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Fiscal and Research Year-Ends

Category: Operations
Number: OPS-010-005
Audience: All University employees
Issued: May 05, 1997
Revised: January 28, 2020
Owner(s): AVP (Finance)
Approved by: VP (Administration)
Contact: Associate Vice-President (Finance) - 306-585-4047

Introduction

This policy outlines the University’s approach to managing year-end fiscal responsibilities. It must be followed by all employees to ensure the University meets its legislative filing deadline for financial statements.

Policy

The University’s fiscal year-end is April 30. The University also manages a March 31 year-end for federal and provincial research grants and contracts.

For the April 30 fiscal year-end, the University:

  • prepares annual financial statements;
  • has the financial statements audited by the Provincial Auditor of Saskatchewan; and
  • ensures proper audited financial information is provided to the University's provincial funding ministry by the legislatively required deadline.

To ensure financial statements are accurate, account transactions must be recorded in the correct fiscal year.

Research Accounts

In general, government agencies and departments have March 31 fiscal year ends. This includes the Government of Saskatchewan, the Government of Canada, NSERC, SSHRC, Energy Mines & Resources, etc. These granting agencies usually require financial reporting on the use of grant and contract funds based on a March 31 fiscal year end. Therefore, the University leaves the month of March open in Banner until the 16th to 18th of April to ensure all March transactions are posted to March, including the Purchasing Card upload, long-distance charges, science stores charges, etc.

For the procedure to verify March 31 accounts, see How to Use FAST with a Research or Special Project Fund (1151 KB) pdf (requires employee login to URSource).

Research accounts are also part of the entire University financial records and are included in the annual April 30 audited financial statements. Therefore, Financial Managers of these accounts must adhere to all the April 30 fiscal year-end deadlines as well as having similar deadline requirements to ensure proper spending for the March 31 year-end.

Purchasing Dates

Occasionally, a Financial Manager will want to ensure that certain ear-marked or committed money will be spent from their account before April 30. This expense can only occur if the University has received the goods or services prior to April 30. To ensure goods are received and the expense processed before April 30, all purchasing steps must be completed in sufficient time to allow for delivery by April 30.

Internal processing time (tendering/ordering) requirements and delivery schedules associated with any goods and/or services can vary drastically based on the nature of the commodity and the geographical location that it will be shipped from. Accordingly, Supply Management Services should be consulted well before April 30 to obtain information relating to internal processing time requirements and delivery schedules.

Reimbursement Claims and Accounts Payable

At year-end, the first priority of the Accounts Payable Department is to pay invoices dated prior to April 30. To enable a quick cut-off, invoices to be charged against the new-year budget may be held for processing in the new fiscal year.

Expenditures should be recorded in the fiscal year in which the goods or services were received by the University. Therefore:

  • Invoices dated in the current year for which the goods have not been received before May 1 are considered a new-year expenditure;
  • Goods or services received in the current year for which an invoice has not been received are still considered a current-year expenditure. If the invoice is not received by late May, please inform Financial Services who will record the expense and set up an Accounts Payable by using a Journal Voucher.

University expenses paid personally by a faculty or staff member must be claimed in the same fiscal year the expenditure was made, as evidenced by the receipts attached to the reimbursement claim. Employees may be denied reimbursement for purchases made in a prior fiscal year.

There are two exceptions to this rule. First, if an employee has prepaid in the current year for goods and services which will be received in the new year in order to obtain a reduced cost, that employee may claim the expense in the current year rather than the new year when the event takes place. The qualifying requirement is that a saving occurred because of a prepayment. This type of saving is common with air travel or in the payment of early bird registration fees. Second, if an employee paid for a good or service near the end of one fiscal year that they will receive in the new fiscal year, such as a training course or professional institute membership, they may claim the "old year invoice" in the new fiscal year.

For information on claiming expenses, see EMP-060-006 Expenses – General.

Invoicing External Entities

If goods have been sold or services provided to external entities prior to April 30 of the current year, the related revenue must be recorded in the current year, even if the external entity has not yet paid the University. Faculties and Departments must ensure all external entities have been properly invoiced.

Inventory

At the University's April 30 fiscal year end, all units which have inventories on hand must perform an inventory count and forward the count sheets to Financial Services. This applies to inventories for resale, such as at the Bookstore or UR Press, or inventories held for consumption, such as UR Stores GG and UR Stores RIC. Basic office supplies are not considered as inventory unless there is an unusually large amount on hand each year with quantities fluctuating greatly from one April 30 to another April 30. Inventory counts should be performed as close to April 30 as possible. Instructions and deadlines for inventory counts will be emailed to each inventory area by Financial Services prior to year-end.

Consequences for Noncompliance

If the University’s fiscal and research year-ends are not managed in accordance with this policy, the University could miss its legislative filing deadline and may be denied a clean audit opinion by the Office of the Provincial Auditor, which in turn would jeopardize the provincial operating grant. Employees in noncompliance may be subject to disciplinary action.

Processes

Reviewing account transactions at Year-End

It is important that all Financial Managers regularly review their financial accounts during the fiscal year so that the fiscal year-end review need only be concerned with late April entries and proper cut-off. There is very limited time after April PCard and final journal entries have posted for a transaction review.

Specific dates will be communicated to University employees and posted on the Financial Services website for each year-end. To reduce the amount of review and corrections needed at the critical fiscal year-end deadline, it is important that account Financial Managers or their delegates regularly verify account transactions and make timely corrections as needed.

Purchasing around Year-End

The costs of goods ordered and received by April 30 must be recorded as current-year expenses.

  1. Units are to electronically receive goods and services in Banner Finance (using the Receiving Goods form FPARCVD) on the day they are physically received or performed;
  2. Units then send corresponding invoices to Financial Services as quickly as possible to ensure they are recorded in the proper year;
  3. If a unit has April invoices which have not been sent to Financial Services by May 1, the following memo must be attached to the invoice: "THIS IS AN APRIL INVOICE".

Invoicing of external parties around Year-End

Current Year - FAST Accounts Receivable System

The FAST Accounts Receivable (AR) System is the University’s system for invoicing external entities. This system posts into Banner to ensure the University’s General Ledger is accurate. Any goods sold or service provided to an external entity during a fiscal year must be invoiced during that fiscal year, or must be backdated to April 30 if entered in FAST AR after April 30. This ensures revenue posts in the current year. 

New Year

Invoices for goods or services to be provided in the early weeks of a new fiscal year should not be entered in FAST AR in the old fiscal year.

Budgeting for Year-End accounting anomalies

Because the March month end is left open until near the end of April to ensure a proper research year-end cut-off, Financial Managers may find two months of certain transactions are posted to March. This anomaly occurs because, as May through February close fairly quickly, certain transactions are not available for posting to the appropriate month and therefore get posted to the following month.

  1. Certain transactions belonging to February, such as the Purchasing Card and the benefits allocations, are posted to March.
  2. March’s Purchasing Card and benefits allocations are posted to March to ensure proper research year-end cut-off.
  3. April’s transactions, such as Purchasing Card and the benefits allocations, are posted to April.
  4. May ends up without any transactions for the Purchasing Card, benefits allocation, and other similar unavailable transactions.

Therefore, units must budget for two months of these expenses to occur in March of each year while realizing that May will also be an anomalous month of lower than normal expenditures. To accomplish this, units can budget for 12 months of these expenses regardless of which month they are actually processed against the accounts. 

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