What do we mean when we say “budget” at UBC?

Thursday, November 16, 2023

UBC’s annual budget process is underway, and our faculties and administrative teams are working on the unit-level financial plans that will feed into the university-wide budget proposal that is presented to the Board of Governors for approval.

At the same time, the VPFO is leading a wider strategic budget review in partnership with the Vancouver Provost's team and UBCO – the Reimagining UBC’s Budget project – across the university. We want the finance community at UBC to understand each stream of budget work currently underway, as well as how they relate to each other.  

Faculty and administrative unit budgets 
UBC operates a decentralized budget process, which means that each unit prepares a financial plan that feeds into the wider university operating budget. Faculty and administrative unit finance officers work with their leadership to develop these local budgets before submitting them for central consolidation. 

Annual budget process for UBC 
The annual budget process creates a roadmap for allocating UBC’s revenues against anticipated expenses for the coming fiscal year. This process is a collaboration between the university’s Provosts’ teams, who lead the alignment of the budget to UBC’s academic strategy, with central finance and the distributed faculty and administrative unit finance teams. For the coming 2024/25 financial plan the university is following a narrowed process focused on risk, as cost pressures and committed resources limit available funding. 

The local budgets prepared by Vancouver faculties and administrative units (mentioned above) and UBC Okanagan (which follows a similar process) are aggregated by the Comptroller’s team in the VPFO to form the consolidated budget for UBC that is presented to the Board of Governors.  

This year the VPFO Project Management Office has stepped up to guide the university-wide budget process for UBC.  

Reimagining UBC’s Budget 
The third stream of budget work underway at UBC is a forward-looking, separate strategic initiative designed to examine and improve the university’s entire budgeting process, from planning and forecasting through to governance and reporting.  

Led by the VPFO and the Provost & VP Academic, Vancouver, this project is looking to drive UBC towards a strategic, creative, and transparent approach that supports an equitable and responsive budgeting process across the institution. While some significant changes are being implemented in the FY2024/25 annual budget process, most of the effects of this project will be reflected in future years. The collaboration between university leadership in the production of the 2024/25 annual budget process will be a critical first step towards the foundation of this strategic project.  

If you are delivering information relating to budgeting at UBC, slides have been created to help differentiate between these topics that are available to download from the VPFO Communications & Engagement team.