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12th June 2019

Weekly Digest
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Commodity coding risk analysis Matt Sisson

The sector’s Responsible Procurement group has been busy, and are pleased to share a useful risk analysis tool based on commodity codes. The spreadsheet shows the level of risk for a variety of sustainability measures, including ethical, social and environmental, and now including a new column detailing modern slavery.  It will be helpful when writing tenders or liaising with suppliers throughout their supply chains.

For background; most of the work was undertaken by the procurement and sustainability team at UWE, and the MS risk was added by Marisol Bernal, the Responsible Procurement Officer at LUPC. 

The next meeting of the RPG is on 17th July.

MTD - digitally linking your systems Amanda Darley

We are looking into how well universities are getting on with digitally linking all the systems involved in their VAT return process, or whether some universities are encountering difficulties or anticipate lengthy projects for this.

Even if you haven't actually started this part of your MTD project yet, but you anticipate having issues due to the number or nature of the systems, please get in touch. Please email Amanda with details of any issues you are having with this aspect of MTD as soon as possible. Have a quick look at this discussion board post for more details of what we need to know.

The more information we have on this issue, the better.

Update on the Ratings Revaluation exercise for June Matt Sisson

Following the last briefing in April, all negotiations for the Group Pre-Challenge Review (GPCR) for the agreement of a revised scheme of valuation for HEIs in England & Wales have been concluded. Nevertheless, due to the potential impact of the Stage 2 (Age & Obsolescence) scales, not just on the HEI sector but on all property classes valued on a cost-based approach, the VOA required longer than anticipated to complete its internal approval process. We are, however, now able to confirm that the draft revised scheme as encompassed in a new Memorandum of Agreement was confirmed by the VOA as agreed, in principle, on 1 May.

More information can be found in the full update, which can be downloaded from the BUFDG website.

Does your role involve any risk management? Matt Sisson

This is a reminder that 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.

There’s a Risk Management survey on the go at the moment, which only takes 3 minutes to complete. This will help the group understand the range and remit of members’ expertise and work, and help shape the future work of the group. Please help out if you can.

Tips for using ActionFraud Matt Sisson

Action Fraud is the UK's national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre. It's a web-based system that provides a central point of contact between the public and the police for information relating to fraud and cyber-crime. All attempted frauds at your institution should be reported via the Action Fraud system (whether or not you also alert your local police department) so that the information can be collaborated and action taken. 

One of the most common gripes from counter-fraud colleagues though is that fraud attempts they report to the Police via Action Fraud are not acted on. While the quantity of frauds reported, and Police resource restrictions, does mean that unfortunately not every attempt can be addressed, there are ways that you can report to Action Fraud that will increase the likelihood of your report being useful to the authorities.

Firstly, always report your fraud or fraud attempt as soon as you can after it’s been discovered. Don’t wait and upload attempts once a week or once a month. Fraud risk analysis is time-sensitive, as ActionFraud uses computer intelligence to aggregate and assess some reports. Spikes in reports at a certain time are more likely to be acted on, so don’t wait to submit.

Secondly, if this means that you would spend forever submitting, note that your university can apply for the Business Reporting Tool (BRT) that allows bulk uploads. This might help you keep on top of reporting.

Finally, when you’re filling out the report, don’t put lots of information in the free text areas – these are only read if the report is investigated in more detail, so you might be wasting your time. Instead, just put key information against the scored boxes. This will make it more likely to be read by the analysers. 

BUFDG Pro - new e-learning for not very much money! Rachel McLone

We’re really pleased to be able to share a big development in the world of BUFDG. From the beginning of August, staff in BUFDG member HEIs will be able to access a further 12, HE-specific e-learning modules, via the PHES e-learning platform. They include: Introducing VAT in HE, Introduction to Credit Control, Category Management, Finance for Non Finance Managers, and VAT reliefs in HE.

The modules (and more to follow in subsequent years) are what we’ve decided to call BUFDG Pro – a subscription-based service. They’ll be available through an additional charge of between £495 - £1,250 per HEI, depending on the size of your institutionYep, that’s just £1,250 for as many people as need at your institution to take these modules, for the whole year.

If for some reason your HEI doesn’t want to subscribe to Pro, you and colleagues at your HEI will still be able to access the original 10 modules (available now), as part of the basic BUFDG subscription.

If you’d like to know more, please contact Rachel.

Sign up to TaxHE - BUFDG's fortnightly HE Tax bulletin Matt Sisson

With this year’s Tax Conference in full swing at Burleigh court, it’s as good a time as any to remind you that every other Thursday Amanda and Caroline send out a an issue of our Tax and Payroll-specific TaxHE newsletter. Each newsletter typically covers news around VAT, Customs/Import duties, employment taxes, payroll, international issues, BUFDG events, and lots of other general tax stuff.

The newsletter is sent out directly to all those with a primary or secondary interest in Tax or Payroll on the BUFDG website. If you’d like to receive the newsletter direct to your inbox, head to the My BUFDG page of our website and update your primary/secondary interests (about half way down the page), and click ‘Save’.

We also send out a version direct to advisors and other sector associates. If you’re not a staff member in a HEI, but you’d like to receive it, then just make sure you have Tax or Payroll listed as an interest on your website account.

Join other HE internal auditors at CHEIA’s Annual Conference Matt Sisson

If you are involved in delivering internal audit services in higher education or if you have an interest in governance, risk management or internal control, the CHEIA Conference is for you.  Organised by the Council of Higher Education Internal Auditors, the representative group for HE internal audit practitioners, the Conference addresses some of the topical challenges for internal auditors in the sector and provides practical ways for delegates to improve their internal audit functions as well as outstanding learning and networking opportunities.  It takes place from 4 - 6 September 2019 at Cranfield Management Development Centre, Cranfield and you can secure an early bird rate if you book by 30 June 2019.  More information is available on or from the CHEIA Administrator

Job of the week Jemma Ladkin

This weeks job is for a Financial Accountant to join the team at the University of Gloucestershire. The University are looking for "an experienced CCAB qualified candidate with excellent communication skills who shares our aspirations and wants to make a real difference in this challenging role.  You will be primarily responsible for the production of the University’s consolidated financial statements and the primary contact for all major University projects / contracts providing complex accounting advice supporting business decisions". The closing date for this post is 23rd June 2019. 

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


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