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See an exampleUsing a spreadsheet for budgeting

This article is one of a series 4 articles on developing a budget as follows:

  1. Researching Information
  2. Sources of Information
  3. Consulting people
  4. Building the worksheets that workout anticipated income and expenditure (this article)

Benefits of Spreadsheets

Spreadsheets, such as Microsoft Excel, are an invaluable tool for the preparation of budgets. In the hands of the experienced operator they allow:

  1. Information to be inserted, laid out, formatted and arranged for maximum readability with relative ease.
  2. Easy computation of budgetary estimates i.e. calculation of income and expenditure items
  3. Quick and easy modification of figures with instantaneous results
  4. Transmission of budget workings between work colleagues or members of the organisation management committee
  5. Long term storage of workings to enable others in future years to follow how budgets were calculated
  6. Mathematical modeling of financial problems to find best solutions

In short, if you are engaged in budgeting, it is essential to use spreadsheet software and Microsoft Excel is the best known.

Click here for Video Tutorials on Microsoft Excel

Creating Budget Worksheets

It can be a daunting task to start the process of creating budget worksheets for an organisation using Microsoft Excel. However, there are several avenues of help available to you:

  1. See examples of a budget workbook with multiple worksheets
  2. Get a template in Microsoft Excel to get you started
  3. Get access to video tutorials that assist you learn many of the important techniques in developing Excel worksheets for a budget.

In reality the process is not as hard as it might seem at first. Initially, your workings might have only scant information and only very basic design and formatting. But with a series of daily small adjustments and embellishments, it does not take long before your Excel worksheets begin to look impressive.

It is really important to grasp the technique of building multiple worksheets at the outset. It will be likely that your budget workbook will need 15 or more worksheets. Each worksheet is devoted to a separate income or expenditure item in the budget. Some worksheets will indeed be simple and small, but others could be quite significant masterpieces in their own right.

It is an excellent feature of Microsoft Excel that it allows the user to create an almost limitless number of worksheets. See an example budget with multiple worksheets.

Multiple Worksheet Sample

By creating a separate worksheet for each item in the budget it becomes comparatively easy to deal with formatting. Thus each sheet can be published as if it were a page in the book, nicely formatted and easy to read.

Although there is some initial learning, spreadsheet users can prepare a budget workbook much more quickly than can be produced by working with pencil and paper alone. The amount of technical know-how needed to created a simple spreadsheet is really not that much.

Importance of Summary Worksheet

A "Summary" worksheet will be required to pull together the final totals from all the other worksheets . The Summary Worksheet therefore becomes the complete income and expenditure statement.

Linking Worksheets

An outstanding feature of Excel spreadsheets is that the summary sheet can be linked to all the other worksheets in the budget. Therefore any changes to the worksheets is automatically reflected on the summary sheet. This not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of error.

Linking figures on the summary sheet to all the respective worksheets is a simple process. On the summary sheet in the cell where the total of salaries is to appear, type an equal sign i.e. type "=". Then, point with your mouse to worksheet containing the answer and the cell where the answer can be found. Then hit the ENTER key. This creates a link.

Click here for Video Tutorials on Microsoft Excel

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