29th June 2016
Congratulations to Liz Rylatt who has been appointed as Director of Finance at City University, London and starts on 15th August. Welcome to James Kennedy, who has now started as Director of Finance at Middlesex University. Congratulations to Simon Newitt at Sunderland, who has taken the reins as Interim FD following Gary Macdonald's appointment at South Tees NHS Foundation Trust and Craig Marshall is now leading the Finance team at Napier University as Simon Belfer has moved on.
SORP - MFS updates and a new conversion tool
We have a number of updates to the BUFDG resources. First, there have been a few minor tweaks to the Model Financial Statements. Both the cash flow and the creditors note have been amended to make capital grants clearer. The signs have also been amended in the cash flow as they were the wrong way round and, in the name of greater clarity, the creditors note now shows capital grants as other grants rather than research grants.
Second, one thing missing from the original resources was the conversion tool, which was meant to be included in the training slides but was unfortunately overlooked. We’ve now made this available - admittedly rather late in the process. It is a spreadsheet which moves from current UK GAAP to FRS102 and demonstrates how each of the adjustments impacts the balance sheet, statement of comprehensive income, statement of equity and cash flow.
Please note that the links to the model financial statements, conversion tool, training materials, and other key SORP resources are all available on the dedicated SORP section of the website.
As many members know, we are taking a keen interest in the news stories that involve universities. We are particularly interested in positive stories and coverage that shows what amazing and life-changing work all our institutions do. Yesterday evening East Midlands Today ran a story on what the future holds for universities outside the EU and covered the launch of a campaign by De Montfort University to protect the residency rights of international staff working there. We understand from the THE that UniversitiesUK will "press on the assurances from Vote Leave about making good any shortfall in lost EU funding", and no doubt every university in the UK is discussing what the vote means for them. Whatever conclusions they each reach, it is essential that universities convince taxpayers, who may have no idea what universities do, that universities are worthy of a place in the queue for scarce funding. There are many lessons to be learned from the referendum campaign...
Brexit and Tax: Information Sources
Despite 79% of the tax and payroll managers polled at the BUFDG tax conference last week* voting for Remain, here we a week later heading for Brexit. Sources of information regarding Brexit are flooding in all around, and our full news article here contains links to webcasts, briefing papers, an online portal, and other useful sources of information on Brexit published by the Big Four.
*72 respondents to the poll
Last week we held our annual Tax Conference at the East Midlands Conference Centre at the University of Nottingham. If you were unable to make it, you'll be pleased to know that the presentations and documents can be downloaded here.
We are also in the habit of uploading the presentations for all of our conferences onto the website. Recent conferences for which presentations are available include the Counter-Fraud in HE conference, and the Annual Conference in Lincoln. The Annual Conference page also includes four session videos, covering finance and planning, leading successful teams, developing business partners, and leading on sustainability.
Pensions provision discount rates
The long-awaited Financial Reporting Group guidance on selecting and proposing a discount rate for USS and SAUL deficit recovery plan liabilities is now available. BUFDG commissioned Mercer to undertake this work to help preserve auditor independence. However, the document is guidance, and it is fully the responsibility of each institution to decide upon the methodology of calculation and the selection of a discount rate to use in producing its accounting estimates. HEIs will already have calculated estimates and be content with the methodology and rates used in Financial Forecasts, draft budgets etc.
The documents will be updated in August in order to help with 2015/16 accounting and to enable 2016/17 forecasts to be updated and BUFDG intends to issue this guidance each year – in early May (to inform budgets and financial forecasts) and in August (for year-end).
There are a number of other conditions on which the advice is given. These, and the link to download the documents, are included in Karel’s post on the SORP discussion boards. Please read the post in full before downloading.
Corporation Tax Vacancy on the BUFDG Tax Group
Due to Harriet Latham's departure from the HE sector to EY, we are looking for a new Corporation Tax Specialist to join the Tax Group. The group meets three times a year, usually in London, but also at the tax conference venue, and in between we correspond about various tax issues we are working on.
You would be expected to attend all Tax Group meetings, as well as potentially a small number of other meetings and/or conference calls in between (possibly with HMRC and/or advisers, or possibly smaller working party meetings) to progress corporation tax issues for the HE sector. If you are interested in the role, please contact Amanda for more details by Friday 15th July. If we have more than one person interested in the role, the existing members of the Tax Group will take a vote on the appointment of the new specialist. (I was approached by some people at the conference about this role - if, having read these details, you are still interested in the role, please send me a quick email to confirm this).
Best practices and challenges in procurement
If you have a bit of time for some extra procurement CPD then you might be interested in the recent report entitled “Pulse of Procurement Europe 2016”. Although not specifically for public or HE procurement it makes interesting reading, aiming to make sense of the challenges and best practice in procurement across the globe.
The report asks 650 procurement professionals to share their thoughts on the problems hindering procurement and explores the trends and usage of procurement technology by companies falling under different revenue brackets. In the process it also throws light on some best practices that can be followed to improve procurement performance. Click here to download the report.
Additionally you can join a free webinar this Thursday, 30th June, hosted by Richard Waugh - VP, Corporate Development Zycus Inc, at 2pm BST. Click here to register.
UCEA and UUK Brexit briefing
Following Friday’s referendum result, UCEA and Universities UK have both produced briefings for universities on the implications for employment, pensions, immigration, and other areas that will be under consideration within university management teams.
In the main, legislation on the above is unlikely to change until well after the UK departs from the EU, which will not be until late 2018 on the earliest schedule. The briefings also provide links to external resources, particularly on pensions, where the UCEA briefing notes that “Members can read the initial Government comment on the impact on pensions and the Eversheds “hub” has a specific briefing on pensions issues”, and “Institutions with staff in membership of the USS may already have seen the USS statement on the outcome of the EU referendum”.
While the UCEA update focuses on employment issues, the UUK update is more wide-ranging, discussing the likely processes and timescales for leaving, key questions about the consequences for HE that UUK are currently looking into, and information to be circulated to EU staff and students.
If you would like to see the briefings for your role, they can be obtained from your FD, who will have received a copy this week.
Website Changes - Volunteers Needed
We are currently working with our web developers to make some major changes to the BUFDG website. The new site will go live in the Autumn, but before it goes live, it is important that it gets fully tested.
So I would like some willing volunteers who can agree to be in a pilot group to put the new site through its paces. The testing can all be done to suit your schedule and there won’t be any meetings or conference calls – you will simply need to logon to the beta site and answer a few questions and then let me have any other comments. This will happen in September and October.
If you are able to help, then please email Dominic firstname.lastname@example.org.
EU Nationals and Student Finance in England
The Student Loans Company has released a post-referendum statement to clarify the funding position for EU nationals who intend to begin studying in England in the autumn. The following statement applies to EU nationals who are currently in receipt of student loans from the Student Loans Company (SLC),
“EU nationals or their family members, currently in higher education, and who are assessed as eligible to receive loans and/or grants from the SLC, will continue to receive these loans and grants until they finish their course. This applies to all student finance from the SLC for students in England for which EU nationals are eligible. This includes loans to cover tuition fees (for those resident in the EEA for three years), loans and grants for maintenance (limited to those resident in the UK for at least three years), and some other grants and allowances.
The rules applying to EU nationals, or their family members, who have applied for a place at university from this August to study a course which attracts student support are unchanged. The SLC will assess these applications against existing eligibility criteria, and will provide loans and/or grants in the normal way. EU nationals, or their family members, who are assessed as eligible to receive grants and/ or loans by the SLC will then be eligible for the duration of their study on that course. These eligibility criteria set out that for students beginning study from this August, EU nationals must have been resident in the UK for at least five years in order to apply for a maintenance loan.”
Job of the Week
The University of Westminster is looking to appoint an Associate Director - Financial Planning & Analysis to lead, manage and develop University wide financial planning, budgeting, forecasting and analysis. Closing date for applications is the 20th July.