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06th October 2021

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BUFDG Weekly Digest, 6th October 2021 Matt Sisson


REVISED GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING UNIVERSITY FINANCE

We’re pleased to announce that the popular BUFDG Guide to Understanding University Finance has now been revised. Over the years BUFDG has worked to improve understanding of university business models and financial accounting, and in 2019 we launched the first edition of Understanding University Finance, to be a useful companion for the broad church of university stakeholders and brave Annual Report explorers. In its first year, the guide was downloaded over 5,000 times. 

The guide has now been updated (September 21) to reflect - among many other things - updates to the terminology used in the latest financial statements, changes to the sector following Brexit, and updates to reporting requirements. 

There are no hard copies this time around, but you can download the Understanding University Finance v2 guide here.


E-LEARNING UPDATE

We have just launched two new and two updated e-learning courses. Intro to HE Finance (updated) is a high-level overview of higher education finance looking at BUFDG, the H E sector, where H E money comes from, how it is spent, governance and reporting, and is free to all BUFDG members. The second free, updated course is Intro to Counter Fraud, which is a brilliant starter for anybody working in universities in any role at all.

Of the new courses, Introduction to National Minimum Wage in H E is suitable for anyone who needs a high-level overview, such as departmental administrators (involved in policies for taking people on within academic departments), HR staff (setting and applying HR policy for taking on and paying people), and Finance Directors, for an overview of the issues. This one is for BUFDG Pro subscribers only.

Another course, National Minimum Wage in H E (Intermediate) will be launched later this week, which includes calculations and worked examples. It is suitable for payroll and tax staff who deal with NMW. NB: you do not need to complete the Introductory course before completing this one, as it includes all information from the Introductory course as well. This course is for BUFDG Pro subscribers only.

You can find all of BUFDG's e-learning courses that are available to you by using the links to our e-learning platform from our e-learning page. It’s also worth adding that these new and updated courses have been created in our new e-learning software, so if you have any feedback on how they compare to our older courses, please let us know.

 

BUFDG

Bookings are now open for our Credit Control themed week taking place from the 2nd-5th November.  We will be hosting a series of webinars across a range of topics which we hope you will find interesting and valuable to you and your team members.  The webinars will take place between 09.30 – 17.00 across the 4 days and you can find the latest information and book via this page.

BUFDG is partnering with ARMA, AUDE, CHEIA, HEPA, HESPA, SCONUL, UCISA and UHR (our equivalent for professionals across the Research, Estates, Internal Audit, Procurement, Strategic Planning, Libraries, IT and HR) to offer online Action Learning Sets to Senior Leaders.  An Action Learning Set is a small, confidential forum where each participant brings to the meeting an organisational task, problem, challenge or opportunity on which they intend to act.  Given breadth of knowledge and wider HE understanding is a valuable development experience, these Action Learning Sets provide a fantastic opportunity to learn from others across the sector. All the information on the latest round is in this article.

Any well-run organisation should be looking outwards at others: to compare, benchmark, and learn; to make new connections and find good ideas; and to discover how to operate more effectively and efficiently. Universities are no different – and comparing numbers and outcomes with institutions across the sector is a regular activity of university finance teams. But who do you compare with, and why? Are your peers or ‘competitors’ chosen on the latest data and evidence, on history or reputation, or just because you’ve always done it that way? Wonkhe is currently running a series of articles on reviewing sector categories, and we’ve invited David Kernohan to a Time to Talk hour on 21st October to start us off by outlining the current thinking, and why it should be challenged. Attendees will then be able to share their current methods and experiences, and discuss their own approaches, among other things. For more information and to book, click here.


PROCUREMENT AND COUNTER-FRAUD

A huge thank you to all those who took the time to share their responses to the 2021 HEPA Head of Procurement Survey. Heads of Procurement can download the survey report here. If you are a Head of Procurement and can’t access the report then please get in touch with Ashley.

We have just published the results of the 2021 Fraud Survey, and you can download a copy of the report here. The findings provide a useful snapshot of preparedness in the sector and will help the Counter-Fraud Working Group prioritise its work over the coming year. Thank you to all the members who took the time to respond to the Survey.

On that note, we are pleased to see that colleagues at Lancaster and WPM have teamed up with We Fight Fraud to launch a bespoke episode of a crime series 'Crooks'. Their campaign aims to educate and prevent university students becoming money mules and falling victim to other forms of related financial crime and fraud. WPM are running a free Student Money Mule Webinar on 7th October which ought to be worth an hour of your student services teams’ time.

By popular demand we are incredibly pleased to welcome the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) Financial Services team for a Time to Talk webinar covering Purchasing Cards. The session will take place on MS Teams on Monday 18 October from 2pm - 3pm, and will help members learn about the Payment Solutions Framework, and specifically the Purchasing Card solution. As usual we have allowed plenty of time for questions and answers from the experts following a short presentation. Bookings are free of charge and can be made here.

CCS is also holding an overview webinar for its new Audit & Assurance Services Framework on the 19th October, from 3-3:30pm. The webinar is specifically for BUFDG members, and will look at the new agreement, key features, and how to use the framework. This includes: An overview of CCS, its team and website; background to the framework; public sector contract; pricing and grades, and; social value. The session is free of charge, and you can book your place here!

Find more procurement news and events in the latest HEPA Digest.


TAXES

Our latest International Forum to discuss any international taxes matters currently on your plate will take place on Thursday 30 September between 2-4pm - register your place here.

As of the 4th October, HMRC has updated the section of the guidance Get your business ready for the Plastic Packaging Tax relating to invoicing. Andrea has updated the relevant section here. There have also been a number of updates to Northern Ireland - B2C sales of goods into the EU, and to finding out when to make an exit summary declaration when exporting.

If you couldn’t make it to the live event, then you might want to know that the recording of the Import Reliefs Q&A session with David Miller from The Customs People on 9 September is available here. Please note that some of the issues regarding the movement of animals and animal products have developed.  More information can be found here.

KPMG have published a number of relevant articles covering employment taxes recently, including one on the employment tax considerations for current and future working practice, one on the closure of CJRS, and one covering off-payroll working with a focus on the energy and financial services sectors. Find out more in this article.

If you’ve been following the court-case relating to the employment status of professional game match officials, then you might want to know there’s been a bit of a twist.

Click for the latest TaxHE Newsletter, covering everything Tax and Employment taxes from the last fortnight.


OTHER

Newton IM has published the results of its annual Charity Investment Survey, now in its eighth year. The summary reads: “While charities continue to suffer significant disruption from the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s survey tells a story of resilience and recovery, with the vast majority of charities remaining steadfast in their investment strategies. Meanwhile, charities are attaching increasing importance to societal and environmental issues such as climate change, with the vast majority believing they are obligated to invest responsibly”. For more information, contact Alan Goodwin.

Nick Hillman reports from the Conservative Party conference in a HEPI blog post, while reflecting for the New European that the post-pandemic situation for the sector looks brighter than once feared.

The team at Wonkhe have been busy producing some excellent analysis and commentary as usual. UUK’s Chris Hale makes a pitch for a favourable outcome for the sector from the forthcoming CSR, by looking at the role universities can play in levelling-up; Jim Dickinson looks at the student loan picture and tries to get the frame straight; while David Kernohan makes a fresh pitch for a Graduate Tax.  

Finally, we’ve been reliably informed that the best finance job in UK higher education has now gone live – as Loughborough looks for a replacement CFO for (BUFDG’s landlord) Andy Stephens. On top of the listed requirements, there are rumours that promises of biscuit deliveries to the PHES office mean extra points at the interview stage…

There are lots of other vacancies listed on the BUFDG jobs page.



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