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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find general information and answers to frequently asked questions.

 

What is FI$Cal?
The Financial Information System for California (FI$Cal) is California’s statewide accounting, budget, cash management and procurement IT system. The State Controller, the State Treasurer, and the Directors of the Departments of Finance and General Services signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in 2007 to formalize the cooperative partnership to support the development of the FI$Cal system. In July 2016, FI$Cal was formally recognized as a new department that implements, maintains and operates the FI$Cal system.

What does FI$Cal replace?
FI$Cal replaces more than 2,500 legacy systems that were used to conduct the state’s financial transactions. In the past, each department developed its own business processes and systems, with little standardization. Some of the larger systems FI$Cal is replacing include California State Accounting and Reporting System (CALSTARS), bidSync and the State Contract Procurement and Registration System (SCPRS).

What is Enterprise Resource Planning and how does it relate to FI$Cal?
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a set of software applications that integrate and streamline business processes and integrate the data, functions and processes of an organization into one single system. Typically a company known as a System Integrator (SI) implements the ERP software and helps streamline various business processes. The FI$Cal system is based on PeopleSoft, an Oracle product. Accenture is the State’s System Integrator.

How was Accenture chosen?
Under Public Contract Code (PCC) §6611, the Department of General Services led a two-stage procurement to select the FI$Cal System Integrator (SI). The two-stage procurement allowed the state to provide bidders with in-depth knowledge of the state’s processes, systems and needs while receiving critical insight into the proposed ERP solutions and implementation plans. The second stage of the competition compared the top three proposals. Accenture received the highest total score and was selected System Integrator.

How does Department of FI$Cal integrate Partner Agencies and contract staff to implement the new system?
The Department of FI$Cal has a “One Team” philosophy where employees of FI$Cal, Partner Agencies, and contract staff from Accenture work collaboratively to develop and maintain the FI$Cal system.

The Partner Agencies—Department of Finance, Department of General Services, State Controller’s Office, and State Treasurer’s Office—have dedicated staff working on the system. Representatives from the Partner Agencies also sit on the FI$Cal Steering Committee, which acts as the approval body for key Project decisions.

How is the FI$Cal system managed now and in the future?
FI$Cal has a state-staffed Project Management Office (PMO) that is working in conjunction with an Accenture PMO team. As the Project progresses and moves closer to full implementation, Accenture will transfer all project management responsibilities to the FI$Cal PMO team.

Do all state agencies participate in the FI$Cal system?
Yes, in some capacity. FI$Cal is the new budgeting, accounting, procurement and cash management system for the State of California. Some entities are exempt or deferred from fully implementing all aspects of the system; however, exempt and deferred departments use procurement and budget functions.

What responsibility does each state department have in the transition to FI$Cal?
Each state department is responsible for ensuring that its staff and organizational infrastructure are ready for the new system. FI$Cal engages with each department well in advance of the date that it is scheduled to begin using the FI$Cal system to avoid interruption in a department’s mission or services. FI$Cal supports departments throughout implementation as each onboarding department participates in readiness activities related to changes in business processes, technical impacts and client training. Departments must proactively engage to ensure their end users are ready for FI$Cal.

How do I find out when specific departments will begin using FI$Cal?
Information regarding specific Releases are available on the FI$Cal Website.

Where can I obtain more information about FI$Cal?
More information on FI$Cal is available on the FI$Cal website. For additional questions regarding FI$Cal, email External Affairs.

Funding and Costs FAQ

How is California paying for FI$Cal?
SPR 4 established the overall cost and funding split between General Fund and Special Non-Governmental Cost Funds for the FI$Cal system, charging each fund in proportion to the amount of appropriation from each fund as a percentage of total state operations for the respective fiscal year. SPR 6 updated this plan to extend the final implementation of the system to FI$Cal Year 2018-19.

The California Department of Technology approved Special Project Report (SPR) 6 in February 2016. The funding for FI$Cal in SPR 6 is the same as what was established by SPR 4, approved in March 2012.

FI$Cal’s costs are allocated to various special and nongovernmental cost funds through the annual statewide Central Service Cost Recovery plan administered by the Department of Finance. Ongoing cost for the maintenance and operations of the FI$Cal system and the Department of FI$Cal is charged directly to the departments that have gone live in the system through the Pro Rata and Statewide Cost Allocation plans.

What is the total estimated cost of FI$Cal?
The total cost to build and implement the system is $910 million, including one year of maintenance and operations (through Fiscal Year 2019-20), with $98.2 million for direct payments to the System Integrator.

End User FAQ

Readiness

How does FI$Cal support departments as they onboard into the system?
FI$Cal’s Change Management Office and Business Operations and Solutions Division are dedicated to ensuring new users have the tools and support they need during the onboarding process. Extensive training is available through the University of FI$Cal. Additionally, there are opportunities to practice and receive guided instruction in group “Model Office” sessions. Online training modules for procurement functionality are also available on www.fiscal.ca.gov. Each department has a dedicated Readiness Coordinator prior to onboarding and an assigned Retention Coordinator once transacting in the system. This help is in addition to the FI$Cal Service Center operators.

Who is here to help me?
The following are designated roles with specific responsibility or expertise to help onboarding departments transition to the FI$Cal system. Within this list, “Department employee” refers to staff employed by any onboarding state entity other than FI$Cal.

How do departments prepare for FI$Cal?
Each participating department designates a Department Liaison to ensure department needs and requirements are addressed. The Liaison works with end users within the onboarding department to facilitate communication between FI$Cal and the department.

In addition to working with Department Liaisons, end users can help prepare their departments for FI$Cal by:

Have necessary IT and business process requirements already been gathered from the departments?
Yes, FI$Cal worked with departments to define requirements during the initial procurement process and those requirements were included in the System Integrator Request for Proposal (RFP).

Are Department Implementation Teams already formed?
All state entities scheduled to onboard in the 2017 and 2018 Releases have already established Department Implementation Teams. Deferred and Exempt departments do not have Department Implementation Teams.

Some departments are internal to other departments and use systems such as CalSTARS. How is FI$Cal addressing the needs of these "internal” departments?
FI$Cal collects information from departments using legacy systems and reports in order to convert data and functionality to FI$Cal. Departments identify both business and technical resources to help FI$Cal interpret and understand the data and replace the functionality in the older systems.

Is FI$Cal’s accounting system on a cash basis or an accrual basis or does it vary among the departments?
The FI$Cal system accommodates modified accrual, cash, budgetary/legal, and full accrual basis of accounting.

If users have made Chart of Accounts changes already, when will they be shared?
The design of the Chart of Accounts is complete and is posted as ChartField Definitions on the Resources page of our Website.

Will CalSTARS, the legacy accounting system, be phased out? If "yes", when?
CalSTARS will be phased out when all departments that use it fully replace its functionality with FI$Cal.

Do the client agencies of Department of General Services - Contracted Financial Services continue to work with/through DGS? Does DGS represent their requirements?
Client agencies maintain the option to leverage Department of General Services-Contracted Financial Services to perform their financial management activities. However, client agencies are included in the system design and implementation phases of the Project to ensure their needs are met. This is also the case for client agencies of other departments.

Is FI$Cal flexible to handle Zero Based Budgeting and Performance Based Budgeting?
FI$Cal has the flexibility to address Zero Based Budgeting and Performance Based Budgeting, if required by the State in the future.

Is FI$Cal changing all terminology with regard to normal State accounting, budgeting, and procurement processes?
FI$Cal is not changing all terminology since a great deal of the terminology is industry terminology and not FI$Cal specific, but some is changing. FI$Cal works with departments and end users ahead of each Release introducing, defining, and putting new terms in context so end users know what each term means before their department onboards.

Does FI$Cal eliminate transaction forms?
Yes, the FI$Cal system auto-routes approval documents.

How is employee information set up in order to allow for Travel Expense Claim processing?
The FI$Cal system does not replace the California Automated Travel Expense Reimbursement System (CalATERS). It interfaces with CalATERS to produce accounting transactions for posting into the FI$Cal system.

Are the reports/queries going to mirror our current/required annual reports to eliminate work redundancy, i.e. CalRecycle, Small Business/Disabled Veteran’s Business Enterprise (SB/DVBE), etc.?
Some standardized reports are available. Over the life of the Project, FI$Cal will roll out enhanced business intelligence and analytic capability tools to ensure all necessary data is available to complete reports.

Does FI$Cal have ongoing performance management?
FI$Cal does not configure specific performance standards for each department. However, departments have the capability to access reports and queries to attain desired performance measures.

How does the FI$Cal System impact (State) property? (i.e. asset acquisition such as equipment, land, and intangibles, inventory, assets disposal, and identification.)
The FI$Cal Project scope includes asset accounting. Asset accounting consists of tracking all transactions related to each asset, including the ability to identify each separate asset. It includes tracking intangibles, asset disposal, and identification. It does not include inventory tracking and control.

What is the plan to store historical data?
FI$Cal created the Legacy Data Repository to store historical records not needed for the operation of FI$Cal, and facilitate retiring of legacy systems when legacy system inquiry and reporting functionality are not needed or can easily be replaced. The system allows departments to create reports from their stored data.

Client Outreach

How does FI$Cal communicate with departments?
FI$Cal is committed to ensuring timely and relevant communications as well as receiving input from departments. To meet this objective, the FI$Cal External Affairs Office uses various sources and methods to actively communicate with departments:

Who is my Department Liaison?
The Department Liaison List is posted on the Resources page of the FI$Cal Website.

How do I contact the Customer Impact Committee to ensure my department’s interests are heard? Is my Department Liaison in touch with the committee regarding department representatives?
Department Liaisons may reach out to the Customer Impact Committee to discuss individual department interests by sending an email to the FI$Cal CMO Mailbox with the Subject line “Inquiry for Customer Impact Committee.” The Change Management Office forwards the email to the CIC Chairperson.

Can we find User Community Forum presentations on the FI$Cal website?
Yes, presentations from previous FI$Cal User Community Forums are available on the FI$Cal Forums page on our Website.

Testing and Training

Is User Acceptance Testing conducted at FI$Cal or at the designated departments?
User Acceptance Testing takes place at FI$Cal.

Does FI$Cal provide on-site training for departments?
FI$Cal provides client training using a variety of methods including Instructor-Led Training (ILT) and web based training. ILT may occur in centralized locations convenient to a majority of end users. As system implementation moves forward, FI$Cal will continue to provide timely updates about end user training through the Department Liaison, FI$Cal Focus newsletters, information sessions, website postings, and various other methods.

Technology


What browsers are supported by FI$Cal?
Find certified browsers on the Fiscal Service Center End-User Workstation Configuration Guide located on the FI$Cal Service Center page.

What is the base software system that powers FI$Cal?
The FI$Cal solution uses PeopleSoft and Hyperion software applications with minimal customization. Using the latest technology with minimal customization allows the state to continually update the FI$Cal system without the need for replacement.

Are departments running dual systems until FI$Cal is fully implemented?
The intent of FI$Cal is to retire existing legacy systems. However, to ensure a successful transition, legacy systems may run in parallel with the FI$Cal system until FI$Cal and the department can verify the legacy system is no longer needed. Departments retire legacy systems at different rates according to their needs.

Do departments need to buy special information technology equipment or licenses for this new System?
FI$Cal purchased licenses for 13,000 State employees. The FI$Cal Tech Team worked with each department’s technical liaison to validate that department equipment is compatible with the FI$Cal system.

Is there a Graphical User Interface for desktops?
Yes, the FI$Cal system is a web-based application. Users access the system through a portal.

How do we maintain cyber security?
FI$Cal’s Information Security Office (ISO) has collaborated with the ISOs from the Department of Finance, Department of General Services, State Controller’s Office, State Treasurer’s Office, and a select group of departments with the most rigorous security requirements, to ensure that the system adheres to industry best practices regarding security.

What programming language/platform does FI$Cal use and how can I get training?
The FI$Cal system is a PeopleSoft (Oracle) and Hyperion product. FI$Cal provides training for all end users and staff that directly support the FI$Cal system.

 

 

 

12/01/2016