March 12, 2001

Efficiencies, Economies and Cost Avoidance


  • The University of Montana jointly developed a chart of accounts for each campus utilizing standard definitions, facilitating efficient and consistent preparation of financial statements and reports. The University of Montana Accounting Standards Committee now reviews all structural changes to the charts of accounts.
  • All SABHRS (State accounting) system data entry is now performed on one campus. This allows the accountants on the other campuses to spend more of their time on the Banner system and reduces the need for SABHRS training.
  • Significant assistance has been provided to the Helena College of Technology in the area of fiscal accounting and reporting.

         The registration, fee payment and financial aid disbursement processes at Missoula College of Technology have been merged with The University of Montana-Missoula.

  • All fiscal administration for the Missoula College of Technology has been incorporated into The University of Montana-Missoula.
  • Quarterly meetings are conducted with the controllers from the affiliated campuses to provide open communication and an efficient means of addressing:
    • Accounting policy and financial reporting issues,
    • Fiscal responsibility,
    • Assurance of consistent and timely resolution of new or emerging accounting issues,
    • Assurance of proper and consistent application of GAAP
  • The University of Montana centralized 1099 reporting for the affiliated campuses.
  • The University of Montana centralized compilation, review, and submission of annual Inventory and Validation of Fees for all campuses.
  • By centralizing payroll and student refund checks, The University of Montana achieved more timely processing.
  • GASB35 changes are being addressed through joint implementation.
  • Centralized accounting/financial system implementations with system-wide participation ensure that appropriate controls exist on all UM campuses.


  • The investment function for State and Designated funds has been centralized, not only gaining efficiency, but maximizing investment income.
  • The cross pledging of bonds issued across The University of Montana system has enabled needed projects including some which would not otherwise have been possible for the smaller campuses acting alone to be financed at favorable rates. 


  • The University of Montana negotiated a single Procurement Delegation Agreement with the Dept of Administration, and implemented the PRO card on all campuses.
  • The UM-M Purchasing dept serves as a resource on procurement for all campuses, including centrally bidding purchases above delegated authority.
  • Multi-campus procurement contracts are negotiated to secure volume discounts whenever possible, realizing significant savings, particularly for computer hardware and software.


  • Restructuring has resulted in combined audits for the campuses of The University of Montana. Efficiencies in the audit process have been realized as a result of increased cooperation, coordination and standardized reporting by the campuses.
  • Cost savings have been obtained by having a single audit of UM campuses for Revenue Bond and Legislative Financial/Compliance audits.
  • Sharing of audit resources and expertise has increased the quality and availability of services provided to all faculty and staff of The University of Montana campuses.

Human Resources

  • All classification reviews are conducted centrally on the UM-M campus. Reviews were previously done by the State Department of Administration. Centralization has resulted in more consistency in decisions and a significant improvement in processing time.
  • The University of Montana-Missoula Staff Development Program is available to the affiliated campuses.
  • Personnel policies developed and adopted by Missoula campus are offered to affiliated campuses for their use. All personnel policies for the Dillon campus were reviewed and modified by staff in Missoula. This assistance in rewriting personnel policies allowed Dillon to complete a long deferred project.
  • Development, training and testing of the Montana University System Achievement Project (MAP) has been accomplished efficiently because of inter-campus coordination.
  • The University of Montana-Missoula shares expertise with affiliated campuses in the areas of bargaining, grievances, general personnel questions and benefit issues.


  • Centralized payroll operations have reduced the time that affiliated campuses must spend with various auditors, both tax-related (e.g., worker's compensation) and internal.
  • Centralized payroll operations have reduced duplication of effort necessary for testing and maintenance of Banner payroll system. Each installation minor or major is tested and "debugged" on only one campus with input from affiliated campuses.
  • Centralized maintenance of liability accounts reduces amount of time spent on review, analysis, and reconciliation on affiliated campuses.
  • Consolidation of vendors' payments reduces the number of checks issued monthly, the related accounting maintenance, and communication with vendors.
  • Consolidation of tax reporting greatly reduces the amount of time required at affiliated campuses to review, analyze, and approve tax deposits and related filings.
  • Payroll integration eliminates the necessity for affiliated campuses to read, analyze, and implement compliance issues such as tax withholding table changes, changes to tax forms, laws and procedures, and maintenance of separate "libraries of information."
  • Integration of separate payroll systems has worked toward the goal of achieving consistency in data entry, thus improving the value of information reported.
  • In cases of emergency, time card processing has been shifted to the Missoula HR office. This shift occurred without the need for additional training of personnel.


  • Sharing resources between the campuses resulted in efficiency during the adoption and implementation of the BANNER Finance system.
  •  Hardware, software, implementation, and training savings were achieved by including all campuses in the implementation of the Banner Human Resource system.
  • Coordinating training, testing and documentation of new Banner features and upgrades results in more efficient use of time and financial resources.
  • UM-Missoula installed a mirror image of its student records and financial aid systems at the Helena College of Technology, and is able to provide on-going support and training for these systems.
  • Account reconciliation has been made more time efficient because of shared training and consultation on ad hoc reporting procedures.
  • The BANNER Finance system and SABHRS interface are centrally maintained.
  • An electronic reporting system was developed to significantly reduce printing and paper costs on all campuses.
  • New Human Resource modules and functionality are developed and tested centrally, affording affiliated campuses the option to implement without additional testing. Affiliated campuses are consulted to ensure their needs will be met if they choose to utilize (e.g., Banner Web for Employees, Applicant Tracking)
  • Centralized data reporting occurs more frequently (e.g., data requested during union negotiations is compiled in Missoula for reporting)
  • The University of Montana holds regular multi-campus meetings to review procedures, timelines, system limitations and changes.


  • The sharing of projection models, report formats and research information has resulted in efficiencies and have provided information in a more standardized manner.
  • Only one computer program was required to extract MBARS system-required personnel information for all campuses.
  • Coordination between the campuses resulted in the Missoula campus entering Western's MBARS data into the State budget system.

Information Technology

  • The University of Montana-Missoula CIS department provides additional network security (firewall) support for campuses requiring it.
  • Centralized management of Banner licenses, DEC/Compaq Software, and campus WAN router table maintenance allows more time to be spent completing campus projects such as rewiring, fiber-optic backbone work and implementation of WEB products.

Architecture, Engineering and Construction Management

  • Architectural and engineering technical assistance is provided to the affiliated campuses, including feasibility studies and evaluation of alternatives for potential projects.
  • Construction management activities are provided or supported for affiliates by:
    • Developing project programs and projected cost estimates for projects,
    • Preparing the bid documents necessary to have the project completed by in-house crews or outside bidders,
    • Coordinating construction activities and conducting final inspections,
    • Issuing appropriate construction contracts and conduct pre-construction meeting with contractors and appropriate University representatives, and
    • Providing centralized construction contract accounting

Physical Plant

  • Databases developed and maintained for the Facilities Condition Inventory are provided to the affiliate campuses with training and survey assistance.
  •  Coordination in preparation of Long Range Building Program requests to the Regents, Governor's Office and Legislature have resulted in increased efficiency and consistency.
  • Data entry of Long Range Building Program requests into MBARS has been centralized.
  • Fire alarm maintenance services are provided to affiliate campuses on a recharge basis to minimize certification cost.
  • HVAC troubleshooting and engineering services for Johnson Control equipment are provided to affiliated campuses via the Internet.
  • The UM-M facilities department provides technical consulting on complex maintenance issues, as well as assistance in utility purchase and bidding.
  • Facilities Services policies, procedures and computer programming developed at the Missoula campus are available to affiliated campuses. 


  • Restructuring has encouraged "brain storming" among the campuses and has resulted in creative and economical solutions to many problems.
  • Pooled resources provide the opportunity to reduce the number of persons attending essential conferences and training sessions.
  • Research on current law and regulations is assigned to staff who have expertise in specific areas, and results are shared across all campuses of The University of Montana.
  • Responses to surveys are prepared or coordinated centrally, resulting in time savings for affiliated campuses.
  • A UM-M safety and risk specialist advises affiliated campuses on employee safety issues. Prior to restructuring, some affiliated campuses lacked access to this expertise.
  • Consolidation of food service operations between the Butte and Missoula campuses will result in a positive financial impact. 

Grants and Contracts

  • The UM-M Office of Research and Economic Development has provided assistance with Intellectual Property management, patenting, licensing, technology transfer and legal services related to these issues to the affiliated campuses.
  • Preparation of joint collaborative research programs, combined lobbying of Federal Funding agencies and sharing of matching funds for the EPSCoR programs are efficiencies that have resulted from restructuring. 

International Programs

  • The UM-M International Programs Office has assisted the affiliated campuses in developing international exchange protocols and new exchange opportunities in addition to assisting with transcript evaluations.
  • Non-Governmental Organization grant funding has been extended to other campuses providing opportunities for international exchange projects. 

Graduate School

  • Collaboration in the development of joint Masters and Ph.D. programs has provided additional opportunities to students within The University of Montana.


  • Direct financial savings to the campuses have resulted when vendors provide discounts for large quantity purchases.
  • The advantage of having one person handle vendor negotiations who is and expert on purchasing processes has resulted in significant efficiencies.
  • Western's merger into the automated library system at UM-M has allowed Western to offer library services which they would otherwise not have been able to offer due to cost and staffing constraints.
  • Larger and more diverse holdings are available to student at both Western and UM-M.