Recent Organization Changes in Finance

August 7, 2020

Dear Yale Finance and Audit colleagues,
I want to elaborate on the information shared in the Finance All-Hands meeting yesterday. 

In October 2019, we started an operational review in Yale Shared Services (YSS) that was initially in response to a leadership change. We started with questions focused on YSS like, “What was the best way to improve operations, and what structure and processes would that require?” Based on input from 160+ interviews with YSS staff, other Finance employees, and the Yale business community, we realized we had the opportunity to broaden our thinking. The question then turned to: “How can we use this opportunity to advance Finance’s mission and what would that take?”

Our conclusion was far from simple, and the actions we considered were extremely challenging. In the end, I feel confident we have made the best decisions for where we are going as a Finance organization. 

So, what are we doing? We’re building a stronger Finance by integrating staff into teams responsible for the end-to-end lifecycle of a financial process – from policy to transaction. We’re focusing those teams on continuous improvement of our core processes, e.g., procure-to-pay, record-to-report, so they can work together to reduce rework and error rates and improve quality. 

Below is a recap of some of the practical details of these organization changes (for more information find the All-Hands slides and the article we will send to the business community next week): 

  • We are retiring the Yale Shared Services name and as a current team structure. These have served us well and gotten us to where we are today. Now we need to evolve and simplify our operation for the future. We’re positioning ourselves so we can continue to improve the quality of our policies and processes, and strengthen compliance and internal controls.

  • The transaction teams for the service areas of Payroll, Accounts Payable and Payment Services (APPS), Accounting and Financial Services (AFS), and YSS Tax are moving into the department that is responsible for the policy and process.

  • The financial transaction and services work is not going away; rather it will be done with a clear focus on Finance’s mission, my #1 FY21 goal, and with greater collaboration and clear ownership.

  • There were some positions that were eliminated.

  • 30 employees will report into Procurement effective September 1. 

  • 16 employees will report into the Controller’s Office effective September 1. 

  • 12 employees will report into Finance Operations, a new team, effective September 1.

  • We will invest in training and development through the new Finance Operations team to equip employees further with changing demands. 

  • On January 1, we will be integrating the Quality Assurance (QA) team – currently in Audit – into the Controller’s Office QA team, and we will invest in advancing the Controller’s Office’s plan for strengthening QA and monitoring.

I have come to believe these changes will enhance our ability to provide high quality, reliable services in a complex and changing environment … making it easier to deliver on our mission. By bringing together people who do related work into the same team, it’s easier to find and fix problems, collaborate, and improve processes, and there are more opportunities for professional and career development for individuals and teams. This is not just theoretical: I have already seen the benefit of these more integrated working arrangements in Finance, and it’s exciting.

As I said earlier, I understand these changes will affect everyone to varying degrees. This will be a big change for some and not for others, but I ask that we all show up as One Finance, and support each other through this transition, whether you are whole-heartedly welcoming new team members or proactively anticipating concerns or patiently answering questions or something else that feels genuine to you. No matter what, I ask that everyone approach these changes with an open mind and focus on continuing to do our important work. Please know that I see our organization as evolving, and I will always look for ways we can get better. I hope I can count on you to join me.

Finally, on Friday, August 28, I will be launching the Compass Cascade in Finance, a series of discussions to get your thoughts and feedback about our FY21 goals. These will be done using the new team structure, and I’m eager to hear from you about what you’re proud of, how you can contribute to Finance’s goals this year, and whatever questions are on your mind – about the goals, the organization change, or other topics.

Thank you for the work you’re doing to support Yale every day, and as always, good, bad, or otherwise I welcome your feedback, comments, and questions. 

Best regards.