Finance and Administration has the primary responsibility for the establishment and communication of financial policies and procedures, development and oversight of operating budgets, and overall responsibility for control of financial resources.
University Accounting has the primary responsibility to develop and monitor the University budget as approved by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning. Accountability for specific line-item appropriations is established with the use of separate budget organization units for these activities.
Each Budget Unit Manager has the responsibility to ensure that proper documentation procedures are followed for the budget unit and that only authorized expenditures are charged to an account. Each Budget Unit Manager is responsible for monitoring the financial status of their department(s), performing monthly reconciliations, and notifying University Accounting of any transactions which are incorrect or do not belong to that organization unit.
Budget revisions are necessary when a major expense object category (salaries, wages, fringe benefits, travel, contractual services, commodities, capital outlay, transfers) goes over budget, or actual revenues are insufficient to cover budgeted expenses. The Budget Unit Manager should complete a Budget Adjustment Request form, which is available on University Accounting’s webpage. In the Justification section, the manager should indicate whether this is a temporary adjustment (affecting current fiscal year only), or if this to be a permanent adjustment to the unit’s base budget. When approved by the Senior Vice President for Administration and Chief Financial Officer, the form will be forwarded to University Accounting for approval and entry into Banner.
During the fiscal year, requests for approval of budget escalations are submitted to the IHL Board. Revisions requiring only the realignment of funding by categories are submitted to the Commissioner of Higher Education for approval and reported to the IHL Board as an information item.
Appearance and Reasonableness Tests
For all potential expenditures from all sources of funds, the “appearance test” should be used, i.e., how would this purchase look to external constituents if placed on the front page of a newspaper? Another test that is useful is to ask the question “Is this expenditure necessary for a faculty/staff member to do his/her job or for the university to carry on its normal business?” The utilization of these tests should be documented to help to guide faculty/staff members in their decision-making.
At all times, faculty/staff are encouraged to avoid the appearance of poor management of funds as well as the reality of poor management of funds. For proper separation of duties and internal control, all procurement requests should be initiated and signed by an employee, and approved by the supervisor.
The base budget allocated to the University at the beginning of each fiscal year is generally the same as the previous year’s final allocation, except for non-recurring funds specified by the Legislature, or increases/reductions allocated by the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.
Each general fund and auxiliary fund unit has an established base budget that is effective with the beginning of the fiscal year. This base budget contains continuing allocations, with non-recurring allocations from the prior year being dropped for the new year.
The university prepares an annual budget that is preceded by sound planning, is subject to sound fiscal procedures, and is approved by the institution’s governing body, the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL Board). The process of budget planning and prioritization is a continuous process that starts with the university’s creation and submission of budget requests and priorities to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) each August. Institutional budget requests are submitted to the Commissioner of Higher Education for the IHL Board. The Commissioner, working with the IHL Board, then prepares a system-wide IHL budget request to the Mississippi legislature through JLBC. The JLBC adopts a Legislative Budget Recommendation which forms the basis for appropriation bills adopted at the end of the legislative session.
The University’s internal budgeting process begins with budget managers’ reviewing their budgets and then meeting with their respective supervisor.
Academic departments submit budget requests to their deans, while nonacademic departments submit budget requests to the appropriate president’s cabinet member. The Senior Vice President for Administration/Chief Financial Officer is responsible for developing revenue projections and working with the Director of University Accounting to finalize the estimated total funds available for operations. These projections are based on retention rates, previous spending, revenue estimates, allocation of state appropriations, and investment income. Rate requests for tuition, housing, and board plans are submitted to the IHL Board for approval as required by policy. As a vehicle for communication, the budget is often the best way for an operating unit or department to express its objectives and to identify the resources needed to meet those objectives; therefore, departmental input is a critical step in developing the university’s overall operating budget. The Director of University Accounting is responsible for budgeting activities once final estimates are made and funding priorities decided. Detailed budget instructions are prepared and provided to academic deans and department heads through each member of the president’s cabinet. Each budget manager is instructed to follow the budget procedures outlined below and to tie budget requests to university priorities:
- Review current year expenditures to date to determine need for changes between major object codes. Compare current year-to-date with the expenditures through this period last year, and budget unit total expenditures for last year.
- Increases or decreases in budgeted expenditures should be categorized by a University Priority, and a separate column should be used for each priority requiring budget changes.
- Provide narrative detail by University Priority. Additional pages may be needed. As appropriate, indicate why an item is needed, if this item is recurring, or a one-time expenditure.
- All budget worksheets that do not have requested increases and decreases linked to a University Priority along with narrative detail by University Priority will be returned for completion to the Budget Manager.
- All completed Budget Worksheets should be printed and hard copies of any supporting documentation should be made. The Budget Manager should sign the worksheet where indicated.
- Budget worksheets should be reviewed by your Dean (if applicable) and Supervising Cabinet member. Any recommended changes should be made to the Budget Worksheet. All changes should be initialed by your Dean (if applicable) and Supervising Cabinet member and both should sign the worksheet where indicated, signifying that they have reviewed the request. All original Budget Worksheets should be returned to Susan Sobley at Welty 1604 no later than Friday, May 9th.
- Finally, the attached personnel sheets reflect current employee information as of the March 31st payroll. Please note changes proposed as part of the staff job evaluation process are pending until they can be taken up as a whole across the university. This process will be completed before the finalization of the FY 15 operating budget. Review the names, titles and salaries for accuracy, and make note of any known changes effective for FY 2015 (faculty promotions, terminations, retirements, new hires). We must have, approved PAFs to effect these changes. The original sheets should be sent back to Susan Sobley no later than Friday, May 9th and should be signed by the Budget Manager, Dean (if applicable) and Supervising Cabinet Member with all changes initialed by both.
FY 2015 University Planning and Budget Priorities:
|Priority 1||Increase retention and graduation rates while maintaining high academic standards.|
|Priority 2||Increase enrollment in several key performance areas while maintaining high academic standards.|
|Priority 3||Develop and implement strategies to recruit, develop and retain highly qualified diverse faculty, staff, students, as well as, diversity in business operations.|
|Priority 4||Maintaining compliance with government, IHL and accreditation agencies and fostering a culture of accountability to ensure ongoing quality enhancement.|
|Priority 5||Develop and implement strategies to generate additional revenue for the institution, including initiatives in grant writing and donor support.|
|Priority 6||Promote healthy relationships and collaborative partnerships with all constituent groups.|
|Priority 7||Reallocate resources internally to support the achievement of these objectives.|
Annual Operating Budget
Budget requests are summarized by priority and presented by each cabinet member for review by the president and the. Approved budgets are ultimately routed to the Director of University Accounting for final review and required adjustments. Once all expense budgets have been appropriately approved and reviewed, the Director of University Accounting works with the Senior Vice President for Administration/Chief Financial Officer to finalize the budget, specifically ensuring that approved revenues and priorities are accurately budgeted.
Once the budget is balanced, analysis and reports required by the IHL Board are prepared for submission. While final IHL Board approval of budgets is at the aggregate level, submission requirements and IHL Board staff analysis occur at a more detailed level. When the IHL Board approves the budget, the budget is published and copies are then distributed to campus offices, appropriate IHL staff, and the other Mississippi universities. Budget unit managers have on-line access to their budget unit’s financial information in Banner.
From time to time it is necessary to move money between object codes to cover expenditures. In order for this change to be made in the Banner System, a budget adjustment form must be completed. The completed and signed form should be forwarded to the Office of University Accounting at MUW-1604. If you do not have a budget adjustment form or do not know how to complete one, please contact:
Director of University Accounting
You may print a budget adjustment form from the following link: Budget Adjustment Form.
To view your budget you must have access to the Banner System via WConnect. To obtain access, contact Information Technology Services at 329-7282.
Account Reconciliation Procedures
Responsibilities of Individual Departments
Each department is responsible for monitoring all financial activity to ensure that all revenues earned/collected by a department were credited to the correct account and to ensure that expenditures were allowable, properly approved, and charged to the correct account. University Accounting is available for Budget Training for employees.
Account reconciliation is a comparison of detailed information as contained within the university’s financial system (Banner Monthly Ledger FGRODTA) to supporting documentation retained within the department (for example department’s copies of cash receipt vouchers, purchase orders, travel, and procurement card statements).
- Each department shall develop procedures for reconciliation of all departmental accounts. Although departments may review their ongoing ledger activity on the university’s accounting system and print the ledgers at any time, a formal reconciliation of the accounting records should be performed monthly. In addition to ensuring the completeness, accuracy, and appropriateness of revenues and expenditures being reported, the reconciliation process should also include a comparison of actual revenues and expenditures to budget to ensure that overspending does not occur.
Each Budget Manager is responsible for ensuring that adequate documentation is maintained to support the reconciliation process. Documentation should include the signatures of both a reconciler and a reviewer (the reconciler and reviewer should not be the same person).
- Account reconciliations, including evidence of review and approval by the appropriate person, should be maintained in the department and made available to internal or external auditors upon request. Monthly account reconciliations should be retained by each department for a minimum of one year. Fiscal year-end reconciliations are to be maintained by each department for a minimum of three years, not including the current fiscal year.
- For control purposes regarding the account reconciliation process it is recommended that the duties of reconciler are separate, if possible, from the duties of the employee processing any cash receipts, revenues and expenditures. Being performed by separate individuals greatly enhances the oversight and control value of the reconciliation process.