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Spreadsheet Can Help in Analyzing Budget
May 21, 2012
Having trouble keeping up with all the funding sources and expenses included in your nonprofit budget?
A spreadsheet can help identify exactly what is funded – or not funded – in your organization.
This tool can show you exactly how much is needed to cover staff positions and costs, as well as help you plan a funding strategy. And, it can help with staff planning, too, by showing you how much of each position is committed.
It’s easiest to prepare your analysis on a fiscal year basis. Across the top of the spreadsheet, list the revenue sources from which you have funding committed or pending. Along the left-hand side of the spreadsheet, list your budget line items and annual amount budgeted.
To determine accurate funding coverage, calculate the actual dollars available for the fiscal year you are analyzing. Sources might use a different fiscal year.
For example, you are on a January-through-December year,and they are on a July-through-June year. Use the portion of revenue associated with your year, in this case, 50 percent of the total grant.
If the grant will renew, then you can include 50 percent of the new grant. You want to use what is called the “matching principle” in accounting: allocating revenues and expenses to the period when they are earned and incurred. This procedure will give you a truer picture of what is happening financially than a general overall budget.
Next, assign the revenue dollars by line item in the spreadsheet column associated with the funding source, using the original grant budget as a guideline.
This analysis has displays the current situation and will allow management to make fact-based decisions regarding allocation of work and fundraising.
Try it for your organization, and see how much easier it is to make financial management decisions.
Andreas Alexandrou has delivered outstanding independent audit services to Counterpart over the last two years.
Joan Parker | President & CEO