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State University System of Florida Implements New Financial Reporting System

The State University System of Florida (SUSF) — a system of 12 Florida public universities serving more than 300,000 students — has adopted a cloud-based financial reporting tool to assist with data collection related to bond refinancing, state-funded projects and tuition and fee schedules.

Each year, the university system posts tuition and fee schedules for each of its member universities by mid-August. The schedules include "each university's standard set of fees along with fees that are unique to separate programs," according to a news release. Before adopting the new financial reporting tool, the process of distributing financial information to the universities involved several steps, including emails, repetitive entries and constant reviews.

In an effort to streamline this process, SUSF implemented Wdesk, a cloud-based productivity platform from Workiva designed to help organizations "collect, link, report and analyze business data with control and accountability." Wdesk has enabled the university system to consolidate its workflow into a single application.

The university system implemented Wdesk in preparation for the fall 2016 semester. In previous years, staff were under pressure to publish the tuition and fee schedules by mid-August.  "This year, with Wdesk, we published the data in the first week of July, more than a month sooner than before," said Chris Kinsley, director of finance and facilities for SUSF, in a prepared statement.

In addition to speeding up and simplifying the process of publishing tuition and fee schedules, Wdesk has also helped maintain process consistency and data accuracy, according to Kinsley. Because the system maintains a record of data entries and changes, it makes it easier for a new person to take over when a key staff member changes jobs.

The system's data linking feature also ensures that data changes automatically flow across documents and presentations. "There is huge pressure to have accurate data," said Kinsley. "Wdesk linking helps us validate that the numbers are correct, and I have confidence when reporting to our students, board and state agencies."

About the Author

Leila Meyer is a technology writer based in British Columbia. She can be reached at [email protected].

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