17th January 2018
News of Moves
Welcome to Peter Cross, CFO at De Montfort University and Stephen Forster at Abersytwyth University, who are now in the second week of their new jobs, and also to Eran Kochlany, who has started at Middlesex as Director of Finance to work with James Kennedy. Paul Davenport has taken over as Acting Finance Director at Manchester Metropolitan while they wait for Andrew Hewett to arrive in March. This follows John Cunningham’s “retirement” at the end of 2017. However, John’s retreat to the Lake District has been slightly delayed as he is currently MMU’s interim Director of Estates. Richard Watson has been confirmed as the Director of Finance at Plymouth Marjon University and Gerry Milne, after 35 years, boy and man at Glasgow Caledonian University, has decided to make some changes to his working life and will leave the university in April. We will have new BUFDG members in February as Stuart McKinnon-Evans starts at Bradford on 6th February and Hugh Anderson takes up his new role at SRUC at the end of the month. Sunderland are recruiting a new FD as Simon Newitt is going to be Northumbria's next Finance Director and starts there in March. Best wishes to all for success and happiness in your endeavours.
Capital Allowance Requirements for Universities
The Open University has written to HMRC to seek confirmation around capital allowances when a charity sells a building which includes fixtures and fittings. You can see a copy of HMRC's response here.
HMRC has confirmed to the OU that universities (and other charities) must satisfy both the 'pooling' and 'fixed value' requirements. This means that although most universities and charities will choose not to claim capital allowances during their time of ownership, they must take a number of actions, including but not limited to making a claim for capital allowances, at the time of sale, if the purchaser of a property wishes to claim capital allowances on the acquired fixtures. It is really important that universities consider capital allowances when selling any property. Failing to do so could result in achieving a lower price, or unexpected warranty claims from purchasers.
KPMG, who have been assisting The Open University with their property sales, will shortly be providing BUFDG with a more detailed note, including a decision flowchart, setting out the practical issues that universities should consider when selling property.
Criminal Finances Act (CFA) online training
We’ve had a number of queries over the last month or so about the provision of online training to cover the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (CFA), and the new Corporate Criminal Offence (CCO). BUFDG is now planning to produce a short CFA e-learning module that will be available by the end of March on the BUFDG website. This will introduce the Act and the CCO, with the intention of bringing non-specialist staff up to speed, to help satisfy the ‘training’ element of a HE organisation’s obligations under the CFA. However, each institution will need to make their own decision about whether or not this meets their needs, and about any other steps they may need to take.
We’ve installed new e-learning software on our system, and we’ll be approaching some users and universities to help us test it by the end of February. If we can then roll it out before the end of March then we will do. This will be a free module, at least to begin with. However, introducing a small charge will be considered in future as part of the broader roll-out of BUDFG e-learning. If you have any questions about any of the above, please drop Matt an email.
CFA sessions at the Counter-Fraud regional events
On that note, CFA and the new Corporate Criminal Offence will be covered during a session at the forthcoming ‘Making Counter-Fraud Connections’ regional events. There’ll be plenty of time during these to ask questions and discuss, so that we hope by the end of the event delegates will not only have a better understanding of the implications of the new Act, but also of how to apply and implement appropriate processes within your own institutions.
The rest of the events are focused on case studies of how colleagues from different professional services – across finance, procurement, estates, IT, HR, and beyond - are working together and embedding counter-fraud practice within their own institutions. There’ll be specific time allocated for questions and discussing topical issues, including fraud prevention, training, and assessing risk, and an hour’s dedicated networking toward the end of the event.
There are no limits on the number of colleagues that can attend from a single institution, so please circulate news of the event to colleagues across your professional services. The cost is just £99 (incl. VAT) per delegate. To book, click on the relevant links below:
Implications of the collapse of Carillion
Members in a range of professional service roles will have been following developments around the recent collapse of the construction giant Carillion. BUFDG and AUDE are supporting colleagues from HEFCE in providing insight from the sector, but this has implications as well for colleagues from HR, Procurement, and other professional services.
There are many potential implications for universities, not only for incomplete construction projects, but for outsourced workers, LGPS liabilities, supply chains and subcontractors, future construction and tender pricing, and more.
There’s a thread on the BUFDG website that is open to comment from colleagues from all of the above (a perk of being part of the Professional HE Services shared service), which contains a number of useful links. Jane White (AUDE) is coordinating and will pick up replies to the thread – if you do post, please make it clear if the information is to be kept confidential or anonymous.
BUFDG Credit Management Conference, 17th April - Bookings Open
It’s finally here! Bookings are now open for our BUFDG Credit Management Conference on Tuesday 17th April. Packed full of plenary and breakout sessions, we have tried to cover those topics you most want to hear about whilst allowing you valuable time to network with BUFDG members and external contacts. This event includes, insight into what is happening in and out of the sector, an update from the Student Loans Company, the Consumer Credit Act and GDPR; together with breakouts sessions on Debt Recovery, Credit Control Policy, Countering Fraud and Going Cashless to name some. To close a busy day, we have the highly regarded Bailey and French Ltd delivering a powerful session on well-being and resilience. This event is aimed at our members who deal with credit control and debt collections. It’s the first time we have held an event for this audience and we hope it is the start of a some new activities for us in this area.
The conference costs £185 (incl VAT) for BUFDG members. Places are limited to two per HEI for the first two weeks to give every HEI the opportunity to book on. We do also have a number of places for non HEI or affiliate members. For the full agenda and to book, please click here. If you have any queries, please contact Rachel.
EMM Survey - have you responded?
A reminder that the fixed deadline for responses to this years’ EMM is the 31st January. The Efficiency Measurement Model (EMM) Survey asks for data from the range of efficiencies recorded by your department throughout the year and then provides a useful PDF report. This can be used to inform those in your institution who are interested in or need to understand the benefits good procurement can bring. Last year 102 institutions responded.
If you need a reminder of your password or access details, please contact me at email@example.com or 07739 659497.
Strategy and finance
Finance directors, deputies, or others with strategic planning in their brief or lists of interests, might like to know that bookings for the Higher Education Strategic Planners Association (HESPA) 2018 Annual Conference are still open. The event is taking place on 8-9th February at the University of Strathclyde’s Technology and Innovation Centre in Glasgow. It attracts between 200-300 senior administrators from a range of relevant professional services, and wider agency and sector body colleagues.
The theme this year is Strategy in a Changing World, and features a number of sessions with involvement from senior finance colleagues, as well as others that will be directly relevant. The programme and full details can be found here.
Graduate recruitment dips
Graduate recruitment at some of the UK’s largest graduate employers fell this year by 4.9%. This is the first fall recorded in 5 years, with reasons given by employers largely reflecting Brexit worries. The Graduate Market in 2018 report is part of an annual study performed by High Fliers Research and, at the launch of the report, Managing Director Martin Birchall said it was clear that “uncertainty caused by Brexit has already hit the graduate job market”.
Among the finer details of the report, “the biggest drops in recruitment [were] recorded at the top accounting & professional services firms, banking & financial companies, and the City’s investment banks.” Meanwhile, the outlook for 2018 appears rosier, with graduate recruitment expected to increase by 3.6% this year, according to responses provided by employers. There's further coverage of the report in the Guardian, here.
Job of the Week
Our Job of the Week is for a Chief Accountant at King's College London. Once in post, the successful candidate will "lead a team of c55 staff across Financial Accounting, Treasury, Tax, Accounts Payable, Credit Control, Cashiers, Systems Support and Pensions & Payroll functions". Among other responsibilities, they will take on "a number of governance and compliance deliverables; tax returns, statutory accounts, US GAAP reporting, payroll and pension returns and formal reposts to the external governing body (HEFCE/OfS) such as HEBCIS and HESA." The deadline for applications is Tuesday 30th January.
You can find lots of other finance vacancies on the BUFDG jobs page.