Money Matters: NGO Financial Management, Developing Operating and Cash Budgets – Summary & Review

On the 26th of October, Lebanon Support organised a workshop titled “Money Matters: NGO Financial Management, Developing Operating and Cash Budgets,” within its Civil Society Incubator programme. This workshop was developed as part of a greater curriculum developed in partnership with ACTED and funded by the European Union.

Pateel Papazian, an expert in financial management, presented the key aspects of budgeting processes, also identifying budgeting techniques, during her workshop. In general, the workshop discussed the following topics: budgeting for expenses, budgeting for revenues, developing an operating budget, developing a cash flow forecast (cash budget), and budgeting techniques.
Since the workshop aimed to enhance CSO financial officers and actors’ understanding of budgets and budgeting techniques, the workshop went beyond identifying academic approaches to budgeting, and rather also used practical tips to teach participants

The workshop also highlighted the importance of developing a cash flow forecast to ensure the financial security of a CSO, while also providing tools to ensure a sound budgeting process.

In the beginning of the training, Pateel focused on the functions of budgeting, while stressing the key aspects of developing operating and cash budgets. Pateel went on to emphasise two widespread budgeting techniques – incremental budgeting and zero-based budgeting. The workshop also included several exercises to help participants apply their newly acquired budgeting knowledge and solve practical financial examples.

In order to gather the attendees’ feedback for this workshop, we designed a post-workshop survey that was sent to the 18 participants of the workshop. The survey addressed several dimensions relevant to quality, usefulness of data, and the trainer’s ability to deliver the information. A summary of the results are presented below.

In the first question, we asked the attendees to rate, on a scale of 5 (with 5 being the best), the overall quality and usefulness of the workshop format and the provided material. As a result, we received an approximate rating of 4 out of 5 for the Overall Format, Presentation, Workshop Training Package, and Handouts.

In the next question, we gave the attendees specific criteria to rate the trainer’s performance and the information delivered in the presentation. Again they were to rate on a scale from 1-5 and we received the following results:

  • Relevant: 3.9 out of 5
  • Informative: 4.1 out of 5
  • Interactiveness: 4.3 out of 5
  • Easy to follow: 4.1 out of 5

Additionally, the survey also collected further feedback from participants. Amongst this feedback were the following:

“The format was very fluid and interactive.”

“Since I come from a very different background, it was at some point hard for me to follow, especially when technical words were used. But the trainer was very helpful when I asked her for some clarification.”

“It was amazing.”

Overall, 80% of the attendees found the workshop helped them become more knowledgeable about developing operating and cash budgets.