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Launching Ben Financials:
The Countdown Begins

BEN Financials will go live on January 2, 2002, at 8 a.m., replacing FinMIS, which will be no longer be available after December 19, 2001, at 8 p.m. Although the upgrade will directly affect those of you who are FinMIS users, others may also be affected, especially by the shutdown during Winter Break. This includes researchers whose grants are closing, anyone planning year-end purchases, and faculty and staff who want to access financial and grant information during Winter Break. We therefore ask all of you to observe the key dates and review the other information (below) as you make year-end plans; we urge users to rely on the support structure that has been put in place to help achieve a smooth transition.

What's Changed

BEN Financials builds on what is familiar and working in FinMIS. It still provides integrated purchasing, accounts payable, and general ledger functions, but under new names: BEN Buys, BEN Pays, and BEN Balances. Though many procedures and proven features have been retained, they will be easier to use and sport a new graphical look and feel. New functionality has also been added, most notably, the Penn Marketplace, a purchasing environment that will be available to current FinMIS users as well as faculty and other staff who would like to purchase products and services. Featuring customized online catalogs from a host of suppliers and an electronic shopping cart, the Penn Marketplace will make purchasing easier and more convenient for everyone.

Training and Support

With the introduction of BEN Teaches and BEN Helps during the past year, training and support for users have been augmented significantly. The comprehensive BEN Financials training program developed under the BEN Teaches initiative covers policies and procedures and provides hands-on experience both in the classroom and at users' desks. The BEN Helps support service at 6-HELP has already started helping users through the transition, handling questions arising from training classes and post-training practice. In fact, Financial Support Providers (FSPs) were among the first groups trained on BEN Financials.

In January, training will begin for new users, and resume for those FinMIS users who did not complete their BEN Financials training by December 19. Refresher sessions will also be offered during January.

Going Forward

As we move through the transition, the BEN Project Team asks for your patience and continued cooperation. BEN Financials is a new system, and it would be unrealistic to expect everything to operate perfectly from day one. Users may need to make adjustments as it settles into place. We will do our best to iron out any issues as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

We thank the entire Penn community for helping us to accomplish this significant upgrade. BEN Financials will improve the way we do business at Penn.

--Robin H. Beck, Vice President, Information Systems and Computing

--Kenneth B. Campbell, Comptroller

--Michael J. Masch, Vice President, Budget and Management Analysis

--Robert Michel, Director, Acquisition Services

Key Dates

These are the key dates for the FinMIS to BEN Financials conversion.

Wednesday, December 19, 8 p.m. FinMIS to BEN Financials upgrade begins.

FinMIS is no longer available.

Wednesday, January 2, 8 a.m. BEN Financials is available.


This checklist will help you prepare for the launch and Winter Break:

  • All work on grants that require closing activities in December must be completed by December 19.
  • Are there any items you will need during the Winter Break? Let your business administrator know early as purchase orders have to be completed before December 19.
  • If you are a user, have you updated your desktop? If not, please contact your Local Support Provider (LSP) at once.
  • The BEN web site is a handy source of information, especially the FAQs about the BEN Financials launch.

Log on to

Support During the Winter Break

What remains accessible during the Winter Break?

  • BEN Reports, GRAM, and the Data Warehouse will be available, with general ledger data as of December 19.
  • Acquisition Services' staff will be on campus to assist with emergency purchases. Call a procurement specialist for assistance.

The complete schedule and instructions for December month-end closing are accessible from the Comptroller's Home Page, under "What's New."

Almanac, Vol. 48, No. 15, December 11, 2001


December 11, 2001
Volume 48 Number 15

More SAS endowed chairs: Dr. Randall Wright, is appointed to the Ronald Lauder Endowed Term Chair, and Dr. Richard Schultz is the Patricia Williams Term Chair.

Provost Robert Barchi and Executive Vice President John Fry will be part of an Open Form for the University's Strategic Plan on January 15.

Dr. Helen O. Dickens, a pioneer in women's health has died at the age of 92.
UPHS Bond rate has been revised to stable by Moody's Investors Service
Ben Financials begins its countdown to launching of new services on January 2.

Women of Color Scholars Awards applications are due on January 21

Penn Press has a collection of books just right for the holiday gift giving season. If you prefer there are Gifts of Involvement or ideas in the neighborhood from the Holiday Shopping Guide.
During the holidays, there are simple Safety Tips to keep in mind while you work and shop.
As always volunteer opportunities abound available throughout the community.
Researchers receive $1.26 million to study microfluidic systems; Penn has received $2.84 million to improve reliability of computers; the Center on Adult Literacy has received $2.4 million for technology; are part of Research Roundup in this issue.