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University of Waterloo -- Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Thursday, June 6, 1996

Under sunny skies, while they last

A collision at the intersection of University Avenue and Albert Street this morning sent one person to hospital with minor injuries and produced congestion and big delays for more than an hour right when people were trying to get to campus. One vehicle landed on its roof in the two-car crash, which was reported to police at 7:25 a.m. . . .

Preregistration for winter term undergraduate courses continues today and tomorrow. . . .

Alex McCulloch of the library's user services department moves today from the Davis Centre to the Dana Porter Library, and is arriving to find his office stuffed full of balloons.

Mostly about those 31 digits

Phase 1 of the new financial system was launched May 1, as this fiscal year began for UW. To help everybody get through "the usual growing pains associated with the implementation of major information systems", says Roy Wagler of the financial systems project group, "the project team is continuing to provide help" by phone and by e-mail.

Telephone help lines for the FSP are ext. 5328 for general inquiries and ext. 5232 for research accounts. The electronic mail address is fsp-help@mc4adm.

One question has been asked several times: "Why is the account number 31 digits?" Wagler has an answer for that one:

It should be remembered that the "old" account number contained many descriptive alphanumeric characters with only 9 digits immediately visible to users. The new account number system (a.k.a. Accounting Flexfield or AFF) is the result of a careful evaluation of the most cost-effective way for UW to balance a number of convergent pressures. These include external accounting and reporting requirements to governments and funding agencies, evolving accounting principles imposed by external bodies, internal reporting needs (researchers, research centers, ancillaries, etc.) and cost-effectiveness tradeoffs in the development and implementation of a new financial system that meets the needs of the University community.

Encoding information such as Organizational Unit, Fund, and Project in the AFF allows all users to take best advantage of the full power, flexibility and security of the Oracle Financials system. While this has resulted in a larger but more visible account number, much of the inconvenience of coding the account number on forms will be eliminated through the implementation of on-line data entry routines already planned for future project phases.

To simplify document preparation and facilitate data entry, the project team will be investigating alternatives for recording the AFF through the use of "aliases" which translate a shorter number into the larger AFF much like the old system translated the old account code into a larger code used internally in the system. This feature is available in the system and its implementation is planned but scheduled after May 1 due to task priority considerations and resource constraints.

The plan is to provide a consistent, campus-wide approach for coding the AFF that will reduce the number of required characters to a minimum. While this is a high priority it will take a little time to evaluate the options and implement the optimal solution. In the meantime, anyone with suggestions for facilitating recording the new AFF is asked to provide their input to the project team.

And a final reminder from the folks who brought you the FSP: "When filling out forms designed to accommodate the AFF, you may put a stroke through any segments that contain all 0's. However, when providing an AFF in free-form (i.e. not on a form with a place for the AFF) please code the entire AFF."

Retirement parties, retirement parties

Today: a reception and dinner to honour six people who are retiring from the department of biology. The guests of honour are Bill Inniss, Jack Pasternak, Lili Pasternak, Joan Venn, Kuruvila Zachariah, and Roger Downer. The reception starts at 4:00 in the Flamingo Room of South Campus Hall; the dinner, by reservation, follows at 5:30. Last-minute information: Wendy Mertz, ext. 3943. (She's also accepting contributions to a scholarship fund in honour of the six.)

Tomorrow evening: a dinner-dance at the Dundee Country Club in honour of eight people retiring from the earth sciences department.

Coming, and not previously announced:

On the feast of Corpus Christi

A conference of the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations, in which UW's Federation of Students plays a big part, starts today and runs through Monday at the Village II conference centre. About 40 leaders of student groups from universities across Canada are expected.

The school of optometry holds a one-day research symposium on "applied and fundamental problems of current interest, presented by visitors and researchers" in the school.

The local Volunteer Action Centre is looking for a "coffee break team leader" in support of an Alzheimer's disease fund-raiser. Such a person will "organize a team to approach organizations . . . the team will invite them to host a coffee break fundraiser on September 20. This is an enjoyable way to work with your colleagues to help an important cause." More information: 742-8610.

Chris Redmond -- credmond@watserv1.uwaterloo.ca
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
(519) 888-4567 ext. 3004

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