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What is Financial Benchmarking and why is it so important in the Higher Education sector?

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Tribal’s Financial Benchmarking provides comparative analysis of HE resources, giving you the financial insight, you need to challenge stakeholder assumptions and drive organisational investment. Our consultants work onsite to collect data and deliver detailed presentations to help you improve buy-in and ensure report findings are fully understood.

In conversation with David Round, Principal Consultant

We sat down with Principal Consultant, Surveys and Benchmarking, David Round to understand why he feels benchmarking is paramount for the sector.

Having worked with over 80% of the Higher Education sector in the UK, what does excellence look like in the sector?

Excellence can take many forms, teaching excellence, research excellence, excellent facilities, excellent career opportunities and many more. We focus on helping universities provide excellent value for money, to ensure university stakeholders are receiving the best possible experience whilst the university maintains financial stability.

How can universities best measure or consider the impact at least of local and national decisions?

Benchmarking can be a dynamic tool in the sense that we can think about what new challenges could be around the next corner and how that could affect the university. By modelling different scenarios such as reduced EU student numbers, reductions in domestic student fees, we can calculate the university’s potential future income and student base, and use the benchmarking data to map what potential adjustments the university might need to consider making, to maintain a path to excellence.

What do you think is the most powerful thing about financial benchmarking?

It helps drive continuous improvement by promoting debate, asking questions, quantifying the anecdotal. A challenge for any organisation is access to actionable insight which is what we are proud to provide. Universities continue to value independent and objective evidence that can be used as a foundation for action; whether that’s reducing costs, realigning resources to address imbalances, or identifying investment opportunities to target service improvement. Universities are large and complicated businesses and having that insight to help focus attention, is key when addressing these sorts of challenges.

What problems are you solving in financial benchmarking?

By combining the outcomes of financial benchmarking, student barometers and staff surveys, we can help universities understand and quantify the need for investment to improve underperforming areas of the university. We can advise where they may need to realign resources to address imbalances throughout the university and of course, there may be a need for consolidation of costs, to help enable investments in other areas.

Wanting to understand your operations at a granular level and get ahead? Read more about financial benchmarking.

Learn more about Analysis and Benchmarking