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Finance 2015/16: Support guides

This page provides an overview of the 2015/16 Finance collection (C15031).

This should be used alongside the C15031 coding manual, which provides more detailed, technical information about the collection.

Need help? Contact us by email or on +44 (0)1242 211144

Finance record overview

We collect data across a number of streams. These streams focus on different aspects of higher education.

The Finance stream collects financial information on the activities of Northern Irish, Welsh and Scottish higher education providers. Details of what information needs to be returned to HESA are included in the Coverage document found in the Coding manual.

The data we collect on behalf of the sector is provided to governments and funding bodies in order to support the regulation of higher education. We also make data available to the public to enhance understanding of UK higher education and to support its advancement.

Our coding manuals provide you with all the necessary documentation to support your data return. The coding manual contains technical documents giving detailed information on the record's coverage, data specification and submission formats. Familiarising yourself with these documents will help you make an accurate and timely return.

Each collection has its own coding manual which can be found in the Data collection section of our site. By default, you will land on the open collection for each record; you can then select previous or future years.

The coding manuals will be updated throughout the data collection cycle and Record Contacts informed by email when new versions are made live. Be sure to check the manual's Revision history for a summary of changes.

The below table provides an overview of the data collection schedule. A more detailed timetable can be found in the Coding manual.

Period Actions
15 September 2016 Preparation guide released
15 September 2016 Data collection system opens
01 December 2016 Send HESA copy of published accounts
01 December 2016 Return date
01 December 2016 to 23 December 2016 Data quality checking period
03 January 2017 Data quality checking period recommences
09 January 2017 Last submission
11 January 2017 Sign-off deadline

You submit data via our Data Collection system. To access this, you will need to have an appropriate role in our Identity System (IDS). We publish an IDS user guide which includes information on creating and editing your account.

You will need to be given access to the Data Collection system by the relevant Record Contact at your provider.

Once you have access to the system you will be able to upload files and track the progress of the collection.

The coding manual homepage includes all the technical information you require, including:

  • The data specification
  • File format specifications
  • A detailed collection schedule
  • Our XML data entry tool (available for some streams)
  • Quality rules.

This Support guides page collects together the following resources:

  • User guide
  • Data collection system: Known issues and release history.

In the Support area of the HESA website, you can find:

Our Data innovation section includes information about:

  • Open and recently completed record reviews, including information about changes we are implementing
  • Our Data Futures programme which will transform the higher education information landscape.

In the About section, you can find:


Our expert analysts have a thorough understanding of our records and processes. We are here to support you throughout the data submission process.

Please note the phone number for the Liaison team: +44(0)1242 388531.

Contact Liaison by email or on +44 (0)1242 388531 

Find out more about Liaison

Our JISCMail groups allow you to discuss specific streams with colleagues from across the sector. 

Join the HESA-Finance JISCMail list

If you encounter any problems, contact Liaison

Data collection system: Release history and known issues

Issue summary Details Status More information Date raised
Template query: Why does some information on template tables not populate across other tables? This is due to do title page information not being populated with providers Country, UKPRN and RECID Open N/A 2016-11-21
Issuing versions of finance template There are occasions where HESA has to re-issue the Finance template in order to make necessary changes.  The template conversion tool allows for providers to upgrade an obsolete version 1.3 of the template to the current 1.4 version.  Please contact [email protected] for further information or see email sent to Record Contacts/IDS Submitters on 21-11-2016 Open   2016-11-19
Table 5 - how to return HEIF spend HEFCE have confirmed that HEIF should be returned against the cost centre in which it has been spent. It should not be allocated to research grants and contracts. Open N/A 2016-11-09
Sub-heads 1d, 1e,and 1f should only be completed by HEPs in Wales - Fee rate HEFCW have confirmed that guidance should reflect split by new and old regime and not new and continuing. Open N/A 2016-11-09
Table 8 - Amortisation Amortisation should be included in Table 8 under Column 5 'Other operating expenses. Open N/A 2016-11-18
Table 8 - HEIF Expendature Discretionary will depend on the nature of the expenditure incurred at each institution. Open N/A 2016-11-18
Tables 7, 8 and 9 - Conference residences or catering If the obvious majority relates to residences, put it in residences, if not put it in catering. Open N/A 2016-11-18

Experiencing an issue not listed here? Let us know.

Issue summary Status Date raised Date resolved

Experiencing an issue not listed here? Let us know.

Release ID Release date Release summary
1 16 September 2016

Correction to issue 22064

Addition of update tool to allow submitted file to be updated to latest version of the template

2 30 September 2016

New quality rules added:

  • QR.C15031.Table5.15
  • QR.C15031.Table5.16
  • QR.C15031.Table5.17
  • QR.C15031.Table5.18
  • QR.C15031.Table7W.3
  • QR.C15031.Table7W.4
  • QR.C15031.Table8.48
  • QR.C15031.Table8.49
  • QR.C15031.Table8.50
  • QR.C15031.Table8.51
  • QR.C15031.Table8.52
  • QR.C15031.Table8.53

Quality rules updated:

  • QR.C15031.Table7E.3
  • QR.C15031.Table7E.4

Quality rules removed:

  • QR.C15031.Table5.16

Preparation guide

Documentation logging the changes for the Finance record for 2015/16 can be found in the Notification log. Please note that any changes made to the record after the first release of the manual will be documented in the Revision history

Key Changes for 2015/16 and Guidance

  1. The HESA Finance record contains significant changes in order to reflect the new FRS102 accounting standard and the new HE/FE Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) which apply for all providers from 1 August 2015. The format of the tables follows the BUFDG model financial statements.
  2. Further changes have been made to the HESA Finance record as a result of the consultation exercise we carried out in 2014. A summary of the outcomes can be found here. One such change is that the funding councils will no longer collect their own financial tables of annual accounts; these have instead been combined within the HESA Finance record. (Note, funding councils will still require additional supporting information, and will contact HE providers separately to request this.) To accommodate the requirements of the different funding councils some tables within the Finance record are now country specific.
  3. Providers in receipt of UKRPIF funding should return co-investment from charities and businesses under this initiative in Table 5 under Head 5 ''Co-investment from external sources on HEFCE-funded projects (included in Heads 1 to 4 above)" [guidance can be found under Table 5 Head 5]
  4. All providers should complete Table 5 Head 6 “Balance of research related deferred capital and revenue grants as at 31 July 2015 taken to reserves” where relevant. Funding councils plan to use the information returned under this head in their calculation of funding council research funding. Further details can be found in the guidance notes under Table 5 Head 6.
  5. The HESA Finance record is to be signed off by the head of provider as in previous years.
  6. Welsh institutions are required by HEFCW to disclose funds disbursed by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO) on Table_7_Wales. Further guidance relating to the return of funds derived from the EU disbursed by a UK-based body (for all providers) has been included for Table 5.

C15031 Finance record template

The template will be available from the coding manual page, available for users to capture the information prior to submission. Personalised provider templates are available from the data collection system pre-filled with provider’s UKPRN, name and country details.

Collection user guide and supporting documentation

Information on how to complete the tables within the Finance record can be found in the coding manual

The Finance record collection user guide provides step-by-step guidance on how to submit data to HESA and the process of submission undertaken by providers.

Suggestions on the order of completion of the tables is located in the ordering and linking of the tables section of the coverage of the record.

Mapping document for old FSR tables and the current Finance tables

To take into account the changes between the old FSR tables and the current Finance tables, HESA have produced the following mapping document to assist providers.

BUFDG Discussion board

To assist providers with queries they may have relating to the new SORP and the HESA Finance record 2015/16 BUFDG have set up a dedicated discussion board on their website ( Colleagues are encouraged to make use of this discussion board to raise any issues encountered when applying the new SORP.  This discussion board is intended as a self-help tool but will be monitored by BUFDG FRG, the Funding Councils and HESA, whom if necessary will issue further guidance.

Responding to Minerva queries

Providers are required to actively engage with data quality checking and resolution of all Minerva queries within the collection period. Recognised best practice is to interact with Minerva and the HESA data collection system frequently throughout the period so as to gradually resolve issues either through providing explanations of genuine data or submitting revised data that corrects issues identified. Through adopting this approach providers are able to iteratively improve the quality of their data and expose issues in a timely manner leading to better quality returns.

Record contact changes

The record contact is the first point of communication during data collection. If these details have changed please ensure you notify [email protected] to prevent any delay in the receipt of important communications. 

HESA Identity System

The HESA Finance record contact for each provider will have access to the HESA data collection system and through the IDS will be able to invite additional colleagues to also have access to the system to submit data and view reports. Please ensure that the correct roles are in place to ensure the necessary access required by colleagues ahead of the collection opening.

The Identity System user guide provides detailed help with using HESA's single sign-on system.

Stages of data submission

A. Sending data

Data collection system - Process flow

Data can be uploaded by clicking on the “Send Data” button.

Browse your computer to locate the file you wish to submit and upload the file to the Data Collection System.


  • The template can be saved with any name
  • Only one file can be sent at a time
  • The system does not support Excel 2003.xls format or older. Please 'Save as Type' Excel 2007.xlsx files.
  • Files must be returned using the most recent template (.xlsx) provided by HESA. The template for the Finance return can be downloaded from the Data Collection System under “Latest Reports and Downloads”.


B.     Validation

Insert-stage validation checks will now run. To pass insert-stage validation the file must not trigger any validation errors. Validation errors and warnings are listed in cells D2 and D3 of the Excel templates. To pass validation these counts should be at zero.

i. What to do if the file fails validation

Finance collection system

If the file fails validation the system will show the below status and reports. You should review the errors (and warnings if any). Make any necessary corrections to the data and resubmit.

 To pass insert-stage validation you will need to resolve all errors listed within the report.

How to obtain a switch

When errors are triggered in the Data Collection system but the data has been checked and is genuine, you need to request a switch. This is because your file will not pass the validation requirements of the collection deadlines if there are any remaining errors.

Please email your switch request to Liaison, stating which rule is causing the error to be triggered and for how many records, together with an explanation as to why the data is genuine.

This will then be forwarded to your funding council/regulator for them to review. They may agree the switch, ask for more information or state how they wish the data to be returned so that an error is no longer triggered.

This request should be sent well in advance of any deadline, to allow sufficient time for a decision to be made.

When a switch has been agreed, it will be applied to your data for the count specified and the data will be reprocessed. This will resolve the error.

If the count increases, the rule will be triggered again, and you will need to request that the count on the switch be increased. This will be forwarded to your funding council/regulator for approval.

ii. What to do when the file passes validation

You should review any validation warnings in the webform to ensure that the submitted data is genuine or correcting and resaving the data where necessary.

If the file passes insert-stage validation it will generate the suite of reports. These reports should be reviewed to ensure that the submitted data is an accurate reflection of your profile. We will also review these reports.

To proceed to commit-level validation a valid file needs to have been submitted and passed insert-stage validation checks. The data will then be classed as “Committable”.

Finance - Data Collection System


Once you are content with the data, you should commit your submission by processing a COMMIT transaction. This transaction will then send a copy of the submission to the HESA Data Quality Assurance team for us to undertake analysis of the return in parallel with you conducting your own analysis.

i. What to do if the file fails COMMIT?

If the file fails commit-level checks you should review the error report produced by the system, make any necessary corrections to the file and resubmit it.

Deleting files

Where you need to make amendments to data, upload a new file. Although all transactions are stored in the system, the new submission will replace the old one.

Why can't failed files be deleted?

Where a file fails insert-stage validation, the data contained within it is not uploaded to the HESA database and so will not be counted as part of the return.

ii. What to do if the file passes COMMIT?


A passed COMMIT transaction will lock the system to prevent the data from being amended and to allow the HESA Data Quality Assurance team to undertake analysis of the submission. To unlock the system you will need to request a DECOMMIT transaction from HESA. This will reverse the current commit and allow you to delete, resend and recommit data.

I need to amend my data, how do I get it decommitted?

You will need to contact Liaison either by emailing [email protected] or calling on 01242 388531 to request a decommit transaction.

Once we have analysed your committed return, data quality queries will be posted onto the Issue Management System data quality database. Relevant users will be notified by email when these queries are available to view. The Issue Management System user guide provides help on using the Issue Management System.

Access the Issue Management System data quality database

Once your data has passed all the stages of validation, and any issues highlighted during credibility checking have been addressed, we will set the return to CREDIBLE. This produces the sign-off form.

When data is set to credible, a link to the sign-off form is automatically emailed to the head of the submitting organisation as well as the appropriate record contact. The form should be completed and signed by the head of the reporting organisation and returned to us by email or post. This verification offers both you and us assurances regarding onward use of the data.

Sign-off completes the data collection process.