For a PCC the budget is a prediction, a 'best, informed guess', as to how much money the church might receive in donations and fees, along with how much money the church is likely to spend to fulfil its plans for ministry in the congregation and wider community within the coming year.
The starting point for each year's budget will be the accounts from the immediately previous years, usually in summary form - a good summary to use is your annual Return of Parish Finance document. Simply entering the accounts from previous years into the provided templates will provide a 'first pass' or 'stand still' budget.
Fortunately the Gospel isn't about 'standing still' and so to complete your budget, the costs of (and expected income from) any new mission initatives or community projects will also need to be added to the budget templates and the mathematical predictions sense-checked. We offer two budgeting templates to help parishes.
A Simple Budget
The simple budget template uses only two previous years to make its predictions. As next year's budget is often created near the end of the (unfinished) current year, normally these two years would be the last full completed year's accounts and a best guess for the current unfinished year's acounts. This simple budget is ideal as a starting point for churches that have never budgeted or not confident working with numbers. It is available as an Excel spreadsheet from the Giving in Grace
Least Squares Budget
This sounds more complex than it is! The Least Squares Budget template uses three previous years to make a mathematical prediction, on a straight line basis, what the future might look like. In this prediction the previous years do not all have to be consecutive; they just need to be fairly typical for your church. In addition the prediction year does not have to be the immediately following year. The template contains detailed guidance on entering data into the Excel spreadsheet.