Central finance assignments adjusted for greater synergy

The June 30 retirement of longtime university treasurer Joan Piscitello created another opportunity for senior vice president for operations and finance Pam Cain to assess the division's functional structure and build on changes that began several years ago and later included finance service delivery.

Piscitello, who as associate vice president for central finance also oversaw disparate functions such as the controller's office, financial accounting and reporting, procurement services, sponsored programs accounting and Workday Finance -- in addition to all the treasury services, was uniquely qualified to take on multiple roles, Cain said.

After considering workload distribution and synergies, Cain reassigned Piscitello's many duties among other finance leaders and shared the changes in a May 20 memo to division staff. The position won't be filled, and four other finance-side leaders will assume new responsibilities on July 1:

  • Heather Paris, with a new title of associate vice president for central finance and finance delivery. Paris will take on the central finance operations duties, which includes controller's office, procurement and accounts receivable. The intent is to provide more coordinated financial functions, including finance delivery.
  • Bonnie Whalen, associate vice president for institutional financial strategy. Whalen will oversee the treasury functions (investments, debt financing, cash flow) along with her current responsibilities for budget development and institutional financial analysis.
  • Tim Ashley, interim assistant vice president for payroll, tax and benefits. Ashley will be responsible for tax-related items currently in accounts receivable and the controller's office, in addition to his current tax oversight. These duties align with his other duties in payroll operations, fringe benefits accounting and compliance, and health insurance administration.
  • Jake Wilson, director of divisional business operations. Wilson will oversee the Workday business analysts who focus on specific functions within Workday. Aligning these responsibilities with the division's fiscal and strategic business planning will help apply a consistent perspective to Workday finance, payroll and planning functions.

Cain also announced the four will make up a new team, the Finance Leaders Alliance Group, or FLAG, which will coordinate financial policies, procedures, functions and strategies for the division.

Cain said the changes are intended to bring "even more effective and efficient fiscal responsibility, a heightened sense of stewardship for all our resources and strengthened accountability necessary to achieve our university priorities."

As approved by the state Board of Regents June 3, Cain, who formerly served as university secretary, will begin serving as university treasurer July 1. Whalen will serve as university secretary.