Changes to support VPFO Finance  priorities

Over the past few weeks, Vice-President Peter Smailes and our portfolio leadership team have shared their insights into how our unit priorities align with our portfolio strategic plan. We would like to share more specific details about one of those initiatives, a change to how the VPFO’s internal finance teams are structured.

Ensuring we’re prepared for the future

As Karamjeet announced in May, our current Assistant to the Comptroller Steve Bow is planning to retire at the end of 2021. To support succession planning, oversight of UBC’s budgeting/forecasting, financial reporting, and IRP finance functions are being combined into the VPFO/VPHR Portfolio Finance Director role. This role will continue to be filled by Matt Boydston, although his title will be renamed to Assistant Comptroller to better reflect his new, expanded role.

Realigning our structure to support renewal and optimization

We have been working with Matt Boydston to evaluate the best structure of the VPFO/VPHR Portfolio Finance team to support his new role and future needs of the portfolio:

  • To ensure ongoing support and leadership for the VPFO/VPHR Finance team, a new VPFO/VPHR Finance Director role has been created and is currently being recruited. This is a net new role (not a replacement of the Portfolio Finance Director role) which will report to Matt Boydston, Assistant Comptroller.
  • Effective today, a Finance Manager role will be created and recruited to support Infrastructure Development, Safety & Risk Services, Finance & Operational Excellence, and the Integrated Service Centre.
  • Our Financial Operations Finance Officer, Audrey Liu, and Safety & Risk Services Financial Analyst, John Mendes, will transition to reporting to the new Finance Manager once they are in place (reporting lines will remain as they are through the interim period).
  • Effective July 1, our EWS Financial Analyst Anne Marie Novak will begin reporting directly to our EWS Associate Director Finance Dee Kaila.
  • Effective today, Faiza Samnani, Manager of Administration and Finance in Safety & Risk Services, and Jim Kikuchi, Senior Financial Analyst for Infrastructure Development and Safety & Risk Services, will be leaving the VPFO team. We thank them for their service and wish them all the best in their next steps.
  • Effective June 1, Campus Security Clerk Helen Chua will report directly to Glen MacNeil in the interim.

These changes will bolster support and leadership for the portfolio finance team, while balancing workloads and enabling us to drive our goals of customer service and operational excellence forward.

Consolidating our capital expertise

In the VPFO, our capital accounting and capital reporting are currently split between the Facilities group and the Comptroller group. Effective today, we are consolidating our expertise into a new unified Capital Financial Management team. The new group will provide Project Accounting support to Project Services within Infrastructure Development in Facilities, as well as providing the core capital reporting that ties into our consolidated Financial Reporting.

To support this realignment, we are making the following changes:

  • A new role of Finance Director, Capital Financial Management, will be created and recruited to lead this area, effective today.
  • A new role of Finance Manager, Capital Financial Management, will also be created and recruited to support the work in this area, effective today.
  • Once these roles are in place, our VPFO-related capital activities will all transition to the Capital Financial Management team.
  • Joining the new Capital Financial Management team are Pushpa Chopra, Angela Monaghan, and Sandy Ho, who will transition from Project & Planning Business Systems in Infrastructure Development to support the project accounting side of the Capital Financial Management team. Additionally, Sandy Liu, Alexia Lee, and Winnie Shiao, will be moving from Financial Reporting in the Comptroller’s team to support the capital reporting side of Capital Financial Management. Reporting lines will stay as they currently are during the interim period while the Director and Finance Manager roles are being recruited.
  • We are reviewing the responsibilities and reporting structure within the Project & Planning Business Systems team in Infrastructure Development to better align the services the team provides to the portfolio. Once the new Finance Manager, Capital Financial Management is hired, we will work with the team to find improvements and efficiencies.

This realignment will better support our teams who work on capital functions for UBC by balancing workloads and providing better technical support and development opportunities, while supporting our end-to-end visibility, teamwork, accountability, financial rigour, and prioritization.

Looking forward

As Peter mentioned in his recent strategic plan update, the coming months will require a significant amount of reflection and reinvention. This change, which affects the three main areas of the VPFO, is an example of how we can thoughtfully reflect on our needs from a portfolio perspective and work together to reinvent ourselves to improve our collaboration and the end-to-end visibility and consistency of our work.