With about six months to go before implementation, we are nearing a key milestone in our Strategic Resource Management (SRM) development project. This initiative launched in 2018 to build a budget model that moved us away from historical budgeting to a framework that would allow us to more closely align our resources with our organizational priorities, such as curricular innovation and student success initiatives. On July 1, 2021, the new model goes live.
More than 90 of our colleagues from across campus have been involved in moving the project forward over the past nearly three years, from the core team to the five work groups to the Strategic Direction and Steering Committee overseeing the overall initiative. While the work of some SRM development teams has concluded, the overall effort to build, test and implement a new budget model has continued unabated. Our progress to date and the project’s successes are the results of their commitment of time, energy and ideas. Please join me in thanking these teams.
SRM at Western represents a decentralized approach to financial management and empowers our academic and other units that generate revenue to manage those funds and invest in priority areas. This restructured method of budgeting is designed to achieve four main objectives:
- Allow funds to move to meet emerging needs.
- Increase accountability for decisions at executive and college levels by linking strategic decisions to financial decisions.
- Enhance transparency through use of formulas to determine revenue and cost allocation in a way that is objective and easily understood.
- Incentivize revenue growth and cost containment practices at all levels of the University.
As indicated in our planned rollout, this new budgeting process goes into effect July 1, at the beginning of the 2021-22 fiscal year. In the interim, the core team is engaging various stakeholders across campus to help them explore the new model using the 2020-21 budget as an exemplar (find the SRM model document here) under the approved rules. Meanwhile, the training and communication work groups are collaborating on developing training materials, with the goal of completing that work in coming weeks. A training schedule will be provided at a future date.
SRM at Western represents a major change in how we will manage our finances. There undoubtedly will be things we did not foresee or that do not work out exactly as planned, as is usually the case with system changes. Let's be careful to extend grace to one another through the process of learning this new way of conducting financial operations. The bottom line of all these efforts is to better optimize resources to provide our students with the unique and top-quality education we know Western delivers, enhance our research and discovery activities and allow us to better engage with the world around us.
To learn more about the SRM project, including its history, principles and timeline, visit the website.