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28th July 2021

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BUFDG Weekly Digest, 28 July 21 Matt Sisson


Following BUFDG’s online annual conference earlier this year, we’ve been busy making plans for 2022.  We’re pleased to confirm that over three days from Monday 14th – Wednesday 16th March, BUFDG will be running another online conference, which we are calling the ‘BUFDG Finance Festival’ for now.

Following the feedback from delegates and supporters for this year’s conference, we’re aiming for the festival to be more streamlined and focused on the best bits of that event -  the excellent sessions, discussions, and CPD opportunities. We look forward to being able to share more information in September. If you have any questions or comments in the meantime, please do drop Matt or Ashley an email.

And here’s a fantastic reminder of what you can expect next year:


The TRAC Conference will be taking place on-line this year from 1pm Monday 27th – 1pm Tuesday 28th September.  As usual, the conference will include a mixture of plenary and breakout sessions and give delegates a thorough overview on the work of the TRAC Development Group (TDG), their activities, and of course the latest guidance on TRAC.   We will also facilitate ways for you to network with fellow delegates throughout the conference. Tickets cost £75 (inclusive of VAT), and you can book onto the event here.  Look out for further details in the next few weeks. For more details, please contact Rachel.


Following recent demand, BUFDG are hosting an on-line new course, Introduction to US GAAP, which takes place on Wednesday 15th September. Many organisations are required to report US GAAP numbers, and the process can be daunting. Whilst over times there have been considerable efforts to increase convergence with US GAAP and IFRS (which leads onto FRS102 and OFS accounts direction) differences do still remain, not least the fact that US GAAP is often quoted as being “rule based” as opposed to “principles based”. This introductory module aims to demystify US GAAP for members of finance who are responsible for producing the annual report along with creating the US GAAP “conversion”.  The course takes place online on Wednesday 15th September 9.30-1pm.  Places are limited on the course, and it will not be recorded.  The course costs £195 plus VAT and your place can be booked here. For any queries, please contact Rachel


There has been a comprehensive review of the Making Education Digital Spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is a live document that helps signpost members to find additional information about a particular country and assist in their own research. A reminder that if a member has concerns about a particular country, it is recommended that professional advice is sought.

BUFDG’s response to the second consultation on the Government’s proposal to “uncertain tax treatment” leaned towards using existing legislation rather than enacting even more.  However, knowing that consultations are often merely a pre-cursor to implementation, we commented that should the policy continue to be pursued, existing HMRC guidance must be of a suitable standard. Whilst our initial idea may have fallen short, the consultation outcome, summary of responses   (along with Government objectives/next steps) at least demonstrates that other respondents were of similar mind and also that the government heeded some of our warnings.  There is particular focus on ensuring HMRC guidance is up to date and fit for purpose given that non-adherence to these rules is a trigger point for notification. The policy paper, draft legislation and supporting explanatory note (last two pages of the latter are best to read if you are short of time) were published at the same time as the consultation outcome. 

Members will recall that the plastic packaging tax will be introduced on April 2022.  There will be a £200 per tonne tax rate for packaging with less than 30% recycled plastic and a registration threshold will apply of 10 tonnes of plastic packaging produced in or imported into the UK per annum. HMRC has issued more information regarding the scope of the tax . And for further details, read this news article.

On our recent call with HMRC, we discussed Capital Sectors in Partial Exemption Special Methods (PESM) and HMRC has issued the attached note to try to help to clarify some of the issues. It is important that you refer to this if you are intending to negotiate a new method or are revising a current method. There’s more information here.

A reminder that you can always access the latest TaxHE fortnightly newsletter via the Tax resource pages.


Continuing HMRC’s webinars on common errors when calculating NMW/NLW, registration for a new webinar has been published on 'The apprentice rate and associated risks'.

HMRC have updated their guidance on National Insurance for UK employees working in EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland.  An alert has been added to the start essentially saying that if you are working overseas temporarily due to Covid, HMRC will decide your position on a case-by-case basis and that it may be useful to apply for a NIC certificate. 

Caroline Rai at PwC has written an helpful article on the BUFDG website on holiday pay for term-time employees. This is on the heels of a recent case in the courts involving the holiday entitlement and payment of Term Time Only (TTO employees) in Local Authorities. In addition, an issue has also arisen in respect of NHS employees and overtime which means they will be getting revised holiday pay payments over the next few months. Caroline explains the issues in the article, and you can contact her on


The transition to a global sustainable energy system is one of the great developments of our age. In a new blog post on the BUFDG website, the team at Guinness Asset Management analyse the situation and explain how universities can make the most of the opportunities. As they write, both as landlords and endowment investors, universities can benefit from the falling costs and exponential growth of renewable energy generation across the globe and the revolution currently underway in UK solar generation. These opportunities will enable universities to meet stakeholder concerns regarding the efforts being made towards facilitating global decarbonisation through a positive environmental solution”.

Aberdeen Standard recently took part in a webinar 'Treasurer’s Roadmap to Becoming an ESG Role Model' organised in partnership with Treasury Management International. The panel of experts – Kate McGrath (Aberdeen Standard Investments), Elina Todorova (Tideway London), and Noemie de la Gorce (S&P Global) advised TMI’s Eleanor Hill on best-practice in ESG for corporate treasurers.
Key topics included the ways in which ESG can be incorporated into the daily tasks of treasurers, the benefits of its application in the investments space, and panellists made the case for why finance professionals can no longer ignore ESG’s impact. A video of the session can be found here.


We will be discontinuing the HEPA Competency Toolkit from next month, August 2021, onwards.

The Toolkit is hosted externally and as such attracts additional operating costs. Usage of the Toolkit, which was introduced in 2013, has tailed off over the years and the hosting charges are no longer cost effective. If you or your team would like to store any Job Descriptions etc. then please ensure that you save these locally before the end of this month, July 2021.

A big thank you to Andrew Connors, Giles Taylor and Kate Manku of Lloyds Bank, as well as David Ford and Alistair Moffat of the University of Hertfordshire for sharing their experiences and insight during the recent Organisational Impact of Cyber Attacks in Higher Education Time to Talk session. A recording of the session is available here.


As the UK looks ahead to a transition out of lockdown and the Government considers plans for the UK’s economic recovery ahead of the Autumn Spending Review, universities and business collaborations will play an integral role to creating opportunities for growth. To aid collaboration, we’re hosting a Time to Talk session led by Fariba Soetan, who is the Policy Lead for Research and Innovation at The National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB).  Fariba plays a pivotal role shaping, positioning and driving NCUB’s policy and engagement activities across all aspects of its research and innovation portfolio. The session is participative, where NCUB will be seeking views on the fiscal and funding levers that could be deployed to enhance opportunities for universities and businesses in the community. They’re particularly interested in hearing about some of the obstacles to collaborations that you would like to see addressed in the upcoming Spending Review, including specific examples of any barriers that your institution has experienced. Book here.

For those of you who may not have worked with NCUB before, it is a member organisation consisting of UK universities and leading businesses.  It develops, supports and promotes world-class collaboration between universities and business across the UK. A link to NCUB's website can be found here.

Our job of the fortnight is for a Head of Financial Services at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS – part of the University of the Highlands and Islands). The successful candidate will be “creative, pro-active and keen to develop a commercial agenda to support SAMS growing focus on enterprise activities alongside research and education activities”. They will also “be conversant with accountancy software and may have implemented or developed new systems.” The deadline for applications is 13th August.

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

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