In FAMIS, the budget module is a collection of screens, processes, and functions that allow the A&M System and its member institutions and agencies to develop the operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The outputs of the budget module are official reports and financial plans that are approved by the Board of Regents, as well as data and accounting entries that are loaded to FAMIS to support the operations for the upcoming year. A budget account is a Subsidiary Ledger (SL) account (see Core Concept: Subsidiary Ledger (SL) Account) activated in the budget module and ready to connect dollars, patterns and categories to build up a system member’s annual budget.
During the Financial System Modernization project in which The Texas A&M University System IT staff took FAMIS through code conversion from a mainframe platform to a Windows platform, the budget module surfaced several times with challenges related to manual processes dependent on outdated and obsolete tools. Elements of the budget module’s design passed these challenges on to the stakeholders.
For budget fiscal years (FY) 2022 and 2023, some changes were made to the budget module to address and mitigate some of these challenges. Going into FY 2024, the project team decided to finish updating the module and take it through some significant rework and refactoring to help better serve the needs of the A&M System.
Simplify Budget Account Creation
A significant objective for updating the budget module is to simplify the process of budget account creation and reduce the complicated request process.
In the past, as system members entered into the budget cycle each year, budget accounts are established and patterns are connected to each budget account by several batch processes used in different ways by each system member. Large numbers of complicated requests had to be submitted to the FAMIS production services team. The updated budget module will consolidate all account setup processes into a single process, FBAU588, controlled by a table. Once the table is set up, it will be effective and usable year after year with minimal changes. The FBAU588 table will allow a system member to define all desired budgeted accounts, assign patterns to each account, and prepare them for entry with Canopy or FAMIS.
Simplify Pattern Creation and Management
Another significant objective of the budget module update was to simplify the creation and management of patterns so that a standard pattern could be created and used with any automatic budgeted reallocation (ABR) rule. An ABR is a way of budgeting in the operation and ongoing part of FAMIS that defines categories and budget controls. See the Core Concept: Automatic Budget Reallocation page for more information on ABRs.
The initial design of the budget module required the creation of a pattern for every ABR rule, which is a category set. With the updated module, system members will be encouraged to establish a standard pattern for use across any ABR rule. The standard patterns will be defined with an ABR rule of ***. Regardless of the ABR rule, these standard patterns will allow any account to use the same pattern.
To further simplify budget pattern management and because they were never used, the updated budget module no longer supports departmental budget patterns.
Eliminate Orphaned Accounts
An issue with the budget module prior to these updates, was that budgeted versions could be lost or “orphaned” if updates were made to account flags. A full discussion of these changes is beyond the scope of this paper, but changes made to the budget module eliminate the possibility of orphaned accounts. Any data entered into the budget module will be reported (and passed to the data warehouse for Business Objects reporting) until it is removed in the budget module.