Budgeting Basics

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This page provides high level and basic information about budgeting and financial planning at Rider; it is designed to orient the community and provide a foundation for learning more about budgeting.

Everyone who manages a budget at Rider may contact us to arrange training. If you are new we can help answer questions and get you set up with the tools you need. If you are a veteran budget manager, we are happy to meet to chat and provide a refresher.

Types of funds

There are two primary types of funds you will encounter at Rider University:

  • Operating budget – budgeted during the annual budget cycle
  • Designated funds – funded by external support of some sort that has been designated for a specific purpose

Operating budget
The General budget covers the bulk of spending at Rider. It is the Plan for how to deliver services and achieve goals set during the annual budgeting cycle. It is not final until approved by the Board of Trustees.

Important – The Operating budget is an authorization to spend

Conceptually this is extremely important. The operating budget is not like designated funds that have cash underlying them, it is an authorization by the board of trustees to spend a certain amount in a given year – so it cannot be rolled forward (as its specific to a year) and there is no cash allocated to it. The operating budget is paid for by tuition collected from students at the end of the financial year.

The operating budget is also the plan for how offices will spend during the year; the annual budgeting cycle should be a planning process thinking about how goals and objectives will be delivered in the next year

Designated funds
Designated funds are designated for a specific purpose and have cash allocated to them. These can be from a variety of sources such as gifts from donors or fees collected for a specific event. Grants and gifts may have specific restrictions and constraints on their use, and spending needs to be reviewed with Finance.

Operating budget types

The Operating budget is separated into two primary expense categories

  • Labor
  • Non-Labor

Operating budgets cannot be moved between Labor and Non-Labor – this is because Labor budgets also have a series of other fringe expenses attached to them.

Expenses must be allocated to the correct account regardless of where the budget is

Temporary employees are NOT classified as Labor; they appear in Non-Labor. If you have temporary help covering an open position, let us know. Neither the budget or expense will be moved in Banner, but the overage in Non-Labor expense will be considered as offset at year end by the underspending in Labor

  • Why do we not move Labor budget or expense?
    • Expenses must be charged to the correct location this is a regulatory requirement
    • Labor budgets are attached to additional expenses such as benefits
    • The Operating budget is also the Plan. To identify constraints and how we can improve, we need to be able to identify how spending is occurring in relation to the plan and explain why it was different.

Where the rules come from

Rider University, just like every private College and University, follows US GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures). These are rules defined by a variety of Government and private organizations that Rider must comply with to maintain: not for profit tax status, qualify for Federal funds for financial aid, grants and research, be allowed to borrow, comply with IRS tax laws, and many others.

In addition to these rules, Rider is also required to follow the conditions that donors have placed upon gifts given to support the education of our students. These rules are the driving force behind fund accounting.

Private corporations, for the most part, have only to comply with GAAP; the combination of GAAP and Fund accounting can make higher education finances very complicated and hard to understand. One of the roles of the Office of Financial Planning and Budgeting is to provide support and guidance in navigating day to day budgeting and finance.