Department Digest - Compliance

September 29, 2023

We recently caught up with Lisa Varni, associate controller of Internal Controls and Compliance, who gave us the rundown on her team, what they’ve been working on, and what’s up next for them. Check out what she had to say.

Currently, the Compliance team is comprised of:

  • OneFinance: One of three operations strategic initiatives – a set of projects aimed at standardization & simplification.
  • Financial Compliance: A team focused on existing compliance programs (such as attestations, LAQ, CBPQ, etc.), management of the Financial Review Checklist (FRC) and related deep dives, central monitoring, and other projects.
  • Policy: The team that provides governance over policies and procedures, drafts new and updated policies and procedures, manages the exception process, has compliance oversight for USPs and ESAP activities, and tax-exempt bond compliance.
  • Finance Transformation: Focused on streamlining manual processes via automation and other technology-based tools.

What is the primary focus of your team’s work? 

Like all teams in Finance, we are focused on the North Star: To enable Yale’s mission, 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. Each area of my team is involved in projects supporting the North Star, some of which are described above.

What have been some of your/your team’s biggest accomplishments in the past year? 

Some of our team’s most exciting accomplishments over the past year include:

  • Finalization of the initial tranche of Source-to-Pay reporting metrics: Top vendor spend, count of transactions under a threshold, and discretionary spend.
  • Completion of the first pilot in the Financial Review Enhancement (FRE) project (3417 Human Study Subject Remuneration policy, procedure, and related forms).
  • Automation of the USP rate sheet annual update.
  • Worked with FSS to make significant enhancements to the Salesforce queue to enable tracking of metrics and data related to activity through the Controller’s Office inbox.

What projects are you looking forward to in the coming year?

  • The team has several exciting projects that will be focused on in the next year, here are some of examples:
  • Finance gateway project: A project that seeks to create a service catalog for easy access to the resources available to help people get their work done.
  • Continuation of the FRE project: Some of the next focus areas include a review of payroll transactions at the department level, Travel & Expense (T&E) advances, and journals and accounting adjustments.
  • Exploration of using bots or other automated techniques to reduce manual work.

Is there anything else you would like to include about you or your team?

The team had a lot of promotions and other changes to celebrate over the last year:

  • Rachele Sarro was promoted to director, Financial Compliance.
  • Mike Jarosz was promoted to director, University Policy and added a new baby to the family.
  • Alison Valentino was promoted to director of Internal Controls and joined the Controller’s Office.
  • Sarah Gilbert was promoted to associate director, Finance Transformation and had her first baby
  • Laura Coakley was promoted to financial compliance manager.
  • Two new senior financial compliance analysts were added to the team: Sarah Stokowski and Alicia Erickson.
  • Kat Scelzo had her first baby.