By Manie Lombard, Chief Director: Finance
We're now nearly at the end of a very busy year, filled with challenges of extraordinary magnitude – and you did it again through teamwork, excellence, agility, and living the RC's OPRA guidelines for 2022: ownership, performance, respect, and accountability.
After a Council meeting, Prof Stan also indicated that the Rector said this: RC is "one hell of an RC with its contribution to the University". It takes a team and collaboration from a group of people committed to Stellenbosch University. Every one of our six divisions in Finance, with 120 permanent positions and ten fixed-term positions, contributed to Team Finance results and the compliments received.
Our division successfully delivered on the set goals for the year, and we are on track with the following projects:
· Ensuring financial sustainability – the ECC recommended the budget and financial planning for 2023 – 2028 on 7 November;
· SUNFin go-live in June 2023;
· SUNFin's Training and Support tool (OGL) implementation;
· Aligning the current Finance structure with best practice processes and workflows to enhance the OCF solution;
· SUNStudent implementation for Student Financial Services;
· Student Financial Services development and communication;
· The further evolution of the Budget Model – including type-3 centres, hybrid learning, reserve and balance funds, and Student Fees regulation; and
· The indirect cost recovery policy and rates consultation renewal is completed and recommended to Council.
We also focus monthly in our divisional heads' meeting on risk management, approved strategy implementation plans, staff development and transformation, communication, and progress with our language implementation plan.
In Prof Stan's first Gazette, we had the analogy of our Terra system is similar to a small house built in the 80s, and as new children were born, one would add more rooms. Moving to OCF means that we are now locking up this house with all the furniture and appliances and moving into a brand-new, fully furnished apartment where the HOA keeps it regularly upgraded. There is no place for customisation or cluttering. OCF will place SU globally at the forefront of financial system technology implementation – recently confirmed by the latest Gartner global review of IT ERP solutions.
You have worked hard and long hours, multitasked and given a lot of yourselves to implement this project. Thank you all for this, and – like the rest of the University – I believe in you to get us into and in the cloud.
I want to quote Sindiswa Calana, the guest speaker at the RC Women's Day 2022 event, who said these inspirational words: "In building on progress already made –and I want to personally add: 'and the success achieved to date' – let's hold each other up, let's affirm each other."
The recommendations in the recent Khampepe report will be at the top of the SU agenda. We need to ensure that within our Finance Division we have a welcoming and supportive environment for all our own staff, SU's staff, our external stakeholders, and all our students.
Thank you to each member of our finance team for everything you have done to make this an extraordinary year and Stellenbosch University an exceptional place to work. Please have a wonderful break, and I look forward to team-up again and working with you in the New Year.