Managing Your Budget
Guidance on good financial practices to aid you with managing your budget effectively and within the correct guidelines
Once a project has been set up and a job code allocated the expenditure on the award can commence.
Expenditure must be:
- in line with University policies and procedures
- in accordance with the Funder’s Terms & Conditions
- incurred in the lifetime of the project (check Funder conditions for any exceptional cases of eligibility of expenses before or after project dates)
- in line with awarded budget as stated in award letter or grant agreement and necessary for it’s implementation.
- Deviations from original awarded budget should be notified and approved by funder prior to the commitment of expenditure
- Actually incurred by Beneficiary. (Directly incurred costs).
- Identifiable & verifiable. Recorded in the accounts of beneficiary in accordance with national accounting standards and with its usual cost accounting practices.
- Comply with national law on taxes, labour & social security.
- Reasonable, justified and comply with principle of sound financial management regarding economy and efficiency
Purchasing must follow the University Procurement policies and procedures. Please see advice under Key Financial Policies.
Purchase orders can normally only be raised between the funder’s start date and end date and within the Funder’s Terms and Conditions.
Purchase invoices associated with purchase orders can be paid until the project’s close date but checks must be made regularly on any outstanding commitments and invoices followed up with suppliers. Full check on final expenditure reconciliations and if eligibility criteria met may be included otherwise require to be removed.
Good Financial Management Practices
Your local School Research Administrators and Research Grants Administrators work closely together to assist with the review of project expenditure with view to timely preparation of claims, invoices and financial reports. Assistance may also be provided on forecasting and managing currency budget.
- Review expenditure charged to your project. All costs incurred must relate to the project and be allowable by the funder. If in doubt please refer to the funding bodies Terms and Conditions. If on review of financial transactions miscoding of expenditure is identified then alert your School administrator and ensure corrections are actioned promptly.
- Monitoring spend to agreed budgets – regular review of actual spend to planned expenditure is a vital part of managing the budget effectively. The review process will be carried out on a 6 monthly basis by your Research Grants administration team and more frequently if required heading towards the end of a project and where currency factors are involved.
- Forecasting of planned expenditure may be included within the reviews to assist in getting the best out of your budget. If budgets are foreseen to be insufficient then necessary steps require to be taken to either vire funds (if permitted) or request in writing supplementary funding from the funder. If no additional funding is allowed and virement not permitted between agreed budget categories then any overspends must be removed. Overspends are a liability of the budget holding department and require to be addressed promptly.
- Virement is the transfer of funds between budget headings. If permitted by funder under the Terms & Conditions or by written agreement on request, your local School Administrator or Research Grants Administrator will arrange the virement between budget categories via Worktribe.
- Under spent budgets need to be checked to ensure costs are being charged to the correct project and category. This should be addressed within the reviews where coding of cost can be checked and reconciliation of costs will indicate remaining balance of budget.
- Salary and studentship costs to the grant will be arranged by your local School Research support or HR and it is important that these are set to post to the grant as soon as work on the grant is underway. Please check if time recording is required for your project and request access to the necessary time recording systems. Timely completion of the effort worked will ensure salary costs can be charged accurately to reflect work on the project.
- Equipment purchases must be in line with the equipment requested in the application and agreed in award letter. Equipment should normally be purchased in the early stages of the project. Later equipment purchases would need agreement by funder. Please see further advice under Key Financial Policies on Capital Equipment accounting policy.
- Financial commitments should be reviewed regularly i.e. outstanding purchase orders, internal orders etc. These should to be investigated and followed up to clear so costs are being charged to the grant on a timely basis.
Other project management considerations
- Audit Requirements of the funder must be adhered to e.g. timesheets required for staff, review VAT treatment. Some projects will have interim audits and others may have final audits. A check to the Funder Terms & Conditions will be made at the commencement of a project and the audit milestones recorded in worktribe. A funder can commission an audit on a project they are funding at any time.
- Scientific Reports / Periodic Progress Reports - Your project will have an agreed reporting schedule and it is important to check the Grant Agreement and Funder Terms & Agreements for this in the early stages of the project to plan for these milestones. Note must be made also of the submission timescales so reporting requirements are complied with as financial sanctions may be incurred if not adhered to.
Your local School Administrator and Research Grants Administrator will provide the financial data required to review.
System reporting may also be available with the following tools.
- Monthly Report to Investigators
- Worktribe Reporting Tool
- WebFirst Reporting Tool
Details of how to obtain access to the reporting systems may be found at