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New Financial Planning System Simplifies Budgeting Process

New Financial Planning System Simplifies Budgeting Process

Stock photo a black woman uses a laptop in an office setting

When the University of Oklahoma’s new budgeting and financial planning system, Workday Adaptive Planning (Adaptive), went live earlier this month, the budgeting process across the university became a lot more consistent, intuitive, collaborative and user-friendly.

“We’ve never truly had a comprehensive, institution-wide budgeting system,” said Stewart Berkinshaw, associate vice president for budget and finance on the Norman campus. “Before implementing Adaptive, our budget system was an after-market bolt-on that just didn’t meet our needs. With Adaptive, we can deliver financial information to campus decision makers that is easily accessible and understandable. And because the demand for timely and accurate data will only increase, we now have the ability to forecast and model future budgets.”

screenshot from Adaptive

Budget vs. Actual Expense Report with Variance Analysis

In addition to collaborative forecasting and modeling tools, Adaptive offers comprehensive dashboard capabilities, tailored and simplified reporting options and easy-to-access analytics with interactive components.

The budget offices on the Norman and Health Sciences Center campuses led the Adaptive implementation with critical assistance from Financial Services, Information Technology and Human Resources. To ensure optimal functionality and ease of use, they invited budget professionals across the university to participate through surveys, group and one-to-one training, and opportunities to independently explore the system and provide feedback.

“We distributed surveys last fall to get baseline information on everything from how people develop their budgets and what tools they use to what factors drive their revenue planning process and how often they produced forecasts,” explained Norman campus associate budget director Nicole McPhetridge. “The feedback was invaluable in implementing a system that would meet all their needs.”

HSC budget director Bart Mercer noted that the feedback has been very positive.

“People really appreciate how Adaptive can summarize a great amount of information into easy-to-read reports,” he said.

Training and feedback have been a continuous process over the last several months. Most recently, budget office personnel met with users in each college or department to demonstrate how to access data and submit their budgets so they would be prepared to build their FY2022 budgets in Adaptive. The budget-building window for Norman campus programs opened Feb. 15 and will close April 30. For Health Sciences Center programs, the window will be open from April 1 through May 30. Budget offices from both campuses are reaching out to departments to schedule small-group trainings.

screenshot from Adaptive

Enrollment and Credit Hour Dashboard for the Norman Campus

At the end of those processes, McPhetridge and Mercer plan to distribute follow-up surveys to compare responses to the baseline information they received at the beginning of the Adaptive implementation.

“We want to hear from users after this first budget-building cycle to make sure any outstanding issues are addressed and that Adaptive is giving them what they need,” Mercer said.

Berkinshaw added, “Our overall goal is straightforward: Financial information provided to end users must be timely, accurate and easy to understand. Adaptive plays a big role in moving us in that direction.”

For more information about Adaptive, visit

Article Published:  Wednesday, February 24, 2021