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McMaster University


Overview of Mosaic Finance System for Faculty Members

November 2013

McMaster is in the midst of a project called Mosaic to modernize the University's administrative and business processes and implement an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. When the finance and research finance portion of the system launches this December there will be an impact on faculty members' activities.


Last October, McMaster began a project called Mosaic to update the University's business processes and implement an enterprise resource planning system.  Mosaic will replace many of the University's legacy systems used for student administration, finance, research administration, human resources, and business intelligence. The new system will be launched in stages over the next two years, beginning with the new finance and research finance system this December.

What's changing this December

New software, called PeopleSoft, will replace the systems McMaster currently uses for finance and research finance functions. PeopleSoft is a modern, industry standard system used by many universities, such as Queen's and the University of Western Ontario. Mosaic is more than just software. The project is also about improving McMaster's administrative processes to better serve the University's academic learning and research goals. Travel and expense claims, purchase requisitions and accounts payable will all have new and improved processes.

Seven things faculty members and principal investigators need to know

  1. The move from paper to electronic workflow will change how you review and approve transactions.
    • Most of the paper forms you need to sign to approve financial transactions will be replaced with electronic approvals. This will provide real-time transparency about who needs to review and approval a pending transaction.
  2. The processes for travel and expense claims are changing.
    • Notable changes include: paying expenses as they are incurred, a focus on the McMaster Diners Club MasterCard as the preferred way to pay for travel and expenses, and the need to scan and electronically attach receipts. A recent McMaster Daily News Article contains additional details.
  3. Account numbers are being replaced with chartfield strings.
    • Be aware that current account numbers will change. A tool to help you translate the old numbers to the new chartfield strings will be available.
  4. System Contract Purchases
    • Purchases made on system contracts will be paid for in a different way with the new system. The previous system of giving a supplier an account number will no longer be supported. To purchase something from one of the system contract suppliers, the item(s) may be paid for with a purchase card/P-card (BMO MasterCard) or a purchase requisition must be submitted. This process change is intended to enhance McMaster's ability to track purchases and confirm charges are correctly allocated.
  5. You will get new tools to help manage your research project's finances.
    • A new "portal" will provide a single log-in point to access the system, it includes a streamlined interface designed to give researchers quick access to financial information about their research projects. Rather than monthly reports with a several week delay, project balance reports will be available daily.
  6. Many university staff will need to attend training sessions in November, December and the new year. Learning opportunities will be available to faculty members as well.
    • Faculty members who will only review workflow approval requests and will delegate other tasks may find that two online courses requiring approximately an hour to complete will be sufficient orientation to the system.
    • Faculty members who perform basic tasks such as expense claim submission may benefit from an additional one or two hours of online learning.  
    • Faculty members who want to perform advanced functions, such as completing their own purchase requisitions, are strongly encouraged to take corresponding classroom courses.
    • Faculty members may be invited via email to participate in learning opportunities based on their historical and predicted future use of the system. 
  7. You may need to take specific steps to prepare for the new system
    • In October the project team distributed a cutover memo outlining several processes in the current accounting systems that must be brought to a close before McMaster can switch to PeopleSoft. The memo details the systems which are affected and the last day that transactions may be recorded in the legacy system. (Of note for faculty members, travel and expense claims before November 15 should be submitted the current way.  If your claim is not ready by November 15 it should be submitted in PeopleSoft in December.)  After the legacy systems are closed, all further transactions will be entered into the new PeopleSoft system in December. The memo also contains a full list of area specific contacts, should you have additional questions.

Further information

If you would like additional information about this project, the project team has developed a briefing paper, "Mosaic: an introduction for faculty members," which provides a more detailed look at the new system.


Training and Learning: