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Purpose

The 'best practice' procedures and guidelines set out in this chapter are intended to assist Departments in the management of 'trading' income and to reduce outstanding debtors by identifying the steps and considerations to be made before, during and after the sale of goods and services.

The purpose of this is to:

  • Ensure that only appropriate trading activities are undertaken
  • Help to manage any financial and reputational risks to the University and Departments
  • Provide efficient procedures
  • Reduce the time and effort required to chase overdue debts
  • Prevent bad-debt provisions being lodged against Departmental accounts.
  • Prevent loss to the Department through minimising the writing off of bad debts.

Scope

This chapter concentrates on sales of goods and services to external customers(including students), what we commonly call trading activities. Guidance can be found in other chapters of the Financial Procedures Manual for the following other sources of income:

  • Funding and income from research grants and contracts - Research Grants (Chapter 19)
  • Donations (chapter 14)
  • Sales to other University Departments -'Internal Trading' (Chapter 8b)

How to use these pages

Before a decision is made to commence any income generating activity. The details that must be considered. All staff especially Heads of Intuitions and Departmental administrators should be aware of these issues.

Before an individual sale is made. An outline of the procedures that must be adhered to - such as considering the customer-base, credit control checks, terms and conditions, the costs and VAT implications. This is essential reading for departmental administrators and heads of accounts sections.

Practical guidance notes on creating customer records and recording sales. This includes raising sales transactions, dealing with refunds and creating receipts for payments from customers. This is essential information for all Accounts Receivable users within UFS.

Post sale guidance on Debt management. This covers the debt recovery process including details on how to log and monitor contact with customers and is of particular interest to any Credit Controllers or others with institutions that are responsible for recovering outstanding monies.

The rules and regulations for credit control and debt recovery have not been previously published and will provide Departments with practical steps to take when dealing with outstanding debts.

Overview of the stages involved with external sales

This flowchart gives an overview of the stages involved with external sales.

Departmental Responsibilities and Financial Regulations

Heads of Departments are responsible for ensuring that all income-generating activity is carried out in accordance with the Financial Regulations and the procedures set out in this chapter.

Departmental procedures should be developed for internal use in respect of sales, banking and income collection. The documents should set out:

  • those persons authorised to raise sales transactions
  • the financial limits of their authority
  • those persons authorised to handle cash and cheques
  • the preferred terms and conditions on which the goods and/or services are to be provided - see Terms & Conditions
  • the practice on extending credit to external customers (debtors) - see Credit risks of particular activities and Credit worthiness of external customers
  • any procedural requirements for making sales - see Making Sales
  • steps that will be taken to recover outstanding debts - see Debt Management
  • those persons authorised to approve the write-off of a debt - see Bad-debt provision.

Key Contacts

Contact Email Contact No.
Accounts Receivable Helpdesk UFS_AR@admin.cam.ac.uk 32215
Credit Control - Research Accounting Team fin.credit.control@admin.cam.ac.uk 32205
Cash Management Helpdesk UFS_CM@admin.cam.ac.uk 64298
Finance Division Cash Office Cashier.Old.Schools@admin.cam.ac.uk 32223
Taxation Section cjp41@admin.cam.ac.uk 32230
Accounts Payable Helpdesk UFS_AP@admin.cam.ac.uk 66888
Legal Services Office headoflegal@admin.cam.ac.uk 64900

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