreements be both sent to, and received back from, the supplier with their signature on agreement. The entire agreement, including terms, must be attached to the request in BobcatBUY. BobcatBUY suppliers will receive a link to the updated terms and conditions when a purchase order is sent electronically.

The most up-to-date contract forms should always be used. All updated contract forms are on the Finance Forms web page and will show the date of 10/14/2016 in the upper right corner. Procure to Pay Services will accept previous agreements through November 30, 2016. Beginning on December 1, 2016, new agreements must contain the updated Terms and Conditions.

Questions? Contact Finance Customer Care at or 740-597-6446.

Budget Updates

FY18 Budget Planning

The fall forecasting cycle for FY18 planning began in September with a staged roll-out of planning tools, templates, and materials. An overview of the FY18 planning timeline was presented at the August/September Budget Partner Group meeting. Training sessions were held in September to review the new Budget Sheet format, timeline and supplementary materials. Fall financial review meetings will be held in early November.

Questions? Connect with your
Budget Planning & Analysis contact or email

Financial System Enhancements: Pulse Evaluation Results and Updates

As announced in October, due to feedback from campus, the release of the Financial System Enhancements (FSE) project has been moved to fall 2017. As a reminder, the FSE project represents a combination of initiatives including the Chart of Accounts Redesign (COA), an updated Financial Approvers tool and the new Oracle Grants Accounting Module. Each of these building blocks will be supported with detailed reporting capabilities within OBI (Oracle Business Intelligence) and thorough training. The extended project timeline has allowed for the evaluation or opportunities to improve efficiency within Procure to Pay Services. This evaluation is currently underway and the results will be shared once decisions have been made as to how the Procure to Pay services, technology and business processes can be improved in the short term and long term. In addition to evaluating areas of improvement, wherever possible, the Project Team is looking for opportunities to release some of the enhancements before the Fall 2017 FSE Launch. Reporting functionality such as the HR/Payroll Reporting dashboards within OBI are planned to be available in early 2017. There may also be the opportunity to release the updated Financial Approvers tool prior to the launch of the new Chart of Accounts and the Oracle Grants Accounting Module. More details will be provided as the plan is solidified.

The Project Team is working diligently on finalizing Object Code values and mapping for the General Ledger and Oracle Grants Accounting. Object code values and descriptions will be reviewed with the COA Partner Group in September and released to campus for broader review and comment during the month of September. Mapping efforts continue in accordance with the plan to populate new chart values into an environment that will allow campus to review Chart of Account setup decisions and make changes as they feel necessary. Mapping will continue for the duration of the project as units add, modify, or identify inactivate values in the existing Chart of Accounts. 

Campus Support Activities

In September, an FSE Pulse Evaluation was distributed across campus via Compass and direct email to impacted faculty and staff. The purpose of this survey was to gauge the individual level of comfort, knowledge and perceived impact of the FSE project across campus. This was also an opportunity to evaluate the FSE Awareness Sessions that took place in August. The survey was sent to the Awareness Session registrants and individuals that receive monthly FMS reports via email, with a 15.4% response rate (295 responses). 30 faculty and 265 staff from 29 Academic and Academic Support Units responded. The results of the survey are summarized below.

FSE Pulse Evaluation Results

Respondents were asked to identify whether or not the projects would impact their day to day work, given the descriptions below.

Project Impact Areas Respondent Feedback
Chart of Accounts Redesign Impacts activities involving an accounting string, including purchasing in BobcatBUY, travel and PCard transactions in Concur, Workforce timesheet entry, any accounting forms, and transactions with Campus service providers 94% felt their day to day work  would be directly impacted
Enhanced reporting within OBI Impacts emailed reports available through the Report Distribution Module (RDM) including current FMS reports. Funds Available View will be accessed via an OBI dashboard 68% felt their day to day work  would be directly impacted
Oracle Grants Accounting Module Impacts reviewing or reporting on accounting activity including sponsored projects, capital projects, and internal awards such as faculty startups, faculty development and incentive funds, etc. 52% felt their day to day work would be directly impacted
Updated Financial Approvers Tool Impacts setting up BobcatBUY and Concur approvers by Planning Unit financial management 47% felt their day to day work  would be directly impacted

Respondents were asked to identify their level of comfort with the upcoming Financial System Enhancements projects.

Percentage Who Feel Comfortable With the Upcoming Changes Percentage Who Feel Uncomfortable With the Upcoming Changes
51% 49%

Training and communication will be geared to ensuring that the level of comfort with the upcoming changes increases as we approach the go-live. The Project Team will work with Planning Units individually to ensure that the training provided is as applicable to each Planning Unit’s unique processes as much as possible.

FSE Awareness Session Feedback

The goal of these sessions was to begin to spread awareness across campus about the upcoming FSE projects. Respondents were asked to rank whether the level of detail was appropriate and the content was applicable.

  • 88% stated that the level of detail provided in the sessions was appropriate
  • 86% stated that the content directly applied to their job duties
  • The general sentiments shared were that impacted users are ready for more hands-on interaction with the upcoming changes and that the Awareness Sessions were helpful in spreading awareness about the impacts

Thank you to those who participated in the first FSE Pulse Evaluation. The results will be used to ensure training and communication is appropriate.

Questions? Visit the COA Website for information, reach out directly to your Change Network member to share feedback or ask questions, or contact the FSE Project Team at