e-Budget: Successor to the budget book

A long-standing and coveted campus resource, the 3-pound budget book, has been replaced. Iowa State's new e-Budget website debuts for the fiscal year that began July 1 (FY 2021). It's available on the operations and finance division website, under the "financial planning and budgeting" dropdown menu, and anyone with a university Net-ID can access the dozens of PDF documents stored in CyBox.

All of the reports may be viewed online, but they can't be downloaded or printed.

Accessible summaries

Ellen Rasmussen, who serves as senior adviser to senior vice president for operations and finance Pam Cain and has been preparing the e-Budget site, said e-Budget is an easy way for more people to access what, in many ways, is more information. The change is another outcome of Iowa State's Workday adoption a year ago.

"The [Workday] system itself allows us to budget in additional categories, which create the reports. So, we have summaries we couldn't easily retrieve in the old budget system," she said.

The amount your unit spends on allocated expenses? It's in a report. The total budget for tenured faculty or graduate assistant salaries and wages? It's in a report. Department breakouts for items like travel, IT, equipment, supplies? They're not all lumped together in a single "supplies" line item in e-Budget.

The reporting possibilities in Workday

While conversations are just beginning and are outside the e-Budget scope, Rasmussen said Iowa State's change to the Workday system opens the door to creating management reports that merge information once included in the budget book with HR- or finance-related information to support decision-making at all levels of the university. A group is being formed to identify reporting needs, and more information will be shared with the campus community as solutions become available.

e-Budget organization

Budget summaries in e-Budget are divided into two groups by funding source: Legislative funds and restricted funds. Most reports belong in the half of the budget formerly called the general fund (now legislative funds), whose key revenue sources are state and federal appropriations, tuition and indirect cost recovery on sponsored research. Fiscal year budget summaries are sorted at various levels, including institutional, division, college or business unit and department.

Several reports break out general university spending by eight uniform accounting classifications: Instruction, academic support, operations and maintenance, scholarships and fellowships, student services, public services/nonsponsored programs, sponsored programs and institutional support.

A smaller set of reports cover the restricted half of the university budget, which includes sponsored research, endowment income, building projects and auxiliary units. Included will be the budgets for the largest auxiliary units: athletics (pending state Board of Regents' approval next month), Memorial Union, parking system, recreation services, residence and dining, Thielen Student Health Center and the utility system.

The e-Budget website also contains links to:

  • Annual rates (percentages) for employee fringe benefits
  • Current pay matrices for P&S and merit staff
  • A spreadsheet that assists researchers with completing salary allocations for their team members, needed for sponsored program administration's GoldSheet proposal form
  • The state's employee salary website (which is a year behind), including ISU employees

Employee lists are gone

While e-Budget contains a broader set of budget documents than its predecessor and provides a comprehensive look into the university's operating budget, readers will quickly note what's not there: names, titles and salaries of university employees.

"Workday changed all our business processes for HR and finance and makes a clearer distinction between the two." Rasmussen said. "Individual names and titles -- or who you are -- really isn't a budget question."

Archived budgets

Past budget books are available in the general collection at Parks Library, with older years moved to university archives. The last 13 budget books (FY08-20) also are archived as large, searchable PDF documents in CyBox.