Financial Planning and Budgeting

The mission of the Budgets and Financial Planning area is to support the Vice President for Business Affairs and Controller in executing the budgeting and financial policies of the University.  This involves detailed review, analysis, projection, and reporting of all revenue and expenditure line items with the goal of ensuring a balanced budget that reflects the priorities of the University.The Budgets and Financial Planning area assists budget managers and divisions in the development and monitoring of annual and long-term financial plans designed to avoid over spending, improve efficiency of financial operations and processes, determine fee revisions, and review feasibility of new and continuing programs.
Department Name: Financial Services
Contacts
  • Associate Director for Financial Planning, Extension 6009
  • Budget Analyst, Extension 6202

Annual Operating Budget

Annual Operating Budget Process Overview and Scope

Each year beginning in January, the University begins to prepare the annual operating budget for the coming fiscal year. The budget, once prepared by the individual departments and reviewed by upper management, must ultimately be approved by the Board of Trustees. The University’s intent is to create a budgeting process whereby strategic resource allocations can fund mission-critical activities and new initiatives.

The preparation of the budgeting parameters document, and any subsequent revision, is the responsibility of the Controller’s Office. The budget preparation process may be modified each year to reflect improvements in the process.


Annual Operating Budget Process:

The process may be generally described as follows:

During the fall semester, the VP for Business Affairs’ office compiles information for the submission of proposed increases in tuition, and room and board rates for the next fiscal year. Based on the information compiled and planned rates budgeted for in the University’s Five-Year Strategic Planning Model, along with preliminary estimates of expenditures to be incurred for the next fiscal year, the University’s management presents its recommendations for tuition, and room and board levels for the next fiscal year to the Board of Trustees at its January meeting. Broad-based budgeting parameters are also presented to the Trustee Finance Committee during the January meeting sessions.

In late January/early February, the Controller’s Office e-mails to each budget manager the materials necessary for preparation of a new budget, including: budgeting instructions; a Departmental Budget spreadsheet file listing the previous year “actual” and the current year “budget” for each of the expense categories authorized for the department; an Incremental Operating Expenditure Requests File; and an Expenditure Line Justification File. At this same time, meetings are initiated with departments for information sharing and training.

The budget managers prepare their budgets and return them to their Vice Presidents, who review the budgets and forward them to the Controller’s Office by late February. Vice Presidents may determine that departments can send their Departmental Budget worksheet files directly to the Controller’s Office. Please note that all budget worksheets and supporting schedules must be submitted in electronic format (MS Excel). No hard-copy formats will be accepted. Additional time is allotted for the preparation of the Incremental Requests and the Budget Justification worksheets. Once budgets have been returned to the Controller’s Office, meetings will be set up with all the Vice Presidents to discuss and clarify issues regarding their submitted budgets.

By mid-March, the Controller’s Office compiles all the individual departmental budget requests and, having compared estimated expenditures with estimated revenues, begins to prepare reports for the Cabinet’s review.

The Cabinet reviews the proposed budget in April, paying particular attention to incremental expenditures with significant financial consequences. At its May meeting, the Board of Trustees is asked to review and approve summaries of the proposed operating and capital budgets. After the approval of the Board is obtained, budgets are loaded into the Banner GL module and, by mid-June, the Controller’s Office informs all departments that online reports are available for the upcoming fiscal year.

Click on the link below in order to view the timetable for the current/next fiscal year’s projection/budgeting process.

FY 08 Budget Time Table.xls.

Annual Operating Budget Proposal Preparation

The operating budget proposal process serves as the primary planning and control tool for the linkage of mission-based programs and the financial resources necessary for their success. To ensure that resources are available to meet the programmatic priorities of the University, it is important that all revenues and expenses be budgeted (planned) in a comprehensive manner.

The submission of the budget proposal worksheets and any subsequent revision is the individual departmental budget manager’s responsibility. At the beginning of each semester, the Controller’s Office provides budget training for new budget managers. Budget managers who have attended in the past, and who wish to attend as a refresher, are also welcome to do so.

In late January/early February, the Controller’s Office prepares a budgeting package, which is e-mailed to each departmental budget manager. There are three documents that must be completed as part of the annual operating budget process. They are: the Departmental Budget file, Incremental Operating Expenditure Requests File, and Expenditure Line Justification File. Below are instructions for the completion of each, as well as attached samples to assist budget managers in the process.

How to Prepare the Budget Worksheets:

  • Departmental Budget File:
    • The departmental budget worksheet is provided for budget managers to fill in the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
    • Data is subtotaled by major account types [revenues (5xxxx), salaries and fringe benefits (61xxxx & 65001), recharges (68xxx), and expenses (7xxxx)] for each organization number.
    • The worksheet includes a column that shows last fiscal year-end’s actual revenues and expenditures. This information is provided to budget managers to assist them in developing their budgets.
    • The current fiscal year budget column contains permanent budgets as of December 31. This column does not contain any temporary (one-year) budget changes made to departments. Any permanent changes made after December 31, are not reflected in this budget column, and therefore need to be factored into the proposed budget column.
    • Based on the information provided in the preceding columns of the worksheet, a proposed budget is to be developed for the upcoming fiscal year and entered into the proposed budget column.
    • For expenditure items that have any inflationary increases budgeted, the amounts are calculated and entered by the Controller’s Office and shown in the inflationary increase column. Budget managers should add such inflationary increases in the proposed budget column.
    • If additional funds have been initially allocated to your departmental expenditures by your divisional Vice President, who has funded such approved expenditures out of an expenditure increase pool of funds that they maintain, the dollar amount of such funds will be added at the bottom of each qualifying ORG’s total under the title of “VP Expenditure Increase Pool – Initial Allocation.Such dollars can be added to the proposed budgets of any line items managed by the budget manager in any manner they deem appropriate or as directed by their divisional Vice President.
    • If a divisional Vice President allocated additional funding for specific organizations out of their VP Expenditure Increase Pool (over and above the amounts initially allocated as explained above), such increases must be allocated among the account codes for the given Organization and identified with the notation “$xxxx funded from VP pool” in the comment column.
    • Budget managers are not required to fill in budgets for exempt and non-exempt permanent, full-time position salaries (Account codes 611xx through 615xx). No full-time salary lines are to be increased by budget managers. Any adjustments for such increases will be made by the Controller’s Office and automatically reflected in opening budgets (which will be loaded into the Banner Finance module in June).
    • Managers must fill in budgets for all part-time wages including student wages, stipends, overtime, and overloads (in the 616xx account categories.)
    • Fringe benefits budget for part-time or full-time positions (65001) are not required to be filled in.
    • In the case that an account code for a given expense is not listed on the spreadsheet, the appropriate code can be added, but budget managers must ensure that the formulas for the subtotal lines are updated to include any new lines that are added. Financial managers are encouraged not to use the miscellaneous expense account code (#73201) to bundle expenses. A comprehensive list of account codes can be obtained by logging into Banner and querying on the FTVACCTscreen.
    • Proposed budgets for all revenues (5xxxx) and recharges (68xxx) are entered as negative whole numbers (no decimals). Proposed budgets for expenses are entered as positive whole numbers (no decimals).
    • Budget managers can move funds between various organization and account codes under their control. However, the total proposed expense budget should not exceed the permanent budget plus any VP Expenditure Increase Pool allocations and inflationary dollar increases.
    • Budget managers can increase their proposed expenditure budgets higher than the budget amount only if such operations are solely funded by program revenues. However, such increases can only be justified if revenues and operating margins are proposed to increase proportionately.
    • Any additional/incremental requests for spending should not be added to this worksheet.

Please click on the link below to see a sample budget worksheet. Click on the headings at the top of each column for descriptions and explanations of each item.

Sample Operating Budget Worksheet

  • Incremental Operating Expenditure Requests File :
    • If additional funding is required for operational purposes that is not covered by (or partially covered by) inflationary increases and the VP Expenditure Increase Pool, please fill in the worksheet in the Incremental Operating Expenditure Requests File.
    • Provide details about your request in the box in Column A.
    • Dollars requested should be entered in Column B.
    • Enter the Organization and account code for each item for which additional funding is being requested.
    • Please copy additional blocks if needed to provide details for more than six records.
    • Please ensure that such amounts are not added in the proposed budget column of the Departmental Budget worksheet file.
    • The completed Incremental Operating Expenditure Request file must be returned to your Vice Presidents, who will review all such incremental expenditure requests and assign divisional priorities to them. Divisional Vice Presidents will directly communicate the due date for submission of such requests to their respective office. Please do not forward your incremental requests directly to the Controller’s Office.

Below is a link to an example of the Incremental Operating Expense Request.

Sample – Incremental Operating Expense Requests

  • Expenditure Line Justification File:
    • Separate written justifications are required for all part-time salary (616xxx) and expense (7xxxx) account codes with proposed budgets over $10,000. This amount must equal the dollar amount that was shown as your proposed budget for the new fiscal year in the Departmental Budget worksheet file.
    • We strongly encourage financial managers not to use the miscellaneous expense account code (#73201) to bundle expenses. If you do budget to this account, you must provide detailed justification for such items over $1,000.
    • Please enter the organization and account code for each item that you are justifying. Dollars justified should be entered in Column B.
    • Please copy additional blocks if you need to provide justification for more than six records.

Below is a link to an example for the expenditure justification.

Sample – Expenditure Justification

Budget Projection Process

Bryant University undertakes a projection of its revenues, expenditures, and capital project expenses twice a year in order to forecast its financial position for its fiscal year-end. These projections are provided to the finance committee of the University’s Board of Trustees at its January and May committee meetings. Such projections enable the University to obtain a better understanding and tracking of revenue and expenditure patterns for current operations, and forecast its financial position on a continual current and outgoing fiscal year basis.

 


Process Overview:

As part of the University’s continuing efforts to accurately forecast its finances, budget managers are requested to provide a projection of departmental revenues, expenditures and capital project expenses (if applicable) for the June 30 fiscal year-end. The first budget projection cycle occurs in November/December. During this cycle, only key departments are requested to provide an update for the year-end projections for revenues and expenses based on the format of data presented in the five-year budget planning model. Not every individual department in the University will not be required to provide their updated projections during this first cycle.

The second budget projection cycle occurs during March/April. In this cycle, Departmental Budget projections forms are e-mailed to every budget manager, who must make projections for each organization (department) number. Year-to-date activity figures are listed for the current year. Current year budgets are copied in the June 30 Projected Column. Budget managers are required to change projection amounts that will be over or under budget by $5000 (or more) only, in the June 30 Projected Column.

Based on existing revenue and expense patterns, budget managers should make estimates of their year-end revenues and expenses for part-time salaries, recharges, and discretionary expenses. While developing projections, the effect of any deferment of revenues, prepayment of expenses, and year-end accruals of revenues and expenses that would need to be made on June 30 should be taken into consideration. Also, due to the varying nature of the cycle of operations in each department, the revenues and expenses might not be always incurred on a smooth prorated monthly basis. On the projection worksheet, all revenues and recharge amounts are entered as negative numbers, and all salary and expense amounts as positive numbers. Please click on the attached link to see a sample of the projection worksheets.

Sample Projection Worksheet

For the budget manager’s reference within the projection file, the Controller’s Office also attaches a worksheet for the previous fiscal year that shows the prior year’s cumulative budgeted and actual year-end revenues and expenditures incurred by each department. This section is provided for informational purposes only, to assist budget managers with current fiscal year projections. No data should be entered on the previous fiscal year’s worksheet.

Please note that even if no changes are projected, budget managers must return the spreadsheet to the Controller’s Office as confirmation that budgets will not be overspent. In order for this process to be as streamlined as possible, all projections must be returned electronically to the Controller’s Office.

Long-range Financial Planning

The objective of the long-range financial planning process is to plan for and monitor the financial resources that will enable the University to achieve its mission. The plan links the enrollment, academic, staffing, facilities planning, and capital improvements programs with the mission, direction, and strategic priorities of the University in order to determine the financial impact of these programmatic needs for the future.


Long-range Plan Overview:

The long-range plan tracks and projects financial and operational data of key operational aspects of the University such as: student enrollments, tuition pricing, housing, dining services, fund-raising, auxiliary operations, salaries and fringe benefits, staffing needs, utility costs, depreciation expenses, other revenues and expenses by natural classification, capital expense cash flows, long-term investments, and debt service. The plan also tracks and projects data on key strategic initiatives to ensure the financial feasibility of such initiatives. This detailed information is linked to a summarized pro forma income statement and balance sheet to enable the financial management of the University to review the impact of ongoing and future changes on the institution’s operating cash, other assets, liabilities, and fund balances. The long-range financial plan also monitors the impact of changes in future financial plans on the key financial ratios that the University is required to maintain for debt covenant and current debt-rating purposes.

Long-range Financial Planning Process:

The Vice President for Business Affairs, in consultation with the President’s Cabinet, sets the broad-based planning parameters for the Long-Range Financial Planning model. The long-range financial plan (also known as the “Five-year financial model”) is maintained and updated by the Associate Controller and Budget Analyst in the Controller’s Office. However, every major function within the University contributes towards the maintenance and update of this model, with information and ideas flowing in both directions between the Controller’s Office and individual departmental/divisional budget managers, divisional VPs, and the President’s Cabinet.

Updates are continually made to the model to reflect changes in existing assumptions and future outlook. The long-range planning, annual operating and capital budgeting, and projection process are interrelated and form a single planning and budgeting system. During each fiscal year, as the University undertakes a projection of its year-end revenues and expenditures, it requests certain departments to provide updates to the model for the current and the outgoing years. The Controller’s Office budgeting staff also periodically meets with certain budget managers to obtain clarifications and updates on the outlook for future periods. The Long-range planning model is also tied to historical financial reporting. The model has a unique “look-back” feature, which tracks past financial and operational data. This enables the University to review and examine past trends to compare against current budgets and projections, and to develop future planning parameters and assumptions.

The availability of funds required to finance the capital construction, facilities renovations, and information technology acquisitions of the University is tracked through the model. The Facilities Management and the Information Services divisions both provide periodic updates to the Controller’s Office on the costs and scheduling of current and future capital projects. Since such capital plans typically span across a longer time horizon, the existence of a five-year plan enables the University to plan out the financing needs for such capital expenditures and determine the ability of the University to fund them through internal fund-balance reserves or the issuance of debt.

Budget Maintenance Process

Budget Maintenance Process

Goal of the Budget Maintenance Process:

Annually, the Controller’s Office initiates the budget process in order to prepare for the upcoming fiscal year. Budgets should be submitted at that time in a systematic and thoughtful manner to reflect anticipated revenue and expenses, as well as any anticipated changes that may occur within the given department. However, there may be times throughout the fiscal year during when adjustments may need to be made in order to reflect changes in the day-to-day operation of the institution. It is the responsibility of the budget manager to submit a Budget Change Order to reflect such changes. By doing so, the Controller’s Office can update the financial system to reflect such changes.

Types of Off-cycle Adjustments:

There are a variety of circumstances that require budget amendments. They may include:

  • Reorganization or consolidation of positions or of departments
  • An unanticipated change in specific revenues or expenses
  • Transfers between line items within or across departments to cover for overage/underage of revenues and expenditures
  • Award of a new grant or start-up of a new program/activity.

Budget Change Order Forms:

In order for any changes to be made to a budget, a Budget Change Order Form must be submitted to the Controller’s office.

Link to: Budget Change Order

Required Information:

The following information is required on the Budget Change Order Form:

  • Transaction Date: This is normally the date on which the Budget is written up. This can be past or forward dated so that it is reflected in an appropriate month’s budget report in the General Ledger. This is different from the data entry date.
  • A Permanent Budget Adjustment is one whose effect is carried forward into a future year’s budget. ATemporary Budget Adjustment is effective only for that particular fiscal year. The effect of a temporary budget adjustment is not carried forward into future fiscal years.
  • A Detailed Narrative is required to provide additional background on the reason for which the budget changes are being made.
  • A Brief Description of the change is to be used to enter the information into the Banner Finance System. This is not to exceed 34 characters (this is what is entered in the Banner system in the transaction description field, which is limited in size).
  • Include the Organization number, account number, and activity code (if applicable) for which the changes are being made.
  • Enter the title of the organization and the account description for which the changes are being made.
  • Enter a plus ”+” sign if you are increasing the budgeted amount for a revenue (5xxxx) or expense(61xxx or 7xxxx). Enter a minus “-“ sign if you are reducing the budgeted amount for a revenue or expense.

If you are increasing a recharge account (68xxx), enter aminus sign; if you are decreasing a recharge account, enter a plus sign.

  • Enter the dollar Amount of the increase or reduction for the given Organization/Account number.
  • The name of the Director responsible for the department budget and the divisional Vice Presidentshould be filled in in the Approval section. The Director and Vice President’s signature must be obtained before forwarding the budget change order form to the Controller’s Office.
  • The name of the individual who prepared the Budget Change Order Form should be filled in in the “Entry Written By” section in case the Controller’s Office needs further information regarding the changes.
  • The following fields will be filled in by the Controller’s Office:

    Document #

    Keypunched by

    Entry date

    Internal Approval signature

Click on the link below to view a sample budget change order form.

Sample Budget Change Order Form