Annual report and financial statement

How Goldsmiths manages its finances is an important issue for our students, staff and stakeholders.

Understanding our finances

We have always been open about our finances and as part of our commitment to transparency want to help our community develop a deeper understanding of our financial situation.

This page is intended to help support this ambition by sharing key information about our finances – with the full details published in Financial Statements 2020-21 (PDF).

Our accounts

Every year we publish our financial accounts – these are officially called Annual Reports and Financial Statements.

Our accounts are usually published in December every year and contain information from the previous academic year.

The current accounts reflect Goldsmiths’ financial position during academic year 2020-21. The accounts are independently audited and are a legal requirement for Goldsmiths.

It is our duty to show the Office for Students, our sector regulator, that we are in financial good health so we can continue operating as a university.

Income, expenditure and deficits

The headlines are that the College had total income of £126.4 million, plus investement gains of £0.4m, total expenditure of £139.6 million and a reported deficit of £12.7 million. Our underlying deficit was £6.5 million, with the reported deficit and underlying deficits both important indicators of our financial health.

Income £126.4m. Investment gain £0.43m. Expenditure £139.6m. Reported deficit £12.7m. Underlying deficit £6.5m. Income £126.4m. Investment gain £0.43m. Expenditure £139.6m. Reported deficit £12.7m. Underlying deficit £6.5m.

Three factors inform this “bottom line” of our finances: the money which comes into Goldsmiths (income), the money which goes out of Goldsmiths (expenditure) and the resulting balance – whether we are in surplus or deficit. 

It's important to remember that we account for these on an accruals basis, so that income and expenditure is recognised at the time goods and services are supplied or received and not when the related cash changes hands – this is known as "cash accounting".

The underlying deficit is shown after removing some technical accounting charges and one-off items that show the deficit on a like-for-like basis without the impact of items that distort the position, including pension accounting charges and credits, staff restructuring costs, impairing (‘writing off’) assets, and the gain on our endowment investment fund. It is important as it shows our underlying operating performance. 

A reconciliation of the underlying deficit to the reported deficit is given on page 18 of the Financial Statements.  

Year-on-year, our total income fell by 2.8% largely driven by the impact of Covid-19 on overseas student recruitment. Our spending saw an overall increase of 7.1% compared to the previous 12 months as a result of a large pension credit in 2019/20 that did not reoccur in 2020/21.

What this means

A reported deficit of £12.7 million is unsustainable for an institution of Goldsmiths’ size, even if the underlying deficit is £6.5 million, and we are implementing a recovery programme to help put us on a stable and sustainable financial footing.

The recovery programme is beginning to work, with the underlying deficit coming down thanks to the savings the university is making and the hard work of our community to reduce our spending.

But we need to get this deficit down to zero and then go beyond this by building a surplus to make sure we’re protected against any future financial shocks – which could be as a result of the pandemic or the government taking away more central funding. 

Having a surplus also means we are able to invest more in supporting students and staff.

Illustration showing income figures that are in the text below this image.
Illustration showing expenditure figures that are in the text below this image.

Where our money comes from

Our income comes from a broad range of areas and activities which includes:

  • Tuition fees – 75%
  • Funding body grants – 11%
  • Research grants and contracts – 5%
  • Other income such as accommodation – 9%

How we spend our money

Our biggest outgoing is on staff – paying people’s wages, contributing to staff pensions and paying social security costs.

We spent £90.4 million on staff costs – some 72% of our overall income and by far and away the biggest outgoing. 

Of this £90.4 million on staff costs, Goldsmiths spent:

  • £66.1 million on salaries - with the mean average salary for a full-time member of staff at Goldsmiths £47,262 
  • £12.1 million on employer pension contributions
  • £6.4 million on social security costs
  • £1.3 million on voluntary severance payments
  • £5.7 million towards a deficit recovery charge related to the LPFA pension scheme
  • Less a £1.3 million credit related to the release of the provision for the USS pension scheme

Within this some £55 million went to staff working in academic departments, including academics and administrative staff, with some £31 million going to central professional services staff. The remainder of staff spend was made up of the voluntary severance payments, pension charge and social security payments like National Insurance.

The total emoluments of the current Warden, who was appointed from 1 August 2020, were £245,000 for the year.

Spending on staff costs is called revenue expenditure ­– it’s where we spend money on day-to-day operating costs and non-pay.

Other types of spending

In addition to spending on staff Goldsmiths has to meet a range of costs related to the running and operation of the university. This includes:  

  • £20.3 million on premises – this includes the management of the estate, maintenance of buildings, the deprecation (drop in value) of buildings and resources due to wear and tear from being used, and heating and lighting bills. Cleaning and security costs are also included. 
  • £8.7 million on halls of residence, including third-party halls used by our students 
  • £4.4 million on the direct costs of delivering projects funded by research grants

We also spend significant amounts of money in providing direct support to our communities, including:

  • £1.9 million on student bursaries and scholarships
  • £1.7 million in block grant, support and support in kind for Goldsmiths Students’ Union – made up of £1.1 million in block grant and support and accommodation and use of the IT network at estimated cost of £0.5 million
  • £6.2 million on student and staff facilities. This covers direct student support services, for example the Student Centre, Accommodation Office and Careers Service, along with staff support facilities such as the Staff Development Unit and Occupational Health Service. It does not include administrative support such as the HR department or Registry

Spending on new buildings and refurbishing existing buildings is called capital expenditure, which is sometimes shortened to CAPEX. We spent £2.7 million on capital expenditure in 2020-21 – compared to £7.5 million the previous year. 

A criticism sometimes levelled at universities is that institutions prioritise spending on new buildings over spending on staff. As set out above, our accounts show that Goldsmiths prioritises investing in its staff.


Tuition fees and education contracts £95,207,000
Funding body grants £13,590,000
Research grants and contracts £6,014,000
Other income £11,385,000
Endowment and investment income £251,000
Total £126,447,000


Staff £91,780,000
Other operating expenses £35,089,000
Other costs:
Amortisation of intangible fixed assets
Depreciation and impairment
Interest and other finance costs
Total with USS pension movement included £139,613,000 


Deficit before other gains and losses £13,166,000
Reported Deficit for the year £12,741,000
Underlying deficit for the year £6,500,000

Importance of cash flow

An important part in the financial operations of any university is the ability to access cash in order to be able to meet day-to-day running costs and pay for services and goods.

One reason cash flow is important is because it is how we pay staff – which as set out above is the biggest expenditure Goldsmiths makes.

The pandemic has meant we have had to draw on our cash reserves more than we would have wished, as a result of reduced income, with our cash balances falling by £1.7 million to £20.4 million in the year.

As part of our commitments to our sector regulator, the Office for Students, we need to show we have enough cash to be able to continue operating.

If the sum of our cash balance and unused credit facilities is expected to fall below the 30-day mark – ie a situation where we would run out of cash after 30 days if no more money was coming into the College – we have to report this to the Office for Students.

Cash flow

Net cash inflow from
operating activities
10,929 11,009 9,801 1,925 2,524
As a percentage of income 9.5% 8.7% 7.4% 1.5% 2.0%
Cash and cash equivalents at the end of year 29,939 26,676 29,225 22,059 20,378

This table shows our cash and cash equivalents have fallen by nearly a third over the last five years.

Recovery programme information

Thanks to savings made our financial position improved compared to the previous year where our underlying deficit was £12.0 million. However, we still need to fix the underlying deficit of £6.5 million to ensure we’re on a secure and sustainable financial footing

The savings meant the College did not need to use the short-term revolving credit facility agreed with banking partners that was available from August-September 2021. This facility provided a “financial safety net” to ensure the College could draw on extra borrowing of up to £5 million if required at a time when cashflow was negatively impacted by the pandemic or Goldsmiths was waiting for student loans payments.

The College also has another credit facility of £7 million available from April-May 2022, which is to provide a second safety net at a time when our cash balances tend to be at their lowest.