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L&S Budget Status Reports: overview and policy

This KB document provides an overview of the BSR accounting system and related administrative processes. The BSR accounting system changes as principles and procedures are modified over time. Please check this KB document periodically for updates
Within L&S, departmental 101 budgets are managed through Budget Status Reports (BSRs).  New chairs, directors and departmental administrators are strongly encouraged to meet with the L&S Budget Office for further orientation and review of departmental finances.  Revenue and expenditures for other funds (e.g., 131, 150, 233) are managed through other campus accounting systems.      

The College developed BSRs to increase the transparency of departmental fund 101 finances and facilitate decision-making about the best use of this departmental resource.  All departmental spending plans (recruitment, hiring, raises, restructuring, etc.) require pre-approval from the divisional associate dean in consultation with the dean and L&S Budget Office.  The College expects departments to actively participate in decision-making, using the BSR to monitor the department’s fund 101 fiscal situation and engage in financial planning.   

BSRs are spreadsheets with multiple tabs.  They are maintained by the L&S Budget Office, which periodically distributes updated versions through departmental Box folders. These folders contain copies of earlier versions of the BSR and relevant budget memos from the College, in addition to the most recent version of the BSR. 

Tally Sheet

The key tab of the BSR is the Tally Sheet, which indicates whether the department is running a fiscal surplus or deficit for each fiscal year.  The Tally Sheet tracks two balances: 

  • The ongoing balance reflects the department’s structural surplus or deficit.  Ongoing credits (e.g., increases in base budget) are recorded as positive entries, while ongoing charges (e.g., reductions in base budget) are recorded as negative entries.

  • The one-time balance reflects the department’s accumulated debt or savings.  At the end of each fiscal year, the ongoing balance is carried over to the one-time balance, as the department is either charged for its structural deficit or credited for its structural surplus.  Beyond this carryover, the one-time balance will be affected by other one-time charges or credits. 

Budgets and expenditures for all employee categories (including faculty, academic staff, university staff, short-term staff, and teaching assistants) are tracked on additional BSR tabs.  Each of these budgets are linked through the Tally Sheet.  Temporary bridge funding for new hires (e.g., SHI funds from the Provost's Office or spousal hire support) will be posted on the respective budget sheet as a one-time credit.  At the end of the fiscal year, overspending (or underspending) of these budgets results in a one-time charge (or credit) to the Tally Sheet.  Permanent increases (or decreases) in these budgets result in an ongoing charge (or credit) to the Tally Sheet.   

The College conducts biennial reallocation exercises to review and adjust departmental fund 101 budgets.  An increase (or decrease) to the department’s base budget results in an ongoing credit (or charge) to the Tally Sheet.  In the context of undergraduate enrollment expansion, departments may also receive “top-up” payments for higher-than-anticipated growth.  The top-ups are posted as ongoing credits to the Tally Sheet.  When changes in State funding necessitate adjustments to departmental budgets, budget cuts are posted as ongoing and/or one-time charges to the Tally Sheet. 

New budget allocations are posted to the Tally Sheet without being earmarked for particular purposes with the expectation that departments will be active partners with the College in the process of financial decision-making.  Departments should carefully consider staffing needs across all employee categories (including academic staff, university staff, STS, and TAs) rather than focusing solely on faculty hiring.  In the context of enrollment expansion, the College expects that departments will allocate some portion of new budget to increase the department’s TA budget. 

To help ensure that departments make timely use of Tally Sheet balances, the College has implemented department-specific thresholds for one-time balances (indicated at the top of the one-time column of the Tally Sheet).  A one-time surplus in excess of this threshold will return to the College at the end of each fiscal year.  For more information on possible uses of BSR one-time funds, please see the FY23 memo: L&S List of Acceptable Uses of One-Time Balances on BSR Tally Sheets.

The format of the Tally Sheet is intended to facilitate multi-year planning, encompassing departmental commitments that may extend years into the future (e.g., the increased share of faculty salary borne by the department for cluster or TOP hires after 5 or 6 years).  While the L&S Budget Office maintains the official version, chairs and administrators are encouraged to make copies of the Tally Sheet, adding new rows to explore how staffing and salary changes (raises, hiring, retirements, restructuring, etc) will affect the department’s fiscal condition.  Please contact the L&S Budget Office if you would like assistance. 

Faculty budget and Faculty details

The BSR contains two tabs to track budget and arrangements for faculty.  The budget sheet for faculty functions in the same way as the staff budget sheets do with the ongoing column reflecting the base budget allocated to the unit.  A charge for actual 101 faculty expenditures will be posted at the end of each fiscal year.  Any year-end surplus (or deficit) on the faculty budget sheet will result in a one-time credit (or charge) to the department’s tally sheet. In this way, departments will now capture savings when faculty are temporarily off the L&S 101 budget due to research buyouts, external fellowships, unpaid leaves, academic-year sabbaticals, and administrative appointments outside L&S. The College will monitor the annual savings from the faculty budget each year for several years.  If the annual savings are relatively stable over the span of several years, the estimated annual savings may be converted to an ongoing tally sheet resource with approval from the Academic Associate Dean and Jennifer Klippel, the Associate Dean for Innovation and Strategic Budgeting (ADISB). In addition, for the estimated savings to be eligible for conversion to the tally sheet balance, the department must have a faculty course buyout policy memo approved by Jennifer Klippel, the Associate Dean for Innovation and Strategic Budgeting (ADISB) and the Academic Associate Dean on file with the L&S Budget Office. 

The faculty details tab lists all faculty in a unit, including whether the faculty member is funded on 101 and/or other funds. In addition, corresponding details about the funding arrangement and other relevant information can be found on this tab, including: hiring details, joint budget appointment information, professorships with 101 offsets, cluster funding, TOP funding and dual career support. 

Staff budgets and Staff notes

The BSR contains separate tabs to track budgets and spending for several staff employee categories, including renewable staff, short-term staff (STS), and graduate assistants including teaching assistants (TAs) and program assistants (PAs). The budget sheets function in a similar way with the ongoing column reflecting the base budget allocated to each employee category.  Additional one-time budget allocations during a fiscal year (e.g., funding provided by the Honors Program for STS backfill) are posted as a one-time credit.  At the end of each fiscal year, the actual expenditures for the employee category are posted to the budget sheet as a one-time charge.  Overspending (or underspending) is recorded on the budget sheet and is posted as a one-time charge (or credit) to the Tally Sheet. 

The L&S Budget Office posts ongoing credits to the budget sheets to reflect salary increases through the state pay plan (for academic staff and university staff) and university rate adjustments (for STS and TAs).  At the start of the fall performance salary exercise, the Discretionary Compensation Fund (DCF) allocations are posted directly to the staff budgets as ongoing credits.  The salary increases are captured at the fiscal year-end when actual salary expenses are posted to the budget pages. 

Due to the current budget building process, the STS and TA budgets are the only BSR budgets that are completely reflected in WISER for each fiscal year.  For all other budgets, please be sure to check the respective budget page for your annual budget amount, including any one-time adjustments.  

It is important for staff budgets to be periodically adjusted in response to changes in actual or anticipated spending.  The expectation is that departments will work proactively with their divisional associate dean and the L&S Budget Office to increase or decrease each of these budgets as needed during the fiscal year. When departments are not proactive, the L&S Budget Office is authorized to modify these budgets on behalf of the departments.  In the context of enrollment expansion, experience indicates that increases in departmental TA spending are likely to be permanent.  

When departments overspend the TA budget by more than 5%, the L&S Budget Office charges the one-time column of the tally sheet at the current fiscal year end and increases the ongoing TA budget effective with the next fiscal year. Ongoing resources will be shifted from the Tally Sheet to the TA Budget by the amount of the overspending. Overspend of up to 5% of the TA budget will be covered by one-time resources on the tally sheet without adjustment to the ongoing TA budget. This approach will let departments use one-time balances for smaller percentage changes. Underspending the budget will result in a credit to tally sheet one-time resources. Continued underspending of TA budget may be credited to ongoing tally sheet with approval of Academic Associate Dean and Jennifer Klippel, the Associate Dean for Innovation and Strategic Budgeting (ADISB).   

Overspending of the STS budget will be covered by one-time resources. There will no longer be a process of right sizing the STS ongoing budget based on overspending. Departments will be encouraged to reach out to their Academic Associate Dean to discuss the option of reallocating STS budget to the tally sheet for use to create new ongoing instructional staff positions. 

The staff notes page lists all renewable staff that are fully or partially funded on 101.  Additional details for these appointments can also be found on this tab, including: hire information, funding splits, FTE.   

131 Cost Accounting

The 131 Cost Accounting tab details payments from the department’s fund 131 professional program(s) to the department tally sheet to compensate for 101-funded instruction for program students. 

Other BSR tabs

In addition to the budgets already described, BSRs can contain several other tabs:

  • Summary tab includes a summary of the department’s initial fiscal year budget on fund 101 and annual budget allocations on fund131, along with appropriate funding strings.  

  • Other Grad Asst details a pre-approved budget for Project Assistants (PA) on fund 101. This budget may be on-going (as approved by the Dean and associate dean to support instruction) or one-time budgets (as approved by the associate dean to support the instructional mission). 

  • Faculty Lines shows a historical list of faculty hires and departures since August 2011, listing the resource used to fund each hire and any unique appointment and/or funding details. 


Primary Contacts for L&S Administration



KeywordsBSR BSRs budget status reports accounting fund-101   Doc ID120998
OwnerKesha W.GroupL&S KB
Created2022-08-31 12:04:29Updated2023-08-04 13:54:04
SitesL&S KB
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