Teamwork makes the budget work

By SIERRA WILSON, Staff Reporter ¦

Managing the budget of Amarillo College can be a daunting task that doesn’t fall on one person alone. Jeanette Nelson plays an important role in this process.

“Managing the budget is not hard, but it is very detailed,” the AC budget manager said.

Nelson said her job calls for tracking all faculty, staff and student employment changes, planning for the upcoming fiscal year and entering budget amendments, which move funds from one area to another.

She answers budget questions and trains employees on budget reporting. While doing that, she also plans for next year’s budget. Her duties go on and on, indicating just how important her job is behind the scenes. “There are daily, monthly and yearly duties that track the budget and its status,” she said.

Nelson must work with all AC departments when preparing the annual budget. “Everyone works together. The departments work with their leaders and the leaders work with the cabinet members,” she said. “We plan for the upcoming fiscal year starting eight to nine months before it begins.” Teamwork is important and without everyone working together, the business office wouldn’t be the well-oiled machine it is, Nelson said.

For the business office, the most stressful and busiest time of the year is the month of August. “We have to finalize the current year’s budget by watching for any special last-minute needs. We complete the new fiscal year’s budget, balance and enter it into the computer system. We also have to approve budget availability for all new employment hires for the new fiscal year,” Nelson said.

Every October, an audit team comes from a CPA firm to check the college’s financial records, said Nelson, noting that her office must be prepared for this independent and objective review.

During the school year, she makes sure all employees who need budget access have it, and that they can run reports that support their various departments. This allows the departments to maintain their financial records and manage their money, she said.

“Keeping up with seemingly daily changes can be a challenge,” said Nelson, but she stays on top of things because the entire college relies on her and the business office to manage these essential tasks.

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