Skip to main content

Finance data user guide

Guidance on using and interpreting Finance open data on the HESA website.

A breakdown of the data contained within the audited financial statements of higher education (HE) providers in the UK is published by HESA as open data.

Historically, HESA collected data from all four countries of the UK and published data tables for wider use. From 2018/19 onwards the Office for Students (OfS) has collected data from English providers as part of its Annual Financial Return which is then delivered to HESA for inclusion in the UK-wide publication. HESA continues to collect data from Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland providers.

Data for each HE provider published is broken down by country and region of provider and academic year. The tables show the financial year (FY) end of each provider. 

Underlying data behind the tables can be large and granular; Radio buttons allow switching of views to display subsets of the tables. Arrows in each column can be used to sort data in ascending or descending order.

In addition to interactive tables, downloads are available in two formats: as a snapshot of the current view of the interactive table and the filter values selected, or, a full download of all source data for all years.

In recent years, some non-traditional HE providers in England have been registered with, and are regulated by, the Office for Students and their UK students may be eligible for UK student support. They range widely in size and specialism and are mainly incorporated as companies or registered charities. The majority of HE providers have a financial year end of 31 July although some have differing financial year ends. The financial year end date for each provider is published in each table.

The table numbers in the descriptions below are the table numbers used in the HESA open data publication, which differ from the table numbers in the HESA Finance data collection template and the OfS Annual Financial Return. In these tables data can be downloaded from academic year 2015/16 onwards.

Users can access data prior to this date from the Publications archive pages.

This data in the archive is prior to a significant review of the HESA collection. From 2015/16, the Financial Reporting Standard (FRS102) was applicable in the UK from accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2015. The FRS102 fundamentally revised and replaced the then existing UK GAAP. The UK HE sector adopted the FRS102 from FY 2015/16.

Due to the fundamental differences in the standards, users need to be mindful when comparing data prior to FY 2015/16 with current years data.

A table that sets out the mapping between published data tables, HESA’s Finance data collection and the OfS Annual Financial Return is available on the HESA website. It also shows the years of data published in the interactive open data tables.

The table descriptions below provide a high-level overview of the purpose and content of each of HESA’s publication tables.

The guidance seeks to provide an understanding of HE provider’s financial statements and terminology used in the HE sector. The field level detail of the tables can be found in the respective table link of the collection pages. Explanations are based on the layout of the HESA finance data collection template.

HESA’s collection and publication tables are intended to follow the accounting practices of the Statement of recommended practice: Accounting for further and higher education 2019 (FEHE SORP). The templates used by HESA and the OfS are based on the example found in appendix 1 of FEHE SORP 2019, although the OfS do not require registered providers in England to follow a SORP.

In specific cases, funding councils request additional data to be collected as part of the HESA or OfS datasets from their constituent providers. Information regarding where that happens is detailed within the table descriptions below. The funding councils in each of the four countries in the UK are:

  • Office for Students (OfS) for providers in England
  • Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) for providers in Wales
  • Scottish Funding Council (SFC) for providers in Scotland
  • Department for Education Northern Ireland (DfE (NI)) for providers in Northern Ireland

This table displays high-level values of income and expenditure, surplus and realised and unrealised gains and losses.

The comprehensive income for the year is further analysed by restricted, unrestricted income, endowment and revaluation reserve showing the movement of reserves in the year. The radio button ‘Income & expenditure’ displays sources of income and types of expenditure. The radio button ‘Other’ displays details of surplus, realised and unrealised gains and losses and also displays further analysis of comprehensive income. The analysis of comprehensive income is displayed for non-English providers. OfS does not collect this data from English providers.

View Table 1 - Consolidated statement of comprehensive income and expenditure

This table is the equivalent of a statement of comprehensive income and expenditure. It displays high-level values of the sources of a provider’s income and expenditure and is in line with SORP (2019).

The CSCI displays income streams of:

  • tuition fees and education grants
  • funding body grants
  • research grants and contracts
  • other income
  • investment income
  • donations and endowments

Expenditure streams shown are:

  • staff costs
  • fundamental restructuring costs
  • other operating expenses
  • depreciation
  • interest and other finance costs

The difference between income and expenditure is shown as surplus or deficit before gains and losses and the share of joint surplus or deficits from joint ventures and associates.

This table also displays both realised and unrealised gains and losses before displaying the total comprehensive income for the year. Realised gains and losses are those involving cash transactions. Unrealised gains and losses are those involving accounting transactions

The total comprehensive income for the year is further analysed by categories of income carried forward to the income and expenditure reserve categorised as restricted and non-restricted income, endowment and revaluation reserve income. Data published relate to providers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Providers in England do not submit this data.

Surplus is broken down further for all providers by non-controlling interest and its own surplus. A non-controlling interest is where a provider has minority interest in another entity, has less than 50% of shares in that entity and has no control over its decisions.

Where applicable, providers in England who are incorporated as a company provide data related to payment of dividends in the year.

In certain instances, providers deviate from the traditional streams of income and expenditure and report a material transaction as a separate line in their primary statements. A material transaction is a transaction which has a significant impact on the business and necessitates separate disclosure on the face of primary statements. Providers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland complete a further table providing further explanation of such material transaction. View Separately disclosed material items from the audited financial statement of comprehensive income and expenditure by HE provider and academic year in the open data.

This table collects data retrospectively for the latest completed financial year. It also collects restated data to previously submitted information for the one year prior as comparison to the current year.

This table answers the question of financial sustainability, whether the provider is operating within their means and whether enough income is being generated to meet the expenditure incurred. A deficit potentially raises questions of sustainability, leading to strategies either to cut expenditure or increase income. A surplus suggests that funds generated can be invested to renew facilities and innovate. A caveat here is that a single financial indicator does not convey the institution’s financial health. Note also that surplus/deficit may also include material ‘accounting’ transactions, which are not operational cash transactions, such as changes in provisions. This means that, taken as one year, surplus/deficit may not represent the underlying financial operational performance.

This table displays the changes made in the year to reserves.

This table has been discontinued by both OfS and HESA and therefore no longer updated from 2018/19 onwards.

This table displays balance sheet data under the main headings and is also known as the statement of financial position as renamed in FRS102.

The radio buttons ‘Assets’, ‘Creditors’, and ‘Provisions and reserves’ are available to narrow down data access.

View Table 3 - Consolidated balance sheet

This table is a snapshot of the value of assets and liabilities of the provider at the balance sheet date, i.e., the financial year end date.

It is a summary of all assets that the provider owns and liabilities that the provider owes. Liabilities may also be referred to as creditors. At any given time, it shows how much money the provider would have left over if they sold all their assets and paid off all their liabilities. The money left over is reserves. This is ‘value’ of net position and is not the same as cash as this ‘value’ may be tied up in assets such as buildings.

The assets on a balance sheet are set out in the order of their liquidity which is the ease with which assets can be converted into cash. Those that can be converted into cash within 12 months or less are current assets; those that cannot are non-current assets.

Non-currents assets include intangible assets, tangible assets, heritage assets and non-current investments. Current assets include stocks, receivables (debtors), current investments and cash and cash equivalents.

The split for current assets in the HESA Finance record differs slightly from model financial statements designed by the British Universities Finance Directors Group (BUFDG). The deviation from model statements is a requirement by all the four funding bodies.

Further breakdown of the data with respect to cash and cash equivalents is submitted by Scottish providers as a requirement of Scottish Funding Council which details cash and cash equivalents by restricted and unrestricted categories and those held by third parties. The other three funding bodies do not require this breakdown. Data with respect to loans to directors is submitted by providers who are incorporated as a company and registered with the OfS.

View Table 3S - Breakdown of cash and cash equivalents as at 31 July - Scotland

Creditors are arranged on the balance sheet in order of how soon they must be repaid. Creditors amounts falling due within one year are listed first followed creditors amounts falling due after more than one year.

Creditors falling due within a year are liabilities payable by the provider within twelve months of the balance sheet date. The split for creditors falling due within a year differs slightly from model financial statements designed by BUFDG. The deviation from model statements is a requirement by all funding bodies.

Data with respect to loans made by directors is submitted by providers who are incorporated as a company and registered with the OfS. In addition, data with respect to repayment of loans to funding council is required by SFC and therefore submitted by Scottish providers

The provider’s share of net assets/liabilities in an associate is reported in the balance sheet. An associate is an entity that a provider has invested in and has significant influence in its decisions.

Creditors falling due over one year are those liabilities payable after twelve months of balance sheet date, such as a long-term bank loan. The split for creditors falling due over one year differs slightly from model financial statements designed by BUFDG. The deviation from model statements is a requirement by all funding bodies.

Data with respect to loans made by directors is submitted by providers who are incorporated as a company and registered with the OfS. Data with respect to repayment of loans to funding council is submitted by Scottish providers 

Provisions are amounts set aside for probable and uncertain financial obligation which are believed to exist at the balance sheet date.

Restricted reserves are funds that have restriction on their use. They can be endowment or other funds received with restrictions from the donor or sponsor.

Unrestricted reserves are the value of the provider’s accumulated surpluses/deficits with no restrictions on how they can be spent. This may also be called general reserve.

If the provider is a company, its share capital including share premium is displayed. This data is collected by OfS for English providers.

This table collects data retrospectively for as at the year-end date of the latest audited financial year. It also collects restated data to previously submitted information for the one year prior as comparison to the current year.

This table helps stakeholders and analysts evaluate the overall financial position of a company and its ability to pay for its operating needs. There are several subsets of information available that can be used to gain an understanding of both the short-term and long-term view of financial status. It is important to note that trend analysis and use of other health indicators is advisable to assess the financial health and wealth of the provider.

This table displays data relating cash flows during a financial year.

The statement of cash flows (sometimes called the cash flow statement) measures how well the provider has generated cash income to pay their cash operating expenses and their debt obligations. It is a statement that measures financial performance. The cash flow statement complements the consolidated statements of comprehensive income (CSCI) and the statement of financial position (SFP) and reconciles the surplus/deficit in the year to the increase/decrease of cash and cash equivalents. The increase or decrease in cash and cash equivalents is not the same as surplus or deficit in a year as it does not recognise non-cash accounting transactions that feature in the CSCI.

View Table 4 - Consolidated statement of cash flows

The main components of the cash flow statement are cash flows from operating activities, cash flows from investing activities, and cash flows from financing activities.

The surplus/deficit for the year is automatically populated during the data collection process from the CSCI.

Adjustment for non-cash items are transactions in the CSCI which are accounting transactions like depreciation and do not involve cash movement. In order to work out net cash flow from operating activities, non-cash expenditure is added back to surplus/deficit and non-cash income is deducted from surplus/deficit. Similarly, the movement of working capital like debtors and creditors are adjusted as they also do not involve cash movement. The impact on cash with the movement of current assets and liabilities over prior year is therefore reflected in this section to arrive at net cash flow. For example, if there is an increase in debtors over the previous year, the difference would be subtracted and a decrease in debtors over the previous year would require addition. Similarly, if there is an increase in creditors over the previous year, the difference would be added, and a decrease would require subtraction. This first section of the cash flow statement removes all these adjustments and reveals how much net cash is generated or spent on routine operations. Share in operating profits/deficits in joint ventures and associates are adjusted as these transactions are not related to cash generated from operating activities. Adjustments to financing activities are also eliminated as these transactions do not relate to cash generated from operations or used up for operations.

The above adjustments relating to non-cash transactions are made to surplus or deficit to arrive at the net cashflow from operating activities. This value is often a key performance indicator (KPI) for providers and is also used as a sustainability indicator and to assess funds available for investment.

Cashflow from investing activities include any sources and uses of cash from the provider’s investments. This includes non-current asset acquisition or disposal of assets. This section gives a sense of capital expenditure incurred.

Cashflows from financial activities sets out cash funds received from new borrowings and the sources of cash from investors or banks, as well repayment of interest and loans.

Scottish providers are required to submit exchange gains and losses separately as required by Scottish Funding Council.

This table collects data retrospectively for the latest financial year. It also collects restated data to previously submitted information for the one year prior as comparison to the current year.

This table displays research and grants income by source at a granular level.

Income is analysed by academic departments, academic services, and administration and central services. Academic departments are further analysed by activities based on HESA cost centres. Providers map their own organisational structure on to the HESA cost centres. The radio buttons can be used to select the source of income: one for ‘Research council’ and ‘Other’ displaying other sources of research income.

View Table 5 - Research grants and contracts - breakdown by source of income and HESA cost centre

This table excludes research funding from Research England, The Scottish Funding Council (SFC), The Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and The Department for Education Northern Ireland (DfE (NI)).

Data shown in this table is income relating to research and experimental development carried out by a provider or its subsidiary, which conform to conventions set out in the 2015 Frascati Manual. The income is stated at its full value, including recovery of indirect costs associated with research.

This table displays externally funded research income and informs UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and Funding councils to support its funding activities. Data displayed relates to all providers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and those providers in England who are registered in the Approved (Fee cap) category of The OfS Register.

The data is collected in a matrix format, with the collection template setting out the source of funding in its columns (displayed as a filter in the published table), and activity area in its rows determined by HESA academic and non-academic cost centres. HESA cost centres represent a group of activities or operations having similar characteristics and broadly similar patterns of costs. Providers map their own organisational structure on to the HESA cost centres. Guidance on how this is done is available on the HESA website. Academic departments are analysed by activities based on HESA cost centres, to which research income is allocated.

Providers also submit data related to research income in kind received. This is also included as part of the research income figures by academic departments, academic services and administration and central services.

The first group of columns show research grants and contracts income from the UKRI Research Councils sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). Totals can be broken down by HESA cost centre.

The next group of columns show UK sponsored funding from charities, government sources, industry and other. Funding from charitable institutions is further analysed by those funds received in an open competition and those that are not. To be included as funded by open competition, all charitable foundations, charitable trusts etc. based in the UK must be registered with either the Charity Commission for England and Wales, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) in Scotland, and in Northern Ireland recognised as having charitable status by HMRC. In addition, research funding must have been awarded to the provider through open competition and peer review. Where research funding from a charity in the UK is not awarded through open competition and peer review, such income is displayed in ‘other’.

Research income from UK government departments that are funded by central government includes UK local authorities and UK health and hospital authorities.

The research and development expenditure credit (RDEC) scheme was a HMRC research incentive scheme related to the level of eligible research expenditure incurred on or after 1 April 2013. The scheme was subsequently amended so that universities and charities were unable to claim RDEC in respect of expenditure incurred on or after 1 August 2015. Tax credits from earlier claims are continued to be reported under ‘UK central government tax credits for research and development expenditure’.

Research income from public corporations, industry and commerce operating in the UK is displayed followed by all other research income awarded from a UK body for, e.g. research income received from other HE providers.

The next group of columns show EU sponsored funding from Charities, government sources including EU commission, industry and other entities operating in the EU. All research income awarded by EU charities must meet the criteria of open competition and peer review with exclusively charitable purposes and is consistent with the definition set out in the Charities Act 2011, which exists for public benefit in a manner which published by the Charity Commission for England and Wales. In addition, research funding must have been awarded to the provider through open competition and peer review. Where research funding is not awarded through open competition and peer review such income is displayed in ‘other’. 

The next group of columns show funding awarded from non-EU based bodies. Research income awarded by non-EU charities must meet the criteria of open competition and peer review with exclusively charitable purposes consistent with the definition set out in the Charities Act 2011, which exists for public benefit. The provider is responsible for ensuring that such criteria is met.

This table displays tuition fees and education contracts analysed by domicile, mode, level and source of funding.

The ‘summary’ radio button displays high-level data totals of tuition fees and education contracts by domicile. Further detailed breakdowns are available by selecting radio buttons for ‘UK domiciled’, ‘Other EU domiciled’, ‘Non-EU domiciled’, ‘Other course fees’ and 'Research and training support grants’.

View Table 6 - Tuition fees and education contracts by domicile, mode, level and source of funding

Data displayed in this table is course fees income and includes short courses, self-financing, full-cost courses funded by private/non-private sources and support grants in respect of all and only those students on courses for which fees are charged. The data also includes income arising from courses provided for other bodies where the provider charges a block fee to cover a specified number of students e.g. nursing or midwifery courses sponsored by the NHS.

This table displays fee income from students who are registered with the provider and does not include students fee income who have been subcontracted in from another provider.

The concepts of domicile, mode and level used in this table are:

  • Domicile is the permanent address prior to entry of study whether UK, Other EU or non-EU domiciled. Students from Channel Islands are included as non-EU domiciled.
     
  • Mode is the method by which a student is being taught their course; full-time or part-time.
     
  • Level refers to the level of the course undertaken by a student, classified as undergraduate, postgraduate research, postgraduate taught and postgraduate certificate in education (PGCE).

Fee income data in this table is further analysed by source of funding. They are:

  • SLC/LEAs/SAAS/DfE(NI) - The Student Loans Company (SLC), Local Education Authority (LEAs), Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) or the Department for Economy (Northern Ireland) (DfE(NI)).
     
  • DH/LETB/Scottish Health Directorate/HEIW - Department of Health (DH) (including National Health Service (NHS) and NHS Trusts), Local Education and Training Boards (LETB), Scottish Health Directorate or the Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW). Teaching contract income from the NHS is included under this column.
     
  • Other - includes all other sources not covered above, including from individual students. For postgraduate taught students in receipt of postgraduate loans, the source of fees should be other. For fee income from apprenticeships, the source of fees should be other.

General studentships that are not part of a research grant and support grants from charities are displayed. If grants are received as part of research grants and contracts, then such studentships are displayed in research grants and contracts table in open data.

The table also displays transnational fee income both in the EU and overseas. Transnational education (TNE) is education delivered in a country other than the country in which the awarding Provider is based.

During the data collection process, the total tuition fees and education contracts value is auto-populated by summing together the sub-categories of tuition fees and education income.

This table collects data retrospectively for the latest financial year. It also collects restated data to previously submitted information for the one year prior as comparison to the current year.

This table displays a brief summary of the Providers’ total income analysed by types of income streams as set out in the FEHE SORP.

The radio buttons can be used to access further details for each of the income streams. These are funding body grants, research grants and contracts, other income and donations and endowments. Tuition fees are displayed separately in detail in Tuition fees and education contracts by domicile, mode, level and source of funding.

View Table 7 - Income analysed by source

During the data collection process the totals from the detailed table tuition fees and education grants are populated into this table.

SFC, HEFCW, DfE(NI) and the OfS have differing requirements in respect of funding body grants breakdown. These country specific breakdowns can be seen in the funding body grants open data table. The varying data requirement of funding councils can be seen in this table by using radio buttons for each country.

Other income shown in table 7 includes other services rendered, residences and catering operations, and any other income including capital and revenue grants not displayed elsewhere. Other services rendered relates to enterprise and consultancy work carried out by providers that are not classed as research.

Investment income includes interest receivable and income on endowments. It also includes the net credit value of return on pension scheme assets/liabilities.

During the collection process the totals in each section populate the Income heads in the CSCI.

Data displayed in this table is for the current year with no restated data for prior years available.

This table displays total expenditure of providers at a granular level.

The expenditure streams are analysed by academic departments, academic services and central and administration departments, research grants and contracts and premises, academic departments are further analysed by activities based on HESA cost centres. HESA cost centres represent a group of activities or operations having similar characteristics and broadly similar patterns of costs. Providers map their own organisational structure on to the HESA cost centres. Where a department is split across cost centres, expenditure is assigned to cost centres incurring those costs by using a reasonable accepted methodology. Only English providers categorised as approved (fee cap) on the OfS Register or participating in the Research Excellence Framework complete the entirety of this table. All Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland providers submit this data.

View Table 8 - Expenditure - breakdown by activity and HESA cost centre

The data is collected in a matrix format, with the collection template setting out expenditure type in its columns and activity area in its rows (displayed as a filter in the published table).

The types of expenditure covered include:

  • Academic staff costs relate to staff with a contract of employment with the provider and with the responsibility to pay Class 1 National Insurance NI contributions. Academic staff have contracts of employment that include the academic function of teaching, research, or both. Staff supplied by agencies are not included in this column.
  • Other staff costs relate to staff with a contract of employment with the provider and with the responsibility to pay Class 1 NI contributions. Other staff have contracts of employment that include administrative function. Staff supplied by agencies are not included here; they are included in other operating expenses.

Restructuring costs displayed in this table relate to one off redundancy costs and those relating to an organisational restructure. This cost is shown as a total rather than granular detail.

Other operating expenses excludes depreciation and amortisation as well as finance costs. The data shown is at a granular level.

Depreciation and amortisation is an estimate of the cost of operating a fixed asset over its economic life and relates to tangible and intangible assets respectively. Depreciation on capitalised equipment is displayed according to where the assets being depreciated are located in the appropriate cost centre. Depreciation on buildings is split between those used for residential, catering operations and other buildings.

Interest and other finance costs relate to interest on borrowings and lease liability. Also included is the finance charge on pension scheme deficits. Interest payable is further analysed between residences and catering and other operations.

During the collection process the totals of each column populate the expenditure populates the expenditure heads in the CSCI.

Data displayed in this table is for the current year with no restated data for prior years available. Data displayed relates to all providers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and providers in England who are registered in the approved (fee cap) category of the OfS Register. For providers in England who are registered in the approved category, all data is displayed apart from data relating to the breakdown of research grants and contracts.

This table displays capital expenditure incurred by HE providers by source of funding.

Additional data is collected from HE providers who are incorporated as a company, which relates to loans from directors which funds capital expenditure.

View Table 9 - Capital expenditure

Capital expenditure is expenditure that determines the provider’s investment for growth and impacts the business long term. The data displayed in this table is the same as additions to fixed assets in the year.

This table shows expenditure on fixed assets additions during the year and how it was financed. The sources of funding displayed for data from providers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are funding body grants, retained proceeds from sales, internal funds, loans, leasing, private finance initiative (PFI) and other external sources.

For English providers, in addition to the above sources of funding the table also shows loans from directors for the purposes of capital expenditure as a further source of funding and provides a breakdown by existing and new loans in the year.

The total additions to fixed assets displayed in this table is analysed as capital expenditure for residences operations, catering operations and other operations. Each activity area is further split by expenditure type for building and equipment.

Data in this table is represented by data returned in the corresponding academic year's collection where available. For this reason, the figures may not always match the corresponding totals in table 1, as table 1 shows prior year data as restated in the audited financial statements.

The data in this table displays material transactions that are reported on the face of primary statements.

This is where a HE provider deviates from traditional streams of income and expenditure. This deviation is allowed where a transaction has a significant impact on the business and necessitates disclosure as a separate line.

View Table 10 - Separately disclosed material items from the audited financial statement of comprehensive income and expenditure

A material transaction is a transaction which has a significant impact on the business and necessitates separate disclosure on the face of primary statements. An example is the pension provision adjustments and revaluations. Some providers have reported this transaction in 2018/19 and 2019/20 as a material transaction. Some pension schemes, more significantly, the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS), carry an accounting liability which changes as the projected values of future pension assets and liabilities change. These accounting adjustments are displayed as either a positive or negative value in staff costs although this is not operational and does not represent a cash transaction, in some instances these values have been shown as a material transaction and reported as a separate line. This table is completed by providers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Data for English providers are not included within this table.

This table provides additional information in cases where a HE provider has chosen to disclose an item (or items) on a separate line (or lines) on the face of their published statement of comprehensive income and expenditure. Separate disclosure enables a fuller understanding of the accounts, while retaining the integrity between CSCI and the model financial statements.

Further guidance on separately disclosed material items in the statement of comprehensive income can be found in FEHE SORP 2019 and FRS 102.

This table displays remuneration and details basic salary, benefits and other payments made to the head of a provider.

View Table 11 - Head of provider remuneration

The purpose of this table is to display transparently any remuneration and other payments, both in cash and in kind, made to the head of the provider. If there were more than one head over the financial year, then detail for each head is displayed separately. English providers only complete this table if they have been registered with the OfS for at least a year after the financial year end that the data is related to.

Details of salary paid includes basic salary, annualised salary, salary sacrifice arrangements, performance pay, pension arrangements, other payments and compensation for loss of office.

Basic salary is salary before any adjustments are made for salary sacrifice. If the head of the provider is in post for less than 12 months, then that salary is annualised as if it were for 12 months. Salary sacrifice are schemes that are operated by the provider which could lead to taxable or non-taxable benefits.

To ensure transparency, along with pension contributions made by the provider, details of any payments made in lieu of pensions and payments made to any other pension scheme not operated by the provider is also displayed. Payment of dividends, collected by the OfS from English providers, are for those who operate as a dividend paying company.

Other taxable benefits include company cars, subsidised accommodation or loans paid to the head of the provider.

Non-taxable benefits include contributions made to relocation costs, living accommodation made available as part of the role, and any other benefits in kind paid to the head of the provider.

Other remuneration is all other payments including compensation for loss of benefits, any ex-gratia payments or payments for consultancy provided by carrying out such work using staff or resources of the provider.

Providers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland submit data to the following 2 questions with a Yes or No response.

  • Was the individual provided with provider accommodation? (Yes/No)
  • Please confirm if this has been given a nil taxable value in the above table? (Yes/No)

In addition to the payments, both in cash and in kind, this table displays the head of the provider’s pay multiples. The pay multiple is expressed, on a full-time equivalent (FTE) basis, in two ways:

  • Head of the provider’s basic salary as a multiple of median pay for staff of the provider.
  • Head of the provider’s total remuneration as a multiple of median total remuneration for staff of the provider.

The head of the provider’s remuneration data is required by funding bodies and specified in their accounts direction. Refer to:

This table collects data retrospectively for the latest financial year. It also collects restated data to previously submitted information for the one year prior as comparison to the current year.

Staff costs are analysed by academic and non-academic costs.

Academic staff are those members of staff who have a contract with the provider that includes teaching, research or both. Non-academic staff are those who provide an administrative and/or support function.

View Table 12 - Analysis of staff costs

Total staff costs also detail the pension contribution made by the provider and detail by major pension schemes. It also includes any year-on-year non-cash pension provision made in respect of defined pension scheme.

Average staff numbers displayed in this table are analysed by academic and non-academic staff. The average staff numbers are expressed as Full-time equivalent (FTE).

The table further displays staff whose remuneration is greater than £100,000. HE providers are required to submit data in salary bands of £5,000 but this data is aggregated in HESA published statistics to reduce the risk of identifying individual personal data.

English providers only complete this section if they have been registered with the OfS for at least a year after the financial year end that the data is related to. English providers return this data as FTE and providers in Northern Ireland and Wales return this data as a headcount. Scottish providers do not complete this section. 

Analyses of staff costs are specified in the accounts direction issued by funding bodies. Refer to:

This table collects data retrospectively for the latest financial year. It also collects restated data to previously submitted information for the one year prior as comparison to the current year.

This table displays data with respect to severance payments made to the head of the provider and higher earning staff.

View Table 13 - Severance payments

Compensation paid to the head of the provider for loss of office at the provider’s group and includes benefits paid in cash or in kind. If benefits are paid in kind further description of that benefit is available. This section also separately shows the amount made as pension contributions as part of the compensation.

The table also displays aggregate payment made to staff earning in excess of £100,000, any compensation paid for loss of office and separates data for staff at the provider and those within the group and the aggregate number of staff who were paid this amount. This data excludes compensation paid to the head of the provider.

English providers only complete this table if they have been registered with the OfS for at least a year after the financial year end that the data is related to.

For providers in England, data for the whole provider includes the head of provider. For providers in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland compensation payments are only shown for staff earning over £100,000 p.a. but exclude the head of provider.

Data compensation paid for loss of office is specified in the accounts direction issued by funding bodies.

This table collects data retrospectively for the latest financial year. It also collects restated data to previously submitted information for the one year prior as comparison to the current year.

This table displays nine key financial indicators and shows the formulae and values used in the calculation of those indicators.

It is important to bear in mind that the financial health of a provider cannot be determined solely by ratio analysis for a single year. A criticism of a simple ratio analysis is that they do not tell the whole story; they do not necessarily represent the future as they are calculated on past data and that they do not always consider external and contextual factors. To fully understand a provider’s finances please refer to their financial statements available on their websites.

View Table 14 - Key Financial Indicators

Ratio analyses are to be used with caution and work best when a complete analysis, including trend analysis, is carried out by using both financial and non-financial indicators.

In 2019/20, pension provision adjustments were made following revaluation of the pension fund and in particular the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). These revaluations resulted in pension provision adjustments and as a result some providers have disclosed this as a material transaction. Some pension schemes carry an accounting liability which changes as the projected values of future pension assets and liabilities changes. These accounting adjustments are displayed as either a positive or negative value in staff costs although this does not relate to the operations in that single year and does not represent a cash transaction. This has been more significant for recent revaluations of the USS. Due to this accounting adjustment, the headline staff cost and surplus/deficit figures may not be representative of normal business as usual operations in that year. The key financial indicators (KFIs) therefore are calculated both including and excluding pension adjustment in five instances.

Description of the KFI’s used in this table are:

Surplus/(deficit) as a % of total income 
A key measure of financial sustainability. A provider showing a trend of surpluses with an increasing % suggests that they are generating funds to invest and innovate. This KFI is also calculated after excluding pension adjustment.

Staff costs as a % to total income
Staff is the largest category of expenditure and includes employer’s salary costs as well as National Insurance and pension costs. Much attention is paid to staff costs particularly due to rising pension costs and whether the business generates enough income to sustain rising levels of staff costs. This KFI is also calculated after excluding pension adjustment.

Premises costs as a % to total costs
Of the provider’s total expenditure, premises maintenance costs are normally the second largest cost. This KFI is also calculated after excluding pension adjustment.

Unrestricted reserves as a % to total income
This measures the ability of the provider to sustain through future uncertainties. The difference between assets and liabilities in provider’s balance sheet is called reserves. Reserves is then separated as restricted and unrestricted reserves. While restricted reserves are used for specific purposes, unrestricted reserves are the provider’s accumulated value of surpluses/deficits with no restrictions on how they can be spent. This may also called general reserve. The reserves show the strength of the balance sheet.

External borrowing as a % of total income
This demonstrates the balance between debt and income. High level of debt to income means the provider will likely have higher debt servicing cost (dependent on the terms of the debt) relative to its ability to afford this cost, and may mean a more limited capacity to enter into more debt for investments.

Days ratio of total net assets to total expenditure
This measures the net value of the provider’s balance sheet, relative to its cost base. This KFI is also calculated after excluding pension adjustment.

Ratio of current assets to current liabilities
Also called the current ratio, tests whether the provider has enough short term assets (also called working capital) to carry out its operations. 

Net cash flow from operating activities as a % of total income
This measures the provider’s actual cash generated from its operations relative to its income size.

Net liquidity days
This measures the ability of the provider to meet its short-term obligations at a given point in time. It is a measure of how many days of average operating costs the provider can pay from its liquidity (how easily assets can be converted into cash) if there was no income. This KFI is also calculated after excluding pension adjustment.

Debt service ratio
Available from 2020/21. This indicates the ratio of net operating cash flow to debt service costs.

Refer to the KFI definitions page for detailed information on formulae