Budget Process Onboarding

Facilitated by the Budget and Financial Operations team, Berkeley’s budget process is a continuous cycle of actions throughout the year that helps the campus, divisions, and departments evaluate their financial position, determine where they wish to go, and chart a path for how to get there.

Annual Budget Process

The annual budget process kicks off with strategic planning in the December-January timeframe. In the Call Letter, leadership provides the general direction of the university and key budget assumptions. Finance Planning & Analysis (FP&A) then provides Detailed Guidelines and Assumptions as well as deliverables that each Division will need to provide and present at the Budget Hearing. After the Budget Hearing, a formal Allocation Letter is provided to outline the decisions made by leadership. The budget process is complete in time for the beginning of the new fiscal year.

After the first and second quarters of the year, divisions and departments update their budgets to address changes that have occurred since the budget was created.

Learning topics

Campus deliverables

Annual Budget Process

Information about the annual budget process is published on the Budget Process webpage with a separate Budget Process webpage for each year that provides important budget process information such as the call letter, guidelines, timeline, deliverables, etc. You'll find descriptions and instructions for each of the deliverables along with the templates to create your submission and sample templates that are completed. Budget deliverables include:

  • Budget template: this template provides a Divisional roll up of your operating budget. The template is formatted using the SRECNA view as rows (Revenue, Operating Transfers, Expenses, and Fund in Change Balances) and years as columns. The budget for the current cycle is delivered in detail in our budget systems (CalPlan and HCP), which is refreshed in the budget template.  The template also provides two future years, where DFLs can provide at a high level their Division’s budget outlook.

  • Narrative template: a set of prescribed questions for you to answer where you share any large variances, financial needs, issues on the horizon.

  • Form A (academic units only): if you are in an academic unit, you will be asked to complete a Form A in which you provide detailed information about your faculty salary, merit, promotions, separations, and new hires.  This template is emailed to you directly. This data is uploaded into CalPlan mid budget cycle and is then reflected in your Budget Template.

Reserve Analysis

On an annual basis, the Financial Planning and Analysis team partners with Divisional Finance Leaders to create a Reserve Analysis. By analyzing our existing resources, we provide transparency into campus’ reserve balances and ensure that we are investing in our highest priorities. The Reserve Analysis page has the templates, instructions, examples, and learning resources you'll need.

Quarterly Updates

After the first and second quarters of the year, divisions and departments update their budgets to address changes that have occurred since the budget was created; this is usually done via an in-year (re)forecast process. The Budget and Financial Operations team provides the templates, instructions, and support for this process with links to the resources in the DFL Weekly email.

Policies that govern the work

The Call Letter sets the direction for the budget.  The overall budget assumptions and guidelines are dependent on the State Allocation as well as decisions made by the UC Regents and UC Office of the President (UCOP).

Roles and responsibilities

  • Divisional Financial Leaders submit their budget and templates on behalf of their Dean/VC

  • Managers/Supervisors, Budget Owners and Financial Analysts may all play a role in data aggregation and/or data entry

  • At the Budget Hearing, usually the Dean or VC presents the budget deliverables

Systems used

CalPlanning: CalPlan and Human Capital Planning (HCP) using either the web or Excel (Smart View) interface