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Finance teams initiate modern approach to enhance support of OSU Agriculture’s key mission areas

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Oklahoma State University Agriculture is modernizing financial operations and workflows to enhance agility and better respond to the needs of faculty and staff carrying out the university’s land-grant mission.


The modernization project spearheaded a new central unit aptly named the Office of Finance and Business Operations. The more than five-year project evolved in phases, the most recent this fall with the elevation of all financial staff into teams.


“It is critical for our researchers and our Extension faculty and staff to be able to conduct business using the best information possible,” said Jayson Lusk, vice president and dean for the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. “Business operations needed modernizing to keep up with the complexities involved with business decisions and I am convinced we will emerge a better organization.”


The change provides consistency in policies and procedures for accounting and finance services in support of the Ferguson College of Agriculture, OSU Ag Research and OSU Extension, including all units and departments. Six new financial teams will emerge from the centralization, two of which will be housed in the New Frontiers building upon its completion.


“Staff will continue working with the same people as in the past, and they will have the same support they received prior to the modernization,” said Joe Diaz, assistant vice president and senior financial officer for OSU Agriculture. “I also believe the change will help financial team members learn from one another and create mission-critical business redundancies that we simply didn’t have before.”


The modernization project is moving along swiftly, and the discovery and planning phases will wrap up this fall. “The new teams are formed, leaders are identified, and now staff members are working with unit and department heads to determine how to provide services more efficiently,” said Diaz.


In addition to efficiencies, staff development initiatives are being implemented to provide better training for the financial teams and to support their career paths.


“We have great people in these accounting and financial roles, and we want to keep them and help them grow their expertise so they can make a career here,” said Lusk. “I can’t emphasize enough how important these teams are to the overall success of our land-grant mission areas of teaching, research and Extension.”


The next phase of modernization begins in January, with the finance team staff reporting to their individual team managers and collaborating to support the various units and departments within OSU Agriculture.


“We are financial partners with departmental leadership,” Diaz said. “Rather than people behind the scenes paying the bills, we are developing staff who will be invested in the success of OSU Agriculture and the university. We are joining together as one big finance family and learning together to provide the best services possible.”

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