Case Study: Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools
Located in the province of Saskatchewan, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (“GSCS”) is a welcoming community that nurtures faith, encourages excellence in learning and inspires students to serve others, making the world a better place. With 43 elementary schools and seven high schools serving over 19,000 students in Saskatoon, Martensville, Warman, Humboldt and Biggar, GSCS believes a high-quality curriculum and instruction will help students reach their full potential.
Kate Holmes, Manager of Financial Services at Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools shared their journey from using Excel spreadsheets to improving their budgeting process with Questica Budget.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV
Annual Operating Budget
$191 million operating budget
Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools needed a budgeting solution that was collaborative and could help them move away from Excel spreadsheets.
GSCS had a large, complex Excel spreadsheet that broke as soon as the budget team added a new budget (line item) or school. When they received changes, the budget team would collect the changes in a template and then manually transfer the new information to the budget. They were constantly fixing the spreadsheet because of changes and errors.
Questica Budget has given GSCS a system of checks and balances to ensure their budget is accurate, plus the ability to create different reports to check that accounts match grant totals. They have also been able to share the ownership of the process with other managers so that putting together the budget is not fully dependent on one or two people. Most importantly, Questica Budget has allowed them to move away from manually intensive spreadsheets that are cumbersome to manage.
Stop using error-prone Excel spreadsheets
Now that GSCS is taking advantage of Questica Budget’s flexibility and functionality, they are no longer relying on spreadsheets to budget. Having a solution that integrates with Microsoft Dynamics NAV makes K-12 school budgeting efficient and effective by housing all of the budgets in once place creating a single source of data truth. In addition, GSCS can prepare, change and track the budget with an end-to-end solution that provides robust reporting, forecasting capability and unlimited what-if scenarios. By using Questica Budget’s Baselines feature, GSCS is able to report on and view detailed changes that have impacted their budget from proposed to amended to approved stages.
Share the budgeting process with financial and non-financial staff
Questica Budget is a collaborative system that the GSCS superintendents and budget managers have found easy to use. They have been able to review their budgets and make sure everything has been included, adding notes, attachments and supporting documentation where and when its needed. Non-financial and legacy staff have also embraced how Questica Budget has allowed them to see their budgets in one place.
Ability for cost modeling and robust reporting
Experiencing a period of enrolment growth, GSCS was looking for a software solution that enabled them to create complex costing models. Other budgeting software contained costing models, but they seemed more like fancy spreadsheets than a true budgeting solution. Questica Budget’s costing model was the better fit for their organization, intuitive to use with more sophisticated functionality and the flexibility to do the modeling GSCS required.
Enabling better forecasting and projections
The Saskatchewan Ministry of Education requires K-12 schools to submit enrolment projections which can be difficult for GSCS to pull from their Excel spreadsheet. The new functionality available through our Advanced Calculation Engine (“ACE”) general purpose calculation system feature enables users to create formulas ranging from a single formula in a cell up to large scale mathematical models. GSCS plans to use ACE to incorporate their projections into budgets for individual schools.
Continuing the Transformation
The team at GSCS is planning to continue their budget transformation by incorporating the following features in the not-too distant future:
- Integrating with their Student Information System (SIS) to pull in enrollment data and student achievement that can impact their Provincial funding.
- Creating more calculation and calculation templates using Questica Budget’s Advanced Calculation Engine (ACE) feature.
By partnering with Questica, Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools is transforming its budget to meets its strategic mandate of helping students meet their full potential.