Finding the (Often Hidden) Benefits of FI$Cal

Published by Will Cuper

Nearly all designated State departments have been using FI$Cal for at least a year now. And with such a complex system, it’s been challenging indeed. Many of us at Highlands are continuously evaluating how to help our clients take full advantage of FI$Cal and gain greater efficiencies long-term.

We have worked with many departments who have limited the use of FI$Cal to administrative staff. But the system was actually designed to empower staff across a department to initiate an action directly – instead of using email, phone, or paper-based forms to interact with accounting and procurement. We have helped departments transition critical business functions to program staff, such as requisitions, encumbrances, and reporting. For instance, FI$Cal’s requisition functionality lets department buyers initiate purchases and track real-time status online. By training program staff to encumber their own funding mechanisms in FI$Cal, departments can reduce hand-offs between programs and accounting, and enable program staff to track progress. In addition to tracking requisitions, program areas can also use FI$Cal to generate their own financial management reports. Transitioning functions like these to program areas not only cuts down on the back-and-forth with administrative staff but reduces data entry errors and the amount of paper printed in support of these transactions.

It’s true that introducing FI$Cal to program staff can be a tough sell, given the challenges departments encountered when they first implemented the system. But the upside is significant in terms of increased efficiency and time savings. By providing project management, communications, process analysis, and change management, we are pleased to help departments realize the often hidden benefits of FI$Cal across their organizations.