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FAQs from current and, if still relevant, prior years' seminars and workshops are listed below.
  - 2020 questions from the virtual Q&A sessions start at "Is there any flexibility in the year end deadlines?" (about halfway down)

Click on the one you're interested in to expand the answer.

 

Q. What codes should be used for departmental accruals?

Departments can either use CC/SoF = “0000”, or they can use the relevant cost centre, then use SoF “0000”

Q. At what level of certainty should income be accrued for?

The level of certainty has to be very high otherwise do not accrue. Be aware that the auditors usually run spot checks on income received in August and September against Year End income accruals.

Q. What do we do if the HoD is away when the year end certificate needs signing?

Ask the HoD to put delegation in writing before leaving, and this written delegation of authority should be attached to the certificate (when emailed back by individual assigned to task)

Q. Late internal AR invoices will miss the AP/Shared Services posting deadline, how can we get these into July?

Identify these in your batches going to shared services and mark as urgent.  Shared Services Finance (SSF) will accept internal trading invoices beyond the August deadline date, but whilst making every effort, cannot guarantee capture. Only send current year invoices during this time.

Q. Why is clearing open POs necessary?

To remove commitment of funds and free up budget (Grants) and to identify any issues with the PO process. Good financial practice.

Q. Why are there so many open POs, some going back years?

Departments have not taken appropriate action. There are a number of reasons why POs are still open, for example receipting was not carried out, or it may be a call-off order. The date, items bought, type of order, supplier etc should be taken into account before taking the appropriate action.

Q. Some POs are part of a contract which rolls over. Is this a problem?

No - it is the date of the receipt which is important for year end purposes

Q. What does finally closing an order mean?

POs will have any committment removed and be closed to any further actions being taken. This includes receipting or matching of invoices. A finally closed PO cannot be re-opened.

Q. Where do you find the Invoice Register?

Oracle (UFS) for all AP and AR reports. However, the new AP Dashboard, AP Invoice Enquiry and AP Supplier Enquiry should be available from Cognos before end of July 2020.

Q. Who gets the AP holds and unaccounted transaction reports?

From July, the report is sent out weekly to the nominated department finance contact, or if requested, the department generic inbox. If there is a more appropriate contact, the Helpdesk needs to be informed. For the rest of the year, these reports are sent out monthly.

Q. Does the University encourage departments not to accrue/prepay for under £10,000?

No. It is entirely up to the department as to what is material for them and their accounts. Best practice would be to reflect accruals and prepayments but for audit purposes, it is mandatory to do so for amounts of £10,000 or more

Q. Is the £10,000 mandatory amount for individual transactions or totalled?

It is for individual transactions. Please note that for all accruals, prepayments, income received in advance, if the total amount is £200,000 or more, all relevant paperwork should be sent to Central and Research Accounting.

Q. Why does the cashier require a printed copy of IPO requests for non-standard currency when shared services will accept scanned papers?

By requesting paper copies from the department or Shared Services Finance, the cashier has assurance that the paperwork is only received once.  This is key as the payment is made before the transaction is processed on CUFS so the risk of duplication is greater.

Q. If an invoice is awaiting SIA, how does this impact the YE accounts?

It’s the primary validation that creates the accounting entry, delay in secondary approval does not change the accounting but it may delay the payment of the invoice. Please bear in mind that if invoices are amended after they have been secondary approved, the secondary approval process will need to be done again, even for paid invoices .

Q. What happens if I can’t get the Barclaycard receipts from the cardholders over year end?

The change in the date of receipt of Barclaycard statements allow more time to gather paperwork. Additionally, even if costs have not been allocated to the correct place, they will now be accounted for in the correct year.

Q. In respect of Fixed Assets, what constitutes an untracked invoice?

Central and Research Accounting will check for any items of £5,000 or more, and based purely on this, ask departments to verify whether it is an asset or not

Q. How will the July VAT adjustments on Research Grants be dealt with?

These will be posted to the normal control account and then have to be allocated to the Research Grant in the new financial year

Q. Source of Funds AZZY is being used for research grants not yet set up, and what happens to these balances in the Roll Forward?

For Research Grants that haven’t been set up by the Research Office, the Finance Division suggest using the departmental suspense award that is available to all Departments on the Grants Module.  The benefits of using the Grants Suspense account is that the expenditure gets included within the University’s Research Income and not reported as a General Ledger balance.  At the moment you can’t post salary costs directly to the research suspense account, but the Finance Division are looking at a solution.

At the year end the balance on the suspense account is cleared to departmental overhead account (EDAA).  Central and Research Accounting will be need to be notified by Departments of balances held on suspense accounts pending award set up by the Research Operations Office, so not to clear the balance down.

As at 31st July 2019 AZZY balances held on the following transaction codes will roll into the reserves codes detailed below:

Purpose

Transaction Code

Rolls into

Barclaycard

FJAA

XEAB

Internal Trading

FKAA

XEAC

Research VAT Adjustments

EZZM

XEAD

Other A – N transaction code balances held on AZZY

????

XEAA

Q. Is there any flexibility in the year end deadlines?

Unfortunately the deadlines are driven by the submission of the accounts to the Office for Students.  This deadline is currently the 30th November 2020 and hasn’t moved.  The year-end timetable is built to make sure that we hit this deadline to include the production and also the sign off through the University’s committees.  If we are notified that the deadline is to be changed, we may review the timetable.

Q. Is it possible to have a schedule of all Finance Division requests and monthly postings?

The Finance Division will look into getting a central repository of this information together and allow departments to have access.

Q. When will be know if we are chosen for the department audit?

PwC don’t inform us of Departmental visits until the General Ledger is finally closed at the beginning of September. This is so we don’t alter our behaviour towards those departments.  As soon as the Finance Division find out, we will inform Departments.  For guidance on timelines, PwC are on site from the Monday 14th September 2020.

Q. How do we collect paperwork for the auditors?

PwC accept electronic copies of requested documents.  Usually samples are over the £10k threshold and Finance Division will hold a copy of Purchase Invoices.  Hopefully by September, we will have improved access to buildings to allow collection of paperwork.

Q. Any possibility of making General Ledger adjustments after the General Ledger closes to Departments?

If Departments are reviewing their accounts after the 1st September, there is a small window of opportunity to correct any errors.  Please send any requests to the General Ledger helpdesk, copying in your Finance Advisor.

Q. How do we do a year end stock take in current climate?

Year End stock takes can be delayed until Departments have access to their buildings.  Once access is available we recommend a stock take is undertaken as a priority.

Q. When will the Carbon Levy be charged?

There is no charges in department accounts for the current financial year.  We will get the charges up to the end of April in June accounts.  An estimated Q4 charge will be posted into Department accounts by the 19th August.

Q. How do we do the year end Fixed Assets Reporting?

The Central and Research Accounting team will send some additional reports with the June Fixed Asset Register to allow make sure that your Fixed Asset Register is correct.  We will include a report detailing Additions and Retirements from the last completed review at the end of December 2019.

Q. What about University of Cambridge Assets in transit?

If a department has a wholly owned University asset in transit, then please contact the Fixed Asset helpdesk and we will be able to advise on the accounting treatment.

Q. How to we use "ALBE" Source of Fund?

Guidance is available on the Finance Division website regarding the tracking of Covid-19 costs. The ALBE source of fund can be in deficit at the end of the year and will be rolled forward.  The question as to whether shortfalls are met through additional allocations from Chest or by other measures will be determined at a later date, when we have a better idea of the duration and scale of the impact.

Q. Is there a procedure that the Finance Division can provide for Departments to set invoicing correctly for Zoom Licenses?

In the first instance, please liaise with your School Office regarding Zoom Licenses, as there may be a School policy. The University through the University’s Silver Team considered the relative benefits and costs of purchasing a University-wide licence. After Analysis of the cost and benefits, it was felt that it would be more cost effective for the University as a whole, if Departments purchased licenses locally. Some generic contact details are below:

Q. What do we do about Cash in departments for example Petty Cash?

As preparation for the University's annual audit it is a requirement that departments submit a Cash Holding return detailing items such as advances, petty cash and float balances as at 30th June 2020. However with the current lockdown arrangements we are aware departments may be unable to achieve this by the deadline of 21 July 2020 as detailed in the FPM11, so the following arrangement should be made:

  • When staff return to their departments, please complete the return as soon as possible at that time: PDF format form / Word format form.
  • Please mark the form with the date completed.
    Whilst the return will be as at 30 June we accept that in many cases this may represent the March 20 position when lockdown commenced and cash transactions ceased.
  • Completed forms (including NIL returns) should be returned to the Finance Division and be marked for the attention of the Cashiers, preferably by email (with PDF attachment).

Please feel free to let us know as soon as possible if you are already aware of any discrepancies on advances, petty cash and float balances that you have not previously advised us on.

Q. When will the VAT adjustments be posted?

The July VAT adjustments will be posted into Department Accounts by the 27th August. The postings should be up to date. If any postings are going to be transferred to Research Grants, these can stay on the AZZY source of fund.

Q. When is the monthly payroll processed into Department Accounts?

All the monthly payrolls are processed into Department Accounts and Research Grants by payment date of the payroll.  If the Finance Division is delayed in processing, departments will be notified through the usual channels.

Q. Is there going to be guidance on the new Cognos Accounts Payable (AP) Dashboard?

The new AP Dashboard has been mentioned at FUG and we are looking to release this to Departments before the end of July.  Further FUG sessions will be arrange to demonstrate it and guidance will be provided by the Finance Division. A training video can be viewed here.

CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19
FOR STAFF

Please see our CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19 Assistance pages for help with areas of Finance during the current situation.

UFS issued communications and the University website also contain information on this topic

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