While the Department of Surgery is renowned for operating on people, Velvet Cain specializes in another type of “surgery”: analyzing and managing complex numbers. As the Department’s Senior Financial Analyst, she is instrumental in planning budgets, tracking expenses, generating reports and monitoring various components of compensation for faculty and nonfaculty staff.
Velvet joined Jefferson in 1999 as a staff accountant in the Controller’s Office. She transferred to Jefferson University Physicians’ Finance Department in 2001 before assuming her current position in Surgery in 2007. While she has remained in the same role, her dayto- day work has changed dramatically over the past nine years.
For starters, she says, the number of staff within the Department has grown tremendously. Faculty alone have increased from 25 to more than 50—doubling her workload in terms of financial oversight and planning for all clinical and academic activities. The tools she uses have evolved, as well. Spreadsheets are no longer the preferred method for budgeting; instead, she now uses sophisticated software.
Velvet notes that her favorite part of the job is budgeting, and she is proudest of her contributions to controlling costs: “The budget is very challenging,” she says. “As we face challenges in the healthcare environment, setting and sticking to our budgets is more important than ever. I work hard to make sure we stay within what we budgeted.”
While some of her friends have questioned how she doesn’t get “bored” looking at numbers all day, she asserts that her job is anything but dull.
“Someone always needs a report, and everyone wants something simple—on a single page,” she explains, adding that those “simple” reports require a lot of work on her part. She thoroughly enjoys the process of extracting, analyzing and presenting data from multiple sources.
And she takes seriously the opportunity to lessen the administrative burden for her colleagues who deliver patient care: “I know how important it is for them to focus on their patients. When they have a purchasing, accounts payable or other administrative issue, I am always available to help them— even if it means making a ‘house call’ to where they are.”
"On the Job: Velvet Cain,"
Jefferson Surgical Solutions:
2, Article 7.
Available at: http://jdc.jefferson.edu/jss/vol11/iss2/7