L&S Budget Status Reports: Overview and Policy
This KB document provides an overview of the BSR accounting system and related administrative processes.
Within L&S, departmental 101 budgets are managed through Budget Status Reports (BSRs). New chairs 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) requires 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 old BSRs and relevant budget memos from the College, in addition to the most recent version of the BSR.
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.
Faculty turnover and department determined raises are reflected directly on the Tally Sheet. Departments receive ongoing credit for faculty departures and incur ongoing charges for faculty hires. Temporary bridge funding for new hires (e.g., SHI funds from the Provost’s Office) is posted as a one-time credit. For the fall performance salary exercise, the department’s Faculty Block Grant is posted as an ongoing credit and the actual increases to faculty salaries then result in an ongoing charge. Other faculty salary increases (e.g., retentions, promotional supplements, post-tenure increases) also result in ongoing charges.
Budgets and expenditures for other employee categories (including 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. 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 results 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. Please see the August 2021 memo
for further discussion and details.
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.
Budget sheets for staff employee categories
The BSR contains separate tabs to track budgets and spending for several staff employee categories, including academic staff, university staff, short-term staff (STS), and teaching assistants (TAs). These 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) or 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 academic staff and university 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.
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. 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 their TA budget, the L&S Budget Office increases the TA budget effective with the next fiscal year, shifting ongoing resources from the Tally Sheet to the TA Budget by the amount of overspending. The L&S Budget Office makes similar adjustments when departments overspend their STS Budgets, using a two-year average due to the greater volatility of STS spending. The L&S Budget Office may also automatically adjust and/or contact departments to discuss adjustments resulting from overspending or underspending on academic and/or university staff budgets.
Other BSR tabs
In addition to the budgets already described, numerous BSRs contain several other tabs:
- Non-Salary Budget documents the department’s S&E and student hourly budget amount that is allocated annually at the start of each fiscal year (on fund 131).
- Faculty Detail shows faculty salary history on fund 101 and notes highlighting special payroll and/or appointment details.
- Staff Notes provides a list of staff paid partially or completely on fund 101 including special notes highlighting appointment and job position details.
- Other Grad Asst details 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).
- 131 Cost Accounting 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.
- 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