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Financial Statements 2011-12 21


Accounting Policies Accounting Convention


The Financial Statements have been prepared under the historical cost convention, as modified by the revaluation of fixed asset investments and endowment asset investments, and in accordance with both the Statement of Recommended Practice - Accounting for Further and Higher Education (SORP) issued in July 2007 and applicable accounting standards and Financial Reporting Standards.


Basis of Consolidation


The Financial Statements comprise the consolidated results of the University of Essex and its subsidiaries and the University’s share of the results and reserves of its joint venture companies. These subsidiaries undertake activities which, for legal and commercial reasons, are more appropriately operated through limited companies. Their activities include a hotel, conferences and consultancy services for a wide variety of commercial organisations and individuals, the rental of student residences, the acquisition, protection and licensing of intellectual property from the University and the holding, development and disposal of land or granting of long- leases in relation to the Knowledge Gateway project.


The subsidiary companies transfer all taxable profits to the University through Gift Aid. Joint ventures are consolidated according to the proportionate share the University has in each.


Full details of the activities of the Universities subsidiaries and joint ventures are disclosed in Note 27.


The consolidated Financial Statements do not include those of the University of Essex Students’ Union as it is a separate entity with its own governance and reporting arrangements. The grant to the Students’ Union is disclosed in Note 8, and the Union’s financial results are summarised in Note 28.


Recognition of Income


Income from HEFCE block grants are accounted for in the period to which they relate.


Income from HEFCE revenue grants for specific purposes is included to the extent that expenditure is incurred during the year.


Grants and donations received in respect of expenditure on fixed assets are treated as deferred capital grants and released to the income and expenditure account in line with depreciation, over the useful economic life of the asset.


Fee income is stated gross and credited to the income and expenditure account over the period in which students are studying. Where the amount of the tuition fee is reduced, by a discount for prompt payment, income receivable is shown net of the discount. Bursaries and scholarships are accounted for gross as expenditure and not deducted from income


Recurrent income from grants and contracts, consultancy and other services rendered are recognised to the extent of the completion of the contract or service concerned; any payments received in advance of such performance are recognised on the balance sheet as liabilities.


Income from the sale of goods or services is credited to the income and expenditure account when the goods or services are supplied to the external customers or the terms of the contract have been satisfied.


Any increase in value arising on the revaluation of fixed asset investments is credited to the revaluation reserve via the statement of total recognised gains and losses; a diminution in value is charged to the income and expenditure account as a debit, to the extent that it is not covered by a previous revaluation surplus.


Accounting for Donations and Endowment Funds


Where donations are to be retained for the benefit of the University as specified by the donors, these are accounted for as endowments. There are three categories of endowment:


1) Unrestricted permanent endowments - the donor has specified that the fund is to be permanently invested to generate an income stream for the general benefit of the University;


2) Restricted expendable endowments - the donor has specified a particular objective other than the purchase or construction of tangible fixed assets and the University can apply the capital as well as the income to fund the specified objective;


3) Restricted permanent endowments - the donor has specified that the fund is to be permanently invested to generate an income stream to be applied to a particular objective.


Unrestricted endowments are recognised when the donation has been received or if, before receipt, there is sufficient evidence of certainty that the donation will be received and its value can be measured with sufficient reliability.


Endowments with restrictions are recognised when relevant conditions have been met.


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