New Guidelines on Discretionary Spending
To bolster cost-saving efforts amid a financial shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rutgers University is providing employees with new guidelines on discretionary spending to ensure that only necessary expenditures are made.
A freeze on discretionary spending was among the cost-saving measures put in place along with a hiring freeze, a suspension of new capital projects, a review of ongoing projects, and other initiatives to cut costs at every level of the university. The newly released guidelines provide direction to determine which goods and services are necessary, appropriate and reasonable during a time of continued reduced spending as well as defining how to obtain approvals.
“No single department, school, unit or person can recoup the economic loss that the pandemic has imposed upon our institution,” said Michael Gower, the university’s chief financial officer. “We must remain singularly focused on our mission and come together as responsible stewards of university resources, especially during this financial crisis. With everyone’s understanding and cooperation, we will move the university into a more financially stable position in the coming years.”
The guidelines establish approval steps to ensure a thorough review of discretionary spending requests, including but not limited to supplies, materials and professional services. Necessary expenses, as defined, are goods or services required to achieve goals of an essential program or project, have a clear academic, clinical, research or business purpose, and be needed to perform units’ responsibilities. Newly developed business intelligence dashboards and reports will be available soon to provide campus and unit purchasing activity data and spending metrics.
“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been taxing on every person and unit within our community,” Gower said in a message to the Rutgers community. “We have suffered enormous losses, but our goals for excellence, access and affordability are as important as ever, and we will press forward to realize our mission despite this turmoil.’’
Faculty and staff can find more information online, including a quick reference guide and cost-saving tips. Virtual information sessions are also available, and employees can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.