One of the biggest grievances of AFAS users will be solved before the summer, promises Mark Pel, managing director for AFAS at the UG. Project leaders will finally be able to access a simple budget overview directly via one streamlined web page.
According to Pel, the problem was that the different people working on a project had different needs. ‘For every project there is a project controller, who can see the balance in detail. Project leaders want to see just the bottom line.’
The so-called one-pager should solve the issue once and for all and will be another step forward, says Pel. ‘The first year has been really tough for both users and the AFAS team, but we’ve come a long way together. Today we have a clear view of each budget, as it is fundamental for quarterly reports. And we have total control on the financial and purchasing part.’
Last month, UKrant wrote about the many complaints UG staff still have about AFAS, two years after its implementation. One of them said they couldn’t view who made a purchase from the budget, making it easy for someone to buy things using someone else’s budget. But Pel says that can’t happen anymore.
Invoices undergo several checks, he says. ‘We compare them to previous invoices from the same company, we check multiple times if there are double invoices and we also go through them when they have been discarded, to be completely sure.’
UG finances and the work of AFAS staff at uni are also under constant scrutiny of an external accountant. ‘We received compliments from our EY auditor on the quality of the control we have on the finances, and that doesn’t happen often or easily’, Pel says. ‘That’s a big achievement made possible by the work of AFAS staff and all faculties.’
About the absence of a delegate button for secretaries, former programme manager Erwin Boelens says: ‘We made it possible for people to deal with other people’s travel expenses and time registration, yet the final approval has to be done by the employee. University chose this way because it is in compliance with legislation.’
Regarding hiring teaching assistants, the situation has always been more complicated, Boelens says. ‘TAs work on and off during the year, from spring to autumn, without knowing whether they will still work the following semester, but they have one annual statement. That has made things a bit complex from the beginning.’
Things run much more smoothly than they have in the past, says Boelens, but there are still exceptions. ‘TAs needing a special working permit is not as big of a problem, because it’s a smaller group of people, but it is still an issue.‘
‘After two years, we are really happy about the results and the dedication of the team’ says Pel. ‘Still, we’re not there yet. Optimising is a continuous process and the system will always be under development.’