2018/19 Annual Review
A link to the most recent Report & Accounts for Edinburgh University Students’ Association and its subsidiary company EUSACO Ltd is below. These accounts relate to our financial year 2018-19 which ran from 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019.
> Edinburgh University Students' Assosiciation 2018-19
> EUSACO Ltd 2018-19
Edinburgh University Students’ Association is a surprisingly large and complex organisation. We are a student-led charity whose board of trustees is made up of five elected student sabbatical officers, four student trustees and three external, non-student trustees. All students are by default a member of the Students’ Association. Every year we pay approximately £2m in wages to students who work for us in many different roles. So it really is an organisation that is about, for, and run by students.
We operate numerous bars and cafes and shops, two nightclubs, a gym and an external catering business. We run the Pleasance societies hub, theatre and café. We have introduced ‘Heat & Eat’ stations to our buildings. We provide impartial and confidential advice to students on areas ranging from financial matters to relationships and studies. We campaign to ensure that students get a better deal during their time at university, and support students from overseas. We help students to volunteer in the community and we support the 250+ student societies that exist. Our total income in 2018/19 was £12.7 million, we employed around 150 salaried staff and paid £2.1 million in wages to our mainly-student hourly-paid staff.
Where our money is from
Our income can be split into two main groups: commercial and grant income. Commercial income from the Association’s bars, cafes, shops and Festival operations was £8.7m in 2018-19 and makes up the greatest share of our total income. Grant income (mainly from the University) at £3.3m is the next largest, and there are also numerous smaller sources such as rental income from the Teviot Print shop and Vitality optician/dentist in Potterrow.
However, this only shows part of the picture. The commercial income represents gross takings at the Association’s outlets. If you factor in the direct costs of selling the products – called the cost of sales – plus the wage costs of the people staffing our outlets, a profit of about £0.2m was made.
So a more realistic way of looking at the income is to consider the ‘useable’ or net income. This is the surplus from our commercial activities plus the annual grant from the University and other sources. This added to £4.2m in 2018-19 as can be seen in the second chart.
Where the money goes
We use our income to run our student support activities such as The Advice Place, the Peer Support programme or the societies hub. We also use it to pay for the teams and services that support the whole organisation, such as the Human Resources and Marketing teams, Estates (who maintain our buildings) or Front of House (who provide our door security).
On our website you can see more details on the things that we do to directly help our student members.
We spent 64% of our ‘useable’ income on non-commercial staff costs in 2018/19. The remaining funds were used for everything else: heat & light, repairs & maintenance, equipment hire, design and print costs, and much more. Anything that’s left over at the end of the year is retained to help rebuild the Association’s reserves (see ‘balance sheet’, below). In 2018/19 expenditure was very slightly higher than income and a deficit of £17k was made as a result.
Knowing where our income is from and expenditure goes is however only part of the picture. The balance sheet is a snapshot taken at the end of the financial year showing what the Association owns (assets), and what it owes to others (liabilities). A strong balance sheet is one with a good ratio of assets to liabilities, which for a charity is reflected in its net assets or reserves.
Since 2013 we have been working hard to strengthen the Association’s balance sheet. We have increased the reserves significantly since then, have grown cash balances to avoid the need for a bank overdraft, and have paid off loans. This has involved hard work and focus on the part of the trustees and staff, and has generally been successfully achieved. Many challenges lie ahead and the Association’s balance sheet is not yet as strong as the trustees believe it needs to be. The slight deficit that we ran in 2018/19 added to a larger deficit made the previous year. This has reduced our reserves, and our financial plans are therefore to control costs where possible, generate new income and manage cash carefully. See the chart below for a representation of where our balance sheet was in 2013, is now, and our long term target.
Budget for 2019-20
The budget for the current year, 2019-20, was signed off by the board of trustees in March 2019 and gives a surplus of £100k for the year. This is after some changes made to the organisation to make it more effective and to reduce some costs, changes which are planned to be implemented through the current year. The budget is used as a benchmark against which to compare the actual results for the year. We will also be carrying out forecasts through the year to identify if there are likely to be problems in achieving the budget.