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FAQs from prior years' seminars and workshops are listed below.

- 2023 questions start from Q. Who do we email the schedule of accruals and prepayments to?
- 2021 and 2022 questions start from Q. What codes should be used for departmental accruals?
- 2020 questions start from Q. What about University of Cambridge Assets in transit?

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


Q. Who do we email the schedule of accruals and prepayments to?

If you email it to helpdesk, we'll pick it up there. 

Q. Regarding CUEF units - In March 2023 we had the presentation about proposing the changes to buying / selling postings. I think the example was that if you if you make an instruction to buy in March, then an estimate will be posted in April and then reversed out once you know the actual. In our school some of our departments want to use their year to date surplus up to June to buy spendable units, so they invest in June. When would the June purchasing entry be posted in the year end period?

 The June purchase will go in CUFS at the beginning of July, so as soon as we have an estimate of the value we will put that through July.  

The only difference at year end as opposed to the previous quarters is the actual will also go in July.  

In March, you put an estimate in during April, but then the actual doesn't go in until June, but at year end you put the estimate in July. But the actual will also go into July because it is year end. That's the only difference there.  

Once you have the accrual, it will reverse out to July as well. So you have a July accrual, a July reversal then a July actual. Usually it is timed over the whole quarter whereas at year end everything will go in and out of July. 

Q. Usually we get the top 10 or top 20 suppliers and we have to reconcile the statements. Is that happening this year? Because I can't see it on the sheet of important dates?

This year with the supplier reconciliations we have decided to do the main suppliers centrally, we’ll pick the top 30 suppliers and do as one big statement centrally, rather than individual departments doing them. We have been getting more data on departments including the length of time it is taking you to process invoices and then getting in contact with you to see if there is anything we can do to help you speed up the processing.  

Q. Please could you clarify the ABHB Chest Allocation Holdback mechanism?

Yes, it’s a new process this year where we are withholding a certain percentage of the normal full 100% chest allocation; departments carry on as you normally would with your processing and towards the end of the year the financial performance and planning team (FPP) are going to review any over or underspend against the Chest Allocation. They will be looking in more detail at where the overspends are coming from and the reasons behind it and then they've got the option or ability to release some or all of that withheld allocation, should it be required by departments. 

There will be a very short window between the GL closing and our FPP colleagues making the decisions, and it will be handled by your School’s Finance Advisor and Finance Managers. 

There will be more information and clarity about the criteria for releasing funds published in July. 

Q. Will the key dates be in the bulletin each week over the year end period?

Yes, each week the key tasks for that week will be published in the Bulletin on Monday afternoon. If people are not on the bulletin email list, please email the Helpdesk and we will add them 

Q. If a conference is running 30th of July to the 2nd of August, how do you account for cut off?

The best thing to do would be to pro-rata the income and any expenditure associated with it into both Financial Years. If you do need to do this it is best to speak with your School Finance Advisor and/or Central Finance for assistance in getting this right first time. 

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. Do not use Finally Close for orders from e-Suppliers.

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 from Cognos provides the same information quicker.

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. 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:


Transaction Code

Rolls into




Internal Trading



Research VAT Adjustments



Other A – N transaction code balances held on AZZY



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. 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. 

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. 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. When will the Carbon Levy be charged?

We currently have Q1 to Q3 in Department Accounts for FY2021. Q1 and Q2 are based on actuals. If Q3 and Q4 data is available we will revert to the actuals, however this maybe an estimate. We will confirm closer to the time.

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 2021.

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 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. 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 2023. The deadline for this is 20 July 2023.  The forms are available  PDF format form / Word format form.

  • Please mark the form with the date completed.
  • 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 25 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 AP Dashboard was released in July 2020.  A training video can be viewed here and the documentation here.

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