Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Budget and Expense Tracking

Keeping Records

  • A Treasurer, or the equivalent, should be appointed or elected to maintain an organization's budget and all financial records 
  • Any member organizing an event will be accountable to the Treasurer and must adhere to the authorized budget
    • They may only make purchases with the Treasurer’s authorization and must report back to the Treasurer throughout the program
    • This will be controlled via the FTF submission and approval process
  • The Treasurer should review the information provided by Club Finance 
  • The Treasurer should make frequent presentations of the group’s financial standing to the President, e-board, and general membership
  • 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 group's governing board to help resolve budgeting concerns as they arise
  • The Treasurer and the President should meet regularly with their Advisor

Revenue and Expenses

An organization's initial allocation, determined annually, is derived from the Student Life Fee that all Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, and Columbia General Studies students must pay. For this reason, guidelines for the spending of allocation funds are somewhat more stringent, in an attempt to ensure the most efficient distribution of those funds (i.e. not allowing a club to throw weekly pizza parties). An organization's revenue includes all money that is generated by group activities (e.g. tabling/programming efforts, ticket sales, or co-sponsorships from other organizations, etc.). Revenue rolls over from year to year while any [unspent] allocation remaining will be reclaimed by the organization's governing board. Groups should determine whether they would like to spend against their allocation and/or their revenue. Governing boards may have different bylaws which may restrict when groups may use their allocation for certain expenses. Please refer to your governing board if you have additional questions. 

Annual Budgeting 

Each spring, all organizations are expected to submit budget proposals and allocation requests to the student governing boards under which they are recognized. The budget should include anticipated operating expenses, program expenses, and income projections. Revisions to these budgets, which are based on the actual allocation the group has received, are to be made in September of each year. Organizations should start by budgeting their operating expenses for the year. Consider the costs of membership, recruitment, office supplies, travel, speakers, and other year-round programming needs including mailings, tech fees, and printing.

Don't forget to anticipate program revenue in your planning! Most events should earn some sort of revenue in addition to incurring 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. 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. 

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 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

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 Advisor, and Student Financial Advising as often as necessary to keep your records updated and to address financial concerns immediately.

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