Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Undergraduate Student Life

Budget and Expense Tracking

Keeping Records

  • Appoint or elect a treasurer to maintain the budget and all financial records 
  • Any member organizing an event should be accountable to the treasurer and adhere to the authorized budget, make purchases only with the treasurer’s authorization, and report back to the treasurer throughout the program 
  • The treasurer should review the Student Group Resources pageon club E-Finance to be trained by the Student Affairs Central Business Office (SACBO)
  • The treasurer should make frequent presentations of the group’s financial standing to the president and to the general membership. Financial reports should be prepared regularly
  • The treasurer should keep clear records and maintain ledgers, which should be readily available for inspection by group members and your organization’s student governing body
  • The treasurer and the president should keep in touch with the ABC to help resolve budgeting concerns as they arise
  • The treasurer and the president should meet regularly with your SDA adviser and your SACBO adviser

Revenue and Expenses

Annual Budgeting

Each spring, all organizations are expected to submit budget proposals and allocation requests to the student governing bodies under which they are recognized. Your budget should include anticipated operating expenses, program expenses, and income projections. Revisions to these budgets, which are based on the actual allocation you have received, are to be made in September of each year.

Operating Expenses

Start by budgeting your operating expenses for the year. Consider the costs of membership, recruitment, office supplies, and other year-round needs including folders, envelopes, pens, markers, paint, tape, rulers, scissors, telephone charges, mailings, and printing.

Individual Program Expenses

In budgeting for an on-campus program, be sure to account for every expense and to estimate income conservatively. Possible expenses include:

  • Event costs such as performance fees, agents’ commissions, hospitality, technical and security charges, and mailing expenses 
  • Operating costs such as proctors, rental charges, permit applications, decorations, supplies, car or van rentals, and ticket printing 
  • Food costs such as catering, paper and plastic goods, and serving supplies
  • Publicity costs such as printing, supplies such as sheets for banners and markers, advertisements 

In the case of theatrical performances, include copyright, script, or sheet music charges, along with supplies and costumes. Off-campus events should include travel, accommodations, and meals in their budgets.

Anticipate Program Revenue

Events generally should have revenue as well as expenses. Reasonably estimate attendance, ticket sales, and co-sponsorships. Be careful not to budget too much for anticipated revenue. This can send your group into unexpected deficit.

Budget for Publications

This includes printing, typesetting, and mailing expenses. All publications are required to raise a significant portion of their publication costs through advertising sales and/or donations. All advertising revenue must be documented by a contract between the organization and the advertiser. The organization contract must be signed by your adviser and forwarded to SACBO Financial Services.

Budget Requests

If your revenue and other resources do not meet your group’s expenses, you may request funding for the difference. Your governing board has an appeals process for additional funding requests and requests may be made directly to your governing board.


You may need to re-evaluate your budget plans if you do not receive your full request. Try to cut expenses by reducing mailings and other clerical expenses, finding less expensive performers, or reducing the number of pages in your publications. Try to find additional funding by co-sponsoring your event with other groups or by seeking corporate sponsorship, local donations, or advertising revenue. All solicited outside funding must be done by contract or be accompanied by a letter from the donor.

Accounting for Expenses and Income

After an event or publication, calculate the revenue and expenses then compare them against the original working budget. Similarly, keep an accurate account of your operating expenses. You may be asked to submit budget reports to your governing body. Meet with a representative of your group’s governing body, your adviser, and the SACBO staff as often as necessary to keep your records updated and to address financial concerns immediately.

Undergraduate Student Life


510-515 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: (212) 854-3612

Fax: (212) 854-9801

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.5:00 p.m.

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