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Category Finance
Type Procedure
Approved by Chief Financial Officer
Date Procedure Took Effect 1 January 2000
Last approved revision 25 November 2022
Sponsor Chief Financial Officer
Responsible officer Financial Controller


These procedures provide an introduction to the financial systems of the University of Otago, including macro level policy and commentary on legislation and external reporting requirements of the University.


1. Requirements of legislation

  1. For policy and procedures
    1. Under the Education Act 1989 (as amended by the Education Amendment Act 1990), the University is defined as a body corporate (s166) with the Council as the governing authority (s165). Power is vested in the Council but any of its functions or powers (except the power to appoint a Chief Executive) may be delegated in accordance with S222 to the Chief Executive, who in turn may delegate to members of staff.
  2. For funding
    1. The Tertiary Education Commission is responsible for allocating the University its core Government funding. The Tertiary Education Commission is subject to the Public Finance Act under which Vote Education is appropriated and distributed.
  3. For reporting
    1. The Education and Training Act 2020 (S305) deems all tertiary institutions to be crown entities in terms of the Public Finance Act 1989 ( PFA ). Section 43 of the PFA requires that Crown Entities prepare financial statements. The form of these statements must comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Practice ( GAAP ) which in turn is defined in the Financial Reporting Act 2013. GAAP is defined by reference to approved accounting standards and authoritative support within the New Zealand accounting profession.
    2. The Annual Report includes:
      • financial statements including a Statement of Financial Performance, Statement of Financial Position, Statement of Cash Flows and Statement of Accounting Policies
      • non-financial statements (called Service Performance Reporting) documenting the achievements of the University against the objectives approved by Council and presented to the Tertiary Education Commission.
    3. The annual report is subject to audit. S156(1) of the Crown Entities Act 2004 states that the draft report must be provided to the Auditor-General within 3 months of the end of the financial year. S156 states that the Auditor-General must provide an audit report within 4 months of the end of the financial year (31 December). The University and Auditor-General currently determine the reporting and audit schedule to ensure that these timeframes are met.
    4. Section 306 of the Education and Training Act 2020 requires that the University Council lodges their final audited report with the Minister as soon as practicable after completion of the report. S150 of the Crown Entities Act 2004 states that this must be lodged with the responsible Minister no later than 14 days after receiving the audit report. This is actioned by the Registrar and Secretary to the Council.

2. Service Performance Reporting

  1. Section 306 of the Education and Training Act 2020 identifies several non-financial items that must be included in the annual reporting, including that a Statement of Objectives is prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting practice and S153 of the Crown Entities Act 2004. A requirement to include reporting by output class is one of the key requirements of S153 of the Crown Entities Act 2004.
  2. The relevant standard for reporting service performance under GAAP is PBEFRS 48, which has been in force for reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2021. PBEFRS 48 provides flexibility for entities to determine how best to report service performance information and “tell their story” to external stakeholders. Details of the judgements and determinations made in applying this standard, including alignment with the University’s strategy and Tertiary Education Commission requirements, are documented in the University’s Service Performance Reporting Methodology, which is published on the University’s website.
  3. The University defines its outputs as:
    1. Teaching and Learning including:
      • Campus Based Teaching and Learning
      • Distance Teaching and Learning
    2. Research including:
      • Postgraduate Thesis Supervision
      • Teaching Related Research
      • Project Based Research
    3. Community Services including:
      • Community Continuing Education
      • Community Cultural Events
      • Community Science Events
      • The provision of University expertise for public-good purposes

Related policies, procedures and forms

Contact for further information

For further information, contact:

Financial Controller

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