New system improves tracking of foundation expenditures

The UALR Development Office has initiated the roll out of a new digital system that accurately tracks foundation account expenditures, saving the campus time, paper, and money.

The Foundation Funds Tracking and Administration system, or FFTA, was introduced in February to UALR budget heads by FFTA team members, Sarah Travis, Dara Goad, Chris Hamilton, Christian O’Neal and Laura Wentz.

Wentz said the FFTA system was developed at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences almost eight years ago to more accurately track and monitor foundation account expenditures there.

“We learned of this product a little over a year ago and got the ball rolling to bring it to UALR,” she said.

The UAMS advancement team provided the software to UALR free of charge, and UALR Central Information Technology staff members, Nathan Nolan and Daniel Richards, adapted the system to fit the UALR environment.

A multidisciplinary pilot group is using the system now, with plans underway to implement it campus wide as training schedules allow. The UALR Office of Development’s goal is to have all campus users trained by mid-to-late summer.

Among the system’s features that improve upon the older system:

Storage: Account information such as new account forms, gift agreements, signature forms and transfer forms are stored in a digital format. Payment authorizations are done electronically.

Sharing: The web-based application enables all new account documents to be viewed on any computer as long as the user has the appropriate security rights.

Searching: All data entered into the application’s new account form is searchable as is data from payment authorizations, enabling accessibility when searching processed payments.

Loss Prevention: Old accounts transfer into a digital format to protect against further decay due to age or being misplaced.

Conservation: The new system reduces the amount of paper used on campus anywhere from 2,250 to 15,000 pages each month for an estimated total of 86,000 pages annually.

Accountability: The system automatically forwards payment authorization for approval, enabling correct signatures. The chain is visible to all appropriate people.

Loss Prevention: The system eliminates loss of payment authorizations. When the final upload process is in place, it will further eliminate loss in the mail when sending paper copies to the Foundation.

Reporting: The system furnishes reports on a wide array of metrics associated with payment authorizations such as number of requests by department, time spent for each request to be processed and total dollars requested by account.

As system users are trained across campus, they’ve expressed their satisfaction with the variety of new features that come with the product.

“I really like that all the information about the fund will be easily accessible,” said Director of Finance Laura Challenger Webb of the UALR College of Business.

“We have several authorizations that were lost in transition to the Office of Development so I like the tracking system. This will be so much easier and convenient for all those involved, from originator to the final approver. I love the reduction of paperwork as well.”

“The trainers were very considerate of our time constraints and delivered a thorough and well-organized session,” said College of Business Dean Jane Wayland.


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