ClearCost Enables Full Transparency at Top Australia University

March 21, 2017



ClearCost has been working with the University of Melbourne since 2005 to deliver full financial transparency. Our Consultants initially focused on the IT spend, and we are now providing insight into the full spend of the entire Shared Services group, which includes Academic Services, Research, Legal, Risk, Procurement, Business Intelligence, Student Recruitment, Facilities and Space Management as well as the traditional IT, HR, and Finance.


With ClearCost’s unique cascade functionality, the implementation has enabled accurate cross charging within the Shared Services group. Now, the true and total cost (including that of other Shared Services providers) of all services provided externally is reflected in the recharge.


"ClearCost has helped University Services build an activity-based cost model for the whole of our organisation," says John Cain, University Services Operations. "This cost model is now used to calculate service costs and allocate usage-based charges of $430M for all customers of University Services."


As the University of Melbourne is continually seeking to improve its operational efficiency, many organisational changes have occurred throughout our 12-year relationship. ClearCost has equipped the university with the insight to make important strategic and structural decisions by providing clear and transparent information on the organisation’s operating and service costs.


Transparency in Chargeback has led to an improved relationship between the service providers and their business customers, the academic faculties and divisions. Furthermore, this transparency has improved behaviours among the customer base.


Dysfunctional charging methodologies have largely been eliminated, as we strive to meet the objective of driving the right behaviours for all services – ultimately resulting in reduced overall costs.


"This built on and expanded my earlier projects as IT Finance Manager, when I worked with ClearCost to develop and update a cost model for central IT services so the University could understand the real costs of IT," says Cain.


Our Consultants work with the university each year to refresh the model, build the budgets, and update the service catalogues and recharges so the funding model can adequately support the business. We also work with the university to provide a model based on the Actual spend of the prior year to ensure the model for the following year is relevant and accurate.


The ability to compare actual spend with the budget inevitably leads to further development of the Service Catalogue and continuous improvement of the methodologies and cost drivers. By keeping in touch with our client regularly, we ensure they always have up-to-date information with which to make better decisions.


"Through eight years of working with ClearCost, I have appreciated not only their tool and methodology, but even more so their people and their understanding of our business," says Cain. "The people at ClearCost are not just consultants; they are partners whose expertise adds value for the University.”


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