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Serensoft and Financial Services


Serensoft begins most client relationships by talking about business processes at the departmental or institutional level.

No two Financial Affairs offices have exactly the same needs with regard to administrative workflow. Serensoft works directly with CFOs and/or Controllers and their teams (usually through the IT Department) to create unique and individualized administrative computing solutions... tailored to how you use information. We frequently do this by leveraging the technology that you already have at the institution.

Listening

Serensoft begins by holding a meeting with the entire Financial Services team (which may sometimes include Development). In this first meeting, we usually spend relatively little time speaking about the Administrative System itself. Rather, we listen for information about financial processes and data. Initially it is more important to learn about how the Institution, and particularly Financial Services, uses information to conduct their business.

We eventually address the Administrative System, when the time is right. Talking about the system without first learning how you use data is like talking about a steak sandwich without first determining if someone is hungry, thirsty or tired... or a vegetarian!

Strategic Indicators for Financial Services
There are numerous strategic indicators that help an institution determine the financial health of the institution — and help focus where to put financial resources in the future. Some are:

  • Tuition and fees as a % of total Fund Revenue
  • State or Local Appropriations as a % of Total Fund Revenue
  • Federal Grants and Contracts as a % of total Fund Revenue
  • Private gifts as a % of total Fund Revenue
  • Endowment support as a % of total Fund Revenue
  • Sales and Services of Auxiliary Enterprises as a % of total Fund Revenue
  • Sources of Revenue for Sponsored Research
  • Instructional Expenditures as a % of total Fund Revenue
  • Instructional Expenses per FTE Student
  • Excess (deficit) of Fund Revenues over Fund Expenditures
  • Current Fund Balance vs. Previous Years
  • Long-term Debt as a % of Total Liabilities
  • Market Value of Endowment as a % of total Assets
  • Market Value of Endowment per FTE Student
  • Yield as a % of total Endowment
    Many of these Strategic Indicators are taken from the book "Strategic Indicators for Higher Education 1996" by Barbara E. Taylor and William F. Massey - Published by Peterson's, Princeton, NJ

There are hundreds of indicators that will have varying degrees of importance to different institutions. Through ProvidenceSM, Serensoft will help you to not only identify them, but also extract the information in formats that reveal the patterns crucial to informed decision-making.

How Reliable and Complete is your Data?
In order to answer questions like these, Financial Services must first be tracking the data elements that make up these strategic indicators. Is all information from all departments at the institution finding its way into the system? In many cases there are isolated 'islands of information' located around the institution sitting on desktop databases or in Excel spreadsheets... information that is NOT finding its way into the system! This could be information on people connected to the institution, prospective or current students, that Financial Services doesn't know about. Is this really optimizing the use of the IT investment?

Serensoft can help you determine if "islands of information" exist at your institution — and help you design a cost-effective path to making your data reliable and complete, enterprise-wide.

How Easily can you Extract Data When and Where you need it?
So, your data is complete and reliable. It's all in there. You can look up information as you need it.

Meaningful information — information that allows you to look at relationships between multiple pieces of data, such as the strategic indicators above — is much more complex and usually falls on the shoulders of a person in your institution who understands SQL (Structured Query Language), or another method of data extraction.

Without an intuitive and powerful ad-hoc reporting solution effectively deployed across all offices and campuses of your institution, you will not be optimizing access to the information that will help you run the institution most effectively.

The reporting solutions Serensoft provides will enable Financial Services to quickly and easily track gender or ethnic enrollment patterns, handle Federal reporting needs, and more — ultimately enabling Financial Services to maximize the investment the institution has made in its Administrative System.

Why Serensoft?
Technology — Administrative Systems, Web, BI Reporting Tools — these are all just tools to help your Financial Services office achieve its goals. Serensoft will help your institution to apply these tools to best serve its purposes, and reach its institutional objectives frequently with technology that you already have.