Linking Planning to Budgeting and Decision Support System
A five-year planning outlook is an important part of the budget process and helps focus the budget decision-making process on the structural match between revenues and expenditures. In addition, during the execution phase of the budget, management decisions ensure a match between revenues and expenditures on a short-term basis. Thus the planning process has direct impact on budgeting process and assessment where each academic and administrative sector ties budget to strategic goals, assessment and feedback.
While the Board of Trustees is responsible for authorizing or appropriating the funds to be expended by each of the Cabinet supervised program sectors of the university, our budget office is responsible for the allotment of these appropriations. The allotment process guarantees that the university has the cash available to pay its bills. In some instances the university cannot responsibly allot appropriation on the first day of a fiscal year since revenues may be collected throughout the year. The allotment process is important for managing the university’s cash flow and is also a mechanism that can ensure that expenditures do not exceed available revenues. It is through both the Cabinets’ management of their budgets and the budget execution process that the expenditures of budgeted funds are matched with actual recurring revenues.
The Office of Fiscal Affairs carries out the process of updating and documenting the institutional budget process. The intent is to have an open process – inclusive, fully documented, and most importantly, linked to the planning process of the institution. The resulting budget process allow more input from and balance with the departments and units and emphasizes that in all cases, the budget must be responsive to the initiatives of the institution.
It is the responsibility of the sector head to include the department/unit supervisors, faculty and staff in the development of the budget request. Critical needs are identified for correction to enhance quality of programs and services. Each department is expected to review current programs for potential improvements/reallocations prior to presenting a request for funds. Reallocations will occur at two levels, institutional and departmental. Department reallocations occur when current programs and/or activities are reduced, eliminated, or efficiencies are created, and the resulting resources are moved to serve higher priorities. Given the enrollment projections, it is critical that reallocations be used as a means of funding institutional priorities.