OFA Capstone Project
During the course of the Ohio Fiscal Academy program cohort members work in teams to complete a capstone project that addresses a current fiscal related leadership, management, or policy challenge confronting a public or non-profit organization. The capstone project is designed to bring together the knowledge gained through the entire Ohio Fiscal Academy program and permit the cohort members to demonstrate mastery of the various concepts discussed throughout. It also asks participants to test their leadership and managerial skills as they navigate group work. The program actively encourages teams to select problems of immediate relevance to their own agencies or communities of interest.
Cohort capstone teams are expected to apply a variety of skills, tools, and knowledge to assess a strategic issue and arrive at recommendations for change and/or improvement. The capstone project requires the cohort teams to get up-to-speed quickly on a specific fiscal content or issue area; enhance key process skills, such as project management and teamwork; and develop competency in gathering, analyzing, and reporting out data. For cohort members, it is an opportunity to interweave their learning from many areas in a real time, unpredictable, complex, real-world environment. For the state of Ohio, it is an opportunity to have current and future public fiscal leaders focus on practical application and growth.
Cohort 8 Capstone - Final Reports
Team Fresh Perspective - State Procurement Vendor Thresholds and Controlling Board Requests
The State of Ohio has been innovative and forward thinking in the area of procurement by utilizing technology to lower costs and increase government transparency. However, has the concentration on technology and transparency caused us to overlook vendor thresholds and the resources spent on the amount of Controlling Board requests that may hinder the advancement in our continuous improvement initiative? The State of Ohio's vendor threshold of $50K has been in place for over 23 years. Does this amount have the same purchasing power today? Should the threshold be adjusted for inflation or does the current threshold combined with other procurement changes make more sense? These are just a few questions to keep in mind as we ask the ultimate question 'Should the State of Ohio's vendor threshold be adjusted?'
Team Oscar's Enemies - Recycling in State Office Buildings
We discovered that recycling facilities at buildings operated by the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) and other building vary greatly. Among DAS managed buildings, the availability of recycling is dependent on the individual building manager's discretion and motivation. Recycling, in general, is considered expensive and unclean by DAS building managers. Recycling is more prevalent at buildings not owned and operated by DAS; Those managers have not experienced cost or cleanliness challenges.
Scan Masters - Electronic Submission of State Revenue
The purpose of this project is to provide options for state agencies to submit check revenue electronically from remote locations outside of their central fiscal office. This will allow the agency to be compliant with the three-day requirement outlined in OAC 113-1-02. Based on our research, we have discovered that this process effectively, reduces costs, is moderately easy to implement, and saves state tax dollars. All are excellent reasons to apply this new process across all state agencies.
Team FF Enterprise - Financial Knowledge and Empowerment for ALL
State of Ohio fiscal employees have seen an increase in the amount of time spent addressing inquiries and issues that are partially attributable to an insufficient understanding of fiscal principles by non-fiscal employees. The challenge is widespread across State of Ohio entities, and has caused aggravation in an already challenging atmosphere as staffing levels in Fiscal Offices continue to reduce. Our recommendation, resulting from the forthcoming analysis, is for a training for non-fiscal staff to be implemented. Such training should focus on the development of skills in fiscal related areas; which would ultimately alleviate a portion of time spent finding, correcting, and assisting non-fiscal staff with basic level issues.
Team Wayfarer Five - Out-Of-State Travel and the e-Procurement System
Currently, each State of Ohio agency individually supports out-of-state travel activities of its business travelers through separate and inconsistent processes. In addition, each agency uses a multitude of staff positions, from administrative to fiscal personnel, to process travel requests. These staff members are not specialists in the travel industry, yet, tasked with these activities as a secondary responsibility to a primary position. While many agencies have built internal mechanisms to form a travel process to procure air fare, car rental and hotel travel services, a statewide system for all agencies to use has not been created. Wayfarer Five advocates a solution that will transform how agencies procure out-of-state travel services through this Capstone project.
Cohort 7 Capstone - Final Reports
Team #statemates7 - State of Ohio Enterprise Social Networking
The State of Ohio would benefit greatly from a group of professionals that could share contact information, networking opportunities, creative and innovative approaches to procedures or policies that could be productive to all agencies, boards and departments. While the State is launching the Fiscal Knowledge Exchange, a site similar in scope, it lacks a platform for networking, contact information transfer, and idea exchange. Often, between State agencies there is little collaboration or opportunities for open innovation, which make historical knowledge and creative ideas difficult to transfer and maintain. By creating a professional network for State employees, it reduces duplicative research efforts, strengthens relationships and encourages communication and collaboration in State government.
Team Exit Into - Pathways to Transition Success
The task of on-boarding capable talent for senior fiscal positions can be very challenging, which is further complicated by the fact that Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), Assistant CFOs, and other senior financial managers have critical roles in their state agency. It is imperative that new persons in these positions succeed and that they become proficient in their responsibilities in a timely manner. A smooth and efficient transition will increase the incoming CFO's morale, productivity, and performance.
Team For the Record - Agency Purchasing Request Form (APR)
Even though agencies do vary in size and in their procurement ways, the idea that there cannot be a universal form should be challenged. Conducting agency-wide research from various size agencies will provide in-depth analysis about what may belong on an electronic APR form, and help the move towards the creation of a "practical and universal" purchasing form. With agency testimonials, procurement leadership onboard, and a willingness to adapt, a universal form can be created and implemented. Employees must have a consistent purchasing model rolled out for use. Efficiency and productivity will rise, and in turn, the State benefits. Once the frontline step of a universal form is created, future improvements along procurement lines will lead to paperless processes. Ohio can be the catalyst for top quality procurement services in the entire nation.
Team Match Makers - Maximizing the Three-Way Match
Departments and agencies throughout the State of Ohio are tasked with being good stewards of the taxpayers' money. Increasing efficiency and decreasing costs of accounting processes are two things that fiscal departments can do to assist in this mission. Match Makers has chosen to examine one of the most time consuming and costly processes in accounting, accounts payable. Specifically we examined the three-way match process which is the matching of the purchase order, invoice and receiving report.
Team Fiscal Force - Standardizing Procurement to Payment Process
In 2007, the State of Ohio replaced their dated networking systems, CAS, with Ohio Administrative Knowledge Systems. Yet, some State agencies still maintain their own procurement system. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to explore procurement processes among seven State agencies to determine mutually beneficial standardized system that might be applicable statewide. A purposive sampling of 9 agency officials comprising of users and non-OAKS users participated in an open-ended semi-structured interview process. Data from the interviews were transcribed, coded, and analyzed. Drawing from the Business Process Reengineering Method (BPR) propounded by Davenport and Short and enhanced by Hammer and Champy, 4 themes emerged: OBM procurement policies, use of OAKS for procurement to purchase, benefits of existing procurement system, and disadvantages of existing procurement system. Findings from this research included standardizing procurement policies across the State to potentially minimize training cost, standardizing procurement system to benefit from supplier discounts and economies of scale, and standardizing procurement processes to enhance smooth employees' transition from one State agency to another. The implication for positive change includes improving procurement to pay processes to meet supplier requirements and utilize taxpayer dollars more effectively and efficiently.
Cohort 6 Capstone - Final Reports
Team Let's Get Fiscal - Financial Management Boot Camp
The Let's Get Fiscal Team is proposing a "Financial Management Boot Camp." A boot camp is defined as "a program or situation that helps people become much better at doing something in a short period of time." (Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary Online). Within a boot camp participants are taught skills that are needed to prepare them for completing a task or exercise. This boot camp would be offered to all State of Ohio agencies to assist in filling gaps in the guidance of new financial managers. The boot camp will provide tools and techniques for successful job performance. Developing a boot camp type of training for newly hired or front line management would be a great asset to the finance departments.
Team Getting Good M.A.R.K.S. - CFO Knowledge Transfer
Our team is proposing to create a knowledge transfer program/curriculum targeted toward new Chief Financial Officers, in order to provide the tools for immediate success for these individuals consistently across the state. This case study will outline the research methodologies used, analyze and outline the findings, and provide our recommendations on the content, format, and mode of our Chief Financial Officer Knowledge Transfer program.
Team Checks & Balances - Accounts Receivables: Aging - Reconciliation - Collections
The State of Ohio is comprised of agencies operating from various revenue sources. For agencies not heavily dependent on the state's general revenue fund or federal funds, the timely collection of fee revenue is imperative to maintaining daily operations and providing services to the citizens of Ohio. As part of our research, we focused on three components of the accounts receivable process; identification of aging receivables, reconciliation of receivables, and the collection of these receivables.
Team The Ledger Group - Standardization of Voided Warrant Reissuance
The Ledger Group's position is that standardizing the voided warrant reissuance ("VWR") process will save time, lessen confusion and create a better customer service experience for those who receive payments from the State of Ohio.
Team Queens of Compliance - Fleet Management: Reporting Best Practices
Through our research of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Office of Fleet Management, specific state agency fleet management procedures, and two other states' fleet management systems, we have identified ways in which Ohio can be more efficient and uniform with reporting processes and accountability practices.
Cohort 5 Capstone - Final Reports
Team Capstrong - Vendor Review and Service Evaluation
This project looks at creating a tool that allows State of Ohio Procurement Agents to review and evaluate vendor's performance. As there is a lack of ease and accessibility in determining the best vendor to utilize, this tool would also have those evaluations easily available. This tool would grant state-wide access to agencies and their procurement agents to help them determine which vendors can provide the best service or goods.
Team OhMi - The Ohio Agency Dashboard
Team OhMi explored the potential for a finance-based state-wide business intelligence dashboard fueled by a consolidated business intelligence database in the State. The team found that in instituting the finance dashboard, an organization could ensure that the agency's mission is being accomplished in a transformational, cost effective manner. While recommending a more modest, initial investment into a private, desktop executive dashboard as a first step, the group was cognizant that border states such as Indiana and Michigan have already made full investments into holistic dashboards available to the public. In this respect, the question of â€œis it possible?â€ is already settled.
Team OH1O - Simplifying Access to Web-Based Fiscal Information for State of Ohio Employees
In an effort to promote further accuracy, continuity, and efficiency across all layers of State of Ohio fiscal management, Team Oh1o has identified a need for the creation of a fiscal homepage, or portal, to be made available to all State of Ohio employees - a unified, 'One Ohio' approach to all things budget and finance. This web-based platform will be an easy-to-understand, highly-organized, regularly monitored-and-updated environment that will make already-existing State of Ohio resources and independent websites available from a single location.
Team Girl T.A.L.K.S - Transitioning to an Electronic Contract Approval Process
As a team, we recognized the need for a streamlined contract approval process. Many agencies, including some of our own, are still using a paper contract with various levels of hand-offs. This outdated process can result in delays, and not being able to locate a contract during its approval. We decided to interview agencies already utilizing electronic processes so we could understand the components of their systems and requirements needed if an enterprise wide solution was available. We found agencies currently using electronic systems all have strong internal IT support for their platforms, and there was a lack of standardization within the contracts being used amongst agencies. If there was an enterprise-wide system, one agency's IT could support the system and Procurement could provide oversight to the purchasing piece of the platform (i.e.: contract templates and language).
Cohort 4 Capstone - Final Reports
Team 1 - Military Injury Relief Fund
This project team analyzed an under-preforming grant program and created a tool kit to help strengthen its use. Ideas from this project can be extrapolated to benefit many other types of under-preforming grants.
Team 2 - Fiscal Best Practices Portal
Capstone Team 2 recommends the creation of a web based Best Practices portal as the best means of knowledge sharing between end users in fiscal offices statewide. Knowledge management, when functioning properly, can provide the highly efficient and cost effective processes that the State of Ohio needs during this time of decreased budgets.
Team 3 - "The Negotiators"
We Can Work it Out! This project team viewed aspects of working with the Ohio Shared Services (OSS) Accounts Payable function and explores areas of improved communication from both the agency and OSS point of view.
Team 4 - "Travel Dragons"
State of Ohio Travel. This report provides analysis and evaluation of the prospective cost savings should the State of Ohio adopt a centralized State Travel Management Program (STMP) for all state employees.
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