From Chief Financial Officer Vanessa Peoples: OCFO’s top five

Vanessa Peoples

The Finance Section held an all-hands meeting on Monday, Oct. 28, looking back on the recently completed fiscal year and gearing up for the new one that started this month. We accomplished a lot in FY2019, but we still have work to do in FY2020. Here are the top five takeaways from the meeting.

  1. Safety is paramount. The laboratory as a whole is focused on safety, and we as a section are responsible for safety in our own areas. We did recently conduct two separate surprise safety tours and we passed both inspections 100 percent with no advance notice. This is indicative of the fact that the Finance Section takes safety very seriously.
  2. The Finance Section is undergoing a reorganization. Recent retirements and other circumstances have allowed us an opportunity to look critically at the section and improve our alignment with lab priorities, and improve our coordination with all lab-wide financial activities. Our focus is on internal customer service, enhanced compliance and business analytics. Expect some changes in accounting and budget, and continued refinements to the procurement team.
  3. Our focus is on operational excellence. We are prioritizing processes and reengineering efforts that impact the largest number of people at the laboratory, like requisitions and travel receipts. It is still a manual process to enter travel receipts, and we are excited that electronic receipts are coming. Finance has five operational excellence actions in progress and scheduled to be completed in FY2020.
  4. We continue to interact and partner with the DOE Fermi Site Office. All aspects of finance intersect with the contract officers in the FSO, and we have two new contract officers starting work soon. This is good news – it means the lab is growing – we look forward to working with them.
  5. Our new budget and planning process will lead to better financial management for Fermilab. This will include alignment and integration of all resource needs at the lab. We are focused on longer-term planning horizons to make sure the lab’s needs are considered beyond the current fiscal year.

Vanessa Peoples is the chief financial officer for Fermilab.