Format and coding

It can be difficult to decide which budget format and codes to use. If your organisation has its own system, this would be a first choice but it may not be compatible with each donor's system. This may cause problems both when applying for funds and when reporting back to donors.

Consistency in coding is essential and ideally you should decide how to code expenditure before the first payment is made. This however is rarely possible and coding and analysis will often have to be done afterwards. To do this, it is essential to include as much detail as possible on all vouchers.

When presenting budgets to donors, keep the detail to a minimum as they will expect you to report back in the same format. If all payments for water and sanitation items have the same code, when you give your budget to a donor don't give any further breakdown, for example into pipes or cement, as you will be unable to report separately for these items.

Make sure that your budget is easy to read and understand, with clear explanation of all the key figures. If you don't have a budget format, consider using the example in Budget resources.