Georgia Tech Deploys a New and Improved Budgeting System
Thursday, January 12th, 2017
To assist the Institute in more effectively managing its $1.6 billion budget, the Office of Institute Budget Planning and Administration will deploy a new budgeting application this spring with improved data entry and reporting capabilities — just in time for fiscal year 2018 planning.
“The Internet Budget Solution was really state-of-the-art when it was created back in 2002,” said Jim Kirk, assistant vice president, Institute Budget Planning and Administration. “But the Institute has outgrown its former solution, and the time has come to upgrade to a new system that can scale to meet the evolving budgeting needs of the individual departments, as well as the Institute.”
The new budget solution, oneBudget, has been in development since 2015. According to Kirk, the complexities of Tech’s budget and the varying needs among the Tech budget community required a thoughtful and thorough review of the current system, including user needs, to develop a resilient budgeting system for the Institute. Given the scope of Tech’s budgeting needs and the Board of Regents’ reporting requirements, the decision was made to develop a solution internally that would accommodate these intricate budgeting variables, provide a better user experience, and integrate with other information systems, including the Institute’s anticipated enterprise resource planning system upgrade.
The new budget application more efficiently addresses the accounting and reporting complexities associated with Georgia Tech’s 11 budget sources, which range from tuition, to state appropriations, to grants and contracts. The system also gives both high-level and detailed visibility to funding information related to the 56,000 active projects on campus — most of which receive funding from multiple sources. And, like the projects, many of Tech’s faculty and research employees are also paid by shared funding allocations, meaning one salary can be funded by multiple sources. With the new oneBudget system, budget managers can more easily enter, track, and analyze funding allocations on a person-to-person and project-to-project basis.
Other improvements the new system provides include balancing the decentralized nature of Tech’s budgeting input process with the centralized management of the Institute’s and Board of Regents’ reporting process. In addition, the new system provides an improved user interface, more robust and comparative reporting capabilities, and integrated forecasting abilities to help budget planners better understand how shifts in funding and allocations could impact their operations.
“How people use the budgeting system, both in terms of input and output, is a critical component to designing the next generation budgeting solution for the Tech community,” said Kirk. “To be effective in how the Institute manages its budget, we need to give people in the departments across campus the tools and capabilities they need to understand their funding and expenditures, and make informed business decisions.”
Currently, a campus user group is testing the oneBudget application and providing valuable feedback. The goal is to fully launch the new budget application in March 2017 to coincide with the
start of the 2018 budget preparation schedule. Training sessions will be offered beginning January 2017.