Stacy Buckingham is Dean for Financial Operations at John A. Logan College located in southern Illinois. Stacy has been with the college for 25 years, in her current role for about two years.
Over those two years, the college has moved to a modified zero-based budgeting model, which was not meshing well with Excel. Stacy explains:
“I’m working with 60 different budget officers, and with Excelit was tough for them to build in justifications and line-item detail. So many aspects were difficult – bringing historical data in from prior years; moving the spreadsheets out to the budget officers, up through the head of the division for approval, and then back to me for accuracy checks; trying to make sure to lock down the spreadsheets so people couldn’t change my formulas. And there was no good reporting tool.”
After two painful budgeting cycles with Excel, Stacy championed the implementation of a cloud-based budgeting solution. Stacy says the system is much easier to work with and has provided cost savings. When the college’s Vice President of Instruction retired, Stacy used the reporting tools in the new budgeting system to provide her replacement with all of the necessary information.
“We were able to give her all her unit departmental information in groupings,” recalls Stacy. “By departments that report up through the various deans and by her direct reports. We extracted them all out of the budget solution in a PDF with detailed line-item descriptions, supplemental notes, and historical comparisons. We included all of the departmental names and the account structure within each department.”
Stacy continues, “The new Vice President of Instruction was able to work across numerous departments and quickly come back with a list of about 25 to 30 changes, totaling around $450,000 to $500,000 worth of adjustments. She gave me a nice list of which departments were affected, account codes, and the actual line-item requests she was adjusting, so that I could build out reports for the board’s budget hearing. If we hadn’t had such detailed, easy-to-use reporting, there’s no way she would have been able to jump in cold and make such timely changes.”