|Descriptive Title of Proposal:||Development & Implementation of Electronic Budget Submission Form|
|Name of Institution||University of Windsor|
|Name (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution)||<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> Sandra Aversa<br /> <br /> <br /> <br />|
|Title (Senior Administrative Office of the Institution)||Executive Director, Finance|
Great pains were taken to ensure ail members involved in the budget submission process would be involved in the design and functionality of the new budget submission form. Prior to the design phase, administrative end-users were asked to provide input into what enhancements they would like to see in the form's design. This information was included and contributed to the form's ease of use. The design phase was undertaken within the budget department with the assistance of the Finance Director. Once the design was complete, the form was introduced to faculty and administrative department heads for their feedback. Several ideas from these feedback sessions were implemented into the final form design. Some select areas with unique requirements were handled separately to ensure that all concerns were met. The final budget submission form was rolled out at training sessions for end-users to ensure that everyone understood and accepted the new procedures.
|Criteria||Please submit one paragraph describing how the proposal fulfills each of the evaluation criteria.|
This specific initiative has been designed for maximum portability and flexibility. The specific criteria that are included in the drop-down boxes are easily changed from year to year as priorities change. This template could be customized by any institution to reflect their current budget environment. The budget submission form is an Excel file and therefore is easily transferred via e-mail or other electronic means.
Significant service quality improvements were recognized as a result of this initiative. The individual faculties were impressed by the flexibility, ease of use and relevancy to the current budget submission process. Days of processing time were saved within each faculty as they used the templates to assemble budget requests within their own faculty and then consolidate this information at the faculty level. The turnaround time for the Budget Department to create a file for use by the Budget Committee became hours instead of days. The ability to have real time information on the dollar value of the budget requests, the focus of the budget requests, and the ease of manipulating the data in Excel creates significant time savings at ail levels of use.
Administrative end-users appreciated the ease-of-use and simplistic layout of the form itself, as well as how easily they were able to reference the information within the file. Deans and department heads were provided summaries of their submissions for quick reference and recall. They were also able to prioritize their faculty (or administrative department's) submissions within one file and recall this information with little effort. Staff in the budget department no longer had to deal with a huge number of files (one for each submission) or hand-written submissions. Consolidating all submissions into one file for each faculty or administrative area made for easy referencing and archiving.
This initiative significantly improved the quality of the decisions by the Budget Committee. The Budget Committee would establish levels of base and one-time budget allocations for the coming year. In addition, they would determine the various categories where budget submissions could support. The ability to assemble large volumes of requests, categorize them, filter them, etc. allowed for efficient decision making. In prior years, any decisions made by the Budget Committee would have to be assembled after the meetings and updates given the next day. With the implementation of this tool, decisions can be made immediately.
As noted in the above quality section, significant increases in productivity were noted. Significant time is saved with the use of this tool at the departmental, faculty Budget Department level, as well as the budget committee.
This project was really a product of reason and design. It was established to create efficiency in a system that needed improvement not only to the quality and accuracy of the product delivered, but to decrease the amount of valuable senior management time historically required for the process.