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Budget update: Why the Student Union’s budget is taking longer than expected

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The UFV Student Union Society’s (SUS) budget is expected to be completed by November, and will be presented at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) shortly after.

The budget would have normally been presented at the SUS Annual General Meeting (AGM) last March, but was postponed due to there being inadequate information for a comprehensive budget.

Instead of fudging together a partial budget, the Student Union decided to totally revamp the budget’s design.

In previous years, the SUS budget was poorly organized, and offered little usable data regarding account activity. The new budget will be broken down into far more categories, with annotations for each budget line. The purpose of the reorganizing is to create a completely transparent budget, Jaleen MacKay, SUS vice-president internal, said.

“If you look at a lot of the previous budgets, they’re not super based in reality, but this budget will be,” said MacKay. “And it comes from a place where people have had accounting experience, where people have looked at the historical trends.”

Another change will be the addition of monthly profit and loss reports. Previously, budget reports were made quarterly, but with monthly reports, the SUS finance committee will have a better understanding of how they’re doing financially in each month of the year.

The delay was increased further due to multiple finance personnel changes, and needing to change accounting software.

The Student Union is working towards having the new budget system in place by the end of September, and the budgeting process presented to and approved by the SUS executives by the end of October.

“The budget is in a place that makes sense and will continue to make sense for years to come,” said MacKay. “It’s future proof, it’s going to be transparent, it’s annotated, it has accounting students looking over it; I’m very excited to see it.”

Timeline of budget events:

January 2017: SUS hires executive director, Mark Wellington. On his recommendation, SUS hired a financial consultant.

The financial consultant began organizing the financial data, and discovered there was more work than expected.

March: The SUS executive, in consultation with the executive director and financial consultant, decided to switch from current accounting software, Sage, to Quickbooks.

April/May: Financial consultant continues their work.

June: Financial consultant leaves SUS for personal reasons, but SUS hires full-time financial manager.

August: Enough progress has been made to begin the budgeting process, but reconstruction of previous year’s books is ongoing.

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