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Decentralized Budget Model

University of North Georgia (UNG)
Decentralized Budget Model
A Framework for Analysis and General Assumptions
  1. Decentralized model, UNG will assign budget management at the lowest level practical, providing greater autonomy and accountability throughout the enterprise, with particular emphasis on the academic missions of the university. All budget managers must be at the dean or director level. Budget managers will be held accountable for their budget vs actuals via performance management. Senior leadership will assure an acceptable level of internal control for the organization and that the global institutional and university system strategic directions are met. This model will remain consistent with the University System of Georgia budget guidelines and all system policies.
  2. The university will maintain an unassigned contingency. Generally fifty percent will remain unspecified for use at the president’s discretion. During the fiscal year, the remaining fifty percent may be pre-authorized for one-time purchases.
  3. After the original budget allocation, deans, department heads, and other budget managers will have full budget management authority with the functional vice president’s oversight. The only exceptions relate to personal service fringe benefits. After all funds are distributed in the original budget, expenditures in excess of budget and requests against the central resource pool should have the president’s approval. Justification should be given for salary offers that exceed budget, equity adjustments outside the original budget, items requiring funding from the general contingency, or for any new positions added after the original budget has been allocated. The Budget Office will not make any adjustments to a departmental budget without the expressed consent from the budget manager or the responsible vice president.
  4. Variance in fringe benefits is not the responsibility of budget managers except those accounts that true directly to revenue. Benefits are a variable line item and in some cases may be estimated at the time of the original budget. These benefits include the employer portion of FICA, FICA-Med, Retirement, and Health & Life. The budgeted benefit amounts are affected by Open Enrollment changes in employee coverages. But most importantly, these benefits are continuously open to increases in employer contribution rates.
  5. Departments adding positions funded with one time salary savings will need to also fund related benefits, travel, supplies and equipment for this position. The Budget Amendment form will always display the current benefit % to be used.
  6. The following items will be reviewed by the vice president of business and finance and the president:
    1. Equity adjustments outside the original budget
    2. Items requiring funding from the central resource pool
    3. Any new permanent positions added after the original budget
  7. Non Personal Services: Depending on resources available, department budgets may be increased annually to reflect inflationary increases and growth in programs.
  8. Both personal and non-personal funds allocated to each vice president for all assigned units are under the purview and allocation of the vice president. The vice president will not have to seek permission to reallocate what has already been appropriated to each general area (academic affairs, student affairs, etc.). For example, the provost can add additional one-year temporary faculty or staff lines based on reallocation of salary savings without have to seek permission. Appropriate budget amendment documentation including detailed explanations, will still be required.
  9. 100 percent of the part-time instructional needs, as approved by the provost, is budgeted in the original budget. Past budget years only 50 percent was allocated with the long range goal to incrementally increase this percentage to the 100 percent level. It is important to note that $500,000 of the part time allocation is “at risk” should enrollment numbers drop. Funds will then be returned by the deans to the university contingency.
  10. Academics receive faculty development and instructional improvement funds for distribution within their units. The provost will retain some smaller portion for emergencies that may occur.
  11. Deans will have the autonomy to redistribute personnel and non-personnel allocations to the academic departments based on strategic needs with the provost’s approval.
  12. Communication and transparency are vital to ensure proper budget management and oversight. In order to provide proper transparency, the Budget Office provides the following communication and tools
    1. Budget Website – The Budget Office website will contain pertinent information for all budget managers including
      1. How to complete a budget amendment
      2. How to monitor reports
      3. Budget calendar, due dates & deadlines
      4. Who to call for assistance
      5. Budget Office contact information
    2. Office Hours and Accessibility
      1. The Budget Office is open daily to assist budget managers with any questions or concerns. The budget staff will remain available for individual meetings as needed to review spending plans, budget concerns, or any other issues that arise.
  13. It is the responsibility of the Budget Office to ensure that budget managers have access to the most useful reporting and information available. All vice presidents and budget managers will be trained on utilizing PeopleSoft reports via Banner to view their respective budgets. The user will be able to use the Budget Progress report to drill down into an encumbrance, actual expenditures, and remaining balances. Personal services report via Banner is also available for review. In analyzing PeopleSoft reports for personnel services, there are certain labor categories that do not encumber. These include part time faculty, summer faculty, casual labor, part time staff, student and graduate assistant labor. Future payments obligated to these areas should always be considered when looking at the remaining free balance.
  14. The UNG Cabinet will review all university budgets including E&G, Auxiliary Enterprise, Student Activity, Capital, Athletic and Sponsored Operations during the annual budget meetings.
  15. The university will operate on an annual budget calendar developed by the senior VP for business & finance and approved by the UNG cabinet.
  16. The university will conduct annual budget hearings to receive budget requests and compare those requests to comparative analytical and productivity measures, gauging their relative merit to University goals and strategic directions.


Read more from the UNG Budget Handbook.

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