Finance and Planning

Overview

The University’s Financial Year runs from 1 August until 31 July. Departments are asked formally to report their financial position at each quarter end (October, January and April), and to ensure month-end reporting is managed locally. Detailed information on budgeting, forecasting and month-end reporting processes is available on the Finance Division’s webpages.

 

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High level income and expenditure reports are available from Oracle (the finance system), as are payroll costing reports (from CoreHR). A monthly financial control dashboard should be produced in the department and further detailed month-end reports should be run by your departmental finance team to ensure items are properly coded/recorded in the system.

Good practice in financial planning suggests that you should agree with your Head of Department a regular (e.g. monthly) finance review meeting. For research projects, the finance team should circulate project reports to the relevant Principal Investigators (PIs) or grant holders.

Budget and forecast submission deadlines fall annually as follows:

Mid-November Quarter 1 departmental forecast (Q1F)
Mid-February Quarter 2 departmental forecast (Q2F)
End April Proposed budget for next Financial Year (Budget)
Mid-May Quarter 3 departmental forecast (Q3F)

Budgeting and forecasting is carried out on a web-based application called the budgeting and Forecasting Tool (BFT). You will receive access and training for this tool when you start in your role. Excel-based research templates are also used for the quarterly forecasting and budget processes. Deadlines and any specific requirements will be communicated to you by the Divisional Financial Controller (DFC). You will also receive quarterly Trust Fund reports from the Divisional Finance Team.

For divisional finance contacts, see staff.

Your department will be allocated at least one two-digit departmental code in the University’s organisation structure. This code will serve as the prefix for any income to or expenditure from related departmental cost centres.

The coding structure of the General Ledger is known as the ‘Chart of Accounts’. The accounts string comprises the following six segments:

  • Cost centre (this will be prefixed with the departmental code described above)
  • Natural accounts code
  • Activity
  • Source of funds
  • Organisation
  • Future

These codes enable departments to record income and expenditure accurately.

Key budget line descriptors are explained below. For more specific or detailed advice, please contact any member of the Divisional Finance Team.

 INCOME

JRAM & Other Service Funding

This includes: 

  • Teaching JRAM (Joint Resource Allocation Method) for fees from Undergraduate and Postgraduate Students
  • Research JRAM for HEFCE QR (Quality-Related income) (arising from submissions to the national Research Excellence Framework) and Charity & Business QR

Detailed information about the University's JRAM can be found on the Planning and Resource Allocation Section (PRAS) website.

Overseas & Other Student Fees

This includes:

  • Fees for Visiting and Recognised students
  • Income from departmental visitors (at the rate agreed by the department)
  • Continuation fees (set by the University) from Postgraduate Research students who no longer pay fees

Research Overheads

These are overheads awarded from research projects and can be used to cover departmental costs. Each quarter, the divisional finance team will provide with a research template to help you forecast the overhead income due from each of the department's research projects.

Trust & Investment

To account for Trust & Investment Income, the department should use Source of Funds codes to allocate associated expenditure within Oracle Financials. Each quarter, the University's central finance team will then use the Source of Funds codes you have allocated to match income to expenditure.

 

EXPENDITURE

Salary Costs

All employees who are on the department's payroll

Casual, Agency & Other Non-Payroll

All casual staff, including research assistants, who are not on the main payroll

Staff-related costs

Includes staff travel, subsistence and conferences

Other costs

Other departmental costs, including supplies, premises, equipment, and library and museum expenses

Capital & Infrastructure Charges

These are set by the University. Drivers include FTE by person type (staff and students) and sq. ft. occupied space by space type. The Capital Charge is a charge to cover the cost of space occupied by the department. The Infrastructure Charge (sometimes called the '123') is the chief mechanism through which the University funds its central administrative services: this includes the costs of all staff working in the central services as well as the cost of the space they occupy where the latter is recovered through a Premises-Related Infrastructure Charge (PRISC). 

Research awards are set up in Oracle Financials as projects, each with their own code. Projects will have different start/end dates and different financial years, dependent on the terms of the award.

Good practice in financial planning suggests that you discuss current and recently-ended projects in your department with your departmental post-award contact: an overview of current awards should be maintained in the department.

The Office Holder Allowance is an additional payment for academic staff who have taken on significant extra administrative responsibilities. For Heads of Department, rates are set by the University according to the size and scale of activity in the department. For other roles, departments may agree payments up to a financial limit, but payments above the equivalent of a schedule V allowance (currently £7,567 p.a.) must be approved by the division.

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