Rouages: "Ensuring the financial sustainability of the I-Site excellence program

Elisa Pincin is head of the "I-Site program of excellence and annual resources" department. As part of the Financial Affairs Department, she is involved in the sound management of annual resources and ensures the financial sustainability of the I-Site program of excellence, which will be extended to 2022. A mission she explains to us this month as part of the Rouages video series produced by the University of Montpellier.

Between the Presidency and the Botanical Institute, on the edge of the Jardin des Plantes, is the University of Montpellier's financial affairs department, where some forty staff work. On the second floor, Elsa Pincin, glasses on, is busy setting up the brand-new department she heads: the I-Site program of excellence and annual resources department, created following the perpetuation of the I-Site in March 2022 after 4 years of experimentation. " For the moment, there are three of us in this team, and we are in the process of recruiting a fourth member of staff. It's a department under construction, which was only created last November, so we're developing little by little," explains the department manager.

I-Site excellence program

This is a colossal challenge for the University of Montpellier, which, by making its budget permanent, has secured an endowment of 550 million euros, or 17 million euros a year. The management of this budget required the creation of a separate department. " The I-Site Program of Excellence (PEI) is a rather special type of funding, because we have this 17 million euro income every year, which is quite classic, but unlike other funding, we can spread the expenditure over several financial years. So we have to make sure that the curves don't cross," explains Elisa Pincin.

PEI actions, defined by the strategic committee, take the form of calls for projects in a variety of fields: research, training, mobility and student initiatives. Elisa Pincin's team liaises with the winners of these calls for projects to manage the funding allocated and ensure the program's sustainability. She uses a number of IT tools, including the Sifac financial and budget management software and the Amphi platform. "The management of Amphi is coordinated by the steering department, with whom we work a great deal. This platform enables us to report with dashboards, manage the implementation of credits, and liaise with project leaders. That's why it's essential in our field to be comfortable with figures, of course, but also with IT tools," explains the department manager.

Managing annual resources

In fact, it was within the steering department that the young woman worked until the creation of her new department. After graduating from Montpellier Management with a master's degree in management control and organizational auditing, she did her first year of apprenticeship in an auditing firm, before joining the steering department for her second year, where she was offered a contract after graduation. Elisa Pincin then took the competitive examination to become a permanent employee. " At the Dpil, my main task was to manage the annual financial resources of the UFRs, Schools and Institutes, under the direction of Virginie Pastoret. When she was appointed to the Finance Department, I decided to follow her in this mission ".

Every year, the University receives a subsidy for public service charges from the French government, the SCSP. Worth 320 million euros, this subsidy is used to pay all tenured staff, as well as a large part of the running costs of all UM structures, to which allocations are reallocated according to various criteria. " There are also allocations linked to specific laws such as ParcoursSup or the reform of health studies, which mobilized specific credits. In each situation, the approach is the same: how the credits are allocated, how they are put in place, with what follow-up, what dashboards so that the structures can have a restitution of their budget ..." details the manager.

UFRs, schools and institutes also have their own resources: subsidies, enrolment fees, apprenticeships, continuing education, rental of premises, etc. These resources must be monitored, of course, and may be subject to certain arbitrations by the management team, while respecting their accounting autonomy. These resources need to be monitored, of course, and may be subject to certain arbitrations by the management team, while respecting their accounting autonomy. " All this is achieved through an annual budget and management dialogue. We meet with the structures, check that everything is going well, and see if any changes to the envelope are necessary, depending on investments, operations, etc. We work in close collaboration with the budget department at the DAF".

Accounting and budget analysis

Every year, Elisa Pincin takes part in the production of the financial analysis. This closing document accompanies the budget and gives the authorizing officer, and therefore the management team, headed by the Chairman and General Manager, access to the factors explaining the past year's financial account. " This is the most analytical part of my job. I'm involved in the 'annual means and PEI' part, but anything multi-year, which represents a very large part, is not part of my scope, but that of the revenue and multi-year operations department, another DAF department".

I know it may seem strange to some, but I like dealing with things that are a little complex, trying to simplify them, present them well and make them easy to understand. It's something I enjoy, and it simply fits my personality. "