Funds Management Project Charter

OVERVIEW

Colleges and units reporting to the Provost have accumulated significant and increasing cash balances over multiple years. This trend can be explained in part by a previously accepted management strategy that current and future commitments should be backed with cash; a conservative expenditure mindset due to limited new resources; and a nagging concern over potential budget reductions, among other factors. It is clear that new management methodologies are needed to allow existing and future resources to be invested strategically in the academy rather than to continue to accumulate. This will require an understanding of both current cash balances and influences on future cash balances; reviewing and modifying processes to maximize cash use; creating new innovative approaches to manage and utilize resources while protecting funding for commitments. The Funds Management Project (FMP) will address these issues.

OBJECTIVES

Project objectives will include:

  1. Diagnose the underlying factors and influences that have contributed to the cash accumulation strategies of the past.
  2. Identify a set of key values that will frame the development of supportive fund management strategies.
  3. Develop a plan to address current fund balances by understanding unit commitments and plans and by applying strategies that address these needs while capitalizing on new approaches for managing cash at lower overall fund balances.
  4. Establish accepted cash balance tolerances and create a comprehensive strategy for ongoing fund management to assure future fund balances meet these cash balance tolerances, both to assure financial stability and to avoid under-utilized cash resources.

APPROACH

This project assumes that the University leadership will defer any actions on cash balances in the areas reporting to the Provost until the project is completed and the recommendations are accepted.

The FMP committee will include representation from key stakeholder groups including critical resource staff. The FMP committee will have full responsibility for all aspects of the project as articulated in the charge letter from Provost Dutta. Other resources will be solicited to address various components of the committee’s work as ideas and approaches emerge for consideration and development.

The FMP committee will place communication as a critical and high priority for the project.

GOALS and DELIVERABLES

It is anticipated that the final deliverable will include a set of guidelines for responsibly managing fund balances both at the unit level and centrally at the Provost level. It will include multiple solutions offering options and approaches that allow unit leaders to consider those that best address their unique needs. Other approaches will be overarching and applied across the academy. Strategies for both central management and unit management will work in tandem to have significant and ongoing impact on the goals of the academy while maintaining sound fiscal sponsorship. The FMP will include considerable collaboration with the deans, unit heads and others assuring acceptance at implementation and active participation going forward.

TIMELINE

The project will begin immediately. The project deliverables will be due to the Provost by February 10, 2017.

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