Managing money

During compilation of your bid, you will put together costings for your project, and profile them to show when you expect to incur the different expenses. Remember that where a cost appears in your profile is when you will have to pay for it – not when it is purchased!

Think too about value for money: this looks at how well you achieve your project outcomes and may include looking at the cost per learning opportunity.

When profiling, bear in mind that ULF money you receive does not include any element of Value Added Tax (VAT). Check the VAT position with your own union – it is their responsibility to deal with any VAT liabilities that arise during your project.

Over your project's lifetime, you will be gathering a tremendous amount of financial information, so it helps to set up robust systems to capture this from the start. During any review of your project by unionlearn’s internal auditor (and every project will be audited at least once) you will be asked to provide all financial records with supporting information, and your process and practices will be reviewed.

Best practice is for ULF project accounts to be integrated into your union’s own financial structure and systems, and differentiating your project expenditure by assigning a specific code to your project. It is helpful to provide the ULF team with copies of the union procedures and processes that you are following.

Finance key facts

  • Profile costs in the quarter when you will have to pay – not when items are bought! Otherwise, major expenditure will really skew your figures and give you a real headache with reporting.
  • Use your union’s own systems and procedures, with a separate code for your ULF project rather than opening a new bank account.
  • You cannot claim Value Added Tax (VAT) from ULF money.  Speak with your own union about this before profiling.

Dealing with project finances can seem very involved and quite daunting. Remember you're not on your own – the ULF Finance Officer will help support you in meeting the financial reporting requirements of ULF, and the ULF team are also there to help if needed.

As with any fund ULF finances are monitored quite tightly. So you need to ensure that your financial profile and claims are submitted on time. If your reports show that you are spending much less or more than you had stated in your profile, you may need to review how you profiled your expenditure and make some changes with approval from the ULF team, in light of what has actually happened.