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What are regional Financial Transaction Centers (FTCs)?

The regional FTCs are soon-to-be-established financial transaction centers comprised of existing BSCs. This consolidation is taking place to gain economies of scale and process efficiencies. Academic unit FTCs will be grouped together into a number of larger "academic FTCs," and administrative units into two large FTCs, the University-wide FTC (UFTC) and the Student and Academic Services (SAS) FTC. The proposed groupings for academic FTCs are based on academic and program affiliations and pre-existing collaborations. A vetting process is going on now at the college level to determine whether these proposed groupings are viable. Cornell was a forerunner among colleges and universities in the evolution toward a successful FTC structure, creating its first one in the academic units over eight years ago.

Why are we regionalizing?

There are many reasons why the FTCs are being regionalized, both financial and operational:

  • Consolidation will allow an increased scale of operations among colleges or administrative units, and it is our expectation that this will lead to greater efficiencies, specialization in key areas, and fewer errors.
  • Regionalization will provide for an easier implementation of the Kuali Financial System (KFS) ( because of greater specialization and focus in each KFS module. The timing of the KFS implementation and the FTC redesign is both a challenge and an opportunity. But with careful planning and execution, we expect to have a higher quality, more efficient finance function once the FTC regionalization and the KFS implementation have taken place, and processes are more standardized.
  • Regionalization will allow us to streamline processes and practices and will encourage harmonization of policies.
  • Consolidated FTC teams will increase organizational learning about best practices, which will likely result in new synergies among the FTC partners within and beyond the boundaries of the finance function.

If I'm asked to move into a regional FTC, how do I keep the program knowledge and contacts that I've created in my college?

As the FTCs are regionalized, it is critical that you bring your program knowledge and contacts with you so that you can continue to serve the faculty and staff in the regional FTC group. As we design new teams, we will need to identify ways in which certain personal and professional contacts are maintained so that the faculty and staff in a college can feel connected to and supported by their FTC.

When will I find out when and how my job and my reporting structure have changed?

Beginning in early July, the designated FTC groups will begin to meet as units to design how the work will be accomplished by each regional FTC. During the following six months, the regional FTCs will be designed. As part of this design, managers will be working with employees to examine their roles and responsibilities and realign them with the needs of the new FTC. Each regional FTC will proceed at its own approved pace, depending on the complexities of the particular consolidation.

Who will be making these types of decisions, and when will they be made?

College Officers, the University Controller, and senior leaders in DFA, with consultation from the Office of Human Resources (OHR), will be making decisions on who will lead what function or group, how jobs are restructured, and what the new reporting relationships will be. Presently, no such decisions have been made, but they will be discussed and considered in the coming months.

Will I have input into how the new service groups will be organized, or what group I end up in?

As the regional FTCs are designed, it will require all financial professionals to be engaged in work re-design, identifying new uses of technology, establishing new processes, and developing new work relationships. Therefore, in the early stages of consolidation, you can expect shared decision-making through group meetings.

In terms of my own placement, what can I expect as regional FTCs are designed?

In the initial design period, from July 1 through December 2010, employees will mostly remain in their designated BSC clusters. We will need experienced people to assist with the design and implementation of regional FTCs. After we have an organizational design in place and redesigned positions, we will begin to choose the new leaders of these groups. Again, it is difficult to provide a precise timetable. In terms of which FTC an employee will ultimately be assigned to, these decisions will be made through discussion, evaluation, and organizational need.

When will layoffs be announced, and who will be making those staffing decisions?

We hope to minimize the number of layoffs through sound planning and a variety of tools, including projected retirements, natural attrition, migration to new positions, and employee retraining. Layoffs will be used only as a last resort, although there will be some. The advantage of having six to eight months to design and implement regional FTCs is that we can use the time to deploy the tools listed above so that managers and employees can work together on employment and career plans. The layoffs made will likely occur beginning in January 2011, but it is difficult to predict the number of positions to be eliminated until regional FTCs are fully designed and operational. The layoff decisions will be made by the college officers and OHR, with advice and review from the University Controller.

Will I continue to be reporting through a college or just through the FTC to the University Controller?

During the creation of regional FTCs, it is important that the Colleges a) design the work teams and processes in a way that meets their needs, b) fully understand workload levels, c) establish service level standards, and d) quickly respond to any concerns. Therefore, in addition to reporting to the University Controller, the FTCs will have hard-line reporting relationships to the college officers. In the long-run, reporting relationships may be realigned.

What areas, or types of positions are most likely to experience layoffs?

 It is impossible to know which types of positions or which areas will be most affected by layoffs. Staffing needs will be determined by a broad set of criteria including business needs, level and types of skills, workload levels, etc.

Are there skills I should have that would give me a better chance of maintaining my job?

FTC employees should continue to invest in their skills and career by taking courses and programs offered by Cornell as well as by other providers. The other traits that will continue to make any employee valuable to Cornell are flexibility, willingness to take on new tasks and roles, consideration to how you might add value beyond your current position, and readiness to use different skills from outside your Cornell experience in your current or new positions. As we develop a cohort of managers and people with the types of skills needed to work with KFS and other new systems, you may find great opportunities for advancement and growth.

Where can I give feedback or lodge concerns?

If you have concerns or suggestions about the FTC plan, you can speak with your College Officer or with the University Controller. Questions and concerns regarding a specific initiative may also be submitted using the Administrative Streamlining Program Web site question submision form.