Effective Budget Management at Valdosta State University involves all units of the university. The Budget Services office assists units with the effective use of financial resources to accomplish the mission of the unit and the mission of the University. Budget management requires open communication, review, and accountability at all levels of the university.
At the beginning of the fiscal year the President and Vice Presidents designate a Budget Manager for each budget in the university. In academic units, the Department Head is typically the Budget Manager and the critical point for budget management. The Budget Manager could also be a Director, Coordinator, Program Manager, or Project Investigator depending on the nature and size of the unit as well as the source of the funds.
The responsibilities and authority of a Budget Managers include but are not limited to the following:
- Submitting timely Goals and Action plans for their department to accomplish the University’s goals as defined by the Strategic Planning process
- Regularly reviewing the unit’s budget (s) and submitting timely amendments as needed
- Ensuring the effective and timely use of budget allocations, consistent with the University’s Strategic Goals, while not exceeding the established allocation.
- Adhering to State, USG and institutional purchasing and human resources policies in accomplishing these activities.
Adherence to these responsibilities and policies is to be included in the Budget Manager’s annual performance review by their supervisor.
University Open Budget Process
Budget managers will convene periodic planning meetings with department or program members to review enrollment, activities, and assess needs and priorities for upcoming periods. The frequency of meetings will depend on the complexity of the unit’s activities. In the spirit of shared governance and transparency, it is expected that all budget managers will meet with members of their unit at least semiannually to review planning and budget Items.
The results of departmental meetings will be taken to a College or Unit annual planning meeting where department activities will be reviewed and priorities will be established for goals and budget needs. These meetings will provide the information for the Divisional reports that are presented at the Planning and Budget Council’s annual budget hearings. All units will participate in the strategic reporting and planning sessions. It is anticipated that each division will explain their process as well as outline their unit’s activities, needs, and priorities to enable them to accomplish the university’s mission.
At a minimum, the following items should be reviewed during these meetings:
- Strategic actions that will accomplish the university’s goals
- Completion or progress toward goals for the department, division and college
- Enrollment and advisement activities as they impact this progress
- Needs and priorities related to current or new goals of the department
Below are some instructions and helpful hints to assist you in your budget efforts.
Procedures Governing the Creation and Maintenance of University Departmental Budgets
The University departmental budget structure follows the way we plan and report. Both of these functions should reflect the University’s strategic goals.
Any Vice President or Cabinet Member may request the establishment of a new departmental budget through the Office of Budget Services. A departmental budget manager must be selected for each new budget; this departmental budget manager is critical to the internal budgeting processes of the department and to the University as a whole. It is his or her signature alone which will be required to manipulate funds within the departmental budget or to authorize expenditures from its accounts, and it is this manager who will be expected to regularly review the departmental budgets and keep members of the department informed.
Routine or clerical tasks associated with budgeting or strategic planning may be given to others under the departmental budget manager’s supervision; however, ultimate responsibility for the budget and planning for the department will remain with the named budget manager.
Should a departmental budget manager be unable to sign a document (vacation, etc), please notify Financial Services in advance of the change in temporary signature authority. Any individual signing for a departmental budget manager should sign as follows:
Jane Departmental Budget Manager by Joe Temporary Signature Authority
Please contact Financial Services to establish this budgetary department and to indicate where the budgets should be placed. However, please note that it is the ultimate responsibility of the Office of Budget Services (in conjunction with Strategic Planning and Organizational Development and Financial Services) to determine the final placement of the departmental budget based upon functional classifications and class codes which are dictated and maintained by the University System of Georgia.
Beginning in FY 2008, each Vice President must confirm department budget managers within their division annually with the Office of Budget Services. Budget Services will then communicate budget manager responsibilities to each individual. This communication must be acknowledged either in writing or via email.
Suggested Actions/Components of Regular Budget Review:
- At the beginning of the fiscal year establish an annual plan for the department’s activities and estimate what resources and scheduling will be required to accomplish their plans. One tool for the Budget Manager to use is the Department Budget Tracking Worksheet included with Resources below.
- Review monthly reports, report discrepancies and make amendments
- Communicate with department members regarding budget priorities and progress
- Communicate with Dean and/or Vice President to keep them current regarding the changes in needs and the impact for the school’s or division’s goals
- Meet year-end deadlines for purchases, etc.