Performing the rest of the test drive activities is a very interesting activity. The actions required were varied, involving simulation of various financial activities from transfer of funds, its approval, making inquiries involving the General Ledger, creating and submitting cash receipt eDoc, completion of disbursement voucher eDoc, creation of purchase requisition, and creation of salary expense transfer among others. It gives a very good view to the driver the real route the documentation and transaction processing take until the financial cycle is completed.
Looking at the structure of Kuali and performing the test drive at the same time, one can only admire the effectivity of the system. While following the instructions, although they are very detailed coupled with screen shots, mistakes are still inevitable considering the capabilities of the driver, in this case, yours truly. Commission of mistakes however, simply further the knowledge when the driver discovers the reason behind some mistakes and try to get out of the “narrow curbs”safely within the test drive.
The simulation of of activities from the initiator to approver, both to the first and further approvers are very good. It is very interesting to note that from initiation of the document, the personality of the initiator (Khuntley) can also impersonate the role of the various approvers. While this is a good exercise to have the “driver” have the feeling of both roles, this is not a perfect setup.
Going through and performing the set of instructions laid out in the test drive manual, a lot can be learned from the system. Among these observations include both positive and negative reactions to the system that include:
- Kuali is such a very interesting and useful tool as it has various means of locating transactions and documents, be it through direct searches or through looking up the desired documents;
- Impersonation of various roles is a very clever way to show the driver how it is to be both the initiator and the approver of the action;
- Showing the driver the “backdoor” entracnce is not a healthy example. In reality, backdoor logs are not encouraged that much. In fact, so rare the case that the same person who initiated the action can “take a peek” at the process from the approver’s point of view. While it is only a test drive, the fact that the manual and the scenarios should simulate the real life transactions, back door logging is not a very good thing exhibited in the Kuali system;
- Kuali system can be comparable to highly commercialized enterprise resource planning (ERP) such as SAP and others as it gives the user a lot of resources and options causing effectivity and efficiency to the users;
- Setting up the “test driver” as both the initiator and the approver in any time he/she wants is another critic of the system. It should have been better to have two different sessions from the initiator side, first approver side and further apporver’s side. The driver would have a deeper sense of how it is to be in the lowest ladder of the organization or the workflow after various exercises given the various scenarios and then advancing to the next level, the first approver and further on. This is how the real life functions: one has to be an assistannt accountant for a year or two, then be the accountant and then be the senior accountant and so on. It would be more realistic if this should have been the case instead of shifting from the initiator to the approver all so quickly at the wishes of the driver.
Despite some of the suggestions above and some of the not so good observations, it is modest to say that Kuali has a big potential to be really a very good system and be as highly commercialized and successful as the existing similar systems enhancing the efficiency and effectivity of various accounting and financial functions.