F&A implements new, cost-saving system to manage assets


Finance and Accounting (F&A) launched 2015 by implementing a new scanning system that uses standard PeopleSoft software to verify the location of assets at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The new system will provide the university with substantial, ongoing savings over an upgrade of the old system.

Without the new system F&A was facing a very expensive upgrade and a high yearly maintenance cost as a result of vendor product changes.

“Our previous vendor’s system became out of the scope of our needs with a price tag to match,” Senior Data Security Analyst Marcia Maukonen said.

In an effort to find a custom solution, Financials Support Services (FSS) began studying options. Maukonen and Applications Systems Analyst Programming Manager Varsha Das led the effort. They researched the latest equipment and software and reached out to other universities to learn what worked best for them. Senior Associate Controller Glen Carlson aided in the research and located additional cohort universities. As expected, they found that F&A’s inventory control system and similar systems were extremely costly but did not match the university’s ongoing needs. They also uncovered surprising alternatives.

The system offered by CipherLab stood out. In addition to being approximately one-tenth the purchase price and yearly maintenance cost of the previous vendor, its software proved to be highly compatible with F&A’s existing accounting system.

“The new scanners fit in well with our delivered PeopleSoft processes and require minimal maintenance,” Maukonen said.

To verify that the system would work in practical application, the team provided a demonstration to the Property Department.

Tereasa Clarkson, property accountant, was impressed with the smaller, lighter scanners and the improved responsiveness of the technology.

“The new scanners have more edits preventing double scanning tags and entering invalid formats – the scanner produces a warning beep and a message in those cases,” Maukonen said.

Other benefits of the new scanners include a secondary battery to backup data so that it is not lost if the primary battery loses charge and the ability to create a CSV file that can be saved, reviewed, and audited. In addition, the scanners can be updated with additional software as needed.

The system went live January 15. With its flexible design and low-cost, FSS expects it to easily adjust to the university’s changing needs for many years to come.