2016/17 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 2016-17 which ran from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017.

•    Edinburgh University Students’ Association 2016-17
•    EUSACO Ltd 2016-17



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 automatically a member of the Students’ Association.

We operate bars, cafes, shops, nightclubs, a gym and an external catering business. 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 support the many student societies that exist. Our total income is close to £12 million a year, we employ over 140 salaried staff and in 2016-17 we paid over £1.8 million in wages to hourly-paid staff, most of whom are students.

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 £8.6m in 2016-17, and makes up the greatest share of our total income. Grant income (from the University) at £3.0m is the next largest, and there are also various 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 – buying in goods for resale or ingredients to make the food that we sell, plus the wage costs of the people staffing our outlets, a profit of about £0.6m was made. 

So a more realistic way of looking at the income is to consider the ‘useable’ income. This is the surplus from our commercial activities plus the annual grant from the University and other sources. This adds up to just under £4m in 2016-17 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 Activities Office. We also use it to pay for the teams and activities 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). 

You can see more detail of the things that we do to directly help our student members on our website.

We spend slightly over half of our ‘useable’ income on non-commercial staff costs. That leaves about £1.5m to spend on 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)..

Balance sheet

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 reserves.

Since 2013 we have been working hard to strengthen the Association’s balance sheet. We have increased the reserves by over £1 million 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 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. Our financial plans are therefore to continue this by controlling costs, generating new income and managing cash carefully. See the chart below for a representation of where our balance sheet was in 2013, is now, and our target for 2022.



Budget for 2017 - 18

The budget for 2017-18 was signed off by the board of trustees in March 2017 and gives an overall breakeven position for the year. This will then be used as a benchmark against which the actual results for the year will be compared. A high level summary of the budget is shown below.


Account Total Trading £000 Total Student Support £000 Total Central Costs £000 Total £000
Sales 9,133 0 17 9,150
Gross Profit 5,590 0 15 5,605
Non Trading Income 680 331 2,700 3,711
Staffing Costs (3,424) (789) (1,838) (6,051)
Total Overheads Incl Festival Profit Share (3,424) (186) (1,295) (3,178)
Net Profit/(Loss) Before Non-Recurring 1,149 (643) (418) 87
Non-Recurring Items     (86) (86)
Net Profit/(Loss) After Non-Recurring 1,149 (643) (504) 2