The MyBalance project will provide UQ researchers and others with a reporting tool that contains clean, easy-to-use financial data.

Research project reporting at UQ has been devolved for many years, resulting in no institutional visibility or standardisation of service to researchers. Monitoring of research income and expenditure is difficult with little integration with the research administration function and no direct oversight of overspending of research costs.

Aims and outcomes

The MyBalance project aims to:

Develop a UQ wide standardised web-based project reporting tool that is populated from automated systems as much as possible and that accounts for known future expenditure commitments.

The reports and business process that will be developed during this project are designed to:

  • provide a standardised mechanism for dealing with project reporting for use by Finance Function professionals
  • facilitate a close working relationship between Chief Investigators and the Senior Management Accountants (SMAs) and Management Accountants (MAs) who support their research projects
  • improve the quality and consistency of support on project reporting by SMAs and MAs, but reduce the time spent on support
  • provide researchers with a tool to review their finances without requiring help from Finance staff
  • reduce time spent on the administration of research grants and allow researchers to focus on core research
  • support research intensive schools who spend significant amounts of time dealing with project reporting
  • support less research active schools who may not have mechanisms in place or resources for effectively dealing with project reporting
  • provide mechanisms for managing commitments (money allocated for a specific purpose)
  • reduce instances of overspending on research projects
  • enhance compliance with funding rules.

Timeline

June 2017: MyBalance project commenced. Interviews were conducted with researchers and other stakeholders to determine current reporting practices, and to establish the need for a standardised reporting process.

October 2017 to February 2018: project requirements shored up. An overall set of reports were agreed to by the Report Requirements Working Group.

March 2018: Steering Committee endorsed the project team working with Planning and Business Intelligence to develop the reports as web pages outside of Reportal.

August 2018: with the support of the Workbook Working Group and the Technical Working Group, the Steering Committee is working towards piloting MyBalance in August 2018 and rolling out the program to all of UQ by the end of October 2018.

MyBalance committees and working groups

There are several committees and working groups involved in the MyBalance project. 

Steering Committee

The Committee is responsible for the oversight, approval and delivery of the UQ project reporting tool. To ensure timely decisions are made the Committee makes final decisions on any other approvals required.

In addition, the Committee:

  • oversees the development, approval and execution of the communications and change management plan
  • ensures that the project follows a consistent UQ approach to service and system improvements
  • advocates for the project and supports the changes proposed.

Members

Name Position
Andrew Betts Chief Financial Officer (Chair)
Riaan Retief Associate Director, Financial Planning and Analysis 
Janine Richards Director, Research Analysis and Operations
Professor Mark Blows Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research)
Professor Neal Menzies Head, School of Agriculture and Food Sciences
Brenda Williams Finance Manager, Faculty of Science
Tamra Saayman Associate Director (Finance Projects)
Rowan Salt Deputy Director, Applications Delivery and Support (ITS)
Marni Jacoby Faculty Executive Manager, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
Melissa Glendenning Deputy Director (Operations), Sustainable Minerals Institute
David Waters Project Reporting Consultant, Financial Planning and Analysis (Secretary)

Report Requirements Working Group

The objective of the Report Requirements Working Group is to articulate a set of reports that:

  • are simple and easy to use
  • are fit for use by busy research academics
  • include data that is automatically updated from source systems such as UniFi, Aurion, the Reportal, Workbook or EMS.

Members

Name Position
Professor Mark Blows Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) (Chair)
Professor Janet Wiles Professor, School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering
Rebecca Adams Administrative Officer, Operations and Research (Complex and Intelligent Systems Research Division)
Professor Christine Beveridge Associate Dean (Research) and Deputy Dean, Faculty of Science
Professor Marta Indulska BIS Discipline Leader and Professor, School of Business
Dr Paul Gardiner NHMRC Research Fellow, Centre for Health Services Research
Dr Richard Clark Senior Research Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences
Dr Neville Butcher Senior Research Fellow, School of Biomedical Sciences
Julie-Ann Harlow Senior Management Accountant, Faculty of Science 
Cheryll Rivett Senior Management Accountant, Faculty of Medicine
Ruby Barrett Senior Management Accountant, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Bojan Vlacic Senior Management Accountant, Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
Megan Baker Senior Management Accountant, Queensland Brain Institute
Poonam Kalwar Senior Management Accountant, Professional Services
Michael Kelly Senior Financial Analyst, Finance and Business Services

Workbook Working Group

The Workbook Working Group designed and assisted with the implementation of the changes required to capture a researcher's plan and funding rules via the budget workbook.

Members

Name Position
Simon Thomas Finance Manager, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences (Chair)
Michael Kelly Senior Financial Analyst, Finance and Business Services
David Delit Financial Analyst, Finance and Business Services
David Le Financial Analyst, Finance and Business Services
Megan Baker Senior Management Accountant, Queensland Brain Institute
Bojan Vlacic Senior Management Accountant, Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
Hayden Gill Associate Director, Office of the Chief Operating Officer
David Waters Project Manager, Finance and Business Services

Technical Working Group

The Technical Working Group answers and decides on technical questions that arise about data and the details of the reports that were designed.

Members

Name Position
Elma Spooner Finance Manager, Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology (Chair)
Poonam Kalwar Senior Management Accountant, Professional Services
Michael Kelly Financial Analyst, Finance and Business Services
John O'Brien Manager, Client Solutions, Planning and Business Intelligence
Benjamin Howland Manager, Information Systems, Planning and Business Intelligence
Julie-Ann Harlow Senior Management Accountant, School of Biological Sciences
Kate Tucker Management Accountant, Faculty of Business, Economics and Law
David Waters Project Manager, Financial Planning and Analysis