University College London (UCL) serves more than 35,000 students annually and is frequently listed as one of the top universities in the world. With over 15,000 employees, UCL’s budgeting and forecasting processes were extremely time-consuming. Furthermore, accurate reporting across key drivers required members of the finance department to aggregate data from several sources just to build basic reports.
“Our finance department was spending far too much time pulling together reports,” says Julian Carter, Senior Systems Accountant at UCL. “Beyond spending time aggregating data, the sheer volume of requests from our stakeholders was taxing."
"We needed a resource that allowed any of our users — from faculty managers to researchers — a simple tool for easy budget reconciliation and basic transactional reporting.”
Poor data integration across multiple sources also created reporting inconsistency. “We had instances where three different systems would give three different answers,” says Carter. This led to additional cycles of trying to identify the correct data, while maintaining stakeholder trust in the reports they were reading.
UCL turned to Axiom’s budgeting, forecasting, and reporting solutions to simplify data aggregation and reporting. Data accuracy was improved by Axiom’s direct integration with other source systems. “Simply put, Axiom was the only solution designed for higher education and with the experience to meet our requirements for a single solution for budgeting, forecasting, and reporting,” says Carter.
By implementing Axiom Software, UCL also implemented a self-service model, where end users now have access to more data than ever before. “The data integration piece with our various data sources runs itself,” says Carter.
“We’ve given users access to data much earlier in the cycle. This has allowed members of the finance team to spend more time analyzing data instead of waiting for it to be available.”
A Truly Scalable Solution
With over 4,500 users, UCL needed a solution that could effectively manage security. The university took advantage of Axiom’s user-based security settings to ensure proper oversight of sensitive data. “We’ve been quite happy with Axiom’s ability to help us ensure access to data is aligned with each user type,” says Carter.
More detailed data is one of the biggest benefits Axiom has provided to UCL’s user base. Prior to implementing Axiom software, end users could only access summary-level data and transactional data from various sources by using different reports from different solutions. Now, they can drill through into transaction-level details. “This helps in a few ways,” says Carter. “First, it allows us to provide users with a much more detailed level of data, and they can see the detail behind summarized postings — even if the detail isn’t actually held in our main finance system. They can do this without relying on someone else to write reports for them.”
"Axiom has allowed us to really improve our budgeting and reporting processes. The turnaround time between submission, consolidation, and review of budgets and forecasts is now immediate, enabling refinement to happen quicker and the end results to be available earlier – crucial, as internal deadlines are always very tight."
— Julian Carter, Senior Systems Accountant, University College London