Automation Streamlines Cost Center Management


Our client’s finance department tracked spending and budget authority using multiple spreadsheets. Requiring many steps, the existing approval process for cost center authority was cumbersome. Historical data was not easily tracked and was compiled separately and all approval data needed to be entered manually. This challenge was exacerbated by annual reorganizations which created the need to update approval data. The resulting approval tracking process was time consuming and was prone to security, legal, and financial risk.

Our client needed a better way to track budget approval authority at a cost center level, showing who has the power to release funds for each cost center, with the flexibility to update the system easily when organizational cost centers changed.

Plaster Group was asked to provide a technical solution to mitigate risk, increase approval tracking efficiency and quality, and implement the business processes to support it.


Plaster Group worked with our client to understand the complex system of authorization and cost center structure. This insight would be used to design and implement a streamlined process using existing SharePoint and InfoPath technologies. In order to reduce complexity and the chance for error, the solution would require effective automation and a single source for tracking this sensitive data.


Plaster Group consultants used InfoPath to build a Delegation of Authority to spend organization funds form. Key features include:

  • Tracking accomplished in one SharePoint location with a single InfoPath form
  • Logic within InfoPath form consolidates the multiple spreadsheets presenting different options based upon choices within the form
  • Workflows notify appropriate authorities when form is submitted and as the approval process progresses
  • Other physical attachments, such as the approval signature on file, may be affixed to the form


Our client replaced a manual process with a budget authority tracking system that is
customized, flexible, and automated. In addition:

  • By using existing technology to develop the custom solution, our client saved money
  • Spending authority and the history of cost center-authorized staff are tracked in one list
  • Historical changes in finance authority are automatically tracked and may be reported as needed
  • Multiple-step workflows manage the authorization process, with status viewable at the SharePoint site, reducing delays and human error
  • Updates to the form and workflow process may be made as needed to reflect our client’s current cost center and policy structure