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23rd May 2018

Weekly Digest
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Critical information about your BUFDG membership Karel Thomas

Over the last couple of months there’s been a lot of talk about the big data protection changes that will come into effect on Friday 25th May. These new data protection laws mean that we need your permission to stay in touch, even if you’ve given us permission before.

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Karel and the BUFDG Team

Nope, we don't have cash to burn. Matt Sisson

Swansea Director of Finance Rob Brelsford-Smith has an excellent article in Wonkhe this week on why it’s important to understand what cash means for university financial sustainability. If, like him, you took a sharp intake of breath when you heard the recent reports of universities “hoarding reserves”, you’ll probably find this very useful reading.

Rob looks at the 16/17 data from HESA and analyses cash-backed reserves and liquidity days across the sector. It’s a mixed picture, and shows the differences between institutions of different sizes and why the idea of a whole sector awash with cash is very wrong. It also shows how, considering the levels of uncertainty in the sector, most institutions could do with a little more ‘in the bank’ for the wettest days.

If you ever have trouble explaining to stakeholders why your institution really doesn’t have cash to burn, this might be a useful resource to point them to. And if you are of the tweeting/LinkedIn type, please feel free to bring this to the attention of your networks, and help us get the message out.

Measuring, Monitoring and Progressing Responsible Procurement in HE Emma Keenan

During 2017 the Responsible Procurement Group ran a survey to understand which tools, standards, assessments and methods were being used in the sector in support of responsible procurement and/or demonstrating sustainability initiatives.

We are pleased to be able to provide for you an extensive new resource that highlights the various options available to institutions and what they each do, and providing a link to further information.

We will review and update the document annually. If you feel we have missed anything, please get in touch.

Finance for Non-Finance Managers - 19th June Rachel McLone

Do you wish your non finance staff colleagues had a better understanding of finance?  Do you wish you had time to sit down with them and go through all the jargon and processes? BUFDG are here to help! We run a one day Finance for Non Finance Managers course, so you don't need to.  All you need to do is tell them about it! Our one day course gives non accountants a basic understanding of finance, providing an understanding of:

  • Financial reporting / budgeting / forecasting cycle
  • Jargon buster and key accounting concepts including capital/revenue/funding
  • Differences between management and statutory accounts
  • Key financial statements
  • Where university money comes from, and what it's spent on
  • Sources of information
  • Costing
  • Finance Department structures and how they link with other university functions
  • Importance of internal controls and audit
  • Basic financial ratios

The course costs £250 (incl VAT) to attend. Click the link for booking on the 19th June in London and here for the 7th September in Edinburgh. Please note, in order to book a place you will need to have a BUFDG user account set up.  You can sign up for a user account if you haven't already. For any queries, please contact Rachel.

Off-Payroll Working in the Private Sector Michael Edwards

Aficionados of the IR35 rules will be excited to see that HMRC/HM Treasury, having witnessed the success of the rules introduced for the public sector in 2017, have released a consultation document regarding their proposals to extend the requirements and obligations that caused so much hard work for our members to the private sector. The document can be accessed here

Of particular interest to me and, I would imagine, for our members, is section 4 of the consultation document, which evaluates the effectiveness of the new rules in the public sector.  To assist with this evaluation, HMRC commissioned independent research, the findings of which can be found here.

To add to the anticipation for those members attending the BUFDG tax conference in June, be assured that it is intended that this report will be referenced throughout the IR35 session that I will be running with PwC.

May's Treasury Management Newsletter Matt Sisson

For a number of reasons, this month’s Treasury Management newsletter is the last in its usual format. Our thanks to Tim and Finalysis for keeping the sector so well informed over the last few years. Tim writes:

“The headline article is from European Wealth, entitled USD Segregated Cash and Liquidity Management. With such a focus on the return on Sterling cash balances, it may have escaped some that USD balances can earn a good return.   Regular contributor, Dino Leo of Western Union Business Solutions, returns with a piece on alternative payment methods for fee and accommodation payments, with a specific focus on China.
King & Shaxson also return, this time with an interesting piece on Local Authority Bills, a potential new investment alternative for the sector, although those of a certain age may remember this being available some thirty years ago.  Our own Andy Playle has provided a brief Ring-fence update this month as well as a general cash management and counterparty round-up. No doubt he will also be a regular blog contributor in the future. 
And finally, with the sector increasingly using money market funds as an investment vehicle, We have an article from Karl Adams of International Cash Distributors, a leading provider of investment portals. 

Thank you all for the positive feedback and encouragement over the past few years, it’s been much appreciated.” Read it in full here.

Fraud response flow-chart, and income diversion fraud alert Matt Sisson

The most recent fraud first-responders course took place earlier in the month, and we had some great feedback. We’ve not got another one booked in for now, but we’ll keep running at least one a year here on in to help new sector joiners get up to speed, and to accommodate those have recently developed an interest/responsibility in the area. If you’d like there to be one near you soon, drop Rachel an email, and she’ll take that into an account in deciding when and where to hold the next one.

In the meantime, you might find this resource on assessing, reporting, and investigating fraud useful in your own institutions. And don’t forget the discussion boards are a great source of alerts and advice, including Income Diversion Frauds making appearances at a number of HEIs recently.

New HE Risk Network available across the PHES family Matt Sisson

Some of you may already be aware but there is a budding HE Risk network which, as part of the PHES family, BUFDG is helping to get off the ground. Risk is an interesting area in that it cuts across many (if not all) of the different university professional services, and risk is managed in different ways in different institutions.

The Risk Network is formally part of HESPA (the Higher Education Strategic Planners Association), with a web page on the HESPA website which links to useful resources, and a brand spanking new discussion board. It means that, if you’d like to be part of the Risk group and access the boards then you’ll need access to the HESPA website. Fortunately most BUFDG institutions are members of HESPA, so all you need to do is drop an email, and we can quickly tweak your account so you can also log in to the HESPA site using your normal BUFDG/PHES email address and password. Happy risk managing!

"Going Global" - slide deck from KPMG seminar for members Michael Edwards

Members will be aware that, over the course of the last few months, KPMG have been running their “Going Global” seminar for members at venues throughout the UK.  Feedback has been very positive; I attended the Cardiff session last week and was very impressed both with the content and the quality of the speakers.  Attendees have already been provided with the slide deck that accompanied the sessions and now, for the reference of those with an interest who were unable to attend, the presentation has been uploaded to our website.  It may be accessed here.

OfS recruiting members for Provider risk and Audit committees Matt Sisson

The Office for Students is looking to appoint new members to three of its committees; the Provider Risk committee, the Quality Assessment committee, and the Risk and Audit Committee. These positions provide a unique opportunity to contribute to the work of the OfS and, as with all things OfS, to represent the interests of students. The deadline to submit applications is midnight on Tuesday 29 May 2018. The announcement webpage also says:

“Enhancing the diversity of the membership of the committees is important to us. We welcome applications from under-represented groups, including women, disabled people, and people from an ethnic minority background.

For further information, click here.

Job of the Week Jemma Ladkin

Our Job of the Week is for a Finance Manager at the University of Sheffield. “The role of Finance Manager - Cross Cutting is to manage and provide financial support for all Cross-Cutting grants across the University. The role will require proactive interaction with staff across the faculty and wider University at all levels and requires excellent communication, influencing and negotiation skills. You will be adept at managing tight deadlines, handling multiple priorities while delivering excellent results and providing a high level of support and development of staff. You will provide a high-quality service in all aspects of the role and have good experience of dealing with the finances of large complex organisations and systems”.

The closing date for the role is Monday 4th June. There are lots of other vacancies listed as usual on the BUFDG website.


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