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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 31, 2005 | Vol. 35 No. 9
Budgeting Schedules Moved Up to Accommodate HopkinsOne

By Jeanne Johnson

Johns Hopkins leadership has decided that the budgeting process for fiscal year 2006/2007 will begin six weeks earlier than usual for the university and four weeks earlier for the health system.

Fred Puddester, executive director of budget, financial planning and analysis for the university, and Kathleen Rogers, director of financial planning and budget for the health system, said that the recommendation was made after determining that staffs needed to be more available to participate in HopkinsOne, the project to streamline and modernize Johns Hopkins' business and administrative systems.

"Many of the same people that we rely on for budgeting we will also need for Hopkins-One training and testing, particularly during the April through June training period," Puddester said. "We knew we had to try and even out the workload."

Any budgeting process involves some forecasting, and an accelerated time frame could make that forecasting even more difficult than usual. But in the long run, Puddester said, spreading out the workload should help to smooth the transition to the HopkinsOne system. "Budget leaders collaboratively analyzed what's to come and decided that this is the best approach for handling this volume of work," he said.

At the university, deans usually make some budgeting assumptions in December and then, after working with those figures, meet with the provost during March and April to discuss how their budgets fit into the university's goals, Puddester said. This year, however, the deans will present their budgets in February, with the goal of completing the process by the end of the month.

Likewise, health system leaders recognized that budgeting earlier will enable staffs to more fully focus on HopkinsOne. "We needed to complete the budget one month earlier, by March 18 instead of April 18, in order to have all the information we need to load into the [outgoing] legacy system by April 15 and convert the data to the HopkinsOne system by May," Rogers said. "This means we will have to make more assumptions with fewer facts, but with the talent that we have at Hopkins, I'm sure we can accomplish our goal."

Rogers said she was impressed with the cooperation of budgeting entities from throughout Johns Hopkins and by how receptive people have been to changing the budgeting time frame. "I think people recognize the importance of pulling this together and accomplishing this ambitious task," she said.

Adjusting to the transition means looking at the long-term benefits, Puddester said, because "the HopkinsOne system will give us the tools we need to make our jobs easier."


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