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Happy Talk About EFS - Frank Weighs In...

Dear Colleagues,

I've heard from a number of you that the University's new financial system, EFS, has caused challenges and difficulties for you. I commend you for your patience and ask for your continued support to financial staff as we work to manage immediate and longer-term concerns.

First, those working in EFS will face additional work during this final month of the University's fiscal year-end.

* The University's fiscal year ends June 30, which will require activities to close out the accounts of the University. These year-end requirements add significantly to the workload of financial staff.

* The financial system will not process requisitions or purchase orders in the usual manner between June 19 and July 6. Please note this does not mean units will be unable to purchase. Financial staff can assist with necessary purchases during this window of time--but using alternative methods also will add to workload.

Secondly, University leadership and financial staff are seeking ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the EFS system going forward.

* President Bruininks recently formed an EFS Executive Oversight Committee to track difficulties and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of EFS.

* University-wide work groups (including representatives from the AHC) recently formed to prioritize EFS issues, so that central technical, policy and process solutions can be pursued with speed and efficacy.

* The single greatest area of challenge with EFS remains financial reporting.

Leadership and the above-named committee and work groups are working on both short- and long-term improvements for significantly improving the reporting capabilities of EFS. We seek to improve access to data and improve tools for accessing and analyzing data.

Our goals are to make as many enhancements to the system as possible by Dec. 31, 2009. I know your staff are working very hard to assist in these improvements.

This fiscal year has been a challenging one. Working together, we have made great progress. I look forward to working with you as we continue to meet the challenges ahead.

Frank B. Cerra, M.D.
Senior Vice President for Health Sciences
McKnight Presidential Leadership Chair

More happy talk?

If you're not sure whether something is happy talk, there's one sure-fire test: if you listen very closely while you're reading it, you can actually hear a tiny voice in the back of your head saying "Blah blah blah blah blah...."

A lot of happy talk is the kind of self-congratulatory promotional writing that you find in badly written brochures. Unlike good promotional copy, it conveys no useful information, and focuses on saying how great we are, as opposed to delineating what makes us great.

Happy talk is like small talk-- content free, basically just a way to be sociable. But most web users don't have time for small talk; they want to get right to the beef. You can-- and should-- eliminate as much happy talk as possible.

Non-Happy Talk description of EFS:

"It's under water."

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