OSCAR_spring08 by jizhen1947

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									    Office of the State Controller                Robert L. Powell, State Controller                      Spring Quarter 2008



        BEACON HR/Payroll project fully on line
Virtually the entire state workforce is using the BEACON HR/Payroll system now that the second wave of agencies has joined the
upgrade of North Carolina's antiquated business systems.

On April 1, more than 66,000 Group Two agency employees joined the 19,000 Group One agency employees already using the
new system to start conducting their own human resources and payroll transactions. Specifically, the new system allows state
employees to update their personal and benefits information, check current and previous payroll data and record their working
time from most computers with an Internet connection.

                                                                      One of the project's more notable accomplishments was the
                                                                      delivery of 55,794 hours of training over an 11-week period
                                                                      to 2,708 Group Two core users. The strong training effort
                                                                      provided core users at each agency with the knowledge
                                                                      needed to conduct human resources, benefits and payroll
                                                                      transactions in the new system.

                                                                         The BEACON system, which resulted from five years of
                                                                         planning and development, was created using software
                                                                         company SAP's enterprise resource planning package. The
                                                                         software is designed to allow future business operations to
                                                                         be added to the BEACON system. The General Assembly
                                                                         already has approved funding to add electronic recruiting,
which will keep track of state job applicants; and electronic training, which will handle a number of training-related functions, to
the new system.

Planning has started on the next phase of the project, which will add budgeting, accounting and cash management functions.
When completed, the BEACON system will provide centralized, coordinated business operations that can improve efficiency and
provide timely, accurate information for decision-makers and the public.

In addition to future projects that fall under the BEACON umbrella, the Controller's Office houses support and training
departments. From a support perspective, agents from the BEST Shared Services Center are available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Monday through Friday to assist state employees in conducting human resources, benefits and payroll transactions. The training
department, dubbed BEACON University, will handle on going training needs for the State's human resources, payroll and
financial systems. Web-based training will continue to be available for state employees using Employee and Manager Self
Service.

Although, no new data will be added to the State's outdated personnel and payroll systems, they will continue to operate until all
state entities, including universities, have rolled off the system and all necessary historical data has been transferred.

Full details regarding the BEACON program are available on the Office of the State Controller's BEACON website at
www.beacon.nc.gov.




Controller's Message: At last, .... a little time to catch our breath
At last, the BEACON HR/payroll project has been implemented across state government. To be honest, there was a time or two
during the five years of planning and development for this day when I wondered if it would really happen.
But with the addition of about 66,000 employees to the system on April 1, we are fully
operational. I appreciate the effort that has been made by everybody involved, both here at OSC and in the agencies who have
come on board. There has been a tremendous amount of time, energy, thinking and patience
expended to get to this point.

So where do we go from here?

In the Information Age, maybe more so than any other time in history, change seems to be our
constant companion. Just as we start getting used to making calls on cell phones, they morph
into entertainment centers with music players, cameras and Web access built into them. Just
as we learn how to use one computer system, an upgrade or completely different system
replaces it.

While more change is coming for the BEACON program, we are planning to give people a
chance to catch their breath this year, at least figuratively. While the HR/payroll system is up
and operating, it needs some time to stabilize and become the standard way we do business
in North Carolina. Once people get comfortable using it, they'll wonder how we ever did
anything different, but that takes time.We have started the planning effort to add accounting,
cash management, budgeting and other functions to the overall BEACON system. That
planning is likely to take most of the rest of this year, and it probably will be early next year
before we have a design and implementation plan pulled together. We will follow the same sort
of course we did with the HR/payroll system, seeking input from core users in state agencies
so we can develop a Financials system that meets the needs of agencies while infusing best business practices across state
government.

It will take a lot of work from a lot of people, of course, but our business office and human resources workers have shown in the
establishment of BEACON that they can adapt and adjust to develop business systems that make sense for North Carolina. That
will come later, though. For now, take a brief break from the endless onslaught of change. You deserve it.



Governor nominates McCoy to become new State Controller
Governor Mike Easley has nominated David McCoy to succeed Robert Powell as State Controller when his term ends June 30.
The nomination must be confirmed by the General Assembly before McCoy can take office.

McCoy has served as State Budget Director during both terms in the Easley administration. He previously served as
Transportation Secretary, deputy chief of staff and chief deputy secretary of the Department of Administration under Gov. Jim
Hunt. During the administration of Gov. Jim Martin, McCoy served as chief counsel in the Department of Administration and as
assistant director of the N.C. Commission of Indian Affairs.

The State Controller serves a seven-year term.
The EAGLE program has landed; will focus on internal control
The Office of the State Controller has launched the EAGLE program to strengthen North Carolina's internal controls and give
agency managers better information on the risks they face in financial management.

EAGLE, which stands for Enhancing Accountability in Government through Leadership and Education, grew out of the State
                                                                     Government Accountability and Internal Control Act
                                                                     approved by the General Assembly last year.

                                                                          The act says clearly and for the first time that agency
                                                                          leaders must ensure that their business operations are
                                                                          following the system of internal controls that have been
                                                                          established by OSC. In that regard, it resembles the
                                                                          federal Sarbanes Oxley Act, which required corporate
                                                                          leaders to personally assure that their financial records
                                                                          accurately reflect the financial condition of the
                                                                          company.

                                                                          But the act went one step farther. It provided that OSC
                                                                          make sure agencies receive the training they need to
                                                                          adequately implement a strong system of internal
                                                                          controls. That is what the EAGLE program is all about.

With help from Ernst & Young, OSC has developed a monitoring and
training program that will be phased in over the next year. Each
agency will be required to perform an annual self-assessment that
will help them identify risks and compensating controls that will
reduce the possibility of material misstatements or misappropriation
of assets.

"We believe the EAGLE program will give agency managers a
valuable tool that they can use to reduce risks in their financial
management,'' said State Controller Robert Powell. "In these times
of tight resources, taxpayers expect us to make sure their dollars are
carefully handled. EAGLE will help tremendously in that stewardship
effort."

The program was launched in late February, with a training session
for the first group of agencies to use the monitoring system a month
later.




E-commerce report recommends unified, statewide structure
A few state agencies have successfully implemented e-commerce programs that cover a range of services from disbursements to
online payments, but North Carolina lacks a true statewide structure, a special Ecommerce Task Force says in a new report to
the General Assembly.

Instead of a unified system, various agencies, universities and community colleges have embarked on separate courses,
developing their own systems. The task force, in the report requested by legislators last year, said a more coordinated approach
needs to be developed, with a structure that can accommodate the variety of needs within agencies, universities and community
colleges.

Recommendations from the task force, which filed its report April 30, included:

      Making OSC the primary agency for establishing comprehensive standards, policies, and procedures to ensure an orderly
      expansion of e-commerce;

      Requiring agency management to take an active role in identifying paper-based payments that are potential candidates for
      converting to electronic payments;

      Establishing an oversight and approval process within OSC to ensure new e-commerce applications are consistent with
      statewide standards and policies;
      Involving both UNC General Administration and the NC Community College System in the oversight process for their
      respective schools;

      Making funding a priority for those agencies desiring to establish e-commerce functions that require modifications to their
      website infrastructure. These development costs are separate from the ongoing processing costs once a system is
      developed;

      Whenever it is determined that an e-commerce activity is economically beneficial to the State as a whole, the costs
      incurred should be considered as a "cost of doing business," without any expectation that the citizen should pay a
      convenience fee;

      Whenever it is not more efficient to process a transaction electronically, a convenience fee potentially could be levied, with
      specific prior approval;

      A specific chapter should be created in state statutes that ties the various elements of e-commerce pertaining to
      "electronic payments" together in one place;

      Amend several existing statutes to remove conflicts between current laws and industry rules, and to accommodate the
      recommendations.




                                                                         BEACON University to offer
                       Training Opportunities
             Procurement Card                   May 6                      training in SAP and NCAS
             Accounts Payable Mngmnt            May 14
             Fixed Assets Basics                May 21            The massive training effort that was a critical part of the
                                                                  BEACON HR/payroll implementation will not end now that the
             Cash Mngmnt Control System         May 21            project is fully operational.
             Agency System Mngmnt               May 28-29
             DSS Basics                         June 10           In fact, training for both BEACON and the North Carolina
                                                                  Accounting System is expected to be a continuous process to
             Accounts Payable Matching          July 8
                                                                  keep up with system adjustments, changes in business
             Accounts Payable Overview          July 15-17        practices and future projects affecting core business systems.
             Procurement Card                   July 23
             Agency System Mngmnt               July 30-31        Because of that, the Office of the State Controller is establishing
                                                                  "BEACON University," which will combine training for NCAS and
             For full details, scheduling and registration, see   BEACON in both classroom and on-line settings. The program,
             the Training section of the OSC web page:            expected to be fully operational by this fall, will use agency
             www.ncosc.net
                                                                  "super-users" who already have been trained in BEACON
                                                                  subjects and a staff centralized in OSC who will produce and
update training materials and conduct trainer training classes.

An analysis of agency trends from 2006 and 2007 indicates that much of the demand for BEACON University services will come
from employees hired, transferred or promoted into personnel and payroll positions. During that two-year period there was an
average of 650 new hires each month and an additional 70 employees each month who were promoted or transferred. Roles
requiring HR/Payroll training represented 3 percent to 5 percent of all jobs in the State.

The analysis indicates that 20 to 40 new hires, transfers or promotions will require BEACON University training each month, with
numbers that could be as high as 50 in the peak months of January, June and September.

On-going monthly training will be scheduled in advance, with ad hoc training in specific areas that will be scheduled as needed.
Some basic classes may even be required more frequently than once a month. The training schedule will include 23 NCAS
courses as well as SAP courses needed to operate the BEACON system.

"Training is a key component of the BEACON system and will continue to be important was we move forward," OSC Deputy
Gwen Canady told a legislative budget subcommittee in requesting additional staff to operate BEACON University.
                                                         E-commerce conference draws 225
                                                More than 225 representatives of state agencies, universities and other
                                                organizations turned out for a statewide conference on electronic
                                                commerce sponsored by the Office of the State Controller.

                                                The conference on April 23 focused on the services offered through the
                                                Statewide Electronic Commerce Program (SECP) administered by OSC.
                                                The sessions were designed to help agencies identify how they can more
                                                fully participate in e-commerce for both disbursement and collection of
                                                funds.

                                                Relevant issues pertaining to electronic funds transfer and merchant card
                                                processing were discussed and the vendors supporting the SECP also
                                                participated. Vendor exhibits were also available during the conference.
                                                The conference concluded with agency success stories from N.C. State
                                                University and the Department of Revenue.




OSC negotiates agreement to accept Discover cards
Agencies that accept credit cards will now be able to take Discover cards under a master agreement negotiated by the Office of
the State Controller.

The agreement with DFS Services LLC will allow agencies to enroll in the Discover Network Card program beginning May 1.
Detailed information regarding the Discover Network Card program, including enrollment forms, can be viewed at:
thttp://www.ncosc.net/SECP/SECP_Discover_Cards.html.

The State has existing agreements that cover Visa and Master Card, as well as the American Express Card. Those agreements
also are available on the OSC website. Questions may be addressed to the OSC Support Services Center at (919) 875-4357, or
email OSC.secp.info@ncosc.net .




New web sites planned for Cash Management, NCAS DSS users
The Cash Management Program has reorganized and redesigned its website to help agencies find the information they need.

The improved site, which is expected later this month, pulls together information that had been scattered over several websites,
said Amber Young, manager of the Central Compliance Section.

"We also have made some improvements to our internal processes to free up our cash management analyst to provide more
support to agencies," Young said. The Cash Management Program will offer refresher training in cash management procedures
on May 21. Registration for the session is located in the training section of OSC's website.

A similar upgrade to the North Carolina Accounting System Decision Support System is expected this summer. Reports needed
for the annual Comprehensive Annual Financial Report previously have been shipped electronically to agency servers, but the
new website will allow agencies to use the Internet to access those reports online from a central location.

"We expect to be fully online by the end of July and will sunset the former distribution in mid- to late summer," said Anne Godwin,
manager of the Accounting and Financial Reporting Section. Financial Section staff will work with agencies during May and June
to transfer to the new system. Day-to-day operations for year-end procedures and the CAFR should not change, Godwin said, but
the information will be easier to locate and use with the website improvements.




Financials Project consultant expected by month's end
Now that the State's new HR/Payroll system is up and running, the second major initiative under BEACON is the replacement of
the State's budgeting and financial systems. The new system will integrate the budget and financial functions with the human
resources and payroll functions already using SAP software.

The Budget and Financials Initiative is now in the planning-and-requirements phase, to be followed by procurement and
implementation phases.

The planning phase will develop a detailed set of functional and technical requirements, along with a corresponding business
process redesign approach, for the State's budgeting and financial areas. This work also will include identifying significant
changes needed within state agencies, management practices and organizational structures to implement the recommended best
business practices.

The BEACON Program is in the process of selecting a contractor to assist in gathering the requirements for budgeting and
financial functions. The contractor is expected to be on site in late May, and the project is expected to conclude in October 2008.
The requirements gathering process will involve not only the BEACON Project Team, but also agency representatives involved in
the various budgeting and financial functions. The process, similar to the planning process used for the human
resources/personnel project, will help build consensus on the requirements to be met by the new system.




Overpayment audits will soon be underway
The Office of the State Controller will soon be conducting overpayment audits for both accounts payable and
telecommunications. The occasional audits, which were first authorized in 1999, seek to find double payments, uncredited
discounts or other areas where state agencies overpaid vendors.

Contractors who conduct the audits are paid a percentage of the overpayments they recover for the State. Previous audits, which
covered wide-ranging types of payments and services, covered July 1, 1995, to June 30, 2004. Those audits recovered $4.5
million in overpayments for the State, with about $1.4 million of that total going to the auditors.

Later audits showed declining overpayments, indicating that the reviews were helping agencies keep a closer watch on their
payments, said Assistant State Controller Julie Batchelor. The new accounts payable overpayments audit will cover the period
from July 2004 through June 2007, a longer period than previous audits, to allow for those declining findings.

As in previous audits, any findings reported by the auditors will be checked by the agency where they are discovered. If the
overpayments are confirmed, the funds will be reclaimed and deposited in the General Fund.

The North Carolina Accounting System processed about two million payments totaling more than $1.2 billion during the 2007
fiscal year. The accounts payable audit will include those payments, with the exception of $126 million in medical services
expenditures and about $46 million in telecommunications payments, which will be handled in a separate audit.

Broniec Associates, headquartered in Atlanta, will conduct the accounts payable audit. Auditors for the telecommunications audit
will be decided soon.
         So long, John

John Dew, left, receives his retirement certificate
from Chief Deputy Controller Gwen Canady at a
ceremony earlier this year. Dew had more than 30
years of state service, including stints with the
Office of the State Auditor and the community
college system. He joined the Office of the State
Controller in 2001.




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