ANU budgeting and planning process

Budget allocation

The Vice-Chancellor and Finance and Business Services manage the allocation of the University's recurrent operating funding, through a formal annual budget process.

The annual process begins in August with the Vice-Chancellor meeting individually with college convenors and budget unit delegates (Deans, Directors etc) to discuss funding requirements. The University's budget is then prepared and presented to Finance Committee and then Council for final approval in November.

The Finance and Business Services Division (F&BS) is responsible for the budget review and reporting cycle.

While the funding negotiations are underway in August many colleges and budget units will have already commenced examining operational requirements for the following year and are in the process of making high-level expenditure estimates. It is also common for these preliminary estimates to be used to support future year funding requests.

The colleges and budget units should have budgets finalised by November with only the operating grant allocations to be confirmed. Once Council have approved the final operating grant allocations, colleges and budget units can finalise their initial budget.

Whilst the finalising of budgets is occurring, F&BS undertakes a final analysis of the central income budget and other central expenditure allocations in preparation for entering into the financial system.

For budgeting and planning purposes, ANU is organised into 7 colleges:

  • College of Health & Medicine
  • College of Asia and The Pacific
  • College of Law
  • College of Business and Economics
  • College of Science
  • College of Engineering and Computer Sciences
  • College of Arts and Social Sciences

There are also budget units for:

  • Division of Information
  • Administrative Divisions
  • Academic Support
  • Scholarships
  • Building Works and Maintenance
  • University Business Units (UBU)

The University College structure can be found within the ESP Financials System. Log on to ESP and navigate to Tree Manager -> Tree Viewer -> Search -> College Structure. Open the College structure tree with the most current effective date.

Entering budgets into ESP Financials

Finance and Business Services manage the process of uploading budgets. Central co-ordination is required to make sure operating grant figures in the budget journals match the approved allocations. The central review also assists in balancing the University's income budget against all expenditure allocations at the local budget unit level.

Once Council has approved the final operating grant allocations, budget units can finalise their initial budget.

It is expected that budget units will prepare the budgets at the natural account level. The initial budget may be set at the budget unit level, and then once uploaded; the area will devolve the budget to department or project/grant level as appropriate.

The loading of budgets into ESP Financials should be completed before the close of the previous calendar year so any errors can be rectified before the new financial year commences. It also allows meaningful budget information to be included in any financial reports that are prepared early in the new year.

Carry forward of prior year surpluses or deficits

The carry forward of prior year surpluses or deficits must be considered in the preparation of the University's budget.

Surpluses are an important funding source for budget units and can generally be allocated within an area at the discretion of the delegate.

Deficits are also bought forward, and it is equally important that delegates have a plan to recoup deficits from subsequent budget allocations. Commencing 1 January 2003, deficits and surpluses will be retained within the budget class, BC20, not at the account level.

Carry forward information is generally not available until mid-February each year; after all year-end cash journal entries are processed for annual financial statement purposes.

Once the period for these journals close, F&BS analyse the ledger to determine each budget unit's carry forward figure (basically YTD income less YTD expenditure +/- carry forward from previous year - does not include the effect of encumbrances, examines cash movement only) and then proceeds to process the necessary journal entries to record the funds in the University's ledger.

Summary of the timing of the budgeting and planning cycle at ANU

Month Budget cycle
August Funding negotiations between the Vice-Chancellor and budget unit delegates.
August/September Detailed budgets are prepared by budget units.
November Finance Committee Meeting - review budget.
  Council approval of budgets.
  Final adjustments to initial budget following Council determinations.
December Budgets, based on budget unit submissions, uploaded into ESP Financials system by F&BS.
February Prior year results determined by F&BS and uploaded into ESP Financials system by F&BS.
February to December Budget monitored on an ongoing basis.