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Weekly Bulletin No. 841

Tuesday 8th December 


Update from the Director of Finance 

Every fortnight, Director of Finance David Hughes updates the Finance Division on key business matters. Where relevant, we will also share this news via the CUFS Bulletin to keep our wider Finance community informed.  

David's latest message features a brief update regarding the Finance Transformation Programme's Enhanced Financial Transparency project and an update on our year-end accounts. This update can be accessed here:
Issued by Nicloa Lawrence - Communications Manager – Finance Transformation Programme

CUFS Downtime – Security Patching

CUFS Downtime from 5pm Friday 11th December to 9am Thursday 17th December 2020

CUFS will be unavailable from 5pm on Friday 11th December in order to implement the latest critical and security patches, and to upgrade the database servers.

During this time there will be no access to CUFS, iProcurement or Suppliers database

Access to all systems will be restored at 9am on Thursday 17th December.

Reports and Enquiries During Downtime

An enquiry only version of CUFS will be created, details of how to access this will be made available on Monday 14th December. Users will be able to run reports and perform enquiries, this version of CUFS will be copied from LIVE on Thursday 10th December, and will not contain transactions created after this date.

Cognos will also remain available for reporting, with information as at close of business on Thursday 10th December.

Emergency Procurement Procedures

Emergency procedure will also be put in place for Purchasing. 

Template Purchase Order is available for departments to use ONLY DURING THE SHUTDOWN PERIOD AND ONLY TO BE USED IN AN EMERGENCY. 

Please enter an emergency purchase order number which includes your departmental prefix for the ship-to site normally used, a sequential number and the initials of the preparer.  

Ensure that your department details are entered onto the template along with the full details of the items required

It is essential that the purchase order is signed by a CUFS approver with the relevant approval level. 

If a medical exemption certificate is required to accompany an order, these can be found here

Once the system is reinstated the use of this emergency purchase order should cease and new orders generated as normal. At this point full details from the Emergency Purchase Order must be entered into iProcurement as a non-catalogue order, cross-referencing the emergency order number and adding the emergency document as an attachment.  


Departments are advised to run the Open Purchase Order report on Friday 11th December to identify any possible deliveries due over this period and to note details of locations, buyers etc.

If you have any questions regarding the processes above please contact the Purchasing Helpdesk on

Removing Printers from CUFS Requests

If you have reports that are scheduled to run automatically, please remove the printer from these reports. Please complete this action no later than Friday 11th December, after this date any scheduled reports with printers will be cancelled and you will be required to reschedule your report.

Issued by Paul Humpheys – Functional Analyst


General Finance heading

Financial Users Group (FUG) 9th December

The next Financial Users Group meeting is to held via TEAMS, at 10am on Wednesday 9th December.

Everyone is welcome to drop in, just click on the following link to join.

Issued by Lesley Dent - System Administrator


Deposit Account – Interest Payment & Emailed Enforced Movement Letters

Deposit Account

Please note Deposit Account interest has been credited for November 2020 in CUFS

Enforced Movements

As part of monthly monitoring the Treasury & Investments team have carried out deposit movements to correct debit balances on Sources of Funds. Affected departments will receive documentation indicating which accounts have been adjusted.

Emailed Enforced Movement Letters

Departments will now receive enforced movement letters via email. If these are being received by the incorrect contact or you have not received a notification you were expecting, please contact Treasury & Investments.

December 2020 Deposit Account Interest

Please ensure deposit movements for December 2020 have been processed by the close of 7th January 2021, and that overdrawn accounts have had funds taken off deposit by this time to avoid delays in crediting December’s Interest.

Cambridge University Endowment Fund – Distribution

Distribution November 2020
Please note that the Cambridge University Endowment Fund distribution for November 2020 has been processed in the November 2020 CUFS period at 223.17p per unit per annum.

The 2020/21 distribution rate has increased from 222.98p to 223.17p per unit per annum as per the final June 2020 valuation of the fund. An adjustment for the change in distribution for the periods August, September and October 2020 has been processed in the November 2020 CUFS period.

Queries: Any queries should be addressed to:Treasury & Investments,, Ext 64216

Issued by David Sizer - Treasury and Investments


Expenses and benefits: Christmas parties (including “virtual” parties) and gifts

This guidance note summarises the key points for Institutions/Schools, etc. who may be considering providing either Christmas gifts or parties, to ensure no additional, unintended costs are incurred. 

Christmas 2020 will be unlike any other.  HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have accepted this and provided some clarification for employers around the tax treatment of gifts and parties (including “virtual” parties). 

Issued by Graham Gustard - Head of Emplyment Tax


Accounts Payable - End of Year Payment Runs 2020

Please refer to the table at the link below for the Christmas Payment Run dates for 2020.

If you have any queries please contact the Accounts Payable Helpdesk on 66888 or email

Issued by Andrew Weatherley  – Manager Accounts Payable, Receivable and Cash Management.


Payroll banner

Payroll Deadlines

The payroll website has been updated with the Christmas closure dates for the weekly payroll.  This includes the advanced payrolls, so please note the deadlines to ensure timesheets are received on time.
The monthly and UPS deadlines have been updated to include the 2021 dates.
Issued by Alexsis Dicken - Payroll


Check a UK VAT number

As the Brexit transition period ends on 31 December 2020, so does the UK’s participation in the EU’s VIES system.  Whilst VIES is still available to validate EU VAT numbers, you will no longer be able to use it to check if a UK VAT registration number is valid.

Instead, HMRC have launched CHECK A UK VAT NUMBER.  Use this to validate a UK VAT registration number and the name and address that the business is registered to.

Issued by Angela Fearnside - Interim Deputy VAT Manager


Brexit: Updated guidelines for purchasing from 1 Jan 21

The Brexit Briefing Notes have been updated to reflect the following items and is available to download here.  

In principle, the withdrawal agreement provides certainly on EU funding. It commits the EU to honour the funds of all active awards until the end of the project, regardless of a deal. Therefore, please continue to use your existing awards and projects unless instructed otherwise by the Research Operations Office.  
The new tax codes IMPORT 20%, IMPORT 5% and IMPORT 0% are now available in CUFS. These (or if appropriate ME0%) should be used for any orders where it is known that the goods will be imported into the UK after the 1st January, regardless of whether the supplier is in the EU or elsewhere in the world.
Work is currently underway to update in CUFS the default tax code attributed to overseas trade suppliers of goods to the relevant IMPORT tax code that will be required for imports from the 1st January, following the end of the Brexit transition period.

This will affect both suppliers of goods from within the EU that were previously allocated to EU tax codes and, suppliers of goods from outside the UK that were previously allocated to NO UK TAX . The Tax Team have undertaken a high level review of where the NO UK VAT default tax code is used, with the aim of identifying the relevant overseas suppliers and have asked for these to be updated appropriately

It is expected that this exercise will take several weeks to complete in full but in the meantime the changes will become live for each individual supplier as their record is updated.

Therefore, please be vigilant when raising purchase orders and processing invoices from overseas suppliers over the next few weeks. The new IMPORT tax codes should only be used currently for purchase orders where it is known that the goods will be delivered into the UK after the 1st January.


Postal Imports less than £135

Where the University imports goods from overseas and the seller sends them as a parcel in the post and the consignment is valued at less than £135 (exclusive of VAT), the way in which import VAT is paid is changing. From 1 January 2021, VAT will no longer be due at the border. 

Departments should ensure that they provide the supplier at the time of ordering, with the University’s VAT registration number. The order and subsequent invoice should then be coded to the appropriate IMPORT tax code. More guidance and specific advice if buying items via an online marketplace is available from the Finance Division website.


At the end of the transition period, the Northern Ireland Protocol will take effect.  The Protocol is an agreement between the EU & the UK which aims to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and Ireland. The Protocol means that Northern Ireland is simultaneously in both the UK and EU’s VAT system for goods, including goods moving to, from and within Northern Ireland. UK VAT rules related to transactions in services will apply across the whole of the UK.

The application of the Protocol will involve some changes for sales and movements of goods that involve Northern Ireland.  This could be purchases and sales but also moving the University’s own goods e.g. collections and equipment for field trips and research. For goods, it will be important to make the distinction between UK (Great Britain and Northern Ireland), GB and NI.

For movements of goods from GB to NI, there are potentially customs declarations to be made plus payment of custom duties and import VAT.  To enable this, the University has applied for an XI EORI number – a special NI identification number - and registered with the Trader Support Service.

Please email the University Tax Team for assistance within any sales/purchases or movements of goods involving Northern Ireland.

Issued by Karen Sheldon - Finance Training 


Tax Heading

Dispensation submissions

As we approach the Christmas period, and recognising the upcoming end of financial periods, please can we encourage the submission of dispensations required to be processed before the end of the year as soon as possible.

These can be raised via the online dispensation form

If you have any questions please contact the Procurement team via

Issued by Tony Fish - Procurement Services


IMPORTANT: No CUFS access from 5pm on Wednesday 23rd December to 8am on Monday 4th January.

As you will be aware there is a heightened risk of cyber security activity such as phishing attacks over holiday periods.

Having assessed previous data volumes it is evident that usage of CUFS during the Christmas and New Year period is very limited. Therefore, as part of improvements made to existing CUFS data integrity and cyber security protocols, access to CUFS will be removed during the period from 5pm on Wednesday 23rd December to 8am on Monday 4th January. This will provide added protection from cyber security incidents.

This action will not impact on making payments to suppliers as a revised schedule of payment runs will be implemented for the Christmas period and communicated in the CUFS Bulletin as usual.

Cognos will be available to run reports during this time.

 In the unlikely event that there is a need to raise urgent purchase orders during this period you will be able to do so. Guidance for this will be issued nearer the time.

Thank you for your assistance. It is hoped by giving advanced notice that this change in approach will have limited impact. If you have any queries about this please contact FSG System Support

Issued by Michelle Bond - Head of Financial Systems

Marketplace heading

Marketplace Error 401

Work is still ongoing with Oracle to resolve the Marketplace checkout issue 401.
Users currently receive the error when attempting to checkout multiple lined baskets, and all items are removed from the basket.
For this reason it is advisable to save the basket first incase it is 'lost'. Baskets of 1 or 2 lines should process as normal. 
While we are aware that this inconvenient, it is only a temporary work around.
Updates will be issued as more information becomes available.

Issued by Lesley Dent - System Administrator


Training header

New style training courses available

This year has seen enormous changes to the way that we have delivered finance training. Since the first lockdown in March we have been adapting our face to face classroom courses to run as virtual classroom courses on Teams in addition to our existing suite of online courses.

To complement these training tools we are launching NEW On demand courses. These courses are available at all times and do not need to be booked. They cover a range of topics and much of the same information as the virtual courses. A range of videos, documents, exercises and self-test quizzes are included. On successful completion of the final knowledge check, the course will be added to the user’s training history.

These courses can be used:

  • As a refresher 

  • For new staff or staff moving into a new role

  • When a virtual classroom course is not available at a suitable time

  • When a virtual classroom course is not a suitable format for an individual

To make things easier to find we have grouped the courses by finance system/subject area.

Click here for our overview training page.

Issued by Helen Parker, Finance Training


Forthcoming course (via Teams)

Grants 3, Viewing Grants in CUFS, Tue 15 & Wed 16 Dec

A CUFS overview of your grant:  View how grants are setup in CUFS, check budgets and run some CUFS reports.

Issued by Christine Rogerson -  Finance Training


FAQ heading

Monthly Accounting Timetable

To view the status of the monthly process including the month end close dates please use the following link: Accounting Timetable


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Vulnerable Periods

Some systems may be unavailable between 6.00am to 9.00am Tuesdays and Thursdays. Users will be notified of planned vulnerable periods here and in the latest bulletin.