Research the growing impact on the financial operations of universities
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Research: The Growing Impact on the Financial Operations of Universities. CAUBO 2006 Conference June 25, 2007. Agenda. Challenges, issues and impacts York’s solutions Questions. Challenges. Grant/Contract Complexity Reporting Requirements Matching Funding Challenges

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Research the growing impact on the financial operations of universities

Research: The Growing Impact on the Financial Operations of Universities

CAUBO 2006 Conference

June 25, 2007


Agenda

Agenda

  • Challenges, issues and impacts

  • York’s solutions

  • Questions

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 1


Challenges

Challenges

  • Grant/Contract Complexity

  • Reporting Requirements

  • Matching Funding Challenges

  • Financial Management Challenges

  • External Audits

  • Funding Pressures

  • Cultural Issues

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 2


Grant contract complexity

Grant/Contract Complexity

  • Issues

  • Increased reporting requirements

  • Expansion of types of programs – federal/provincial/private sector

    • Different rules

    • Different reporting timelines

    • External audit

    • In-kind contributions/deep discounts

  • Collaborative projects  multi university

  • Foreign grants/contracts

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 3


Grant contract complexity cont d

Grant/Contract Complexity (cont’d)

  • Impact

  • Higher level of professional skill sets required

  • Role of Research Accounting is moving to that of professional financial advisor for budget preparation, financial forecast, procurement advice, etc.

  • Education and training

    • Research accounting staff

    • Administrative staff at local level

    • Researchers

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 4


Grant contract complexity cont d1

Grant/Contract Complexity (cont’d)

  • Impact (cont’d)

  • Financial pressure on budgets to support Research

  • Coordinating with multi-party institutions

  • Increasing difficulty to ensure compliance with variety of requirements

  • Review and revise internal controls and procedures to ensure compliance.

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 5


Reporting requirements

Reporting Requirements

  • Issues

  • Form 300 vs. specific reporting requirements

  • Cash flow projections

  • Recognition/Reporting

    • In-kind donations

    • Deep discounts

    • Partial funding arrangements

  • Multi partner arrangements

    • Timing of reporting

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 6


Reporting requirements cont d

Reporting Requirements (cont’d)

  • Impacts

  • Valuation issues

  • Implications for automation of reporting

  • Cash flow impacts

  • Managing multi parties in agreements

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 7


Matching fund challenges

Matching Fund Challenges

  • Issues

  • Pressure to find funding partners

  • Risk of funding partner default

  • Federal/provincial programs

  • Political risk – provincial matching programs

  • Competitive pressure to accept projects

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 8


Matching fund challenges cont d

Matching Fund Challenges (cont’d)

  • Impacts

  • Financial pressures on University budgets

  • “Conflict of interest”/Source of funds

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 9


Financial management challenges

Financial Management Challenges

  • Issues

  • Use of technology

    • Procurement cards

    • EFT payments

    • Electronic travel claim submissions

    • Document imaging – A/P vouchers (compliance audits)

  • Decentralization vs. centralization – Accounting

  • Timing of application vs. date of award

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 10


Financial management challenges cont d

Financial Management Challenges (cont’d)

  • Issues (cont’d)

  • Foreign grants

  • Public accountability

  • Ineligible direct costs (i.e., severance costs/benefit cost)

  • Retention of records for CFI major capital projects  up to 10 years

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 11


Financial management challenges cont d1

Financial Management Challenges (cont’d)

  • Impacts

  • Compliance monitoring standards

  • Review of internal controls and procedures

  • Audit requirements

    • Photocopy of vouchers

    • Cancelled cheques

    • Procurement cards

    • Electronic travel claim reimbursement

    • Document retention

  • Communication directly with researcher – no RA involvement (passwords to PIs)

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 12


Financial management challenges cont d2

Financial Management Challenges (cont’d)

  • Impacts

  • Managing foreign currency risk

  • Competitive bidding on purchases from research grants

  • Increased reliance on administrative support

  • Cost have risen/technology outdated/funding partner has changed his mind

  • Budget pressures for severance and benefit costs on research grants

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 13


External audits monitoring visits

External Audits/Monitoring Visits

  • Issues

  • Provincial grants (ORDCF)

  • CIDA

  • Canarie

  • Department of Foreign Affairs Canada

  • International Trade Canada

  • CFI > $4 million

  • Monitoring visits

  • Impacts

  • Significant time consumed

  • Significant cost for separate audits

  • Heightened sensitivity in Ottawa

  • No dispute resolution mechanism

  • Timing of results of Monitoring Visits/Audits

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 14


Funding pressures

Funding Pressures

  • Issues

  • University funding levels (constant budget cuts)

  • Increasing cost to support research (professional staff, etc.)

  • CRC appointments

  • Impacts

  • Indirect Cost of Research grant relief

  • Shortfall in CFI grants – end of day

  • Pressure on Overhead Calculations on Contracts

  • Pressure from Researchers to forgo overheads to subsidize their grant activities

  • Salary/PTR increments/Start-up costs – CRC Chairs

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 15


Cultural issues

Cultural Issues

  • Challenges

  • Researchers’ attitude

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 16


York solutions to date

York Solutions To Date

  • Restructured Research Accounting; replacing staff vacancies with increased skill levels;

  • Introduced new Research Administrator positions at Faculty level for post-award support;

  • Vice-President Research and Innovation established Research Officer positions at Faculty level for pre-award assistance;

  • Introduced new Accountability Agreements for all researchers;

  • Introduced pre-requisites to open research accounts

    • Signed accountability agreement

    • Mandatory training on eReports

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 17


York solutions to date cont d

York Solutions To Date (cont’d)

  • Introduced monthly email warnings and advices re:

    • Available balances by grant number

    • 90-day notice of expiry of grant

    • Overdrafts

    • Expiry of payroll contracts

    • Considering others

  • Increased training to researchers:

    • Small groups

    • Faculty-specific

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 18


York solutions to date cont d1

York Solutions To Date (cont’d)

  • Workshops and reference manuals for CFI awardees;

  • Established dedicated Procurement Professional to support CFI awardees;

  • Implemented monthly checklists on all CFI grants;

  • In process of obtaining funding for a “Central Fund of last resort”;

  • Increased communication/cooperation with Office of Research Services/Associate Vice-President of Research

    • Joint training and information sessions

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 19


York solutions to date cont d2

York Solutions To Date (cont’d)

  • Developed guidelines for Managing Foreign Currency Contracts;

  • Ontario Universities have requested CAUBO to assist in dealing with the Federal Agencies regarding their requirement for extensive copying.

  • Created a compliance officer position to monitor high risk research areas (overspends, receivables, etc.)

Trudy Pound-Curtis, Assistant Vice-President Finance & CFOCAUBO 2007 Conference, June 25, 2007 / 20


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