The Association for Institutional Research (AIR), EDUCAUSE, and the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) recently made a joint statement in an effort to “reaffirm higher education’s commitment to the use of data and analytics to make better strategic decisions.” The purpose of the statement was to inform universities and colleges that data should be considered a strategic asset and used by schools to better understand students and how their schools operate. Data and analytics can lead to innovative ideas that would improve student recruitment, teaching, research, operating efficiency, fiscal management, and other strategies to advance the institutional goals of the school. The joint statement offers six principles that, if applied by schools, will help them take advantage of the power of data to make better decisions and propel higher education into the future.
Budgeting and forecasting can also help universities or colleges ensure any long-term strategy that leverages data and analytics is successful. When student enrollment is down and government appropriations have decreased, higher education schools need to implement cost control measures to remain fiscally balanced. Questica Budget Suite is a powerful budgeting system that houses budget data in one place for budget preparation. As well, Questica Budget enables schools to manage their budget throughout the years including forecasting, analyzing, reporting, creating what-if scenarios and funding models, monitoring and reviewing performance goals, and communicating financial information to staff and stakeholders for greater transparency.
Here is how Questica Budget Suite supports each of the principles suggested in the joint statement:
Make an institutional commitment to analytics
The joint statement sets out that data analytics initiatives are the most effective when they target clear measurable outcomes. Questica Budget’s Performance module can give colleges and universities a holistic view of performance across the school by using financial or statistical data to measure key performance indicators (KPI) for a university or college. Using a system of scorecards and programs, you can manage targets and objectives, create dashboards or reports to analyze priorities and track results.
Build a dream team
Questica Budget is a budgeting system that is collaborative and user-friendly for non-financial staff. When protecting sensitive data is critical, school departments can successfully collaborate on the budget with a system that keeps data in a secure, cloud-based system with role-based access and permissions to ensure users can only see and work on their own budgets. A notification system allows budget managers to keep track of changes and see how the budget is being developed and changed at any point in time, plus it provides a full audit trail.
Prepare for some detours
The joint statement encourages universities and colleges to remain focused on their goals in the face of the challenges associated with making the organizational change necessary to implement effective data strategies. Questica Budget provides you with the ability to create and configure dashboards with at-a-glance information, as well as charts, counts and reports, to show staff and stakeholders how resources are being used towards programs and services for students. To take communication to the next level, Questica OpenBook is a transparency tool that can transform budget and other data into interactive charts, tables and maps for a deeper understanding of your financial information and how the budget supports the school’s strategic plans.
Invest what you can
Universities and colleges who use spreadsheets for budgeting spend countless hours manually entering data, organizing multiple spreadsheets and are at risk of errors in the budget. To invest in the resources and people your school needs to ensure students succeed, the budget needs to be prepared efficiently and accurately. Questica Budget saves time and improves the budgeting process, providing schools with the ability to create, review and approve operating, capital and salaries budgets with the confidence the budget data they are seeing is accurate.
Analytics has a real impact on people
Higher education institutions need to protect data by implementing security measures and protocols to prevent breaches and leaks. As a secure, cloud-based system, Questica Budget integrates seamlessly with over 35 different ERP, HR and student systems using an integration tool that securely facilitates and streamlines the data integration process. For access to the budget data, not only can you assign access to Questica Budget based on roles or departments, but can assign different permissions to the same users with respect to compensation data, as well as customize how you restrict access to dashboards, reports, templates and cost centers.
Time to act is now
The joint statement declares the stakes are too high for universities and colleges to ignore the importance of using data and analytics to improve their institutions and increase student success. The same holds true for higher education institutions who are still budgeting with spreadsheets or rigid financial systems that do not have the functionality for budgeting. Schools need to make decisions quickly to keep up with the fast pace of changing funding models, shifts in enrollment and strategic priorities. Questica Budget is a full-featured budgeting solution that will transform your school’s budgeting process and enable data-driven decision-making.
Take advantage of data insights for your school
The joint statement by AIR, EDUCAUSE and NACUMBO requires an aggressive strategy and significant commitment to using data and analytics to improve the quality of student experiences and school operations. However, the application of the six principles they suggest highlight the importance of using data to make decisions that will result in greater school success. Questica Budget Suite supports the implementation of data strategies by helping universities and colleges improve the efficiency and accuracy of the budgeting process to better manage funding for programs and services. In addition, Questica Budget’s Performance module tracks unlimited goals and KPIs that keeps your school on target, and OpenBook can help communicate financial information to staff and stakeholders using interactive visuals. In this regard, Questica Budget Suite provides all of the tools you need to take advantage of the meaningful data insights that can propel your higher education school to new heights.
Questica is the recognized leader in budget preparation and management software. Over 700 government, education and healthcare organizations across North America have opted for smarter planning, budgeting, management, transparency and engagement with our solutions. To learn more about Questica and how our software solutions can help your public sector organizations – check out our resources and news/blog sections, or request a demo today!