These past 18 months or so have been a whirlwind, especially for those involved in higher education. Whether private or public, a large state school or small liberal arts institution, finance leadership has had a rough go at creating reliable financial models and creating alternative scenarios.
As students resume class in person, Cloud EPM is as valuable as ever for finance and accounting teams at colleges and universities around the world. After years of working with Oracle Cloud EPM and Higher Education institutes, we’ve identified 3 categories where EPM can add value:
1) Scenario Modeling
As enrollment and tuition rates fluctuated with the uncertainty of COVID-19 related restrictions, finance teams were required to create alternative scenarios based on variable student costs. Housing, meal plans, transportation and more all shifted as students conducted class via Zoom, and university financial forecasts had to rapidly report on changing financial conditions. With Cloud EPM’s Scenario Modeling functionality, leaders at universities can simply change their perceived financial drivers and trends to create alternative “what-if” scenarios to paint a more accurate picture of the next year’s revenue and expense forecasts. At UT Arlington, for example, the finance team reduced steps to budget input by 50% and easily adjusted their revenue and expense drivers to forecast hybrid enrollment scenarios as students attend via Zoom and in person.
2) Collaboration and Simplicity
Gathering budget data and managing approval chains via excel and email is enough to make the CFO at any institution pull their hair out. The expression “herding cats” always comes to mind when finance teams track down spreadsheets from department heads with very distinct personalities and data entry ‘“styles.” Cloud EPM makes it easy for department or cost center heads to input budgets based on predefined forms and dropdowns. Approval chains are integrated into the application to ensure no one substituted a comma for a decimal point, ensuring data integrity and budget accuracy throughout the planning cycle.
3) Industry Best Practices
With Hyperion’s on-premise legacy as a best in class tool for higher education institutions, Oracle continues to invest in the industry through Cloud EPM. Automated software updates mean that costly and time consuming upgrade projects are a thing of the past. Your EPM application will evolve as your institution continues to adapt to changing student demographics and classroom methodologies. Rather than electing to implement a solution based on requirements at a fixed point in time, choosing Oracle Cloud EPM means you are satisfying today’s requirements, and keeping the next generation of students in mind.
Whether you are the world’s largest university or a private liberal arts institution, the flexibility and scalability inherent to Cloud EPM can support a wide range of forecasting and reporting methodologies. Please reach out to learn more about our insights into Higher Education and the office of the CFO.