CFO - Office of the Chief Financial Officer

Strategic Initiatives

The CFO’s Office is committed to identifying and addressing Strategic Initiatives to improve financial management for the University community. We serve the University by facilitating forward-thinking collaborative partnerships between our stakeholders, both internal and external, to address common challenges and to pursue the opportunities that we identify.

Budgeting Controls and Open Commitment Projects

The Office of the Chief Financial Officer is committed to strengthening administrative and operational efficiencies as we pursue more consistent and accurate financial data across systems. Hari Sastry, CFO, in a recent University Times article, explained his thoughts and ideas for the direction of our financial offices at Pitt; one of our long-term goal is a single place where you can see planning, budget, and performance data.

Paramount to this ambition is the timely integration of financial data between systems. Over the last year, we have had meetings with various RCs and Departments and, during those meetings, the theme we most consistently heard is that you need more accurate and timelier data. In fact, a desire for automated, timely tracking of open contractual commitments (aka encumbrances) was a top priority for many units.

To meet these requests, the PantherExpress System now sends a daily export of purchase order data into the Oracle E-Business Suite platform (PRISM). This data integration streamlines departments’ ability to monitor budgets and improve resource planning through the optional use of the Oracle budgeting module, Planning and Budgeting Cloud Solution (PBCS), or by using the FGAE138 Extract of Calculated Encumbrances by Entity and Department PRISM report.

To improve the quality of open commitment data used in budget management, we will also be changing certain processes within the PantherExpress System between April and July, 2019.

We are excited to be providing the University community, and especially our Responsibility Center Managers, better insight into their department budgets and improved budgeting controls. For more information about specific aspects of this project, please visit the project pages for each system:

Financial Management Support Initiative (FMSI)

In alignment with the Plan for Pitt Goal 6: Build Foundational Strength, the Provost and the Chief Financial Officer have created a University-wide initiative to leverage resources and expand the financial-knowledge base across all academic, research, and business units. The FMSI Working Group and support team are building a coordinated collaborative network of stakeholders that includes experts in the CFO’s and Provost’s Office and across the campus to identify and solve high-level, high-impact business, financial, and data issues.

FMSI Goals and objectives:

Goal: Build and support a financial management support network
  • Build a collaborative network with stakeholders to identify and solve financial, data, and business issues.
  • The Offices of the Provost and Chief Financial Officer will spearhead the University-wide initiative and partner with the Chancellor and Senior Vice Chancellor areas.
  • Re-institute regular workshops/community forums and/or communications with stakeholders about financial and business developments.

Goal: Transform the finance framework
  • Work with stakeholders to identify high-level, high-impact priorities that will strengthen the financial support of the academic, research, and business units.
  • Standardize financial administrative processes to ensure data quality, design more efficient processes and procedures, and ensure consistent compliance with federal and state laws along with University financial guidelines through a culture of accountability.
  • Strengthen internal controls.
  • Work with stakeholders to develop meaningful financial metrics that will transform the financial reporting system to facilitate decision making.

Goal: Institutionalize the financial management support initiative and team
  • Integrate the initiative and support team into the formalized CFO and University organizational structures.
  • Institutionalize best practices, ongoing training, and an effective communications plan.
  • Continue to establish, document, and share best practices.
  • Determine ongoing support needed for stakeholders and senior administrators.


We will achieve our goals using the following approaches:

  • Include stakeholders in making decisions that affect their business processes and systems.
  • Solicit suggestions and ideas from business and academic units.
  • Use a collaborative approach to problem solve.
  • Embrace creativity and innovation as driving forces.
  • Challenge the traditional ways of doing things.