BUFDG Digest 6 December

06 December 2023      Joni Rhodes, BUFDG Project Manager


We’re pleased to let you know that booking is now open for BUFDG’s 2024 Finance Festival. The 2024 event takes place from Monday 11 to Wednesday 13 March 2024 and is completely free to all those who work in a UK university. The Festival is BUFDG’s extravaganza of all things H E finance and procurement, and features a fantastic line-up of 28 challenging, informative, and entertaining sessions covering everything from Subsidiaries to Sustainability, from Pensions to Procurement, and from Investment to Inclusion.  

We don’t expect anyone to be there for every session or pick your sessions in advance – your single booking will let you ‘build-your-own’ conference where you can take part in the sessions of most value to you. We’re confident that every finance person at every institution will be able to find something of benefit. For more information about the event and the programme, and to book, visit the Festival website. And, if you have any questions or comments about the event please do get in touch with Matt. We look forward to seeing you there! 



This time two weeks ago the last Digest arrived in your inbox as the Chancellor was preparing to unveil his autumn statement. If you have not yet had time to read all 120 pages of the policy document you may find BUFDG’s Autumn Statement 2023 analysis useful. There’s a summary of the main headlines from a tax(ish) perspective, a deeper dive in key areas, and links to some of the wider analysis and commentary we have been viewing.  



There were ten mentions of universities in the statement, and the delivery of ‘world class education’ featured in the opening gambit of the Chancellor’s speech. However, it probably came as no surprise that the Chancellor’s statement excluded spending commitments to address the current financial sustainability issues in higher education, as acknowledged by OfS Chief Executive Susan Lapworth in a keynote speech at AdvanceHE’s recent Governance Conference.   

Therefore, it was encouraging to note the OfS’s plans to develop its work on the financial sustainability of universities in its response to September’s House of Lords Industry and Regulators Committee report. You can join the OfS for an ‘Introduction to the Office for Students: a webinar for all higher education staff’ on 17 January 2024 if you are keen to hear more about their general activities.  

UUK has published its annual ‘International Facts and Figures’ snapshot of the international dimensions of UK higher education, which reinforces the importance of overseas students to the sector. October’s Home Office increase to student visa fees and Government pressure to curb migration will be a concern to many, with UUK International reporting declining perceptions of the UK as study destination in a survey by idp-connect. The appointment of James Cleverley as Home Secretary may provide some hope in this respect, with recent comments in the media suggesting he takes a more positive view of overseas students than his predecessor.  

UUK also reported on ‘The Scale of UK HE TNE 2021–22’. Andrea has summarised the key headlines and analysis, and recommends two HESA reports for those wishing to take a deeper dive into this data.  

Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, Robert Halfon, delivered his first speech on the Lifelong Learning Entitlement since the Lifelong bill received royal assent back in September. Addressing the Committee of University Chairs' Autumn Plenary, he spoke of the mutual benefits to learners, employers, and universities, and his hope that the higher-education sector will ‘embrace the burning ambition of the LLE’.  

The Government also released the Student income and expenditure survey: 2021 to 2022, measuring the financial position of H E students in England in the academic year 2021 to 2022, and the impact of changes in funding and support. Wonkhe unpicks the numbers, and finds that the 'poorer students are paying more for a worse experience than their richer peers'.  



The Scottish Government announced savings across several portfolios including Education & Skills, with Lifelong Learning, Scottish Funding Council and the Education Maintenance Allowance among those budget lines expecting to see reductions.  



The Department for Education’s ‘Impact of AI on UK jobs and training’ report estimates that 10-30% of jobs are automatable, with AI having the potential to increase productivity and create new high value jobs. The report acknowledges that the UK education system will need to adapt to ensure that the workforce of the future has the necessary skills to capitalise on the benefits of AI.  

The Government’s recent announcement of £118m in funding to get Britain AI ‘match-fit’ aims to meet this need. The package includes centres for postgraduate research alongside scholarships for international students to come to the UK, and builds on the £8.1m previously announced to support postgraduate course scholarships in AI and data science.  



In July 2023, BUFDG, AUDE, and EAUC (the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education) launched the Cost of Net Zero report, and corresponding Cost of Net Zero Calculator, to help institutions provide an estimate of what it will cost to achieve Net Zero goals within a certain timeframe. For more information on the report and calculator, including downloads and launch webinars, visit our Sustainability and ESG pages 

We are pleased to confirm that sustainability consultants Energise will continue to provide technical support and maintenance for the calculator until late 2024. As well as the publication of FAQs, and offering one-to-one advice via email, Energise will be holding a series of online surgeries. These are aimed at those actively using the calculator who have queries regarding specific figures or fields, technical queries that have not been covered in the FAQs, or who wish to share particular insights or experiences with the designers and/or other users. The first surgery will take place on Monday 22 January 2024, 10-11am via Teams, places are limited and booking is essential. Ongoing queries can be sent to, and dates of future surgeries will be announced shortly. We are keen to hear from members who have engaged with the calculator and have insights to share - please contact Joni.  



With COP28 underway in Dubai until 12 December, it can be hard to keep tabs on all the outcomes. This KPMG webinar on Wednesday 13 December will be a good opportunity to digest the latest developments, including where it leaves the global effort on climate change, and the ‘Just Energy Transition’. 


The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 introduces a new corporate criminal offence of failure to prevent fraud: Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 clauses 199-206 and Schedule 13.  

This new offence will apply to companies that are incorporated and meet the criteria: (at least two of the following: more than 250 employees; turnover of more than £36m; assets of more than £18m).  

Government has published a factsheet: Factsheet: failure to prevent fraud offence - GOV.UK and is currently working on the guidance. In broad terms, the guidance is similar to that for the offences of failure to prevent bribery (Bribery Act 2010 guidance - GOV.UK) and failure to prevent the criminal facilitation of tax evasion (Corporate offences for failing to prevent criminal facilitation of tax evasion - GOV.UK).   

Government anticipates publishing the guidance in the Spring. The offence will come into effect when the guidance is published and the implementation period (expected to be 4-6 months) is complete.  Find out more by watching this recent Time to Talk with KPMG, and follow the discussion on this topic for updates.  

Those wanting to keep on the right side of the law may want to take some ‘Time to Talk’ about ‘Crooks on Campus & Anti Money Laundering in H E’ with Dr Nicola Harding, Lecturer in Criminology at Lancaster University, on Tuesday 23 January 2-3pm (online via Teams). This session will focus on Anti Money Laundering (AML) in the sector, as well as We Fight Fraud’s ‘Crooks on Campus’ initiative. 



The Buying Social Justice project has published the findings of the two-year research project, which investigated the use of public procurement to advance equality in employment in England, Scotland, and Wales. The report complements the toolkit launched by the project in October. 

The HEPA Head of Procurement survey 2023 results have been published. The report will aid the development of the procurement profession within higher education and be a useful reference for Heads of Procurement when considering their teams, training, processes, and tools. 

The next Learning and networking event for those starting their careers in HE procurement has been scheduled at the University of Wolverhampton on Wednesday 7 February 2024, 2-4pm.  



Following the publication of the Independent Review of University Spin-out Companies, Julia has summarised some of the employment tax implications regarding academics and Intellectual Property. We’ll be hosting a webinar on IP in early 2024.  

For an amalgamation of all tax related posts, discussions, events, and articles that we’ve recently shared on the BUFDG website read the most recent edition of TaxHE, you can opt in to receive this as a fortnightly update via your dashboard preferences.    



If you missed our Management Accountants' week, you can still 'book a place' to access the content. All our sessions bar one were recorded, so if were on leave, incredibly busy or just missed it, you can catch up on the sessions to suit your schedule. Bookings will remain open until Monday 11 December. 



The recent announcement that Unit4 will transition all ‘on-premises’ services to ‘Software as a Service’ cloud solutions will impact a significant number of members, and the timeline for this migration process is relatively short. We will be keeping abreast of UCISA’s representation work on this, and reaching out to affected members to ensure finance perspectives are heard. UCISA members can also contact to be added to their Unit4 Teams Site for updates and invitations to future meetings. 

In November we co-published Ahead in the Cloud: a guide to finance system implementation in HE with KPMG. This guide includes lessons learned from Finance, IT, HR, and Transformation leads at over a dozen different organisations who have been through recent implementations and may be helpful to those currently considering their options. 

This is a final reminder that, after 20 years, BUFDG now has a new phone number. The old one should still work until the end of December, but please do remember to update your Filofax card with: 01509 975207 if you haven’t already. Thank you! 



We’ve selected a trio of Jobs of the Fortnight: The Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, is seeking a highly motivated Director of Finance to provide financial expertise and oversight of financial operations, business partnering, and accounting. There is an opening for an Assistant Financial Accountant at the Francis Crick Institute, ideal for a part-qualified accountant with significant accounting experience to play a key role in the Finance Operations team at this flagship institute. Finally, the University of the Highlands and Islands is looking for an Executive Director of Finance to join the senior executive team, provide strategic financial direction, and harness financial resources and performance data to ensure financial sustainability, and help the University to achieve its 2030 strategic plans. 

You can find a variety of other H E finance vacancies listed on the BUFDG Jobs page.  

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