By Michelle Moody, Deputy Director, FI$Cal Business Operation and Solutions Division
While I am new to FI$Cal, having joined the department this summer, I have long been familiar with the system. That’s because I spent 26 years working in accounting and management at the Franchise Tax Board. I was there both before and after the FTB onboarded to the FI$Cal system, and I served as a super user, a department liaison and a project manager experiencing the ins and outs of this momentous change.
From my vantage point, I can say with confidence that the FI$Cal system is already providing benefits to the state, allowing departments to gain in a number of ways. A few examples:
- Before FI$Cal, procurement documents (requisitions and purchase orders) were manually tracked outside the department’s financial accounting system. Requisitions and POs are now created and maintained in FI$Cal along with their related budget and accounting information. POs are easily tracked throughout the FI$Cal system for their budgeting and accounting impacts.
- FI$Cal brought electronic workflow and approval. This allows departments to prepare and approve documents from any location, allowing more flexibility and telework.
- FI$Cal has the ability to track spending for statewide emergency disasters with uniquely identifiable coding using the project costing module. A tool for tracking spending related to the COVID-19 pandemic is very close to deployment.
- Open FI$Cal provides transparency of each department’s spending of budgeted funding to the public.
While working on FTB’s implementation of FI$Cal, I recall the trepidation that many coworkers had about transitioning to the FI$Cal system. It’s hard to change from a system you’ve used for many years and know so well. I encouraged the team to look beyond the differences and focus on the accounting. Since that experience, many things have improved and are continuing to improve for departments.
FI$Cal is continuing to look for opportunities to make the system better for departments and assist in budget, procurement and accounting efficiencies. We are doing this through the expanded use of Power BI and Robotic Process Automation. We are also improving access to information within the system by creating a WorkCenter that houses convenient dashboards. The first WorkCenter dashboard, general ledger, was recently released and a purchase order dashboard is coming soon. I am excited to be a part of these efforts and many others to come.