February 7, 2020
As you already know, during the past year AFS-USA implemented a new system for Field Finance called the Unified Banking System (UBS) which was rolled out through a Pilot program that included 24 Teams. Through the partnership developed between the Pilot program team leadership (Chairs and Treasurers) and the Field Finance staff, the back end systems at BoA have been thoroughly tested and we are confident that the Phase II transition to UBS should be fairly seamless.
We are moving into the next phase (Phase II) to get all the existing BoA accounts enrolled in UBS prior to bringing all other accounts (non-Bank of America) over – Chapter accounts will also be brought over at a later date.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to work through the assorted challenges involved in this transition.
Please feel free to contact Field Finance, email@example.com with any questions or concerns regarding the upcoming Unified Banking transition. Thank you!
March 2020 Unified Banking Phase II Webinar Recording
April 25th, 2018
In response to ever-evolving needs and requirements, the AFS-USA Board of Directors has voted to implement an improved system for Field Finance, called the Unified Banking System. There are significant benefits to UBS, which we believe will make team finance easier and more efficient. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect:
- Treasurers and Chairs will be issued credit cards for payment of AFS expenses.
- Reimbursements and check requests will be submitted online, which makes the process less paper-intensive.
- Deposits can be made online – trips to the bank will be a thing of the past.
- If you don’t mind making deposits at your local Bank of America, we will send you a deposit card to enable ATM deposits, making standing on long teller lines another thing of the past.
- Treasurers will spend much less time on reporting, as monthly and quarterly financial reports will no longer be required.
- Volunteers will continue to make their own team or chapter purchasing decisions.
- You will continue to make your own decisions about how much and to whom you award scholarships out of your locally raised funds.
- Online financial reports will be available to Team Chairs and Treasurer both in real-time and monthly and will be posted on your team page on Global Link.
In order to make the above happen, your local account at Bank of America will be closed in the next couple of months with plenty of advance notice and coordination between you and the Field Finance staff. Funds in your local accounts will be transferred to a Master Field Cash account in NY. The cash will be maintained in this Master account on behalf of your Team and will be held for use at your discretion, just as you do today.
The new systems will rely heavily on technology, cloud computing and other online functionality provided by our banking partners. Ultimately, the goal is to improve fiduciary oversight while providing volunteers with quick access to Team funds and full transparency into their accounts.
To explain the reasons behind the change, we would like to bring you up to speed on what has been happening behind the scenes. Despite improvements volunteers and staff have made over the years, the organization continues to face a degree of risk due to the dispersed responsibility for cash in volunteer accounts. There are instances of team accounts that have never been reported to us or people raising money in the name of AFS that we don't know about. There is also the issue of defunct chapter accounts where banks won't release information to us and we can't locate the volunteers who opened the accounts. Finally, we don't always get information from our teams in a timely manner, which could result in a ding on our audited financial statements.
- We will need to know who on your team should receive a credit card and which volunteers will be likely to submit reimbursement requests for out of pocket expenses. We recommend that you request credit cards for your Chair and Treasurer; you will have the option to add more cardholders later especially if you have volunteers who do a lot of purchasing for your team. Please provide this information in the jotform by following this link. You should submit the form to us by February 21. The information you provide is essential to get you and your Team set up in the program with all the tools you will need.
- Once we receive your information, we will set up the back end of your account and issue your cards. This step will be done by February 28.
- At the same time, you will also receive a series of emails from us with detailed information on logging into the online system.
- We will be scheduling a series of Town Hall meetings during the first week in March during which we will discuss all aspects of the program and answer whatever questions you may have. These Town Hall meetings will be open to all volunteers, particularly Chairs and Treasurers and we will schedule the meetings at a variety of times so that we can get maximum participation.
Additional information about this transition can be found on the bottom, including a Frequently Asked Questions document and a Unified Banking Fact Sheet.
Please stay tuned for more information that will be forthcoming. In the meantime, we thank you for your support during this upcoming transition. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to Fieldfinance@afsusa.org.