Culture Survey Q&A - June 2023

June 30, 2023

Does Yale Finance have a pulse on how our competitors/other Ivy league institutions match up in terms of financial integrity, finance culture, stewardship of resources and other themes of the OneFinance initiative? Has the fraud caused Yale to be a front runner in this mission or is there anything we can learn from what other institutions are doing to prevent such frauds from occurring in the future?

We frequently inquire and survey our peers to understand their best practices in this area. We were told by our External Auditors that we are leading the effort of developing a strong culture of financial integrity, insight, and stewardship of resources.

On October 6, 2022, the Offices of the President, Provost, Deans, and Vice Presidents all signed a reaffirmation of Yale’s culture of integrity and ethical conduct. We know of no other university who has issued a joint statement regarding ethical conduct.

Our peers regularly inquire with the Finance Leadership on our progress and initiatives so that they can learn from our past mistakes and leverage our best practices.

How is Finance perceived by the business units that we serve – and what is the trajectory (improving/worsening)?

We constantly try to improve our services and strengthen our relationships with the business units we serve. One of the goals with the OneFinance program is to make work easier for everyone at the university through simplifying and standardizing financial services. In recent months we have received positive feedback on our efforts.

I’m in the accounting area of Finance team. Accounting is different than a lot of other areas – it needs strategic leaders but also it asks the leaders to be more hands on than most of the other areas. I feel a lot of our mid-level leaders are spending too much time in meetings instead of engaging themselves in ‘real’ problem solving. When they are remote from ‘real’ work for a long time, it is going to be hard to understand what’s going on. Is the Finance leadership aware of this potential problem and is there a plan to improve?

Yale has traditionally been a place where consensus is valued and as a result this can lead to a significant amount of time in meetings. The goal of any meeting is to further our understanding of what is happening across the university. We are exploring how to make hybrid work more effective, and this includes understanding which meetings are necessary to attend and making sure meetings aim to increase learning around a topic and are designed to move work forward. We are also working on a plan for Tuesdays, when much of the Finance organization is in the office, that we do not have as many meetings scheduled. This is a work in progress but should allow for more interaction and better engagement.