Financial Planning and Budgeting

The mission of the Budgets and Financial Planning area is to support the Vice President of Business Affairs and Associate Vice President of Business Affairs 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
  • Director Budget & Financial Planning, Extension 6009
  • Budget Analyst, Extension 6467

Annual Operating Budget

Annual Operating Budget Process Overview and Scope

Each year, beginning in the fall 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 budget, and any subsequent revisions is the Budget Department Office’s responsibility. 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 and the Cabinet compiles information for the submission of proposed increases in tuition, 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, room and board levels for the next fiscal year to the Board of Trustees at its Fall meeting.

The budget managers prepare their budgets online and submit them to their Budget Liaison/Vice President. The Budget Liaison or Vice President will forward the approved budget to the Budget Department Office by late February. Vice Presidents may determine that departments can send their online departmental budget files directly to the Budget Department office.  Additional time is allotted for the preparation of the Special Requests and the expense justification worksheets. Once budgets have been completed online, meetings will be set up in March with all the Vice Presidents to discuss and clarify issues regarding their submitted budgets and supporting documentation.

In early April after the VP meetings have taken place and all of the allotted changes have been made, the Budget Department Office will combine the departmental budgets for the entire university into a proposed budget. The department will also review estimated expenditures, estimated revenues, special request, expense justifications, and supporting documentation as it begins to prepare reports for the Cabinet’s review.

The Cabinet reviews the proposed budget in April, paying particular attention to special request with significant financial consequences. In 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 June, the Budget Department 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 2XXXX Budget Time Table

Annual Operating Budget Proposal Preparation

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

In mid-December the Budget Department Office notifies the budget managers and liaison’s that the online budget system is available to input budgets and projections.  Below are items that need to be completed as part of the annual operating budget process.
1. Current year projection amounts
2. Proposed budget amounts for new fiscal year
3. Expenditure line justification file
4. Return of supporting documents
5. And occasionally special requests File (Item 5 is only needed if additional funds are needed and the organization or the VP’s reserves do not have sufficient funds for the expenditure(s). Below are instructions for the completion of each, as well as attached samples to assist budget managers/liaisons in the process.

How to obtain instructions on how to navigate through the online Budget module:

  1. Sign onto Banner Self-Service
  2. Select Finance Menu
  3. Select Budget and Forecasting Menu
  4. Click on  the blue question mark in the top right corner of web page
  5. Select the FY 2XXX instructions (This will walk you through the online budgeting process)

Special Requests File:  The actual forms are located on the online budget page in the lower left corner of the web page.

  • Enter the Organization and account code for each item that additional funding is being requested.
  • Please copy additional blocks if needed, to provide details for more than four records.
  • Please ensure that such amounts are not added in the proposed budget column of the Departmental Budget worksheet file.
  • If additional funding is required for operational purposes and other organizations or the VP reserve within this same area doesn’t have sufficient funds then a special request form will need to be prepared. Please fill out the worksheet and attach it to the organization that needs the special requests in the online module. Please also email special request to the Budget Department Office.
  • Select if the request is a one-time request or a permanent request.
  • Provide org name/number, account number, amount of request in Section I.
  •  Give a brief description and also report the dollar amount in Section II.
  • Input the current budget allocation in Section III.

Below is a link to the special request form and all areas of this form need to be filled in by the requesting department.


Expenditure Line Justification File: The actual forms are located on the online budget page in the lower left corner of the web page.

  • 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 online Budget module.
  • 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 showing the areas that need to be filled out on 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 30th 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.  Every individual department in the university will not be required to provide their updated projections during this first cycle.

The second budget projection cycle is incorporated within the annual operating budget process. During this process, projection information is included in the online budget module. Current year budget information is populated in the budget module. Budget managers are required to input amounts that they project to be the total year end spending for the current fiscal year

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 30th 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. In the projection section, all revenues and recharge amounts are entered as negative numbers and all salary and expense amounts as positive numbers.

For the budget manager’s reference, within the module, the system shows the prior year’s cumulative budgeted and actual year-end revenues and expenditures incurred by each department by organization number. This section is provided for informational purposes only, to assist budget managers with current fiscal year projections. This area is locked on the system so no inputting of data is allowed.

Please note that even if no changes are projected, the projected column still needs to be filled in and budget managers must return the information to the Budget Department Office as confirmation that budgets will not be overspent by checking the box on the online module. The budget liaison will need to also check their box approving this information which will forward the data electronically to the budget department.

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 Director of Budgets and Financial Planning and Budget Analyst in the Budget Department 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 Budget Department 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 Budget Department Office 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 Budget Department 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 Budget Department 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 which 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 Budget Department 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 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 Budget Department Office.

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 a minus 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 Budget Department Office.
  • The name of the individual who prepared the Budget Change Order Form should be filled in the “Entry Written By” section in case the Budget Department Office needs further information regarding the changes.

The following fields will be filled in by the Budget Department Office:

  • Document #
  • Keypunched by
  • Entry date
  • Internal Approval signature