What's Left in the Budget?

An often repeated question this time of year. And, here's another classic: "Will our budget increase next year?" The truth is budgets are planning tools created to set giving goals, spending parameters and organizational priorities. In the current financial situation this planning tool may get more attention by your church or non-profit organization.

Budgets accomplish a number of financial objectives:

  1. focus the church to do advanced financial evaluation and planning
  2. clarify the use of monetary resources for priority objectives
  3. create a measuring instrument for use in evaluation by church members and leaders
  4. assist the church in connecting its ministry resources to accomplish its mission.

CDM+ contains valuable features and reports to assist in creating an effective budget to accomplish these benefits.

Ledger and Ledger YTD reports in CDM+ provide evaluation tools for the budget planning and decision-making process. Five Income and Expense reports are available for evaluating the current giving and spending patterns of your organization. Two of these provide comparison to the budget (Ledger to Budget and Monthly Comparison), including calculating differences between current and previous year's budget. Two other reports (Monthly Summary and Range Comparison) provide Detail (by account) and Composite (by category/sub-category) comparisons. Want to see patterns in giving or spending during the last 6 or 12 months to inform your budget decisions? Use the Monthly Summary report. Wish to compare the giving and spending of the first quarter of 2007 to the first quarters of 2008 and 2009? Use the Range Comparison report. Remember that all accounting reports can easily be exported to Excel and then turned into graphs or worksheets.

Suppose a staff member wants to know how much budget they have left. Run a Ledger to Budget report for the accounts associated with their ministry; also include a Ledger by Accounts report to provide the detail of all expenditures to those accounts. Need these reports often? You can easily select accounts for reports by using the Account Browser and selecting Categories or Sub-categories—or by creating Account Sets for quick selection.

The budget report displays the Annual budget or the Monthly budget amounts. Use the Monthly budget selection to view the budget cash flow. During the budget entry process you decide to divide the annual budget amount evenly across 12 months or enter amounts by months. The Budget Comparison report allows for the selection of budgets and compares budget amounts by account one year to another (2008 budget to 2009 budget). Differences between annual budgets display as amounts and percentages for ease in evaluation.

Budgets are created using the Budget option under Ledger. Budgets may be created for selected Funds or selected Accounts. Previous budgets may be copied and then edited for current changes by simply selecting the account and changing the figure under the Amount column.

CDM+ has the tools to make the budgeting process effective and efficient. Your ministry team can make well-informed decisions by using CDM+ evaluation and comparison reports.