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Office of Budgets & Planning

Budget FAQs

BUDGET PLANNING:

Q. Where can I find the latest information on budget planning (e.g., planning factors, timetable, etc.)?
A. Planning factors and timetable for the next budget season are published in January of the current fiscal year and are available on the Office of Budgets and Planning website.

Q. When will new data for the next budget year be available in the Intranet Budget System?
A. Financial, salary and benefits data through September of the current year will be available in the Intranet Budget System in early January. The Office of Budgets and Planning will notify departments when the data are available.

FRINGE BENEFITS:

Q. What are the current year fringe benefit rates?
A. Find more information about fringe benefit rates at http://www.rochester.edu/orpa/proposals/fringe/

Q. Are fringe benefit rates available for the upcoming fiscal year?
A. No, preliminary rates to be used in budget development are published electronically as soon as they are available, usually in December of the current fiscal year. Final rates are published on the ORPA Website as soon as they are approved by the federal government.

Q. If you have specific questions regarding fringe benefits, whom should I contact?
A. Contact Cheryl Bennett at c.bennett@rochester.edu or 585-275-8372.

ALLOCATIONS:

Q. Why are there allocated costs, and how are the allocations determined?
A. The University is decentralized and, as such, revenue and expenses attributable to respective divisions are assigned to them. There are, however, certain costs (central administrative costs, River Campus general costs, health affairs division costs) that have to be distributed to the divisions. A variety of statistical and other metrics are used to appropriately assign costs to the various divisions.

Q. Where can I find a copy of the Allocations Manual?
A. Allocation manuals are updated every two years, and copies are distributed to the appropriate financial officers within divisions. The manual is also available through the Office of Budgets and Planning website, but is password protected. To request a copy or to obtain the password, please contact Cheryl Bennett at c.bennett@rochester.edu.

Q. How often are allocation bases reviewed? How often do you update the data on which they are based?
A. Allocation bases are reviewed annually for appropriateness by the Office of Budgets and Planning. Any proposed changes are reviewed and approved by Ronald Paprocki, Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer. Data for allocation bases are updated annually.

Q. If I have specific questions regarding allocations, whom should I contact?
A. Contact Cheryl Bennett at c.bennett@rochester.edu (585-275-8372) or Christle Pajrowski at c.pajrowski@rochester.edu (585-275-2713).

STANDARD MONTHLY ENTRIES:

Q. What is a Standard Monthly Entry and how would I create one?
A. A Standard Monthly Entry (SME) is a set transaction that is used to debit and credit departments for set services. Examples are rent, service level agreements, account funding, or predetermined department support. Rather than requesting a monthly journal entry for the same amount each month, the SME automatically creates these transactions.

A SME can be established through a memo or via email to the Office of Budgets and Planning. It should document the accounts to be debited and credited, the amount to be charged each month and a description of the services provided, or a detailed explanation of the charges. If two departments are involved in the transaction, both should approve the setup of new SMEs. The deadline for receiving SMEs for processing is five business days before the last business day of the month. For further information or assistance, please contact c.pajrowski@rochester.edu.

ENDOWMENTS:

Q. What is the Spending Policy regarding endowment accounts?
A. The Endowment Spending Policy is available through the Office of Budgets and Planning website, but is password protected. To request a copy or to obtain the password, please contact Cheryl Bennett at c.bennett@rochester.edu

Q. What is the five-year moving average?
A. The five-year moving average for an endowment fund is the average ending market value over the last 20 quarters.

CAPITAL BUDGETS:

Q. How do I go about making a request for capital budget?
A. A capital budget request is made for large items outside of the normal operating budget (examples include renovation of space and large equipment purchases). A department should submit a capital budget request to document the need and to identify the funding source (the department operating account, reserves set aside over time or gifts). A template for capital budget requests for the upcoming fiscal year is provided by the Office of Budgets and Planning by mid-November of the current fiscal year. You may find instructions and spreadsheets on the Office of Budgets and Planning website.

Q. How does my budget get into the system?
A. The University uses an intranet-based system to collect the budget data and load into the Financial Reporting System (FRS). Typically, most budgets are loaded during the month of June, thus appearing on the report of transactions with transaction codes of 029 and batch names beginning with BUG. In the month of July, the system automatically loads the data into the original budget field for the new fiscal year. This process shows up on the report of transactions with transaction codes of 020 and a batch name of BUG901.

Q. What happens if something comes up and I need more dollars in my budget?
A. Some divisions may have processes in place to reallocate budget dollars among accounts, but generally once budgets are set and approved for the year, they are final. Approved unplanned items that occur during the year are noted as budget variances and are explained during the analysis of the account’s performance against budget.

Q. What is the budget bump that I see in my ledger six account?
A. The budget bump in the ledger six account occurs whenever there is a fund addition (i.e., new gift or transfer of funds into the account) or a fund deduction (transfer of dollars out of the account). The accounting system nets the activity and creates the appropriate budget entry to increase or decrease the budget in the ledger six. At the end of the month, the balance in the ledger six reflects the remaining amount of money in the gift account.

Q. I have a new ledger six account, but it should not be charged the overhead tax. How can I get an exception?
A. The dean’s office of the division owning the gift account must approve any overhead waiver. The request should be in writing and should be included on the fund sheet being used to establish the new account.