Founded in 1960, Houston Baptist University is a private institution dedicated to providing its students a learning experience that instills in them a passion for academic, spiritual, and professional excellence. Offering more than 40 different majors across eight colleges including business, education, fine arts, nursing, liberal arts and more, the university now educates more than 3,000 students. The campus itself has grown to hold 27 buildings including three residence colleges, an apartment complex, three museums and two art galleries.
Houston Baptist University had begun an initiative to double the size of the institution over a ten year period. The University began planning and implementing new programs as a way to draw more students, develop fresh revenue streams and achieve its objectives for growth. For example, a robust online degree program was introduced as was a new collegiate football program competing in the Southland Conference. In addition, the University continued to expand its commercial real estate opportunities on campus working in partnership with local businesses to lease and develop properties. As Houston Baptist expanded so too did the needs of the finance department and the executive council leadership team. Throughout its growth, the institution was intent on being transparent as possible on where resources were being allocated and how tuition dollars and commercial real estate revenue were being reinvested in the University.
However with more than 70 different departments now on campus, collecting accurate financial information and turning that data into meaningful reports was a significant challenge. The organization found they couldn’t effectively forecast both revenue and expenses as the finance department simply couldn’t rely on their existing process with spreadsheets to deliver accurate information and their ERP system wasn’t equipped to help plan for the future. Houston Baptist University recognized they needed a flexible, intuitive financial management solution that could help them deliver a strong foundation of financial data to better manage their rapid growth
The University partnered with Centage to address their budgeting and forecasting challenges. First and foremost implementing Centage has streamlined Houston Baptist University’s budgeting process and eliminated the need for cumbersome, error-prone Excel spreadsheets. The finance team can now initiate the budget process by quickly submitting requests for revenue and expense details to the more than 70 different University departments. Thanks to the software’s “windows look and feel” the finance team can quickly and simply mange import and export activities with ease as they manage all the collected, accurate data directly into the solution. Financial professionals can then develop critical financial statements and deliver back 70 accurate reports to each department if necessary.
By layering the solution on top of the ERP system, Houston Baptist University can also further incorporate all of the relevant financial data to create forecasts for future needs including a strategic seven year planning timeline. This includes a myriad of variables such as the number of returning students, the ratio of student to on-site housing needs, retention percentages, capital funding allocations, grant management details and so on. With the click of a button the University’s finance team can run a report and within just five minutes have the proper insight in hand to present those findings to the executive council and management teams. This was simply not possible before as ERP systems are not designed to forecast future revenue or expenses based on specific criteria.
“Without the current capabilities [of the solution], I would not have been confident enough to put forth a budget process and seven year planning timeline. I rely on the solutions so much and have the utmost confidence in their capabilities to help us meet our planning deadlines while also delivering accurate and quality information to our end users,” said Michael Dei, Planning and Budget Director, Financial Operations, Houston Baptist University. “Without the Centage suite of solutions, our team would still be at the stage of trying to create a process to handle our annual budget and planning approvals instead of actively preparing for the future.”
Empowered with better insight into their current and future organizational needs Houston Baptist University can uncover which sources of revenue are helping to achieve their growth goals and where other investments need to be made.In the future, the institution’s finance department plans to leverage the reporting capabilities of Analytics Maestro to execute full financial statement projections based on the now accurate information they have access to in the solution.
Location: Houston, TX
G/L System: Banner
“Without the current capabilities [of the solution], I would not have been confident enough to put forth a budget process and seven year planning timeline.”
“Centage has helped us to not only improve the overall budgeting process, but has enabled the University to capitalize on our growth opportunities today while better preparing our institution for the future.”
Planning & Budget Director
Houston Baptist University