ASUC Moves Student Group Financial Management Online

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The majority of campus student groups have begun using a new online financial management system provided by the ASUC Auxiliary which aims to streamline the financial reimbursement process for student groups.

Handling transactions online had been discussed in recent years as an option that could replace a paper-based system fraught with inefficiencies. Since the implementation of the program--CalLink, which was developed by Buffalo, NY-based company Collegiate Link--in September, approximately 330 student groups have begun actively using the program, said Millicent Morris-Cheney, auxiliary student affairs officer.

"It allows ASUC and its sponsored groups to manage funds through a Web site," she said. "In addition, the Web site also gives a place for groups to post news articles, manage membership rosters ... There are different management tools a group can use."

She said that with CalLink, information regarding a group's funds is more readily accessible for students groups, which can simply track the progress of their financial transactions with the ASUC online, including financial reimbursements.

"The old way was very cumbersome and not very efficient," Morris-Cheney said. "Information had to be transcribed over and over again, and once they were submitted, there was no way to track where they were in the system."

However, some student group leaders have mixed feelings about the program, raising concerns that the program has created inefficiencies of its own.

"The advantage of (having) this online is that I can keep track of whether I've been reimbursed, unlike the previous system," said John Cortez, finance coordinator for the Pilipino Academic Student Services. "(However) I have no online record of what I did (on the Web site) ... Overall I was fine with the old system because I keep track of the expenses anyway."

He added that other setbacks to the program include longer procedures in getting financial information onto CalLink.

Among the difficulties incurred, he said, was having group members keep track of the 65 different parts of the group's budget online, whereas under the paper-based system, a single finance coordinator could oversee transactions.

"There's a lot of clicking and a lot of procedures, and it actually takes more time to process reimbursements," Cortez said.

Morris-Cheney said the improved transparency between student groups and the ASUC must be weighed against the setbacks of learning how to use the new system.

"It can seem awkward," she said. "But once it's done ... you don't have to wonder what happened because it's sitting in a folder somewhere."

Beckie Siu, finance vice president for the campus chapter of the Alpha Phi Omega co-ed service fraternity, said CalLink is an improvement over the old system, which often caused confusion as to when reimbursements were available for groups.

"Now you can actually see what stages the reimbursements are in," she said. "I think it just makes things go a lot more smoothly."


Contact Melody Ng at [email protected]

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