With total revenues of more than $900 million, the University of Manitoba is the largest post-secondary educational institution in the province. Approximately two-thirds of that revenue is recorded in the university’s general fund which funds its academic, administrative, operational and ancillary costs. The remainder is recorded in the restricted funds, which support the capital expenses, research and other special activities as well as the staff benefits and trust funds.
Annual financial plans, rather than detailed budgets, are created each year for all restricted funds. The preparation of these annual plans is coordinated by Financial Services and involves collaboration and consultation with relevant stakeholders. The plans are prepared using Excel templates and are not recorded in the financial system.
The Financial Planning Office plays a central role in the coordination and development of the annual operating budget. The office works closely with budget owners to prepare the restricted operating budget. A decentralized, zero-based budget methodology is used to prepare budgets for ancillary operations, targeted tuition and income funded initiatives that make up the majority of the restricted operating budget. Excel templates are distributed by the Financial Planning Office, completed by the budget owner and returned for loading into the budget system.
The unrestricted operating budget is prepared using a centralized, incremental budget model. A targeted increase or decrease is arrived at through a series of discussion and analysis on internal and external information and assumptions. Starting with the budget from the previous year, budget owners are then asked to make adjustments to achieve that target.
In recent years, faculties and administrative units have been asked to find savings through targeted reductions. Part of these savings were then reallocated back to faculties and administrative units to fund salary increases. They have also been used to establish a strategic allocation fund and used to support requests approved through the Strategic Resource Planning process.