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Financial Tool Development


Written by Michael McAlary


Services Area: Capital, Budgeting and Finance

Industry Sector: Education



The client was seeking to improve its budgeting and forecasting models for three of its higher education colleges. The current budgeting and forecasting process was haphazard and involved a number of different excel spreadsheets that were inconsistent between the colleges and only provided financial data at a high level. This meant management could not understand the revenue and cost drivers of the business and effectively plan for the future.



The major challenge was the changing scope. This was due to a number of factors including the overseas office budgetary deadlines and the business learning more about their business and revenue models through the design and development process. The growth in delivery of courses either on-line, face to face, or a combination of the two means that there are significant changes occurring in this industry.



College specific models were designed to include more transparent revenue and cost of sales reporting in line with the nature of education colleges, i.e. adjusting revenue/costs of sales according to study periods, courses and by number of students.

The models were simple to use, consistent between colleges even accounting for college nuances and transparent. They allowed the client to see profitability at a course or faculty level, campus level and college level on a month by month basis.

The risks/challenges of this project were managed adequately and the project was delivered on time to allow the model to be approved at Board level and implemented at the start of a new financial year. 

The new budget models have been fully integrated into business as usual and have allowed the client to better understand its business and strategically plan for the future, e.g. to keep or discard individual courses on the basis of profitability considering student numbers and running costs.

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