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Stevens Institute of Technology Moves Financial Systems to Open Source Kuali

New Jersey's Stevens Institute of Technology has transitioned its financial systems to an open source platform. To replace its 30-year-old legacy system, Stevens adopted the Kuali Financial System, a tool developed and maintained by a partnership of higher education institutions and private companies.

The Kuali Foundation is an open source organization for education institutions and other organizations dedicated to developing open source tools for higher education. The Kuali Financial System is Kuali's flagship project. Based originally on Indiana University's Financial Information System, KFS is a modular, enterprise-level financial system comprising accounts receivable, general ledger, purchasing/accounts payable, budget construction, and other major financial functions.

For the implementation, Stevens tapped rSmart, a commercial provider of services for supporting, implementing, and hosting open source software in K-12 and higher education, including Kuali and Sakai. rSmart is also currently listed as the sole major commercial partner in the Kuali Financial System project within the Kuali Foundation.

Stevens has currently implemented five KFS modules (Accounts Receivable, Chart of Accounts, General Ledger, Labor Ledger, and Purchasing/Accounts Payable), with plans to add the Budget Construction and Capital Assets modules "in the coming months," according to rSmart.

"Looking back, it has been an exciting and rewarding journey," said Mary S. Wheeler, assistant vice president for finance in Stevens's Office of Finance, in a prepared statement. "We had an aggressive timeframe of completing this implementation in just one year. There were a few speed bumps along the way, and very long hours. The entire team put in a lot of work, and it was well worth it. We've streamlined processes and now have a modern system for managing the university's financial processes. I view this as the base for future process improvements."

Some of those improvements so far have included the elimination of paper-based processes and the addition of new and streamlined document tracking and reporting capabilities.

For the Stevens implementation, rSmart provided "strategic planning, timeline, resources and methodology for the project," according to the company, and is also providing hosting services for Stevens's implementation.

Outside institutions also collaborated with Stevens to help implement the system.

Kuali Financial System is currently in use at 16 higher education institutions, including University of California, Irvine; University of Southern California; University of Arizona; Michigan State University; and San Joaquin Delta College, which was the first community college to play a major role in the development of KFS.

Located in Hoboken, NJ, Stevens Institute of Technology serves more than 2,200 undergraduate and 3,700 graduate students.

About the Author

David Nagel is the former editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal, STEAM Universe, and Spaces4Learning. A 30-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art, marketing, media, and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at .

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