Recent Updates: Data Transformation & Reporting in Higher Ed

Hello, data enthusiasts and casual readers alike! Welcome to the latest update from the James Moore Data Analytics team. We’ve been up to our eyeballs in data, dashboards, and delightful solutions here at James Moore Data Analytics. Our recent endeavors highlight our expertise in data management and analytics and our commitment to transforming higher education. Here’s a look at some of our recent projects.

Making Numbers Fun Again: Automating Repetitive Processes for the CFO

The CFO of a top 125 university in the southeast came to us for help with the institution’s manual processes, from the preparation of reports down to daily reconciliations. Our mission: Transform their routine accounting and reporting processes from “yawn-inducing” to “wow, that’s cool!”

The team spent hundreds of hours collecting, cleaning and manipulating data for several processes on a monthly (sometimes daily) basis. Then the team had to constantly updating those schedules—adding even more work to an already overstretched staff.

Working with the team, we built several automations leveraging their data and systems. This saved hundreds of hours, increased accuracy and improved employee engagement and outlook. Happy staff, happy life!

The benefits derived from this automation include:

  • Improved accuracy: Automation minimizes manual data entry, enhancing the reliability of financial data.
  • Time efficiency: These solutions significantly reduce the time required for data processing and report generation.
  • Cost reduction: Long-term savings are achieved by decreasing manual labor and minimizing errors.
  • Consistent reporting: Automated processes ensure uniformity in reporting, adhering to high standards.

Reporting Revolution: Controller’s Office Collaboration

One of the top 10 public schools in the nation had an annual reporting process that needed over six weeks to acquire, aggregate and review data. However, these reports provided senior leadership a clear picture on the health of each business unit by source of funding. They needed a real-time process with on-demand capabilities to provide leadership this critical information more efficiently and effectively.

We worked with their team to automate the preparation of individual and consolidated reports for all departments and centers, including the automation of cash balance reporting. The result: individual and consolidated reports that are all neat and tidy, and cash balance reporting as smooth as a morning latte.

The solution we created will save hundreds of hours of time and allow the team to run the reports in real time instead of just annually. Additional benefits include:

  • Advanced analysis: Allows for comparability and trend analysis.
  • Time efficiency: Reduces time to acquire data, prepare reports and provide to key stakeholders.
  • Resource optimization: Staff can now focus on strategic tasks, moving away from repetitive manual work.
  • Employee engagement: The team can focus on activities that require more thought, leading to higher employee engagement and satisfaction.

Game Changer: NCAA Reporting Made Easy Through Automation

At an NCAA Division 1 school, we faced the challenge of automating their annual NCAA and EADA financial reporting process. This was especially crucial following the departure of a key employee who did this work (and took that knowledge with them).

In less than four weeks (and in advance of their annual audit), we created a solution that drastically reduced preparation hours and left auditors smiling at its traceability, ease of review and reporting.

Benefits of this automation include:

  • Reduced key person dependency risk: By automating the process, the workflow is fully auditable, documented and transferable regardless of who maintains and executes the process.
  • Auditability and transparency: Reduced time spent by auditors and team by providing transparent reconciliation and from source transaction through report.
  • Time savings: Ongoing time savings for data acquisition, standardization and manipulation which will continue to improve yearly.
  • Reporting: Clear and consistent reporting year over year.

An Analytics Slam Dunk: Collegiate Athletics Budget Optimization and Analysis

An SEC university’s collegiate athletics department’s budget-to-actuals reporting process was cumbersome and lacked visibility into underlying data. Loading updated information took an average of nearly 1,800 hours per year. And maintenance took months because it had to be performed by an external vendor.

It was time for us to play ball. No, we weren’t dribbling or dunking (trust us, you don’t want to see us try). But we did develop a comprehensive budget-to-actual tool that delivered transformative benefits:

  • Real-time reporting: Weekly updates enable swift and informed decision-making, allowing the department to transition from a reactive to a proactive stance.
  • Rapid analysis: The tool facilitates quick identification of areas needing attention, enhancing both performance and operational efficiency.
  • Increased Adoption: The tool resulted in increased adoption from the various sports supervisors versus the prior tool.
  • Empowered teams: With the ability to update and modify data independently, teams have gained autonomy, reducing dependency on IT support for changes.
  • Detailed transaction insights: The tool allows for an in-depth examination of transactions, offering a granular view of financial operations.
  • Customized reporting: We’ve enabled the creation of bespoke reports, catering to the diverse needs of different organizational units.
  • Data integrity and customization: Ensuring secure and clean data, the tool offers endless possibilities for customization and enhancement of reporting.

This Swiss Army knife of data tools resulted in a process that now takes hours instead of months. The school experienced a signification return on investment in both hours saved and real-time insights. Our collaboration with the school’s financial team on this project marked a significant step in automation of budget analytics.

These projects demonstrate our commitment to leveraging data analytics for operational excellence throughout higher education. We’re not just crunching numbers; we’re making them dance, sing and do backflips.

From collegiate athletics to academic financial operations, our solutions are about more than managing data. They’re about unlocking its potential to drive decision-making, enhance performance and streamline processes. Contact our James Moore Data Analytics team to see what we can do for you.


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