The budget report is probably the most important report to be presented to Councillors. Indeed, one of the requirements in the Internal Audit report is:
D. The precept or rates requirement resulted from an adequate budgetary process; progress against the budget was regularly monitored; and reserves were appropriate.AGAR Annual Internal Audit Report
Easy PC Accounts is set up to encourage profiled budgeting, which is the method preferred by other, more general packages such as Quickbooks or Sage. Essentially, it splits the annual budget into months and then receipts and payments are compared with the monthly figures. We believe that this provides better information on the true financial position of the Council since less explanation is needed to make sense of the figures.
It is also worth noting the words in the NALC Model Financial Regulations:
The RFO shall regularly provide the council with a statement of receipts and payments to date under each head of the budgets, comparing actual expenditure to the appropriate date against that planned as shown in the budget. These statements are to be prepared at least at the end of each financial quarter and shall show explanations of material variances. For this purpose “material” shall be in excess of £250 or 5% of the budget, whichever is the greater.NALC Model Financial Regulations
We believe that using profiled budgets is the only realistic way for Councils to follow this provision and so this page describes in detail the basic budget report using this option.
Notwithstanding the above, we are also aware that some Councils are not used to this method of financial reporting and we are working on a couple of other reports which will be made available shortly..
The detailed information provided by the Budget report depends firstly upon the budgets set up when the account codes are created and secondly on the options chosen from the menu. Full details of the former can be found here; details of the latter are described below with examples.
The exact contents of the report are controlled by the menu on the left-hand side of the screen.
Most of the options should be self-explanatory but we describe them below
- Start month and end month. These set the range to be shown on the report. For example, setting start month to April and end month to June the figures for the first quarter will be displayed
- Include year to date. If you are just showing the first month or quarter then this box should not be ticked. However, if you are, for example, showing the second quarter (July-September) then ticking this box will add columns showing April-September.
- Include budgets. This adds two columns showing budget for the period and the variance (difference between actual spend or receipts and the budget). If the year-to-date box is ticked, then columns are added for this as well.
- VAT. You can choose whether the figures displayed include or exclude VAT.
Here is an example report with the appropriate options selected
You will see that some numbers in the report are underlined. This indicates that they are links. If you click on one of these, a list of the transactions associated with that entry appears. This listing is in the same format as that seen under Manage Transactions and allows entries to be modified or deleted as well as viewed.
The menu for setting options has three buttons:
- Display – update what is seen on the screen
- Create pdf – generates a pdf of the report
- Export to Excel – generate an Excel spreadsheet of the data. This is particularly useful if you wish to add comments to report lines for circulation