1.0 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Universities and colleges need to recognize that they too are businesses (Dr. Brendan Nelson, 2002). Investors, senior executives and the business community have long sought for ways to better control the companies and enterprises they run. As part of a broader micro-economic reform of the public sector, the higher education sector has been targeted for its perceived role for improving the economic status of a nation (Currie &Vidovich,1998; Marginson, 1997b).
Government skeptical about the effectiveness and efficiency of University operations have issued policies and undertaken reviews of the sector with the intention of improving the governance and management of higher education institutions. They have subjected higher education institutions to market mechanisms and greater competition by reducing the proportion of government funding, forcing universities to diversify their funding sources, introduce student fees and increase the accessibility to higher education (Green & Hayward,1997;Hardy,1991; Ramsden,1998). The rationale behind such reforms was that competition would produce better outcomes than government intervention ( Mahony,1996; Marginson,1997b).
In view of the reduced government funding, and the increase in student contributions, governments have argued that universities need to become more accountable for their use of resources. Consequently, the combination of increased competition, decreased funding
and increased demand for enhanced accountability has forced universities to appraise the effectiveness of university finances and the other management and control devices employed (Dopson & McNay,1996; Jones,1994a;Miller,1995). In response, universities have become more corporate or business like, adopting private sector models of organisational structure, management systems, accounting and budgetary control
practices, accountability relationships to accomplish the desired commonwealth government changes (Boyce,2002; Gioia & Thomas,1996; Simkins,2000).
Internal cost centres, budgeting and budgetary controls, flattening of hierarchies, the fostering of competition between employees, public relations, the monitoring of efficiency and effectiveness through measurement of outcomes, the introduction of accrual accounting and audit, the introduction of long term strategic planning, and individual staff appraisals have been identifies as some of the private sector techniques which can be adopted by public institutions including Universities. These techniques are believed to foster more efficient and effective organizational functioning.
This research seeks to assess the budgeting and budgetary control practices of public universities in Ghana, the case of University of Education, Winneba. For effective and efficient administration and management of any organization regardless of its size, objective or form of ownership to prevail, budgeting and budgetary control as a tool must be fully utilized, since it is required of every organization to adopt this tool if it wants to be successful in its operations In the absence of such a tool or plan, the organization is likely to fail in the long run because resources are likely to be inefficiently allocated
(Hansen and Mowen, 2000). According to Hilton (1999) a budget is a detailed plan expressed in quantitative terms that specifies how resources will be acquired and used using a specified period of time. Management set goals ahead of time in an organization’s budget and these are used as standards for performance appraisal, thus serving as the base for the evolution of performance in units, subunits and other sections of a particular organization in the following financial or operational year (Gyasi, 1992). Mensah-Botsio (2006a) makes it clear that before the commencement of a particular financial or operational year,...