By Jesse Drake
UIT's Finance Department, led by Director/Chief Financial Officer Lisa Kuhn, plans and manages the financial activities in UIT and the Utah Education Network (UEN). Within Finance is the Inventory team. The department also comprises UIT's Office of Software Licensing (OSL). Read more about how OSL gets "U" the best software deals.
In simple terms, Finance is focused on budgets and transactions while Inventory administers the flow of materials. The principal collaboration between the two is procurement – the purchasing of items and materials. Many purchases in UIT are communication- and infrastructure-related, like telephones, cable, wireless access points, and servers. Finance Manager Peter Panos estimates that roughly $10 million of equipment passes through the warehouse each year.
The term inventory is used to describe any common consumable that sits on a shelf. Assets tend to be higher-value items that are tracked more closely. Because the words can create confusion (an asset can also be inventory), Inventory Manager Russ Knight suggests thinking of them in monetary terms.
"When people hear the words inventory and assets, they think of objects. They're really dollars and cents. They're values," Knight said. "My role is managing those values, and capturing the greatest efficiencies and maximum return."
Panos touts the talent of staff members for the successful partnership between the two groups.
"Every single person here is highly experienced," Panos said. "They know their jobs, they know how to do them well, and I have the utmost confidence in their abilities. Honestly I'm a bit spoiled in that regard. I go to them for their expertise more than they come to me for mine."
The Finance team is currently spread out across campus – at Eccles Broadcast Center (EBC), the 585 Komas building, and Marriott Library. Panos noted that after the 102 Tower move, his team will still be centrally located at EBC, however, accounting will maintain a presence at the new building. Finance associates will rotate downtown, each spending at least one day week at the new location. The Inventory team, meanwhile, will remain on campus.