Budgets are an easy way of tracking income and managing expenditure. While they may look complex at first they are easy to use and as an important part of a paid group's function, are well worth the time that is taken to read this document to understand how they work!
What are Budgets?
Budgets are a recorded planned expenditure for a group based on your predicted income for the next academic year. Budgets are only relevant to paid groups (those that charge a membership fee) and thus only these groups will need to prefill one in advance of the following academic year.
Each academic year after your AGMs have been completed, paid groups will be expected to submit a budget outlining how much membership money the group anticipate taking in the next academic year. This could be based on a predicted increase, decrease or the same amount of members but you must remember to be realistic. Even if you have planned for 200 members and only get 20 you will only have the money from the 20 that have joined and will need to, therefore, forego some of the planned expenditure for that year.
This money would go directly into your 'A' account and so you must remember that this money needs to be spent on things that benefit all of your members and the function of your group. This may be for entry into a competition that is open for all members to participate in. This should not include anything social that would be non-inclusive or non-beneficial to all members such as general alcohol purchases.
Planning ahead and drafting a budget should be easy so long as you have completed your AGM in advance and are able to work with the new committee to put plans in place for the year ahead.
What do They Look Like?
For guidance on how to read and draft your budget and to see a template of what they look like, please refer to this Budget Guidance Document.
Templates will be sent out to all members by their relevant coordinators around the time of the annual Handover Conference (please see the section 'AGMs, EGMs and Handover' for more details). Groups will be expected to fill one in with their planned income and outcome for the following year and send it back to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the coordinators have assessed these and the treasurer have attended the relevant finance training, the budgets will go live and you will be shared into a document where you can comment on your purchases, income and other financial related areas of your budget.
Who is in Charge of Our Budget and How do we Keep Track?
It is the responsibility of the treasurer and president to keep track of a group's overall income. Any discrepancies that are found on the live budget should be commented on by the treasurer and discussed with the Groups Team. If there are any changes to your plans for the year the team should be notified of this also so that your coordinator can make appropriate amendments to the live budget. Do ensure that treasurers continuously monitor the group budget to keep track of both income and outcome. Though the budgets are live, amendments cannot be made to this document and therefore you will need to be aware of how much you are spending and how much money you have entered this account. Make sure to liasise with your assigned coordinator on a regular basis when making large payments.
Reforcasting is a process that allows the coordinators to reevaluate the money in your 'A' account and distribute it elsewhere if needed. Each quarter year, your budget will be reviewed and accruals made. An accrual is a process wherein we hold an amount of money for an expense that your group has identified (either when creating your budget or through additional communication with us) will be spent, but not yet processed as UPSU have not yet received the invoice. We go through this process quarterly as stated, in the months of October, January, April and July. These months are known as quarter-end. On your budget, you will see quarterly reforecasting already outlined and indicated by these purple boxes in the image below. These sections will allow staff and groups to monitor what is being spent and what may need reforcasting at each quarter point.