Budget Analysis Writing Assignment
Although there is no magic page number, I think 10 pages is a nice target. What follows is a list of components that a good budget analysis paper might contain. Adopt the role of a budget consultant in your paper. Engage in factual analysis, but do not avoid subjective criticisms and recommendations.
Organizational History and Purpose
Your paper should contain a brief discussion of the history and purpose of the organization. Has your organization always served the same purpose or has it been forced to adapt to changing political, social, or economic environments?
Evident Policy Goals
Does your organizationís budget contain clear policy direction? Have these policy goals changed over time?
Budget Process and Political Conflict
Your paper should contain a discussion of your organizationís budget process and cycle. In addition, any political skirmishes evident in the budget process should be included. Was there any conflict between the executive branch, the legislature, and the agency head over the budget request?
Type of Budget
What type of budget format did your organization adopt? Is it a line-item or program budget? Does it have elements of both? Would the organization be better served using a different budget format?
The budget should contain a time component. In other words, you should be able to compare the current year budget to at least one prior year. The purpose is to give you basis with which you can track trends over time. In addition, some budgets might contain forecasts of future budgets. You might incorporate these forecasts in your analysis.
Revenue and Expenditure Analysis
Your paper should contain a discussion of the organizationís revenue sources. What blend of revenue is relied upon by your organization? Discuss any notable changes. For example, a local government might have incorporated a new government service user fee or a change in property tax rates. Where does your organization get its money? Does it rely only on taxes, or does your organization receive intergovernmental transfers?
Expenditures can involve operating costs or policy goals of the organization. Operating costs include: personnel; benefits; travel; supplies; services; etc. In addition to general operating and maintenance costs, examine the programs and objectives of the organization in terms of expenditure. Discuss how the organizationís expenditures are servicing its ostensible objectives. In other words, is money being spent in the proper fashion? Remember to take the critical role as well as the investigative role. Is the organization generating sufficient revenue? What options are available? What is your organizationís cash management plan? What are its assets and liabilities? Although you are not engaging in mathematical analysis described in your textbook, would your organization be wise to adopt any of the methods discussed in the text? Can you make any recommendations?
Does your organization have a capital budget? What projects are being pursued and why?