Vice President of Finance and Facilities
Pillars of Success
The purpose of this project is to communicate the current budget process and garner constructive feedback from employees related to budget development and communications in order to be more strategic in how college funds are invested.
- Hold listening sessions with the desired outcomes to:
- Identify ways M State can improve communication around budgeting and the budget process;
- Identify the level of involvement faculty and staff want to have when developing the functional budget;
- Identify how faculty and staff believe the budgeting process is linked to planning at the department level;
- Get feedback from budget managers to better understand if they know the budget management tools they have access to and the level of budget decisions they can make;
- Identify feedback on the Minnesota State budget priorities.
- Use input to determine action steps and an implementation timeline.
Financial budgeting and communications.
Key performance indicators/metrics
- Budget managers understand where they can find information related to their budgets.
- Employees feel they understand the financial condition of the college via timely and accurate communications.
- Employees feel they understand the budget process and support the methodology.
Metrics collection and review schedule
- Ensure budget managers understand the tools they have access to in order to manage the funds they control.
- Get feedback from college employees on their level of satisfaction related to financial information being communicated timely. Also, solicit feedback on what type of financial information is important to communicate and at what level of detail.
- Determine if there are better ways to develop the budget and what role employees want in that process.
No direct financial impact.
Summary of Results
Budget listening sessions took place on each of the M State campuses in early November 2022. Attendance ranged from approximately 12 employees to 40 employees per campus.
General listening session themes
- Budget managers need a better understanding of what tools are available to them to assist in managing and tracking their budgets. A new manager orientation needs to be developed. Budget managers also need a better understanding of what type of budget adjustments they are allowed to make mid-year when situations change.
- In mid-spring term an analysis should be performed to project how the budget will end the year. At that time, if there appears that the budget will be under spent, administration should look at using those available funds for one-time strategic purposes.
- With limited equipment dollars available, equipment should be allocated by combining all funding sources (Leveraged, Perkins, General) and allowing the Academic Deans to make determinations based on the entire pool of funds.
- Equipment and technology needs should be looked at from a 3-5 year plan to assist managers in determining where the greatest needs are.
- Budgeting needs to follow the strategic plan of the college. If our growth projects are to be in online programming then the budget needs to support that growth, including needed technology and services.
- More communication is needed around the general financial condition of the college. The face-to-face presentations each semester that happened pre-COVID should be resumed.
- New initiative requests should be unhinged from the annual budget process. A new initiative pool of funds should be put in the budget, so that when opportunities present themselves mid-year administrators do not have to wait until the next budget cycle to request funds.
Timeline and action steps based on feedback
- In early March, the Vice President of Finance and Facilities will do an in-depth review of the current budget position of the college. If the projection for year-end indicates there will be unspent budget dollars, Cabinet will look at making one-time strategic investments with available funds.
- Develop a budget orientation plan by July 1 for any employee that has budget management requirements as part of their job description. This would include all administrators and most managers. The orientation will include information on building a budget, managing the budget and adjusting the budget.
- All equipment dollars (including the general fund, leveraged, and Perkins) should be pooled for a better equipment purchasing plan.
- A process will be developed to solicit the equipment needs of stakeholders over the coming 3-5 years and develop a plan for investing in those equipment needs.
- The finance office will work with IT to outline a process to determine the technological needs of the college for the next 3-5 years.