University of Stirling implements new Personnel Cost Planning system
SAP consultancy Absoft recently implemented a new SAP Personnel Cost Planning system at the University of Stirling. This was in response to the University’s desire for improved budget accuracy and longer range budgeting, as well as the need to track costs in comparison with budgets, and to make varying allocations across different cost centres.
Since approximately 70% of the University’s financial overhead comprises employment costs: £65 million, covering just over 2000 staff, accurate cost planning and control are essential. Historically, the preparation of annual salary budgets was a two-month process, reliant on Excel spreadsheets, which devoured substantial manpower and bore several sources of inaccuracy.
Absoft’s remit was to specify the University’s requirements and configure standard SAP functionality to meet these. Some bespoke development was also necessary in order to meet the University’s desire for near-100% budget accuracy.
Since implementing the Personnel Cost Planning system the University’s budget preparation process now takes under an hour, compared with 10 to 15 man-days previously. Staff resource savings include man-weeks for the HR and finance teams, man-days for central administration, and substantial checking time for every department employing staff. Additional benefits result from the fact that finance managers can now see personnel cost information at a glance and compare budgeted figures with “actuals” once a month.
Alison Lindsay, the University’s Project Accountant comments: “Being able to do longer range forecasting will help us through a period in which funding will be going down and costs will be going up. The combination of greater accuracy and detailed drill-down to employee, cost centre and cost item levels gives us a much better basis for making decisions. In the past, what we did was staff budgeting - but now we can do proper staff planning.”