Wednesday 15 December 2021

How to budget your project

A project budget is a series of purposeful, orderly financial planning of activities to be completed within a certain period of time, which is very important for the smooth implementation of the whole project.

In general, project budgets are denominated in report, but there are also social services projects that may be funded in foreign currencies, which may run the risk of exchange rate movements. to prevent this risk, two approaches can be taken: the first, where the contract states that "the exchange rate is calculated at the exchange rate at the date of the contract". in the second approach, it may be stated in the contract that "if the exchange rate changes, the difference is partially covered by the sponsor".

Why budget your project

the development of a project budget is of the following importance:

Ensure the implementation of the funds required for the implementation of the project

with the budget can ensure the implementation of the project funds, can make the smooth implementation of the project. in general, if the funds are not implemented, do not blindly do the project. a start-up social services agency in shanghai received funding from a company to do the project, but it started without a contract. halfway through the project, the funds "floated" due to changes in business leadership. such incidents should be avoided as much as possible.

Avoid the misuse or improper use of funds

budget can play the necessary role of supervision of financial behavior to ensure the effectiveness of the use of funds. to do the project incurred expenses, need to be reimbursed, the agency's accounting staff can be in accordance with the budget of the use of funds and the amount of funds used, control and operation. this can play an important role in ensuring the security and effectiveness of the use of funds.

Control the difference between actual project expenditure and budget

social service agencies must have credibility, a very important manifestation of credibility, is to do so. a budget would better ensure consistency between actual expenditure and budget, and, of course, the credibility of a social service institution would be well reflected.

fourth, to ensure the consistency of project implementation and the use of funds, so that the earmarking

earmarking is one of the most important and fundamental principles that social service agencies must adhere to when using project funds. with a detailed budget, the various uses and the amounts involved are clear and complete, which can ensure that the use of funds to be earmarked.

the content of the project budget

Business activities fees

the cost of operating activities refers to the costs incurred in carrying out project activities or providing services. this part of the funding is the direct cost of the project, that is, in the process of doing the project all costs incurred, including personnel labor costs, volunteer subsidies, training fees, site fees, publicity fees, teaching materials and other costs.

in the operating expenses, it is important to take into account the labor costs of the personnel who directly manage and implement the project. because of the "public welfare is free" "public welfare has no cost" misconception, now some local governments in the purchase of services do not give labor or management fees, this practice is wrong. it ignores the value of the labour of social service providers and leads to false accounting by social service agencies.

the principle of calculating labor costs is to calculate them truthfully. if a project worker does only one large project this year that requires 8 hours a day, all labor costs will be included in the project's budget. if it is a small project of tens of thousands of yuan, it is necessary to according to the project personnel in the actual time invested in the project every day, a part of the labor costs into the budget of this project, which is called reasonable allocation. if you do two projects a year, determine how much labor should be paid for each project based on the amount of time you actually spend on both projects each day.

volunteers volunteer free of charge, but volunteers in the provision of services will also occur some costs, such as transportation, meals, etc. , so volunteers should be given appropriate subsidies. in practice, it is possible to make a separate list of the distribution of volunteer subsidies, the list of volunteers, the time, place, content and criteria of subsidies to participate in the activities on this table, but also pay attention not to leave each volunteer's signature. this list of subsidies can be used as proof of reimbursement.

Management fees

management fee refers to the administrative expense incurred in the course of implementing the project. mainly includes the cost of leadership and administrative personnel and office expenses, utilities, postage, property management costs, travel expenses, depreciation expenses, repair expenses and other expenses. management fees are indirect costs, mainly for project management and for people who are not directly related to the project. 


Management fees are, in principle, reported on the criteria of no more than 10% of total expenditure on operating activities. more and more places now recognize management fees when governments buy services, and in some cases the proportion of management fees has exceeded the 10% limit.

Taxes and fees

Taxes and fees are sales taxes and surcharges incurred to declare the operation of a project. since social organizations, especially social service agencies, are to pay taxes if they do not have tax exemption qualifications, they are required to report taxes and fees in accordance with the tax rates set by the state when budgeting. if necessary, the project budget may also set a cost, called an unforeseen fee. if you want to do unforeseen fees, give you a suggestion: it's best to talk to the funder or buyer in advance to see if they agree. if they don't approve, don't do it. if approved, unforeseen fees generally do not exceed 2% of the total cost.

If you participate in the government purchase of services or apply to the funder for funds, the other party has a standardized project budget form template, according to the template to fill in. if not, you can use the budget table template provided by the author as a reference (see table 1), or you can make a budget table for a project according to the three parts of the budget.

The basic requirements of the project budget


The so-called practical is to make a budget according to the actual needs of the project, do not cheat. every figure in the budget, every cost, has to be justified, able to withstand questions from sponsors, buyers or relevant experts, and can be recognized by them. some of the cost criteria, such as those provided for in the policy document, are done in accordance with the provisions of the policy document. to be a well-intention-ed person, be aware of the various costs required to carry out the project, such as venue fees, teaching fees, advertising production fees, expert fees and other local prices, including the cost of other institutions to do the same project. only timely and accurate information on the various costs, with a number in mind, can make the project budget realistic.

Clear and specific

In the project budget, each expenditure should be written clearly and specifically, where, what purpose, how much, how much amount, to avoid the practice of accounting, packaging.

Cover all activities

Since the budget corresponds to the activities and services in the project plan, the more detailed the activity and service, the easier it is to budget. this also gives the funder or the buyer a clear picture of where the money is being spent.

The inclusion of other sources of funding.

If social service agencies can put some matching funds or other funds into the project together, they are more likely to receive funding or purchase. if there are other funds or supporting funds, but also included in the budget, to write clearly the specific purpose of this part of the funds.

Strictly abide by the requirements of the funder or purchaser for the use of funds and financial management.

Different funders or buyers of funds and financial management requirements are not the same, must be in accordance with their requirements to do the budget. for example, the government purchase service items in principle can not be used to purchase fixed assets, nor directly to the service object to send money to send goods. then there can be no budget to buy fixed assets or directly to the service to send goods expenses. if the purchaser or sponsor has a standard amount, the budget must be budgeted according to the criteria.

Preparation for audit.

After the end of the project is generally to do audit, some are the funder's own audit, and some are entrusted to third-party institutions to conduct the audit. in the budget, not only to consider the use of project funds to comply with laws and regulations and financial regulations, but also through the audit.

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