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McMaster University


Mosaic Status Update

March 18, 2014

McMaster now has three months of experience using Mosaic. As a whole the University has made considerable progress in learning and adopting the new system; however, several challenges remain. This update summarizes some of the most common challenges and provides end users with steps they can take to mitigate or resolve those, while the project team prepares long-term solutions.

The project team would again like to thank system users for their patience and efforts during this transition. Learning both a new system and new processes requires substantial effort and your perseverance is appreciated.

Top Challenges

The key areas where Mosaic is still experiencing challenges are:

How System Users Can Help

Please be diligent about processing your review and approval requests (outstanding items can be found in the Mosaic "Worklist" in the "My Work" tab). The time from submission to approval of an expense report, voucher or journal entry is wholly dependent on the time it takes for individuals in each step of the process to review transactions. In addition, please remember to clean up your abandoned work. You may have vouchers, journal entries, or expense claims that are sitting in non-submitted status or have been abandoned and dealt with by creating new ones. Please delete these types of outstanding items.

Travel and Expense Reports

McMaster aims to reimburse employees for expenses in a timely manner. This is happening for many claimants but some requests are moving slowly. Of more than 4,000 claims submitted since December approximately 600 are awaiting review. An analysis of these 600 claims reveals three common causes for delays.

  • A third are awaiting approvals from the claimant themselves
  • A third are awaiting approvals from the accounts payable group; additional staff has been assigned to clear this backlog
  • The remaining claims are awaiting approval from either the department/program/project/research accountant and /or HR supervisor

How to speed up travel and expense report processing:

  • If someone else enters a travel or expense report on your behalf, you need to review and approve it. Check your "Worklist" in Mosaic (in the "My Work" tab) for outstanding review requests.
  • Chase your claim. If your claim hasn't been processed in a week, look it up (use the "My Profile" tab and select "View" under Travel and Expense) and see whose review it is still waiting for and contact that person (not necessary if waiting for review by Accounts Payable).

What Mosaic is doing

The concept of "HR Supervisor" approval has been problematic. In response, the Mosaic team is preparing a system change which replaces "HR Supervisor" with a user selected "Purpose Approver."  Watch the McMaster Daily News for an announcement in the coming weeks. [UPDATE: see Change to McMaster's travel and expense system for details of the new process.] If you have an old claim that is stuck at the HR Supervisor level, refer to our instructions for resolving it.

About the McMaster Diners Club MasterCard

The University has taken steps to help faculty and staff that may have missed a payment deadline for their McMaster Diners Club MasterCard if their reimbursement was delayed. Late payments will not affect your credit rating. McMaster has arranged with Diners Club that it will not transmit late payment information to credit agencies until the account is 180 days in arrears. Further, if you incurred a late charge on your card because of a delay caused by Mosaic, the University will pay that penalty. (To request reimbursement for a late payment penalty, please contact Terri Wetton in Accounts Payable at

Paying Suppliers (Vouchers)

McMaster aims to pay its suppliers "net 30 days." Since the launch of Mosaic in December we have often missed this target; however, the number of outstanding vouchers has shrunk from 5,100 in February to 1,100 as of March 10, 2014. The accounts payable department is working to bring payments in line with its net 30 days objective.  
Common causes of the current delays in paying suppliers:

  • The voucher is awaiting review and approval
  • Incorrect payment terms are entered on voucher
  • Incorrect address format is on the "one-time payment" vouchers
  • Awaiting supplier set-up  (this item is now mostly resolved, there are only a handful of suppliers remaining to be set up)

How to speed up supplier payments

  • Keep track of your outstanding vouchers, especially during this transition period and follow up with tardy reviewers.
  • If an invoice needs to be paid faster than Net 30, change the payment terms on the voucher.
  • Use proper address formats for one-time payment vouchers
  • Use your P-Card for small value purchases and recurring payments such as a mobile phone bill or FedEx charges. This is the University's preferred option rather than issuing cheques because it is both faster and less expensive.

Explaining Delayed Payments

Explaining why a payment is late can be an uncomfortable situation.  If you have to explain a late payment and are struggling to find the appropriate words, consider the following template:

We apologize for the delay in our payment. McMaster recently switched to a new financial system and this is causing some interruptions in service. Things will improve in the next couple months. McMaster does value our ongoing relationship and wants to continue doing business with you. We appreciate your patience, and while it may not seem like it at the moment, in the long-term, our ability to pay you in a timely manner is actually improving. I will look into this particular bill and see what is causing the delay.


Replacements for the AM090 and AMO91 (to be called 'Statement of Operations') for non-research funds and a Form-300 style report for research funds are in development and are scheduled to be ready in a few weeks. In the interim, for research projects, there is the "Flexible Analysis Tool." Operating funds can be viewed using the delivered PeopleSoft tools, which provide a basic level of reporting. (Refer to the Financial Information Quick Guide for more details.)


Electronic workflow is an important new tool for McMaster and will help the University in the long run. In the short run it is causing some frustration. If you uncover routings you feel are incorrect please report it to Based on community feedback the team is currently revising some workflow rules to streamline certain types of transactions. As mentioned above, a substantive change to the workflow for travel and expense reports will be released in the coming weeks.

System Performance

At times the new system has been sluggish or slow to respond. The project team has made a number of refinements to the system to speed it up and continues to monitor performance. If you experience system performance degradation (i.e. Mosaic slows down) please report the issue to