Office for Faculty Development

Budgets and Financial Transactions

Once you've been appointed chair, you will be in charge of the departmental budget.

  • The outgoing chair should review the budget and explain the basics to the incoming Chair.
  • You, as department chair, have signatory authority over all expenditures in all accounts.
  • While you are not required to do so, some chairs, at the beginning of the year, make copies of the budget for everyone in the department. This way everyone knows how much funding is available and what allocations are expected in the various expenditure categories. If you have a new person in the department, it's a good time to explain matters related to the budget. You might also distribute the end results of the previous year's budget if you would like others in the department to see how the year finished up. Some chairs set up a budget advisory committee within the department.

Need help? 

  • If you need additional assistance or have questions, you should contact the Assistant Dean in your Dean’s Office who has been assigned budget oversight responsibilities, or
  • contact Alison Nieto in the Provost’s Office. She can meet with you to answer any questions or concerns you might have. 

Important points and resources: 

  • It is important that the department stay within its annual budget.
  • UMass Boston has three general types of funds: state, trust, and sponsored project funds. See the UMass Boston Budget Overview for more information on funds.
  • Check the budget every month or two to see how you're doing. This is done most easily by keeping what is called a “shadow” budget in the department. If you keep track of expenditures using a shadow budget, you should check these numbers against the SUMMIT system systematically.
  • If you find yourself consistently overspending in a particular category, talk to the Dean about reallocation within the budget, decreasing expenditures or possibly increasing the amount in that category.
  • Mistakes happen. If you see a line that looks odd (e.g., a large amount spent where you think it unlikely), go into the transactions to see where the money was spent. It is not uncommon for a charge to be debited to the wrong account number. If you have any questions, ask the Assistant Dean of your college or the Provost’s Office for help. If needed, the transaction can be traced back to the original paperwork.

It is important that the department stay within its annual budget.

Budgets are established at four basic levels: 

  1. AA payroll (regular salary for benefitted employees),
  2. CC Special Employees/Contract Services (salary for contract employees),
  3. DD Pension and Insurance (fringe benefits), and
  4. Non-Payroll Expense (operating funds). 

As Chair, you have discretion over moving funds between the CC budget and non-payroll expense budget (if needed).  Please be sure to track your spending on operating costs against the budget set at the non-payroll expense level.