Margaret Ambuehl, Director of Financial Systems at University of North Texas Health Science Center, highlights the value her institution gains from the Axiom Higher Education Suite:
- Browser-based budgeting, which increases transparency and eliminates spreadsheets
- A one-stop-shop for retrieving financial reports and financial data for the entire institution
- Labor planning at the position level, which enables the institution to tie budgeted position salaries to budgets
- Streamlined budget request and approval process that incorporates scoring
Learn more about how your institution can benefit from the Axiom Higher Education Suite.
"We were currently using spreadsheets for our budget. We looked at several different solutions and found that Axiom provided the most comprehensive set of tools and possibilities."
Margaret Ambuehl, Director of Financial Systems
University of North Texas Health Science Center
We decided that we needed something that we could do a whole budget on the browser. We were currently using spreadsheets for our budget. So we looked at several different solutions, and Axiom was one of them, and found that it provided the most comprehensive set of tools and possibilities. So we wanted to not just be able to do a budget - we wanted to be able to extend it to do all of our operational reporting and financial reporting. So our CFO decided that we wanted to as an institution say, "This is where you go to get financial reports and financial data for the entire institution. We didn't want a piecemeal it. Have it go for the budget to one place, for reports to another, for analytics to another, for dashboards to another. We wanted it all in one place, and we wanted it all to be browser-based, and Axiom provided that.
The detailed labor is something that a lot of budget software suppliers… they don't get it. They don't get the need to tie your budgeted position salary to your budget. We set up a budget of 100k for salary. We want to know what positions exactly are you going to fund with that 100k. Before we had that, we would ask them to tell us what the positions were, how they were going to be funded, and ask them what the budget was. But when it came to actually being able to import that budget, we only did the finance side. So then our department managers and our VPs and Deans they had to go through and put all of these change requests on the positions to make them match the budget. We would put in a funding request so the department would fill out what other funds they needed, how it was going to be spent, what part of our strategic plan did it support, and answer some questions about it.
And then that went through a series of approvals. This is something we weren't ever able to do before to ensure that there were approvals at the department and the VP/Dean and the provost level and also a customizable approval so that if the request involved something from IT or research or the facilities, that the workflow could incorporate those stops for approval as well. And then once the request met all the approvals, we were able to create a summarized report that went to cabinet - the president's cabinet - where they could see each one of them summarized and how much it was costing. They could look and open it up. We didn't have to deliver a bunch of papers to them. But more importantly, we were able to capture a score. Each cabinet member scored each request in four different categories. When the cabinet came together to make their final decisions, [they could] provide an average score of each request and use that as part of the decision-making process.
Then, finally, tag each one as approved or denied, and then how much it's approved for. And that approval amount then tied into the next step where we assigned a funding source. Where was that money going to come from and who was it going to go to? And once we assigned that, then that automatically fed into the budget application so that when they start working on their budget, they would see that they had this extra money and what it was used for. They knew exactly how much they could spend in their budget. So that was one of the big gains that we got when we started implementing Axiom. [Syntellis] implementation went further and the amount of support that we've had that throughout the whole implementation. We've already had a couple of handoffs and it's been really smooth. I've never really felt like I was on my own now.