Improve UCOP budget process

Project Goals

  • Ensure that the UCOP budget process includes consistent, timely, and appropriate input from relevant campus stakeholders.
  • Understand gaps between the current UCOP budget process and industry best practice budget processes.
  • Develop a plan to address gaps or deficiencies in the budget process.
  • Implement overall budget process best practices, leveraging GFOA and NACUBO standards.
  • Revise budget policies and/or practices related to documentation and approval of one-time expenditures (both budgeted and unforeseen) and the expenditure of surplus funds from previous years to ensure thorough documentation, justification, approval, tracking, and appropriate reporting.
  • Evaluate and revise budget processes as needed to ensure that all expenditures are properly justified and approved.
  • Assuming budget safeguards are deemed sufficient after they’re revised the budget process, implement a multi-year budgeting process and plan.
  • Determine if any budget savings can be identified for reallocation as a result of improved processes.

Plan Assumptions

  • UCOP will clearly document and communicate the role of campus stakeholders and expectations for their input in the budget process.
  • UCOP will consider existing structures/venues for campus input to the UCOP budget and will leverage these structures/venues to ensure efficiency and avoid duplication of effort.
  • UCOP will revise its budget processes to align with best practices (GFAO, NACUBO).
  • UCOP will develop and implement an improved process to appropriately justify, review, approve, and fund one-time expenditures, both planned and unforeseen.
  • UCOP will develop and implement a standardized process to improve the timeliness, consistency, relevance, and usability of budget and expense related reports to support improved management and forecasting of budgets and expenditures.
  • UCOP will analyze existing deployment and distribution of effort and resources and recommend optimal structure to support effective and efficient budget and financial analysis processes.
  • UCOP will clearly document revised budget policies, practices, and processes.
  • Successful and timely outcomes of this workstream are dependent on the UCOP Budget & Finance department’s ability to have sufficient and appropriate time and resources required to analyze and address gaps in the current process and implement new policies, procedures, systems, and tools.
  • Successful and timely outcomes of this workstream are dependent on the replacement of the UCOP budget tool, BDS, with a more sophisticated tool. Replacement is required to fully achieve the desired outcomes as BDS functionality is limited in key areas and requires significant manual manipulation of data, which significantly and negatively impacts staff productivity.

CSA Recommendations

By April 2018

  • Increase campus stakeholder input in the budget development process by reconvening the campus budget committee and establishing an agreed upon charter that describes the committee’s scope, role, and protocol for reviewing and providing comments on the Office of the President’s annual budget.

By April 2019

  • Implement the best practices for budgeting identified by GFOA and NACUBO, including developing budget policies and procedures and formally documenting, approving, and justifying all one-time and unexpended expenditure requests.

By April 2020

  • Evaluate its budget process to ensure it is efficient and has adequate safeguards that ensure staff approve and justify all budget expenditures. If the Office of the President determines that its safeguards are sufficient, it should begin developing a multi-year budget plan.
  • Report to the regents on the amount of funds it reallocates to campuses as a result of implementing our recommendations.