- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 31, 2016

LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP) - As it looks for ways to cut tens of millions from its budget, the University of Wyoming is proceeding with a $30 million overhaul of the system it uses to keep track of its finances.

The new system would replace the dozens of current fiscal systems and secondary systems used by different departments and colleges that cannot easily share information, said Bill Mai, vice president for administration.

“It should streamline all of the accounting efforts on campus; it should help with student information from the standpoint of scholarship awarding; it should help with things as basic as billing procedures and, in the end - the top rung of this thing is the management reporting all of that can provide,” he said.

The current system is in poor condition and what should be simple tasks become long-term efforts, said Anne Alexander, associate vice president for academic affairs.

“I don’t think I can overstate how much we need this,” she told the Laramie Boomerang (https://bit.ly/25yhEiK ). “It’s really difficult to find the data you need to make strategic decisions. It’s not that people don’t have that data - it’s just all over the place.”

Several different systems are currently being used that cannot easily communicate together. Some department heads or other administrators are using spreadsheet programs completely outside all UW fiscal programs. “It can take multiple days, sometimes even longer, to find information when it should take no more than a few hours,” Alexander said.

UW students also would see benefits from a new system, Mai said.

“We currently have a student information system out there, and it’s not terribly well-tied to the rest of the university systems,” he said. “(A new fiscal system) makes a lot more sense for students in terms of scholarship awarding and how they pay their bills - about every level you can think of.”

While the project’s total estimated cost is $30 million, Mai said negotiations with the firm are ongoing to determine the final cost.

The effort to upgrade the fiscal system comes as UW officials look to cut at least 70 faculty and staff positions and review programs because of the loss of $41 million in state aid brought on by the downturn in the energy industry.

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Information from: Laramie Boomerang, https://www.laramieboomerang.com


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