Bilkent University implements a budget and procurement system to control the use of its financial resources. This text is meant to explain how this system works, especially in relation to the academic units in the university.
The budget-request process
Academic units are asked to provide an estimate of their expenditures for the next academic year (September to August) at least 8 months in advance (in February). In order to come up with an estimated budget, the academic units should closely monitor the actual spending that is taking place during the current academic year. Exceptional increases or decreases in the following year’s budget request should be accompanied by detailed justifications. The request for funds must also specify the times when the actual expenses are expected to occur, and accumulation of expenses to short periods of time should be avoided if possible. Care must be exercised in including possible peripheral expenses (such as taxes, transportation and customs costs, etc.) in the overall costs of items to be purchased.
The funds allocated in the budget are placed under certain budget items such as travel, educational equipment, computer equipment, etc. The items requested in the budget should therefore also be categorized under the corresponding budget items. Some budget items that include goods and services that are predominantly imported are allocated funds in foreign currency, while others are allocated Turkish Liras.
The budget request of an academic department is sent to the Faculty Dean, who will include it in the faculty budget request, possibly after modifications. The faculty budget is then forwarded to the Provost Office.
Budget approval and spending
The Provost Office will finalize the faculty budget, again after possible modifications. Once the faculty budget is finalized, the Dean in turn allocates the available funds among the departments and the faculty. Once the budget is finalized, it is entered into a computer program (ERP) that monitors all expenses, and makes sure that funds are available in the budget for a particular spending. The funds that are approved in the budget are released for use on a monthly basis. Academic units are divided into budget units, which have independent budgets. In some cases, the budget unit is the Faculty. A Dean may decide to subdivide the funds allocated to the Faculty, and request that the individual Departments are defined as budget units. Budget units are expected to stay within their budgetary limits, as defined by the amount of funds in the particular budget items. Funds that are not spent by the end of the month are carried over to the next month, and eventually into the following year.
Some amount of flexibility is incorporated into the system for unforeseen changes in prices of items through the following loose constraint system: Purchases are allowed to take place as long as the academic unit has sufficient funds (in either the foreign currency or the Turkish Lira budget, as appropriate with that particular purchase) to cover that expenditure. This mechanism allows the academic unit to go negative on a particular budget item as long as it has sufficient funds to cover this in another budget item. However, this mechanism should not be used to effectively “transfer” funds from one budget item to another; the total expenses in all budget items are expected to be within the approved budget at the end of the year.
For purchases with long expected procurement time, it is possible to place the order ahead of the time so that the approved funds are allocated. The amount of funds corresponding to such orders is then “reserved” at the estimated date of payment. If the order materializes before the estimated date, the university will still pay for the expense, but the budget for the academic unit may go “red” due to the early payment, and no more purchase requests from that unit will be honored until sufficient funds accumulate in that budget.
Procedure for purchasing
A faculty member who feels the need to purchase an item should first contact the Department Chairperson and discuss whether the department would support such a purchase, and if and when funds are available in the allocated budget. Obviously, for large expenses, planning should start in the budget request process in the previous academic year.
If the Department Chairperson approves the purchase, a Purchase Request Form should be filled out on the ERP system by the Department Secretary. Items that are being ordered under different budget lines should appear on different forms. The form requires approximate total cost of the purchase to be provided. The university Procurement Office (“Alimlar Mudurlugu”, extension 1447) can provide a market search and provide competitive pricing for the items. Alternatively, the requestor may provide an estimate for the price, possibly with attachments such as price lists, invoices, etc. (If the actual purchase price turns out to be considerably more than the estimate, the Procurement Office will not carry out the purchase.)
Upon the approval of the Department Chairperson, the Purchase Request Form will be forwarded to the Dean. If approved by the Dean, the form will then be forwarded to the Procurement Office.
Working through the university Procurement Office will save the trouble of carrying out a market search and obtaining appropriate documentation when a purchase is made. This office can also provide accurate estimates for taxes, import duties, shipping costs etc. (which may add up to a good percentage of the total) related to the purchase. (Foreign goods can usually be imported at much smaller costs by the university so that such purchases must be carried out by and/or discussed with the university Procurement Office.)
On the other hand, in certain cases it may be more appropriate if a faculty member carries out the purchase. This may be true especially for some small cost, special items. In this case, a note of this should be made on the Purchase Request Form, and the form will be returned (after Dean’s approval) to the faculty member who is going to carry out the purchase. Extra care must be exercised with the details of the procedure, as the university will not reimburse for expenses without proper documentation. (For small items, some advance payment (“avans”) may be available before the purchase from the Dean’s office.) An invoice (“fatura”) must be obtained from the seller, made out to
Ünvan: İHSAN DOĞRAMACI BİLKENT ÜNİVERSİTESİ
Adres: ÜNİVERSİTELER MAHALLESİ 1609 SOKAK NO:10, 06800 BİLKENT ÇANKAYA / ANKARA
Vergi. Dairesi : DOĞANBEY VERGİ DAİRESİ
Vergi Numarası : 1750021979
Bilkent University participates in e-invoice program (e-fatura) please see instructions in the file.
This is extremely important; the university cannot reimburse a payment if the invoice is made out to any other name or one that does not contain the correct tax number. The date of the purchase should of course be later than the approval date on the Purchase Request Form. This invoice is then attached to the Purchase Request Form and submitted to the Department. The purchaser will then be reimbursed for the expenses in due time. (If the purchase was carried out through some advance payment, all that needs to be done is to take the form and the invoice to the Dean’s office and clear out the “debt”.)
In case of payments to people for their services, it may not be possible to obtain an invoice from them. In that case, a Payment Form filled out and signed by each person who is being paid will be necessary.
Please contact the university Procurement Office (extension 1447) if you have any doubts about the purchasing procedures.
Following the budget activity
The university Budget Office (“APK”, extension 1203) keeps track of all spending activity of the academic units. The academic units may inquire about the current status of their budget from the office of their Dean. The budget units have the option of following their budgets through ERP over the computer network.