Business Partner: Academic (Permanent) - Finance

Bursar's Office
Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Role 

As a member of the financial planning team the Business Partner is responsible for assisting and liaising with the faculty’s deans and academic departments to facilitate in the devolution of budgets and financial decision making to the academic departments. The role is to act as a ‘translator’ and be the first point of contact between academic departments and finance, assisting with the implementation of university policies. The role will require the monitoring of department income, expenditure and reserves while explaining/addressing variances against budget in conjunction with the department. The business partner must both challenge and coach each department to ensure success in the role.
Business partners will provide support for day-to-day financial decisions, shaping strategy and the direction of the business. You will interpret and present the findings to University management, Faculty management and Department management (as appropriate) in a clear and concise way highlighting the need and use of resources for operational and strategic departmental plans, in conjunction with the Head of Financial Planning and the Budget Accountant. Specifically, you will ensure that:

  • each department and faculty has an agreed business plan with associated budget in place for a rolling three-year period; such a plan is to include: 
    1. estimated student enrolment (i.e. expansion or reduction in current course numbers; new undergraduate and postgraduate courses; courses expected to close and how this will be achieved; collaborations; internationalisation etc.)
    2. estimated other income.
    3. staff data and any requests for additional staff (academic, technical, administrative, plus occasional) arising from vacancies; upcoming retirements; sabbaticals; secondments; research buy-outs; recoding of staff and any other relevant categorisation.
    4. staff: student ratio.
    5. non pay details by subcategory and any expected requirements including normal inflation factors.
    6. additional equipment; teaching space or office space requirements. 
  • the budget allocation for the current year is consistent with approved department business plans and consistent with the Resource Allocation Model (RAM);
  • departmental administrators are accessing the expenditure control reports for the business units they are responsible for and are liaising with their head of department on the expenditure (including committed expenditure);
  • regular expenditure control reports (at least quarterly) are presented to the faculty deans and other deans on their expenditure to date versus budget accompanied by a commentary of areas of significance or concern for compliance with the budget;
  • regular reports (at least quarterly) are formally presented to all academic department heads and are accompanied by a commentary of areas of significance or concern for compliance with the budget.  More regular meetings may be required with certain department heads who require additional assistance;
  • regular reports (at least quarterly) are presented to the Head of Financial Planning and the Director of Finance setting out areas of concern for the Business Partner (for example such a report to include a warning on the non-compliance or potential non-compliance with budgets; highlight corrections required to financial transactions or department behaviour);
  • assistance is provided to Head of Departments where new sources of income are identified e.g. costings for tenders and new course proposals are analysed for financial implications;
  • that University policies and legislative requirements are in operation in each department;
  • support is provided to the departments on both strategic planning and general operational matters;
  • training gaps are identified and addressed in conjunction with the Financial Operations team;
  • support is provided to the Head of Financial Planning in the preparation of departmental business plans in the RAM required formats;
  • any other work assigned by the Head of Financial Planning is completed as required.