2-D. Shadow System Reports

A shadow system is a duplicate finance system that many departments utilize to track their financial activities.  When used, the shadow system MUST be reconciled to the data contained within the Banner system on a monthly basis.  Shadow systems are developed by the department and may be as simple as an excel worksheet used to list all expenses as they are incurred, or a more complex access database, or another financial software package. 

Positive Aspects:

  • Shadow systems can track Payroll encumbrances and all other encumbered items accurately if a well-constructed system is used and maintained.
  • Shadow systems can be used to develop budget scenarios.
  • Shadow systems can be used as a tool when reconciling Banner. If all entries are made accurately to the shadow system, anything in Banner that is not in the shadow system is investigated and corrected and vice versa.
  • Shadow systems can be used to produce customized reports.

Negative Aspects:

  • Banner does all of the above, with the exception of some advanced payroll encumbrance tracking.
  • In order to track payroll encumbrances in a shadow system, a great deal of expertise is required to develop and maintain the system.
  • Shadow systems create duplicate work and may require additional effort to maintain and reconcile.

Shadow systems can be used to produce customized reports; however, for the customized report to be used for financial reviews and decision making purposes, the report must contain data from the Banner system or in a MyReports report in the first column, with any variances between the shadow system and Banner identified and clearly notated.  Any variance that consistently occurs should be discussed with the appropriate Financial Services office in order to analyze how these reconciling adjustments can be captured in Banner.  The custom report should also contain the parameters used in arriving at the Banner results, such as index numbers or copies of the supporting MyReports report.  You can now create reports (queries) in MyReports that may replace your shadow system.