18th April 2018
News of moves
It is with great sadness that we tell you that Martin Wynne-Jones, former Finance Director at the University of Nottingham, passed away on 17th April. Martin was a great supporter of BUFDG during his time at Nottingham from April 1999 until October 2013. Martin had a ready wit and was a popular colleague, taken from the world too soon.
Michèle Holden, currently deputy FD at De Montfort University has been appointed as Finance Director at the Royal Northern College of Music to succeed John Gallagher, who has retired. John has been a keen supporter of BUFDG during his time at York St. John University and RNCM - we wish him well in retirement. John Cunningham is holding the baton until Michèle starts on 1st June. Brian Duncan joined Ravensbourne on 9th April, succeeding Fraser Burrill, who has also retired. Phil MacDonald is interim Finance Director at the Arts University Bournemouth while Mary O'Sullivan is away.
Phil McNaull has announced that he is creating an opportunity for an ambitious finance professional by retiring from the University of Edinburgh at the end of the year - there are several vacancies in the sector at the moment so keep reading the Weekly Digest for news of who fills them.
Discount rate for deficit recovery plan liability
As we did for last year's reporting, BUFDG has commissioned Mercer to provide an outline methodology for institutions to arrive at a suitable discount rate, that reflects their liability profile, and can be used in the calculation of the USS deficit recovery liability required under FRS102.
This paper sets out the discount rate information based on 28 February 2018 market conditions and this paper provides guidance on using the rates. And again, similarly to last year’s calculations, Mercer will provide an addendum to the paper in the early part of August to take account of market conditions at the end of July 2018.
Tax conference opens for booking today
The popular annual BUFDG Tax Conference will be held at Burleigh Court, Loughborough University on Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 June 2018. The conference is a two-day residential conference aimed at tax and payroll managers and staff and those responsible for tax in their HEI, but would be of interest to FDs and deputy FDs as well. The conference includes plenty of technical content with plenary sessions and a choice of several breakout sessions on each day, as well as a fantastic opportunity to get to know your counterparts in other universities better, and to meet advisors in a relaxed, informal setting. More details of the sessions can be found on the booking page, which will be available from 2pm today (18 April).
The price for both days, including meals and accommodation, is £500 plus VAT, with tickets excluding accommodation/dinner available at £425 plus VAT. Early booking is recommended, as this is a popular event.
Whilst the programme is yet to be wholly finalised and is therefore subject to change, with further sessions still to be added/confirmed, an indicative list of topics for each day is provided on the booking page here (available from 2pm today).
Inaugural Credit Management Conference
Yesterday we held our first Credit Management Conference and, whilst we await the feedback, we're pleased there was a great atmosphere on the day and lots of useful conversations taking place. We really hope all our delegates found the day valuable and enjoyable. To keep the conversations flowing, members can now use the new Income and Collection Management Discussion forum to share ideas or ask questions. The conference slides are also now available on the new Income and Collection Management Resource page too.
If you have any more ideas for new activities or events, please get in touch with Rachel.
Latest UCISA Corporate Information Systems report
One of the useful resources produced by other sector membership organisations is the UCISA Corporate Information Systems (CIS) survey. We know it is used regularly by members who are looking to change systems and benchmark against the rest of the sector. UCISA has this week announced the results of the 2017 CIS survey, and these are available on the UCISA website.
“The survey is carried out annually and provides a simple snapshot of the core corporate information systems in use by UCISA members. It is open to all UCISA members and collects basic information about the main corporate information systems (CIS) in use in the HE sector. The snapshot is supplemented by a report which shows the trends in CIS use.”
The public version of the report is here.
Tips for using ActionFraud
Action Fraud is the UK's national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre. It's a web-based system that provides a central point of contact between the public and the police for information relating to fraud and cyber-crime. All attempted frauds at your institution should be reported via the Action Fraud system (whether or not you also alert your local police department) so that the information can be collaborated and action taken.
One of the most common gripes from counter-fraud colleagues though is that fraud attempts they report to the Police via Action Fraud are not acted on. While the quantity of frauds reported, and Police resource restrictions, does mean that unfortunately not every attempt can be addressed, there are ways that you can report to Action Fraud that will increase the likelihood of your report being useful to the authorities.
Firstly, always report your fraud or fraud attempt as soon as you can after it’s been discovered. Don’t wait and upload attempts once a week or once a month. Fraud risk analysis is time-sensitive, as ActionFraud uses computer intelligence to aggregate and assess some reports. Spikes in reports at a certain time are more likely to be acted on, so don’t wait to submit.
Secondly, if this means that you would spend forever submitting, note that your university can apply for the Business Reporting Tool (BRT) that allows bulk uploads. This might help you keep on top of reporting.
Finally, when you’re filling out the report, don’t put lots of information in the free text areas – these are only read if the report is investigated in more detail, so you might be wasting your time. Instead, just put key information against the scored boxes. This will make it more likely to be read by the analysers.
...and an Action Fraud fraud?!
On a related note, Action Fraud has circulated an alert that people are receiving cold-calls from fraudsters purporting to represent Action Fraud. When the calls are answered, an automated voice asks the responder to “press 1 if you have made a report to Action Fraud.” When the responder presses 1, they are transferred to a fraudster who then convinces the victim to share personal details and/or give them remote access to their computer, including hacking into online bank accounts to steal funds.
Please be wary of frauds of this type, and that even if a caller can provide you with details such as your full name, don’t give out any personal or financial information during a cold call. Never grant a caller remote access to your computer, never go to a website they give you and never install software if requested during a call.
If you think you have been a victim of one of these scams, or that your bank or personal details have been compromised, or if you believe you have been defrauded, contact your bank immediately. Make sure you also stop all communication with the caller, make a note of their details and report it to Action Fraud.
And in another related note, there are still a few places remaining for our popular Fraud First-Responders course in London on the 11th May.
Like every other organisation in the country, we're working to ensure we are GDPR compliant for when the new rules come into force on the 25th May. We hold details of over 6,000 members, so as you can imagine there is lots to be done. Over the next few weeks we'll be contacting members with additional requests to confirm details or subscription to lists, and you may even see a website popup or two. We're aiming to make things as simple and quick as possible, but we do know it's a bit of extra work for our members, so thank you!
We're looking for a Payroll and Employment Taxes Specialist...
BUFDG is looking for an enthusiastic, imaginative and organised colleague with the right skills to join our small team and perform this crucial member engagement role. The role would suit a people person who is also a great communicator and someone who is keen to build and develop a network of colleagues working in Finance and/or HR to assist our members on issues relating to employment taxes, expenses, global mobility and other payroll issues.
You will need to develop and maintain positive engagement with members, building effective relationships and networks as appropriate. You will also need to develop relationships with advisors and other bodies working in the area of people taxes and payroll in order to develop useful resources, training and updates for members. The post-holder reports to the BUFDG Tax Specialist and has no line management responsibilities. This post is part-time, expected to be around 0.6FTE, with actual working hours flexible. The post can be based at our offices in Loughborough, or home-based. Find out more and how to apply here.
Our new e-learning system is live! (includes CFA)
A reminder that our new e-learning system is now live. This new Learning Management System (LMS) hosts all our existing e-learning, plus a new course on the Criminal Finances Act and an updated version of the Introduction to Counter Fraud module. All the courses are now completely free to any member of staff at a BUFDG member institution, even if they're from outside Finance or even outside professional services altogether.
Along with the usual access for those with a BUFDG/other PHES organisation website account, there's a new and very easy ‘quick-registration’ that just asks for name, email address, and institution, and takes about 30 seconds. This is designed with those outside your Finance Departments in mind.
To read about more about all 10 courses, or to login to the system to begin, visit the e-learning page here. And if you'd like to have a chat about how your institution can make the most of the e-learning in a more coordinated way, drop an email to our Learning and Development manager Rachel.
Job of the week
This week’s job of the week is for a Finance Manager at the University of Kent. “The Finance Manager will work with the Director and Operations Director and other senior managers to ensure the effective management of revenue and capital budgets to meet departmental and University strategic objectives”.
As Finance Manger you will “be AAT qualified or working towards qualification NVQ3 and have proven experience in financial management of multiple budgets in a medium to large organisation including specific experience of project funding. Prepare and manage the annual budget, reporting against actual results throughout the financial year. Produce full monthly management accounts including accruals and prepayments, monthly commentary as required, in addition ensure the proper accounting of capital and revenue projects conducted by Arts and Culture”. The closing date for applications is Monday30th April.