SFS Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What web browsers are suggested for using WISDM?
    The current suggested browsers are the most recent versions of Internet Explorer or Firefox.
  2. How can I sign up for either a WISDM demonstration or to talk about my financial data needs?
    Contact the team to request a meeting or a demonstration.
  3. Is there some type of centrally printed report available?
    There are no longer centrally printed financial reports.  WISDM does have the ability to export data to either to an Excel file or a PDF file, which allows a division or department to generate paper reports on an as needed basis. 
  4. Who will control authorization to data on WISDM?
    The Dean’s Office will have to approve all requests for access to WISDM. Authorization is granted for all financial data for the campus.  The UW-Madison NetID and password will be used to logon to WISDM.
  5. Will it be possible to modify the data available through WISDM without affecting the grand total?
    WISDM itself is an inquiry-only tool. However, it was set up to allow easy export of financial data into Excel. Once converted into an Excel spreadsheet, any sort of data manipulation should be easily accomplished; of course, the user must make sure that they drill down to the appropriate level of detail. This will allow the user to perform a multiple sort, for example, which is not possible within WISDM itself. Changes made in Excel will be for the user’s benefit only, and will not update the SFS system.
  6. Why were class code/account numbers changed?
    It was felt we had too many class codes and they needed to be streamlined. Class codes were being used by departments to collect data and SFS provides other ways to accomplish the same goal.
  7. When will departments need to start using the new class codes?
    The Legacy system continues to operate on the old class codes. These codes will be used in the Legacy system until it is retired. All Madison data is translated through an interface to the new account numbers as it moves into SFS. This translation will continue until the Legacy system is no longer available. For more coding information, please see the Coding page of the Accounting Services website.
  8. What data am I looking at in WISDM?
    The data is interfaced from the Legacy system into the SFS database daily and then into the star schema/WISDM database. The WISDM database is refreshed nightly; however, WISDM is not 'real time' - the data available will be from the close of the previous business day.
  9. How long will the data remain on the system?
    We are hoping to store five years plus the current. Whether this is possible will depend on the functionality of the system. You can put the historical records on your own diskette, or burn it to a CD, if you download it to Excel.
  10. Will people with non-IBM PCs be able to use WISDM?
    Yes, it is not dependent on hardware. A person just needs to be able to access the Internet, preferably through Firefox or Internet Explorer.
  11. Are the transaction detail column headers linked to sort?
    Yes, any underlined column header can be clicked on to sort the information. This action will sort the entire transaction, not just the column. For multiple sorting operations, the data will need to be first exported into Excel.
  12. Is it possible to get information about other campuses on WISDM?
    Yes, although you will need authorization from the other campus. Send an email to sfsmsn@bussvc.wisc.edu that includes a justification in your WISDM authorization request, spelling out why you need WISDM access for another campus, and we will contact the campus for authorization.
  13. How are the categories on the view determined (i.e. Salaries, Fringes, etc.)?
    The categories are defined in SFS using a "tree". A default tree is defined at the Madison campus level for WISDM and can be changed by the user. If a user changes the view to a different tree, WISDM will revert to the default on exit. Trees can be customized for a user’s needs; however, there is no capability to have the system default to a specific tree for a specific user. The default trees were selected as the ones thought to be most useful for the campus in general when reviewing data.
  14. How are the Inception-to-Date balances shown?
    The amounts shown by account number as the beginning balances are the ITD amounts at the beginning of the current fiscal year.
  15. I used the 'Department Search' to look up GPR information for my department. In the Report Options on the Summary Report, there is a dropdown that indicates I can look at the 'Departmental' information, the 'Project' information, or both Departmental and Project information combined. What are these different options, and which should I choose?   
    These three options refer to data for your department that has been coded with a project/grant number. The 'Departmental' option excludes the project/grant data, while the 'Project' option shows only transactions that have a project/grant number associated with them. The 'Both Project and Department' option will include all transactions coded to your department, whether coded against a project/grant number or not.
  16. It's getting towards the end of the month and my budget balance doesn't look quite right. There seems to be a problem with my fringe encumbrances. What's going on?
    Fringe Benefit encumbrances for project/grants are calculated dynamically within WISDM based on the Salary encumbrances. There is a timing difference that is important for you to understand. Salary payments are made throughout the accounting period (the 'month') causing the salary encumbrance to be reduced. The reduction in salary encumbrance also reduces the encumbrances for Fringes in WISDM. When the actual payments for Fringes are posted at the end of the accounting period/month, the difference should disappear. Thus if you are running a before-the-end-of-month balance query, the fringe encumbrances could be understated.
  17. I'm working in the Salary Encumbrance application, and I keep getting the following error message: '20032 Transaction is outside Project date interval.' What's going on, and how can I fix it?
    Unlike in the legacy encumbrance process, you cannot use an override function in the Shared Financial System. If you attempt to create or modify and encumbrance so that it goes beyond the listed end date on a grant the application will display this particular error message. When this happens, you will need to notify RSP that there is an extension requested or to be requested. If there is no time extension, you will need to find another place to encumber it. If you have questions regarding the specific circumstances of the grant, contact the RSP Accountant that handles your project/grant. You may find the RSP staff directory helpful in this regard; it can be found at the following web address: http://www.rsp.wisc.edu/directory.cfm.
  18. I'm looking at the report for my department, and when I drill into the salary expenses I don't see payments to individuals like I used to; instead, it just seems to be displaying a lump sum for each entire payroll. I really need to be able to see these payroll transactions broken out by individual. What happened, and how can I get my individual payment transactions?
    With the implementation of UW-System's Payroll Interface project, payroll transactions are now posting to the SFS General Ledger in a summarized form only. To see each payroll broken out by individual in the transaction detail in WISDM, you will need to select the 'Include SFD Detail' box on the WISDM summary detail screens, or the 'Show Payroll Detail' box on the WISDM Transaction Search. If you do not select this box, the payroll detail will only show the summarized posting.

If you have any additional questions not answered here, please email

sfsmsn@bussvc.wisc.edu