The purposes of financial planning are typically:
- To ensure that a University has the best chance of achieving its financial operating strategy
- To highlight what has to happen (in financial terms) to get the University from where it is now to where it wants to be in the future
- To understand the impact of internal and external factors that will affect the University’s finances such as student retention, research income, commercial income etc.
- To enable the University to forecast how much income it will generate and how much it can spend on different activities
- To meet a funding council requirement for a financial forecast to be provided annually
This process can involve a large number of people from across the University including academic and professional service departments, executive boards and as well as finance departments and in our experience this process can be extremely resource intensive, involving the distribution of Excel workbooks and shared data sets and definitions to inform any individual budget and forecast production.
It is often difficult for the central finance team to have visibility of the derivation of forecast submissions to ensure common methods and assumptions are being deployed. By automating the capture and management of these models we can deliver time savings and cost savings whilst introducing an agility in the forecasting process that enables more regular forecasting capability.