Learn About the Budget Tool

Learn about the Budget Tool at Columbia University.


The Budget Tool is an online tool—accessed through FFE/FinSys—that is used to enter budgets after they have been developed. The role of the budgeting tool is to automate the consolidation of data and provide a framework for budget approval, not to support planning or replace local financial models.

Please note that the tool is not for budget modeling and development itself. Instead, schools and departments should maintain their own models to model alternative budget scenarios, and to assemble revenue and expense plans. Consolidated Operating Budget (COB) detail reports saved to Excel format can play an important role in these models.

In order to use the Budget Tool, you will first need to apply for access, using the Financial Systems Security Application (FSSA). For more information on applying for access, visit Apply for Access to Finance Systems.

You will need to apply for the appropriate level of access, checking all that apply:

  • Budget Tool Inquiry Only - allows viewing of budget activity
  • Budget Tool Initiator (Create/Modify/Delete) - allows ability to create Budget Tool entries - also needed in conjunction with Payroll Accounting Distribution (PAD) access to use Budget Tool Payroll Module
  • Budget Tool Approvals (Preliminary and Final)

Visit Required Trainings by Departmental Role for information on what trainings you will need to take.


There are two trainings available in our Training Library that will guide you through working in the Budget Tool, including (but not limited to):