Developing an improved project budgeting system

Client: Lancaster University Business Enterprise Centre (LUBEC)
Student: Danail Gardev
Supervisor: Professor Mike Wright (MSc OR Project)

Summary

The accurate reporting of the actual budget status is essential for successful and effective management of any of the projects run by the Enterprise and Commercialisation Division. A variety of reporting facilities based on MS Excel are currently addressing this issue and are used by delivery teams across campus. This project was commissioned to collect and analyse feedback on the existing budget tools and to develop and implement an improved system. Current weaknesses were identified and a requirements list was built, after careful analysis of needs of the organisation, feedback from the staff, the imposed limitations, as well as the viability and applicability of different technology designs.

A prototype was developed in MS Excel using VBA programming to minimise the manual operations. The tool has two data sections and a reporting section, which includes a reference data section. The data sections are for the two sources of data - the accounting system and the facility for managing the records for allocated expenditures, which is included in the tool. The reporting section presents the summary of the project, including graphs and reference data. The overall time for producing an accurate report was significantly reduced with minimum user interaction. The tool was tested thoroughly and implemented in the delivery teams across campus together with training and documentation. Further work to improve the system, particularly involving security was identified.