Aligning the Budget Model to Strategic Goals

Executive-level decision points to ensure impact on cost, growth, and strategy

This study outlines 13 executive-level budget model decision points that will help you create financial accountability, structure strategic reserves, and ensure units invest in institutional priorities.

Impactful Financial Dashboards

Finance and administration leaders often view the budget model as one of the most impactful ways to align stakeholders to financial realities, automate smarter resource allocation decisions, or create a workaround for shared governance and weak strategic planning common in higher education.

Download the complete study or explore the table of contents below to learn about 13 executive-level budget model decision points that will help you create financial accountability, safeguard mission-critical activities, and invest in institutional priorities.



Pressures causing reactive model change

Budget models remain an area of intense scrutiny, as scores of institutions consider either adjustments to their current model or wholesale model changes. While a host of challenges and industry shifts are driving the interest, four major pressures in particular are pushing institutions to consider changing budget models.

First, incoming executive leaders often initiate budget model transitions at their new campuses, which occurs more often as average president and provost tenures decline. Second, most institutions have been forced to make model changes to meet stakeholder demands for greater financial transparency.

In addition to these internal mandates, two industry-wide threats are driving further budget model adjustments. In a new business model that requires resource allocation and strategic investments to fuel institution growth, many institutions look to new budget models to create greater fund flexibility. Second, as institutions face tightening budgets, some change budget models to incent mission-focused academic leaders to make program decisions with financial impact top of mind.

Proactively anticipating future needs

While some institutions are changing models in response to current pressures, others are proactively making model changes to reorient institutional decision making and build resilience against unknown, future threats. Finance and administration leaders, in particular, view the budget model as one of the most impactful ways to reinforce financial goals and strategic priorities.

Of course, changing the budget model is not a panacea that solves all institutional problems. All models require strong executive leadership and direction to be successful, as well as sufficient IT and data capabilities. Nonetheless, the budget model can create a decision-making structure for long-term success and alleviate some of the problems associated with shared governance.

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