The Office of the Controller launched the “P2P BPI Project” (Procurement to Payment Business Process Improvement Project) in Fiscal Year 2019.  Through this effort, a series of changes continue to be implemented to improve services provided and the engagement of Procurement and Payment Services (P&PS) function.  These changes continue to enable multiple enhancements to P&PS processes, delivering significant cycle time and cost efficiencies, while simultaneously delivering a much-improved customer experience. Key areas impacted over the past two fiscal years are vendor registration, invoice collection, payment distribution and training. The P2P BPI Project will continue in 2021 and will concentrate on two key areas to deliver a positive impact to the business process improvement project; e-contract management and performance management.  Please refer to individual efforts below for more information:

FY2021

e-Contract Management Deployment and Adoption

Over the past year, Procurement and Technology Services have been developing an electronic contract management system. This system, coined Cardinal Contracts, will greatly improve and streamline the university’s process for submitting, reviewing, and approving a contract; and then executing the final contract agreement.

Essentially, Cardinal Contracts is:

  • An electronic replacement (contract request) of our Contract Agreement/Routing Form, its necessary approvals, and the manual process of submitting, modifying, and signing contract agreements
  • A viewable and reportable record of contract administration for the university

All new procurement contracts for goods and services will be executed through Cardinal Contracts. In the future, non-procurement contracts may be added to this solution. Individuals will be contacted for training as Cardinal Contracts is phased in for procurement contracts.

How does it work?

  • The ‘cogs and gears’ driving Cardinal Contracts are:
    • customized electronic review and approval workflows
    • the university’s commodity codes we use for goods and services
    • our department ID’s
      • Thus, when a university end user submits a contract request in Cardinal Contracts, it will pair the commodity code of the item or service being requested and the department ID submitting the request, with the appropriate customized review and approval workflow.
      • This pairing and workflow alignment ensures that the contract request and contract, along with all other required documents, are routed electronically to the proper individuals for review and approval.
      • All workflows are automated so that notifications are sent to the proper approver/reviewers assigned to the commodity codes.
  • Essentially, Cardinal Contracts enables that:
    • all contract requests are electronic
    • all required documents attachments are attached electronically
    • all routing is electronic
    • all approvals are electronic
    • any modification to an agreement is electronic
  • Finally, after all contract reviews have been electronically reviewed and approved
    • the final contract agreement is electronically signed via DocuSign
    • the electronically signed contract is ‘filed’ within Cardinal Contracts
    • the contract is available at any time to those with credentialed access to Cardinal Contracts
Performance Management thru KPI measurement dashboards

Performance dashboards have been developed to measure the productivity and workloads of Accounts Payable invoice and payment processing, as well as the cycle times of the Requisition to PO process. These dashboards provide valuable insight into workflow breakdowns and gaps that exist before, during, and after activities that are required of P&PS.

The dashboards allow P&PS to measure performance against goals (KPI’s) and help in identifying areas needing improvement both internally to the department as well as in the larger university community. KPI’s and dashboards are significant contributors to business process improvement and P&PS recognizes the need to measure expectations and goals.

An additional dashboard is being designed to establish performance KPI’s for PCard holders and their approvers.

FY2020-2019

Key highlights of changes and subsequent improvements in those areas include:

Supplier Self Registration

In July 2020 the university transitioned to an online supplier registration process as an initial step in creating a supplier portal approach for onboarding suppliers. Updates to existing supplier information or activations of inactive suppliers is still managed manually.

Invoice Collection

In Summer 2019, P&PS required all invoices or payment requests (i.e., Direct Payment requests) be sent to Accounts Payable (AP) either electronically via email  cua-accountspayable@cua.edu or directly to AP via the United States Postal Service or other commercial mail service. This has allowed AP to digitally capture and time stamp all invoices and payment requests within hours of their receipt. In November 2019, AP deployed an internal workflow and payment execution plan which allows for visibility and cycle time tracking of all invoices and payment requests. Today, all payments going through AP are tracked as either unprocessed, pending, or finished. Items identified as ‘pending’ are closely monitored for days pending, allowing AP management to resolve issues and to avoid untimely payments.  

Payment Distribution

In July 2019, the printing and issuance of AP disbursements, checks and ACH, was outsourced and moved off site to Wells Fargo.   All AP checks and ACHs are generated by Wells Fargo and mailed directly to the recipient.  By partnering with Wells Fargo and removing AP as a distribution point for checks, efficiency was gained in making timely payments to our suppliers and internal clients. Additionally, these operational changes have reduced the amount of checks produced, as more individuals have enrolled for their payments and reimbursements to be sent directly to their banks via ACH. (ACH is a deposit made directly into the vendor or individual’s designated account usually within 2 business days of processing.) 

User Training Programs for PeopleSoft Procure 2 Pay and PCard

PeopleSoft user training was implemented and deployed in early 2019. Nearly all users received refresher training before the 2019 fall semester; all new users to the system are required to attend a training session before attempting to enter requisitions. Today training for Procure 2 Pay as well as PCard use and management is available upon request  by contacting Bob McHale at mchalerm@cua.edu

In addition to user training, P&PS publishes ‘Bulletins’  periodically to augment training, provide ‘tips’ as suggested by Procurement staff and other users, and announce new processes, forms and system changes.