Ascent FAQs (updated 24/6)


We know you will have questions we'll share answers to common questions here - so check this page regularly.

The Ascent project is a One University project which builds on the Horizon project which modernised and replaced our previous HR and Payroll systems. The Ascent Project is adding further functionality to the Horizon system. Financial and Procurement processes will be added to the platform, forming a single location for Finance and HR processes and reporting.

Information about new Horizon functionality will be shared on Internal News, your Faculty/Directorate Ascent champions and Faculty Operating Officers/Directors.

Why are we doing this?

In November 2018 the university ran an employee survey which identified that policies and procedures were one of three key areas that most affected motivation and engagement.

Adding Financial and Procurement processes to the Horizon system via the Ascent Project will simplify processes, provide a consistent look and feel across all HR and Finance activity and help us work as One University.

How I claim expenses is changing, what does this mean for me? (added 24/6)

From the 1 August there are new financial structures being applied within Horizon.  In preparation for this work expense claims are not available between 15 July and 9 August – you can see further information in our Internal News article.

We will provide details of the code which expenses are claimed against, and what you need to do to ensure your expenses are coded correctly when expenses reopens.

What are the timescales? (updated 4/6)

Ascent has been underway since September 2020 following an initial discovery and feasibility study.  For further details please see this Internal News article:  Project Ascent: General Ledger (G/L) to go live on 1 August.

Will non-Finance staff have access to see transactional data?

Yes. The platform is fully integrated so that you will be able to access reports from Summary to Transactional Detail.

Will Purchase Orders (PO) be raised in the new system or Parabilis?

Parabilis will be phased out when Ascent goes live, from then on goods and services will be ordered via Horizon.

Adding Financial and Procurement processes to the Horizon system via the Ascent Project will simplify processes, provide a consistent look and feel across all HR and Finance activity and help us work as One University.

Will I be able to raise a Purchase Order (PO) for another department?

Yes. Oracle Procurement provides the ability for requisitions to be raised across departments, including the ability to have different departments on different lines within the same Purchase Order. The approvals will be channelled to correct budget holders for the correct approval limits in line with our Financial Regulations.

What is the difference between a Requisition and a Purchase Order (PO)?

A requisition is an internal document for raising a request for Goods or Services from a supplier which is sent for approval. A Purchase Order is an external document sent to a supplier converted from an approved requisition.

Will I be able to see if a Supplier Invoice has been paid?

Yes. Horizon will show the status of any invoices which have been matched against Purchase Orders. Suppliers will also be able to check the status of their invoices via the Oracle Supplier Portal.

Does the system handle foreign currency transactions?

Yes. We can receive and make payments currencies other than GBP.

How will we see historic transactions and how can I create year-on-year comparison if there are material changes to the chart of account?

Previous financial years summary balances will be able to view in either Horizon or In Enterprise Performance Management a Summary level. Banner Financials will still be present as read-only to comply with HMRC data retention rules.

How does Ascent link financial and non-financial data (e.g. student numbers and HR)?

One of the key principles of our Digital Strategy is to integrate not duplicate, the Ascent project will provide an integrated platform for financial reporting. Enterprise Performance Management is being introduced as a platform for reporting, budgeting an forecasting which will integrated data from

  • Banner – Student Number Planning
  • Horizon HR – Workforce Planning
  • Horizon Financials (Ascent) – Financials Planning

Providing a single platform where forecasting and budgeting can be integrated

How will we manage research grants in future?

Ascent will introduce the concept of “Sub-ledgers” for the financial management of research grants.

Sub-ledgers will be held separately from the general ledger for reporting purposes. This will make the analysis and reporting of grant expenditure more transparent than the current process.

Do I still have to maintain offline data files or will I be able to get data extracts from the system e.g. students registered at partner colleges?

There will still be processes which will require the maintenance of offline data, one of the key deliverables of Ascent is agreed process maps for the future state so there is transparency over what tasks are systematic and those which are offline. However, recommendations are being made for future enhancements for those items which have not been achievable in the go live on 1 August.

Student debtor reports – will there be an easy to interpret statement on account for students?

Student financial data is being integrated into Oracle so debtor reporting will be available from Oracle for those students who are self payers or have accommodation from the university.