Fiscal and Research Year-Ends

Category: Operations
Number: OPS-010-005
Audience: All University employees
Issued: May 05, 1997
Revised: September 15, 2014
Owner(s): AVP (Finance)
Approved by: VP (Administration)
Contact: Associate Vice-President (Finance) - 306-585-4171

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 of July 29.

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 28th or 29th of April and ensures all March transactions are posted to March, including the Purchasing Card upload, benefits allocations, 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 (69 KB) pdf.

Research accounts are also part of the entire University financial records. They 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 the expense gets processed before April 30, purchase orders must be placed in sufficient time to allow for delivery and payment. Accordingly, the following approximate deadline dates must be adhered to:

Type

Ordered by

Purchases from Suppliers Outside Canada

February 1

Purchases from Canadian Suppliers Outside Saskatchewan

First Week in February

Purchases from Saskatchewan Suppliers

End of February


Orders placed before May 1 are considered current-year expenses if the goods or services are received before May 1, and new-year expenses if received after April 30. This cut-off is closely monitored by the auditors. Deviations are reported to the Board of Governors by the auditors.

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 year.

Expenditures are recorded as follows:

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

Expenses must be claimed in the same fiscal year the expenditure was made, as evidenced by the receipts attached to the reimbursement claim. Employees will not be reimbursed for purchases made in a prior fiscal year.

There is one exception to this rule. 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 or in the new year. 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 registration fees.

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

External Invoicing

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. This revenue cut-off is closely monitored by the auditors, who report deviations to the Board of Governors.

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 inventories held for consumption, such as the Facilities Management or Science stores. 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.

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

Approximate cut-off dates for year-end review and correction of account transactions are as follows:

  • For the first 1.5 to 2 weeks after April 30, Financial Services backdates all prior year transactions to the prior year without informing the affected unit;
  • Units are given 1 week after that to carry out a review of their financial accounts and provide corrections to Financial Services. It is critical that Financial Managers review their accounts thoroughly during this time period;
  • If, during the 3rd and early 4th week of May, Financial Services finds errors that need correcting, the corrections are made and the affected Financial Managers are informed;
  • No corrections are posted after the middle of the 4th week of May to enable Financial Services to pull financial data and create financial statements;
  • After that date, corrections may only be made by the auditors, if required, in order to obtain an unmodified opinion on the University's financial statements. Such corrections may affect the calculation of the budget carryforward for an account.

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.

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 around Year-End

Current Year - Banner External Invoice System

If it is necessary to prepare a non-entered paper invoice, the proper invoicing date must be included and a copy provided to Financial Services on or immediately after April 30 to ensure timely entry into the current year.

Current Year - Paper Invoices

If it is necessary to prepare a non-entered paper invoice, the proper invoicing date must be included and a copy provided to Financial Services on or immediately after April 30 to ensure timely entry into the current year.

New Year

Invoices for goods or services provided in the early weeks of the new year should be clearly marked as to which fiscal year they apply (e.g. “2015 Invoice”).

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.

Performing Inventory Counts

  1. Written instructions describing the procedures to be followed during the inventory count are provided to stock takers by the Dean or Department Head.
  2. Count sheets are prenumbered so each may be accounted for when the inventory is summarized. Each count sheet is signed by the counter and the recorder.
  3. Each area of inventory is counted separately and, once taken, clearly marked to avoid duplicate counting.
  4. Cases of goods must be carefully inspected to ensure they contain the full case count indicated on the outside of the case.
  5. Counting is done in pairs, one counting and one recording. If at all possible, the storeskeeper should not be involved in the counting and recording function. The storeskeeper should supervise the count and make test counts in all areas to ensure an accurate count is taking place.
  6. Obsolete goods are included in the count and clearly marked on the count sheet as obsolete. A separate listing is made of obsolete goods and forwarded to Financial Services along with a write-off request.
  7. Invoices relating to items included in inventory must be clearly marked "Current-Year Expense" and sent to Financial Services promptly for payment. Likewise, if an item has not been included in inventory, the invoice is sent to Financial Services clearly marked "NOT IN INVENTORY - PAY IN NEW FISCAL YEAR."
  8. The basis of pricing the inventory is consistent with that of the previous year. Any deviation is clearly stated. In all cases, units and price per unit are shown. Numerical calculations done on inventory sheets are done twice to ensure accuracy.
  9. If a unit will not be providing normal service during stock taking, user departments are to be advised accordingly.

Each unit summarizes its inventory in memo form to Financial Services in a manner similar to the following:

RE:                                                                

Location:                                                        

FOAPAL No.:                                                   

Amount:                                                        

This is to certify that the above figure, to the best of my knowledge, accurately reflects the inventory on hand at April 30, _____. The valuation is calculated on the basis of ___________________ (cost or cost plus X%), and is consistent with that used in the preceding year.


                                                                      
Signature

Related Information