Agnes Scott College reversed years of deficits and created financial models that provide control

Learn how Mindstream helped the university arm the senior leaders to push the institution toward financial discipline 

Starting Position 

Agnes Scott College’s (ASC) new leadership team was charged with reversing years of budget deficits and endowment draws, while also managing outdated facilities and IT: 

  • An annual budget deficit of $ 7 million 
  • Endowment draws had become standard practice for supplementing annual budget shortfalls 
  • Inability to adequately fund mission critical support services such as Information Technology and Facilities 

Insights & Advice 

Leaders at Agnes Scott engaged Mindstream to assess the college through an Effectiveness and Efficiency Review. The goal was to identify opportunities to close the budget deficit and move toward a sustainable budget model. The scope of work included assessing the university’s finance and budgeting, procurement policies and processes, and the Information Technology and Facilities departments. 

We found that ASC’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system lacked adequate reporting to understand the budget crisis that had developed. Budget management was decentralized, and Ad Hoc, with each division using its own standards, accounts, and codes to track purchases. 

To address these issues, our team helped ASC restructure its Chart of accounts and streamline its budget development and approval processes. Additionally, we revamped procurement practices that will monitor and control spending. We created dashboards in Tableau software to analyze all levels of financial data, including purchasing card and overall budgets. The plan also included implementation of travel software and policies that curtail those costs. 

We recommended restructuring Information Technology functions for greater efficiency and effectiveness, as well as improvements to Facilities Management through prioritizing and adjusting of APPA levels. ASC was guided to eliminate or outsource auxiliary functions that didn’t meet return-on-investment goals.  

The Mindstream solution set included Critical-To-Quality metrics and Key Performance Indicators to measure success of all initiatives. Also, each plan contained change management initiatives to ensure adherence to and cultural adaptation of new processes and policies. 

Impact 

Mindstream identified $4.5 million in recurring and one- time savings. Mindstream’s analysis and approach also enabled ASC leadership to: 

  • Reduce their annual budget $2.75 million 
  • Reduce expenses across the institution without sacrificing services to students, faculty, or staff 
  • Implement new financial policies and technologies that foster financial discipline 
  • Centralize functions that led to budget woes while preserving the campus culture 
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