Finance Review Oversight Group

Chief Financial Officer: Helen Dingle

We have formed an oversight group for the project comprising of the Finance Senior Management Team (Vicki Jackson, Sue Grocutt, Robert Hebblethwaite, Richard Jones and myself) as well as Professor Richard Jackson (Science), Robert Gower (HR) and Michelle Nuttall (FDO for MDH).

This group will meet regularly to review the progress of the project and provide input as required. We will also report back to UEB with progress and for their input on key decisions.

Overall Project Structure

We have divided the project into 4 key stages as follows. Although this gives some intended sequencing, we recognise that these elements are interrelated and will overlap at points.

  1. Review of key responsibilities at Directorate Level.
  2. Developing a risk based approach to financial management
  3. Review of key processing functions
  4. Review of stand-alone specialisms

More detail on what each of the stages will cover is in the attached document.

Stage 1

Following my appointment as Chief Financial Officer, I have been undertaking a process of reflection on the roles and responsibilities of my senior team. It is likely that this will be ongoing through the period of this review in order to ensure that responsibilities are appropriately aligned to support our customers and to provide correct support to me in my role.

Stage 2

We are now moving into stage two which will look at how we provide finance business partnering support to the organisation as a whole, whilst ensuring that we remain aligned with the University strategy.

This stage will be led by Richard Jones and Vicki Jackson with support from the Strategic Change Office in terms of service and organisational design and HR in terms of project management.

As we progress through stage 2, we will engage and consult with key stakeholders in order to ensure that the finance support we provide meets the needs of the business whilst delivering good value for money. Inevitably there will be changes required to the way we work and provide those services and there may be changes to specific roles, both in terms of content and reporting lines. Whilst we do not yet know where these changes will arise, we will make sure we keep affected staff informed as the review progresses. There will also be links to the ongoing review of research support and we are working with colleagues to ensure that these are taken into account in an appropriate manner.

Timings

In terms of timings, for stage 2 we will aim to have agreed an operating model during the autumn at the latest. At this point, we anticipate that we will need to formally consult on the proposals which would be implemented from early in 2019. Once stage 2 has been completed, we will move forward with stages 3 and 4 and I will provide further details on this in due course.

Guiding Principles

As we work on the review we will be guided by a number of principles, the key parts of which I have highlighted below:

1. Delivery of University Strategy.

The provision of financial support across the University will be focussed on delivery of the University strategy and supporting the core academic mission. This will need to be balanced with managing financial risk.

2. Overall Scope.

Scope of the project to include anyone who primarily “does finance”. Any exceptions to this will need to be signed off by the CFO as Project Sponsor.

3. Mobility and Flexibility of workforce.

One of the key benefits of the review and subsequent realignment will be mobility and flexibility with the finance teams.

4. Alignment of Resource to needs.

Resource will not necessarily be aligned in the same way as currently, we will take a holistic approach to managing risk and maintaining quality of service.

5. Service Delivery.

Much of our control and risk management will be achieved through local delivery (in line with existing practices) and maintaining and strengthening the existing business partnering relationships.

6. Standardisation.

In order to deliver a consistent service across all areas, work will be undertaken to review and where appropriate standardise financial management activities. This will include looking at departmental and faculty reporting as well as specific areas such as research finance reporting, purchase order processing and travel and business expenses (inc. P-cards). We will review processes in order to ensure they are fit for purpose and aligned with other areas of the organisation such as research services.

7. System Changes.

In order to support a consistent approach across different areas of the University, some changes to existing finance systems and processes will be required. We will seek to build on existing initiatives such as the roll out of tm1 for planning and reporting and Cognos Analytics as a way of making information more accessible

8. Line management and overall responsibility.

Once the review has concluded it is anticipated that all finance activity will ultimately be under the oversight of the CFO.

9. Reviews.

Whilst the overall change program and each individual stage will not be preceded by a formal review, each stage will include appropriate review and challenge – both internal and/or external. This may include but is not necessarily limited to: stakeholder engagement; peer review; review by external 3rd parties in order to determine ideal structures, levels of support etc.

Further Communications

As the project progresses we are committed to providing regular updates on progress, including by email. In the meantime, if you have any questions or concerns please email financereview@sheffield.ac.uk.

Date: 11/05/2018