14 4 / 2014

I’m so excited to share this new PS Procurement Reporting Tool with you guys!

We’ve created a new report for Queen’s Procurement PeopleSoft users. It’s called the Open PO Report.

This report has been designed to capture and provide results on Requestor’s Open POs in PS, the vouchers (invoices) tied to them and the remaining balance left on the PO.

Since we’re deep into Year-End review, could the timing be more perfect?

If you’re looking for an instructional guide on how to run the report, or if you’ve got your hands on one, have tried it, and have some questions/comments, let me know!

21 2 / 2014

February seems to be a “ramp up” time here in Queen’s Procurement/Finance.

"The calm before the storm", as THEY say :)

There are updates to share, so why waste time? Check them out:

- Lyreco (of one Queen’s VOR for paper) just released their 2014 paper pricing. If you follow us on FB or are part of our listserve, you’re in the know already!

- We’ve created a report to help you track your open Purchase Orders & related payments. Blog post to come on that (this is exciting stuff!)!

- Year-End is approaching quickly! Here are some key dates to be aware of:
Research Year-End Cut-off -> March 21st, 2014
P-Card Year-End Transactions Cut-off -> April 17th, 2014
Purchase Requisition Blackout Begins -> April 25th, 2014
Operating Purchase Requisition Blackout Ends -> May 2nd, 2014
Research Purchase Requisition Blackout Ends -> May 14th, 2014

That’s it for now! As usual, if you have any questions let me know.

17 10 / 2013

10,000

I wish it meant my winnings from a lottery ticket, but don’t worry, it’s signifying something equally as thrilling.

We’ve just about reached 10,000 Purchase Requisitions & Purchase Orders created in PeopleSoft…!

I know - hold on to your hats, try to simmer down with the “Wahoo”s and the “Heck Yes”s - your colleagues are gonna think you actually won the lottery.

But this is fun.. To generalize:

10,000 orders in 4 yrs
2500 orders a year
208 orders a month
48 orders a week
7 orders a day

I could have gone into hours, minutes & seconds - but I’ll let you tackle that one in your free time ;)

PeopleSoft presented a monumental shift in how aspects of Queen’s functions, so the fact that we’ve created 10,000 Requisitions & POs is worth acknowledging!

Were they all created perfectly? Hmm, no! Were they all fully sourced to POs and fully invoiced? Negative Nancy! Did we learn how to use the system more effectively and bring more unity to Queen’s? You bet!

Pat yourself on the back 10,000 times, give your boss 10,000 high fives or hit your Easy Button 10,000 times - whatever you want to celebrate this milestone.

Watch out 20,000 - we’re comin’ for ya!

18 12 / 2012

This week is one for reflection, celebration, regular routines and cramming.

It’s the last week before Queen’s Christmas break, and Christmas in itself!

Attendance is slightly lower than usual, which means some of those left to man the ship might have a few extra tasks on their plate this week.

Our group is 100% dedicated….. to keeping our lunch reservations this afternoon. This is where the celebration part of the week kicks in.

When we’re not lunching, reflecting on my PeopleSoft Procurement 2012 calendar year occupies some of my brain space. It’s been a productive 12 months, covering topics from requisition training sessions to year-end processing, exploration of improving business processes to solidifying new working relationships… It all has contributed to constant learning and growth within the working role I occupy.

As we gradually knock off the days this week, the time left before the break gets smaller. POs require quick approvals (in order to meet deadlines), invoices need to approve & release for payment, Requestor inquiries need to be answered and I need to finish my Christmas shopping….. one of these things doesn’t belong…?

I wish you a safe and happy holiday! Hoping you get a bit of a break from your busy work life, enough of one to enjoy celebratory moments with your family & friends.

image

Cheers to 2013 - I think it’ll be an exciting year :)

23 10 / 2012

Ever since the beginning of PS, we’ve experienced a regular (as well as sporadic) batch process failure in relation to the approval of Pending Purchase Requisitions.

I use terms such as regular and sporadic because this failure has been happening ever since PS go-live but might occur anywhere from 3 times in one day to only once a week, etc. To sum, I can’t really predict it.

Delightfully, a theory has been suggested by my brilliantly technical colleague, as to why this failure happens. I’ve done some field work to confirm this theory, and it appears everything jives.

Revelation: This batch process failure happens when a Requestor submits their purchase requisition exactly on the hour (ie. 9am, 10am, 11am, 12pm, etc.), which happens to be the exact moment the batch process is scheduled to run (every hour on the hour).

These two events (submitting the Req and approving the Req) cannot seem to co-exist peacefully, so in order to ensure smooth waters within the Requisitioning process it looks like we’ll want to avoid contact between them.

Ie. If you are ready to submit your Purchase Requisition try waiting until the hour change has passed (ex. 10:01).

Another mystery solved… I feel like I should request detective badges for our team.

12 9 / 2012

I have Requisition Email Notification news. Do we want to hear the positive or the not-so positive news first?

I tend to request the not-so positive news first, so the information-unloading can end on a somewhat uplifting note. Hope I’m not alone in this train of thought.

Not-so positive news:

Lately, PeopleSoft has been testing my patience. The email notification process has decided to take a little stay-cation, if you will.

This issue is still somewhat mysterious to us – but we do have a few answers. One aspect seems to be that of unmatched email addresses between PeopleSoft databases (FIN, HR, etc). If the email addresses were unmatched, an email notification related to Requisition matters would not send.

When I say Requisition matters, I’m referring to:

-          Your Requisition being sourced into a Purchase Order

-          A Requisition requiring Amount Approval

This issue seems to also have a few more layers to it however, so we’re still attempting to decipher all the factors.

Good news:

I haven’t pulled all my hair out.

That’s not it, don’t worry.

As always, you can still find out your Purchase Order ID w/o waiting for that email notification to come through. Look your Requisition back up in PS, once open click on the Document Status link you will find on the page of the order. This will open a new window, which will contain details of all the documents that correspond with your Requisition (ie. Purchase Order, Vouchers, Payments, etc.).

My dedication to you guys is to continue to work with the highly intelligent technical people on our team and clear this up.

Stay with me.  

Nicole.mundell@queensu.ca

16 7 / 2012

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume most of you have received at least one warning message when attempting to save your Requisition in PS… true?

Let’s cease the confusion and wonderment, and decipher some of these warning messages here and now!

Ever had this one?:

"Warning: Invalid chartfields combination on line number:1, schedule number:1, distribution line number:1…" etc.

This message pops up when you don’t have enough chartfield (account) information on one of the (or the only) line level distribution(s). You will want to review the line level distributions and ensure you fill in the blank fields. Could be happening because you forgot to click override in the Requisition Defaults section, or utilize the Req Defaults section all together!

What about this foreign-language message?:

"Ship-from Country is Required…" etc.

This one used to puzzle me, up until recently! Two reasons you might get this message: 1) The vendor location code (the vendor address) is missing from a field. This really shouldn’t happen too often, as this code is supposed to default into the appropriate fields once you select the vendor. If you get this warning message you’ll want to navigate to the “vendor information” tab at the line level of the Req main page, and ensure every product line (if multiples) has a vendor location code. If one doesn’t, you’ll want to fill it in. 2) Something’s missing from the vendor profile - let me know the vendor details, and I’ll review the profile for the missing link.

How about this friendly pop-up?:

"Requisition message for line number 1: Requisition amount is >= $10,000, ensure 3 quotes are attached…." etc.

This one is actually a fairly friendly message. We thought it might be helpful to have this pop up whenever you’re submitting a Purchase Requisition with a line amount >$10,000… just to remind you to attach competitive quotes you may have obtained, or the Sole Source form you’ve possibly spent time completing. You can still submit the Req w/o these documents, there just might be a delay in your PO approval once the Buyers review the order.

You might see this guy:

"Requestor Item required…" etc.

There’s more to this message, but the specifics escape me at the moment. If you see a similar message appear, it can be deciphered as the system thinks you should enter an Item ID.
At Queen’s we’re not actually using the Item function in PS, so there’s no need to enter a number here. You want to actually customize your Requisition main page to hide that ITEM field, so you’re not tempted to enter something in (even if the vendor has quoted you a specific Item ID - we are just utilizing the Description field on the Requisition main page, so this is where you should enter in all your product/service information).
Click on the yellow “Customize” link found in the dark blue line above the Req line level - find Item on the list of functions to customize, select it, then click “Hidden” in the middle of the screen. Scroll down and find that OK button - click it!
Once back on the Req main page, you’ll notice that the pesky Item field is now hidden. This will be the only time you have to customize this, as your updates will be saved for every future Req you submit.

I’ve seen this next message several times:

"Page inconsistent with database…" etc.

If you’re attempting to make a change to your Req, or even just save it for the first time and you do so right over a new hour change (ie. 10am, 11am, 12pm - etc.), the system might be trying to work with your Req as well. You’ll get the above hefty message if this is the case.
Just ensure you wait a few minutes if you have any updating/saving to do on your Requisition and are approaching a new hour.

Trying to make a change to an existing Open Requisition?:

"The Accounting Date xxx is not open. The open period for QUNIV is from xxx to xxx".

Sounds like you’ve had your Req on hold for a while! Long enough to pass through into a new accounting period in PeopleSoft. You’ll need to update the Accounting Date to be current (usually just choosing the current date is sufficient), in order for your Requisition to budget check the right period.

These are the major ones I’ve run into… If more happen to haunt my dreams, I won’t keep them to myself!

As always, let me know if you have questions on any of the above information.

nicole.mundell@queensu.ca

02 4 / 2012

Amount vs. Quantity? Sound odd?

There are two ways you, as Requestors, can set your Purchase Requisitions up. Your decision should really boil down to how you expect invoicing to shake out.

Yes, I said shake out.

Amount Orders:

                Setting your Requisition up by AMOUNT is the best option when you are creating the order to pay for a service, or you have been quoted a set price for a group of multiple items.

Example Scenario 1 – Vendor has quoted you $5500 to fix the air conditioning in your office or complete testing on laboratory samples (let’s assume different vendors, as I haven’t come across one that could offer both services!). In this scenario, you’ll want to set your Requisition up by AMOUNT, and base the order on the $5500 pricing.

Example Scenario 2 – Vendor has quoted you a price of $6000 for 75 widgets. This price includes the cost for all the widgets, freight and the inclusion of a personalized thank you letter from the vendor (you never know!). In this scenario, we don’t really know how much each widget costs individually, nor do we know how much specifically the freight is budgeted at as well as what they are charging us for the personalized thank you letter. Best option in this scenario is to set your Requisition up by AMOUNT, and base the order on the $6000 pricing.

                You can also set Requisitions up by AMOUNT for blanket/standing orders. These orders are typically utilized for a certain time period (let’s say, 6 months – 1 yr) and are budgeted for the amount of money the Requestor thinks they’ll spend with that vendor throughout that time period.

Quantity Orders:

                Setting your Requisition up by QUANTITY is the best option when you are creating the order for a specific quantity of items, or perhaps a specified number of days/months of work.

Example Scenario 1 – You have requested a quote from a vendor for 4 new office chairs. The vendor has come back to you with a quote of $300 per chair. In this scenario, it’s best to set your Requisition up by QUANTITY, selecting 4 as the quantity, each at a unit price of $300. You order summary will then sit at $1200 as a subtotal.

Example Scenario 2 – You have requested a quote from a vendor for a certain service, and they have come back to you with a quote expecting the work to take 10 days to complete, each day costing you $500. In this scenario, you could set your Requisition up by QUANTITY, selecting 10 as the quantity and have $500 as the unit price. Your order summary will then sit at $5000 as a subtotal. In this scenario also, you do have the option to set the order up by AMOUNT, and just base the order on the $5000 subtotal. Either will work!

Clear as mud?

I know, it’s sometimes a little murky… As a reminder, just think of how the invoice(s) will come in. Multiple invoices? All on one invoice?

Reach out to me if you have a Q!

Nicole.mundell@queensu.ca

21 3 / 2012

Yep - it’s coming…

The most anticipated time of year in Finance/Procurement’s world. From my view-point, that is.

Year-End.

We’ve been prepping for a few months now. How have I been gearing up for it?:

  • Finalizing the Procurement/Budget close plan document - confirming dates, contacts, etc.
  • Reviewing all open Purchase Orders/Requisitions, determining whether they qualify for closure
  • Meeting with team members to discuss/clear up any pending PO/Req issues

Noting the above, there’s a very good chance that over the next month I’ll be coming to some of you to discuss your “open” PO.

I might also show up at your office with wine and snacks, as an advance apology for hounding you about the above topic.

My brain power is in overdrive during year-end. Isn’t it supposed to be that time of year where we’re all slipping into a more relaxed kind of mode? Spring has arrived… Summer is just a few blocks down the road… and some of us are heading to the liquor store more frequently because we like to sit on our decks after work with a drink in our hand, right?

I have to just admit it though, I dig it.

Year-End for me is like putting the final piece of tape on that well-wrapped birthday gift. Or washing the last dish in a mountain-high pile of dirty dishes. The ideals of a new fiscal year are in sight. Fresh ordering situations, conversations, and learning opportunities. It actually also symbolizes that summer can officially start, in my books. What’s not to look forward to?

I’m making it sound pretty and smooth… the year-end process can have its speedbumps. But one can dream for a smooth ride.

I may look a little disshelved, and take an extra minute phoning you back - but I will make sure to show up!

Under-promise, over-deliver?

Here we go!

13 1 / 2012

PeopleSoft terms can be cryptic.

I kind of felt like I was learning a new language when PS came into our lives. Made me think back to highschool French class and wonder the same things I wondered then… Would it ever sink in??

Bad news? I still don’t know French that well… good news? PeopleSoft was much easier to learn.

A couple terms you will want to become familiar with as Requestors:

-          Requisitions (or Purchase Requisitions)

  • These are the name for the orders you will actually create within PS. In our Legacy system, we were skipping the Requisitioning aspect and creating straight Purchase Orders.
  • We now begin with submitting a Requisition, which will eventually turn into a Purchase Order
  • The vendor won’t need to know the Requisition ID number, as they’ll get the Purchase Order ID instead

-          Requisition Defaults

  • This section of the Requisition should be the first place you go when submitting your order – it will include the bulk of the information about your order

-          Header

  • The header section of a Requisition will include your Requestor information and the currency you have selected for your order

-          Line

  • Your line details will include descriptions of the product/service you are ordering
  • It will also include your selected vendor
  • You could have multiple lines on your order

-          Schedule

  • This describes the Ship-to location defined for your order, your Due Date requirements and how you want to set the order up (by Quantity or Amount)
  • You could have a One-time address in your Schedule (maybe you have someone working out in the field who requires the product/service – the location is not already loaded in PeopleSoft)
  • You could have multiple schedules defined on your order

-          Distribution

  • Distribution is the term to describe the chartfield layout you define on your order
  • You could have multiple distributions (splits between accounts/projects/fund, etc.)
  • Two sections for distribution information to reside – Requisition Defaults screen and the Line level 

-          Chartfields

  • Chartfields define a string of accounts
  • I.e. Fund-Dept-Account-Program-Class-Project

-          Purchase Orders

  • The order we will actually send out to the vendor
  • These are created from the Requisitions you submit
  • Different ID number than your Requisition

-          Vouchers

  • Accounts Payable creates vouchers in the PS system when they receive the invoice in for your order
  • Voucher is the PS term for invoice    

-          Pre-Encumbrance

  • Describes the amounts initially encumbered to your accounts when the Requisition budget checks

-          Encumbrance

  • Describes the amounts committed to your accounts when the Purchase Order budget checks

-          Liquidate/Liquidation

  • Liquidation occurs when we clear out any lingering commitments from your accounts
  • In the purchasing realm, liquidation happens when we close your Purchase Order/Requisition (closing the order because everything has been fully received/paid)

This is just a small sample of terms we might come across throughout our PS Purchasing travels.

If you have a question about a specific term not mentioned above (or want further clarification on something mentioned here), please ask me about it!