This update on the Financial Information System of California (FI$Cal) was posted last week by Mehdi Ghomeshi, deputy director of the Business Operation and Solutions Division.

As we go into the 2019-20 fiscal year, year-end closure will include all 152 departments now transacting in the FI$Cal system. FI$Cal, along with our partner agencies, is ramping up to support departments through this effort, applying lessons learned from years past and offering extended support.

We recognize the challenges that system users encounter after onboarding to FI$Cal. With every release, we have learned more and are putting that knowledge to work for users. To facilitate success for new and existing end users, FI$Cal has dedicated numerous resources to assist with month-end and year-end close (MEC/YEC) activities.

At April’s Imagine FI$Cal workshops, users told us they would like more help with closing their books, and I would like to highlight some of our efforts and resources available to departments to help them through this annual process.

MEC Automation Tool – FI$Cal has rolled out a new tool to automate month-end close and streamline the process so that departments can send an automated email request to the State Controller’s Office (SCO) to close their months without sending tickets to the FI$Cal Service Center. You can view our MEC automation video to get more information on the tool.

On-Site Support Office (OSSO) – FI$Cal has dedicated OSSO staff to support users in the processing of MEC/YEC tickets in collaboration with the SCO. OSSO team members have resolved thousands of MEC/YEC tickets.

User Support Labs (USL) – FI$Cal is dedicating a larger team to staff USLs this year. End users make appointments to bring in actual work, and receive help from FI$Cal subject matter experts. Attendees often are able to close one or more months in a session. FI$Cal staff have either conducted or arranged for 644 USL sessions from October 2017 through July 2019.

Weekend Support – FI$Cal staff work on Saturdays from July through mid-September to support departments working overtime during fiscal-year-end close.

MEC/YEC Ticket Express Lane – The FSC routes MEC/YEC transaction tickets directly to OSSO for resolution on transactions that are preventing departments from closing months. Resources supporting the MEC/YEC queue have been increased for Fiscal Year 2018-19 to include contracted staff.

Year-End Close Support Plan – FI$Cal, in collaboration with our partner agencies, is providing a functional sponsor who will be onsite at some departments. The functional sponsor will provide direct support to departments in the escalation of any issues that are preventing close. Support will include escalation of tickets, training, on-site resolution and removal of blockers when possible.

Department 360 – OSSO developed a Department 360 Dashboard that is available when users are logged in to the system. Users get quick access to several tools and reports displayed in user-friendly tiles.

We are confident that these tools and support will help departments close out their books for FY 2018-19 as they grow more accustomed to the FI$Cal system.