A big thank you to all those who completed the feedback for the Annual Conference, which took place in mid-March. We had hundreds of responses, and are in the processes of digging through the data and putting our thinking caps on to decide the shape and scope of the BUFDG conference programme for the next year. If you were signed up to the conference, but not able to stick around until the Friday afternoon, we’re pleased to let you know that Dr Paul Redmond’s amusing and thought-provoking closing session on the multi-generational workplace is available to watch for another 6-weeks.
The British Association of Cleaning in Higher Education (BACHE) is looking for a Treasurer for its board. “We have an exciting opportunity for a Finance professional seeking to gain experience. The role is voluntary but all expenses relating to travel etc. are reimbursed by the Association. The role will involve ensuring all financial regulations are adhered to, reporting the financial position for the association to the Executive members on a regular basis and present to members at our annual conference. You will have the opportunity to make the role your own and propose changes to our current processes.” If you would like to discuss further please email Adrian Owen, Vice Chair & Treasurer by 30th April.
In case you missed it earlier in the month, BEIS has made two funding-related announcements. The first is for an additional £250 million to be made available for R&D in 21/22 – there are more details in the announcement but final allocations will be agreed later in the year. Secondly, there’s a new review of how ‘the UK’s Catapults can strengthen research and development capacity, improve productivity and contribute to greater prosperity across the UK’, with implications for work with universities.
Earlier this week 40 members attended a short case-study webinar from Imperial College and Pay360, looking at automation in income processing. You can watch the video of the session via the Pay360 Supporters Directory page.
One of the framework suppliers on the LUPC Debt Recovery framework agreement has written an article on the new Breathing Space regulations (Debt Respite Scheme) that come into effect in England and Wales on 4th May 2021. The new regulations have major implications for internal credit control/debt recovery processes in HEIs. If you are involved in debt recovery at all in your institution it is an essential read.
You may have read this week that the UK is preparing to commit to steeper cuts in carbon emissions in the run up to COP 26. The announcement will include a new pledge to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels. In an article on the website, we highlight some of the related tools and resources available through HEPA for you and your colleagues.
The Energy Consortium (TEC) are holding a webinar to explain their next Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). The webinar will take place on Wednesday 28 April from 10AM. Full details of the webinar and the PPA are available here, and you can book on by contacting your TEC Member Services Advisor. The event is primarily intended for existing TEC members, but non-members are able to dial in and also take part in the PPA by contacting Kate Mottram. You can also click here to read about fantastic TEC’s first PPA, and TEC’s latest Annual Report.
Following on from our time to talk with Social Enterprise UK and the inspirational plenary with Claire Dove CBE at the BUFDG Conference, we are delighted to present the first in our meet the social enterprise series, starting with Belu on 28 April at 09:30 via MS Teams. Join us to hear about Belu, how to date they have given over £5.1m to Water Aid by reinvesting 100% of their profits into the charity in addition to putting the environment first, and how you can work with them in your institution to help drive sustainability across water service from filtration systems to bottled water. There is no limit on places so please do share this session with colleagues across your institution from sustainability to hospitality. Places are, as ever, completely free and bookings can be made here.
The application process for the Green Gown Awards is now open! Here are some inspiring projects that were recognised in last year’s Green Gown Awards; categories include the 2030 Climate Action Award and the Benefitting Society Award. Click to find out what is new for this year’s awards and how to apply.
LUPC has released an insightful and accessible guide to the tendering process. The document begins at the research stage, before moving to the tendering activity, on to evaluation and finishing at award.
Don’t forget that volunteering to join a tender working party is an excellent opportunity to further develop your skills and knowledge in the sector. UKUPC have a document that highlights further benefits of joining a tender working party for both the individual and the organisation.
Information has been added to Pay VAT deferred due to coronavirus (COVID-19) on penalties or interest that may be charged if businesses do not pay the deferred VAT in full or make an arrangement to pay. The guidance states that a 5% penalty or interest will be charged if you do not pay in full or make an arrangement to pay by 30 June 2021. You can find out more here.
Andrea has updated our article on Returned Goods Relief, with a link to the newly updated “Pay less import duty and VAT when re-importing goods to the UK and EU” section of the HMRC website. There have also been new versions of Temporary Admission, eligible goods and conditions for relief; Taking commercial goods out of Great Britain in your baggage; and Bringing commercial goods into Great Britain in your baggage.
Thanks to Martin Scammell who has given us permission to reproduce this update from his guide that considers the issue of conversions of properties for student accommodation use and whether the 5% reduced rate can apply.
PAYROLL / EMPLOYMENT TAXES
This month's HMRC Employer Bulletin has been published highlighting the main changes, announcements and introductions for employers. Some of the key articles are summarised on the BUFDG website.
The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) and ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland) have jointly prepared a paper Building a Better Tax System, to improve awareness amongst the Scottish public as a new poll shows a 1/3rd of Scots are unaware that the Scottish Parliament has made changes to the tax system. The Lower Income Tax Reform Group (who are part of the CIOT) have also published Scottish income tax rates/thresholds for 2021/22 and what they mean for Scottish taxpayers.
Most employees in the HE sector who worked from home during the 2020/21 tax year were advised to claim tax relief on home office expenses via HMRC's online claim checker. HMRC have confirmed that the claim will not be automatically rolled over and those employees who will continue to work from home during the 2021/22 tax year should make a new claim for the tax relief. In addition, further details from ICAEW indicate that once the pandemic is over, the rules will revert back to the original position whereby the allowance must be paid by the employer directly (i.e. no more tax claims to HMRC).
There were several updates to the HMRC documentation for the CJRS scheme last week, including to wage tables and the claim calculator. Julia has a short summary on the BUFDG website.
AUDIT / FINANCIAL REPORTING
Last week we had a record number of ‘Out of Offices’ from the Digest email, suggesting a large chunk of the sector was having a well-earned Easter holiday. Not a great time then to release the Audit Survey report, but in case you haven’t seen it yet, you can download it here. We had a very healthy 130 submissions this year – a 70% response rate from BUFDG member institutions. The report follows a similar format to prior years, but with some additional qualitative analysis of both external and internal audit. It is also partnered with additional analysis of specific internal audit areas provided in conjunction with CHEIA, that can be accessed via the first page of the main report. If you have any questions, drop Matt an email.
Pensions continue as one of the most perplexing issues in the HE sector. In the case of USS, Universities UK has launched a consultation with USS employers “seeking views on ways of creating a valuable, affordable, inclusive, and sustainable scheme for their staff for the long term”. The USS Employers’ website links to numerous useful documents, as does the USS website.
JOB OF THE FORTNIGHT
Our Job of the Fortnight is for an Assistant Director (Financial Planning and Reporting), at Durham University. Working directly with the senior team, the successful candidate “will play a pivotal role across all areas of financial planning, assessment of investment decisions, new business opportunities and development of success criteria”. The deadline for applications is the 16th May.
For other vacancies, take a look at the BUFDG jobs page.