Faculty & Staff Insider

February 11, 2020

UWFT: Improving the UW’s financial policies, processes and systems

The University of Washington is a huge organization – a University for more than 59,000 students, a workplace for more than 47,000 employees and a small city’s worth of operations, from maintaining residence halls and food services to running hospitals and clinics across the region. An institution of this size requires a broad strategy of modernizing our administrative systems, policies and processes.

UW Finance Transformation (UWFT) is an important step in this direction, and is much more than a systems update. It’s a collaborative redesign of our current finance policies, processes and systems, and will help teams reduce risk by giving them more predictable and real-time information for making financial decisions.

Our current Financial Accounting System (FAS) was first developed in 1974 using a COBOL-based platform for an institution with a $552 million annual budget. Fast forward to today and the UW’s annual revenues stand at $8 billion, yet investments in our infrastructure have not kept pace with the demands of our growing operations.

“As a world-class research university serving stakeholders from undergraduates to hospital patients, we need to evolve our finance processes, policies and systems to be more cost efficient and ensure responsible stewardship of our resources,” said UW President Ana Mari Cauce. “That makes UWFT crucial to our public service mission.”

Following a thorough fit-gap analysis, the UW identified Workday as the best platform to support the institution’s business objectives while also providing a seamless, tightly integrated solution for human resources, payroll, procurement and finance. This will allow for standardized, non-redundant, and strategic decision-making across the University.

With a go-live date of July 1, 2022, UWFT recently received full funding and approval by the Board of Regents to enter into the Implementation Phase. The program team, along with partners in UW Finance, UW-IT, UW Medicine, the Integrated Service Center (ISC) and research (ORIS), will work with stakeholders across the University to build out processes, configure the system and test and train prior to launch.

More information on UWFT can be found at https://finance.uw.edu/uwft/