So much goes into the process of getting a grant. There’s researching opportunities, drafting the letter of intent, moving on to the writing of the full proposal, developing budgets, getting all that work to the potential funder and so much more. You get the drift. It is a TON of work.
…and after you’ve waited those long, agonizing months, you finally found out you are getting the grant! Congratulations, now you have more work ahead of you.
Most funders require interim or final reports that not only include some narrative around your activities and outcomes, but they want to see how you spent their money. This is where implementing good bookkeeping practices from the beginning will come in very handy. I’m going to show you how you can manage your budget and track expenses for grants using 3 tools within QBO: Budgets, Class Tracking and Customer Tracking.
Budgets. One of the beautiful things about Quickbooks Online (QBO) is the ability to have multiple budgets in a single fiscal year. Entering your budgets into QBO is the first step in making the reporting process manageable. This will allow you to run Budget vs. Actual reports as you move through the grant period to see how on track you were with your estimates and real time expenditures.
Class Lists. Think of the class list as a way to track your 3 different buckets you need to allocate to: Administration, Fundraising and Programs. If you are writing the grant for a specific program you may even want to have that program listed separately in the class list. Now, whenever you receive income or spend money that is for that program, you will tag it as such in the drop down box at the end of the transaction line.
Customer (Donor) Tracking. Finally, use the customer (donor) section on the expense transaction lines. By tagging the name of the customer in this line you can then run a profit and loss report and filter it by ‘customer’ (or donor if you changed the naming rules in QBO set up).
Sub-Customer (Donor) Tracking. Let’s say you have a single foundation that gives you multiple grants in a year or even the course of multiple years. For this example we are going to call it the Do Good Foundation. Do Good Foundation gives you 2 grants in the current year. You want to track the expenses for those 2 grants separately. First, add the Do Good Foundation as a customer. Next, create a new customer and in the display name section title it with the name of the grant with the year: DGF Operating Grant FY2017. Then, on the right side of the customer box, check ‘Sub-Client’ and select Do Good Foundation from the list. Now you’ve create a sub-account under Do Good Foundation for that grant. When you go to enter your expenses, you will select the sub-customer account, DGF Operating Grant FY2017, that it correlates to.
Now you can run Profit & Loss and Budget vs. Actual reports that can be filtered by class and customer to give you exactly the information you need to generate beautiful and accurate reports for your grantors. Effectively reporting on how your grant money had an impact on your mission is more likely to get you future grant awards!