One Finance.

July 21, 2022

To: All Operations staff
Cc: University Cabinet, Operations Leadership Forum

Dear Colleagues,

As previously announced, Yale University Operations has announced a multi-year Operations Strategy to help the university deliver its mission by improving our capability in three strategic pillars:

  • Reinforce and resource Yale’s mission
  • Build a more effective and efficient operating model
  • Advance our reputation as a workplace of choice

Strengthening financial operations was announced as one of three key initiatives (“OneFinance”) supporting this strategy.

OneFinance is a key initiative in response to the “call to action” sent out last fall from Nancy Brown, the Dean of the School of Medicine (YSM), and Stephen Murphy, Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer, which addressed the recent fraud in the Emergency Medicine department, its “egregious abuse of trust,” and the need to:

  • strengthen our financial processes and internal controls
  • clarify roles and responsibilities
  • build feedback systems and loops that promote continuous improvement
  • develop well-trained financial professionals

Success in this work will require close collaboration and partnership among central Finance, schools, and units across the campus working together as:


This multi-year initiative will enable Yale’s mission by simplifying and standardizing financial services in order to make life easier where everyone has a role in building a strong culture of financial integrity, insight and stewardship of Yale resources.

Under the sponsorship of Stephen Murphy, Arnim Dontes, Deputy Dean, YSM Finance and Administration, Shannon Smith, University Controller, and the leadership of Lisa Varni, Associate Controller-Financial Reporting, and Brian Rebeschi, Executive Director, Finance and Administration – YSM Business Operations, the OneFinance initiative is focused on realizing the following goals and benefits:

Program Goals

  • Connecting: Build a more unified finance function on campus
  • Simplifying: Simplify and standardize financial processes, supported by better reporting and analytics
  • Monitoring: Implement central monitoring (data, site visits) for quality and controls
  • Training: Train and develop financial professional campus-wide
  • Culture: Strengthen a culture of integrity and accountability among faculty and staff


  • Enhances institutional reputation
  • Increases the ability to attract and recruit high quality talent
  • Improves financial stewardship and compliance
  • Establishes expectations to hold people accountable
  • Facilitates your work; reduces barriers to achieve your expectations
  • Positively impacts your ability to do research, educate and provide service and confidence in financial management
  • Protects and supports you in how you get your job done and in doing the right thing

Several months ago, the university engaged its independent auditor to conduct an external assessment of the risks in the university’s current financial processes. Informed by the risk assessment and input from members of the Yale community, the OneFinance project team is working on identifying and prioritizing opportunities across financial operations, including procurement, payroll, accounting, financial reporting, grants administration, and other financial processes.

Over the coming months, the OneFinance team will keep you informed about progress, critical milestones, and what actions you may need to take. Progress on these multi-year initiatives will require engagement at all levels of the university community to:

  • work together for a common purpose with a commitment to excellence
  • act with integrity and accountability beyond ethical reproach as stewards of Yale’s culture, resources, and reputation
  • model respectful behavior, creating a culture of trust where people feel encouraged to speak up, and the free exchange of ideas is welcomed and encouraged
  • reaffirm the institutional and individual commitment by all faculty and staff to the Institutional Standards of Conduct

Success relies on each of us to identify and actively champion changes that reinforce the mission, solidify our reputation as a workplace of choice, and build an effective operating model. Thank you for your support as we work together to achieve the benefits of this important work in enabling Yale’s mission.


Please reach out to with any questions or comments about this important initiative.