Thank you, and looking ahead - a note from Steve Murphy

July 31, 2023

Welcome to the new fiscal year!

My message for you is simple – Thank You.

Thank you for what you have done, what you continue to do, and the outstanding progress on how you do it!

Together we accomplished a lot in FY23–providing essential day-to-day financial services, information, and advice to the Yale community, which is ultimately what we are here to do. From revenue and expense to assets and liabilities, from payroll to payments and purchasing, from sponsored projects to taxes and tuition, from invoices to investments to intake, from QA and monitoring to deep diving and auditing, from Workday to Jaggaer to Eagle to YBT to Salesforce to Power BI to TouchNet, and so much more – you made it happen. You played a vital role in keeping this dynamic, complex $5 billion world-class research university operating well through the ups and downs, twists and turns, opportunities, and challenges of the past year.

In addition to day-to-day financial operations, there was a real focus on a few key building blocks to secure Finance’s current and future success in supporting Yale’s mission to change the world.

We celebrated, supported, and continued building the Finance team. We had multiple celebrations that brought staff together. 

We recognize this team works hard and needs to take time to celebrate our accomplishments and each other. 

It’s ok to take time away from work and reflect on a job well done and lessons learned and to get to know your colleagues outside the daily deliverables and project work. We also onboarded staff into over 60 positions and created Finance Foundations, an onboarding program to help facilitate a stronger transition into Finance roles for new employees and their managers. Over the last year, we have done some of the best hiring ever in Finance – kudos to the hiring managers, and welcome new staff!

We focused on strengthening our internal controls. We defined our common aspiration or “North Star,” which is to simplify and standardize financial services to make life easier where everyone has a role in building a strong culture of financial integrity, insight, and stewardship of Yale resources.

Some North Star highlights from FY23 include launching the OneFinance program, developing and communicating new policies (like Contracting – Policy 3210), procedures (like the MEI-RFID system and process), and project governance (like the Finance Project Portfolio) to create a culture that focuses on the highest priorities while creating a stronger financial community. We resourced a finance training team, delivered several new trainings (in addition to Finance Foundations), and are building a framework and curriculum to move us toward a robust financial training infrastructure.

Last but far from least, we continued to build and strengthen a positive work environment in Finance. We revamped our Culture Survey to reflect how far we have come and what we still want to be true going forward. We engaged the Extended Leadership Team (ELT) to help move the needle further with key initiatives to enhance the workplace. We believe that HOW is as important as WHAT and have incorporated that into our performance management process. We realigned our current space in Science Park and continue to focus on a hybrid work environment and what that means for staff in Finance.  

Looking ahead to FY24, I am confident we will continue to build on these foundations. When you participated in your Compass Conversation this month, you might have noticed that the overarching goals in Finance did not change much. We have made tremendous progress, but we still have much to do. I like that. I am excited to see how we build on the foundational blocks this year. 

Based on the projects in the FY24 Finance Project Portfolio and the work underway, we’re off to a fantastic start.

Thank You for the great work that each of you is doing every single day. Your work matters. To you. To your colleagues. To Yale. To the world – through the teaching, research, and practice you make happen each day. I will get the results from the Compass Cascade in a few weeks, and I’m excited to hear what you are proud of from FY23 and excited about for FY24. I’m looking forward to sharing, celebrating, and answering your questions. Stay tuned.