Information Required (internal link)
At a minimum, you will need the following information to undertake a budget analysis:
- The adopted budget for the current fiscal year, providing revenue estimates and expenditures appropriations.
- The proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, if available;
- Actual departmental revenue and expenditure data for the current fiscal year to date; and
- The most recent audited financial statement. This is also referred to as the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). If the statement is not for the last completed fiscal year, ask to be sent a copy of the new statement when it is available.
- While not essential, budgets and financial statements from previous years can be useful for analyzing trends.
You should be able to obtain these items from the jurisdiction's budget office. Budget offices go under different names including the following: Finance Department, Budget and Planning Office, Division of Budget and Accounting, and Office of Financial Management. Budgets and financial statements are published public documents and should be readily available. Year-to-date revenue and expenditure data is generally available in the form of a computer printout or as a periodic internal report to senior management and the legislative body.
Public sector budgets are divided into different funds that are separate accounting entities. You should obtain financial information for all funds controlled by the jurisdiction. At a minimum, information should cover the major operating fund, normally called the General Fund, and any funds from which bargaining unit members are paid. The various types of funds are listed in Appendix III.