Financial accounts

Current financial situation

For our most up to date financial data, see regular emails in our updates list.

Projected 2017 budget

ExpenseAmount% total budget
Staff salaries and expenses£453,16861%
Staff salaries, tax and expenses (7.5 FTE)£358,24449%
Contractors ( about 0.5 FTE)£63,6609%
Travel expenses£31,2644%
Contribution to CEA£36,0005%
Legal and immigration£26,0004%
Online services£15,1082%
Workshop expenses and student groups (exc. travel)£14,0402%

Note these amounts are highly approximate estimates of future spending. Italics indicate the item is a subtotal of the bold line. These estimates were made in March 2017, so are more up-to-date than those that appeared in our annual review.

Historical data

Key financial and staff inputs over time

Historical dataSpending (£)    IncomeNumber of full-time staff (excl. central CEA)Total staff FTE (inc. interns & volunteers & share of central & freelancers)
2016 (projected)253,000*275,900*4.15.5
2017 (projected baseline)740,00067
2017 (expansion)850,00089
2018 (projected baseline)730,00067
2018 (expansion)1,250,000910


  • The projected budgets are highly approximate. The projected baseline is broken down above. The expansion budget also includes hiring 4 full-time staff over 2017 and a larger marketing budget in 2018. We could also expand more rapidly. The amount we expand largely depends on how much we decide to prioritise hiring and the quality of the best candidates. We may also spend more or less on marketing depending how effective it is over the year.
  • Our accounts have not been finalised for 2015/16 so these are our (reasonably accurate) best guesses of expenses and income.
  • 2016 figures are projections assuming November and December resemble the previous months, and as discussed below are subject to revisions when our accounts are audited.
  • Because our accounts are added up and audited on a July-June financial year basis, figures for calendar years are (accurate but imperfect) estimates of the calendar year in which spending occurred.
  • 80,000 Hours supported a lot of interns in 2013, a strategy that we reversed in 2014 and subsequently in order to focus on training and retaining full time staff. This is why the number of FTE in the rightmost column fell.
  • Here we include volunteer inputs from 2011. 80,000 Hours was incorporated as part of the Centre for Effective Altruism in early 2012 and hired its first staff member in July 2012.
  • For more information about where our money comes from, see our donors page.

As yet unaudited accounts for July 2015 – June 2016

Our 2015-16 financial year accounts are still being finalised with our accountants, but we provide a draft of our cost breakdown here, as they may be of interests to donors.

Expense line£Share of total
Staff salaries and expenses
     Employees salaries and tax81,455.1239%
    Participation in Y Combinator, travel and other US costs49,699.9624%
Contribution to CEA operations costs (mostly staff)25,16312%
Events and communications3,814.842%
Online activities (e.g. hosting and online services)19,847.069%
Technical, training and equipment5,387.613%
Office expenses, team socials, food1,844.661%
Research related costs826.941%
Other costs and sundries4,760.772%

Estimated donations received: £491,000.


  • We had an unusually large number of travel and US-related costs during this financial year due to going through Y Combinator in Mountain View during the second half of 2015, and a later speaking tour across the USA. For practical reasons this line item incorporates a range of office, travel and freelancer expenses while overseas. This line item was more than covered by a donation from Y Combinator and its partners.
  • Our contribution to central operating costs are primarily to staff handling operations for us and other projects within the Centre for Effective Altruism.
  • Current estimated spending on 80,000 Hours later in 2016 – from both the US and UK branches of the Centre for Effective Altruism – is July (£30,374), August (£49,158), September (£21,379), October (£16,835). Over this period we switched both accounting software and accounting firm, so these figures are also subject to later revisions.

2014-15 Financial year

Annual audited accounts, including cost breakdown for 80,000 Hours

Budget line£Fraction of total
Staff salaries and expenses
     Staff salaries and taxes£61,09739%
     Travel and conferences£25,06616%
     Allocated Support Costs (i.e. contribution to CEA operations costs, including staff and office)£38,96925%
     Allocated Governance Costs£1,7771%
Training & equipment£4,2833%
Technical expenses£9031%
Events & communications£1,8471%
Research costs£2,8942%
Legal fees£1240%
Online activities£8,5535%
Charges on donations£10%

2013-14 Financial year

Annual audited accounts
Discussion of cost breakdown

Note that the exact figures may not match because they i) cover different periods and ii) are subject to subsequent revisions during auditing.

2012-13 Financial year

Annual audited accounts
Discussion of cost breakdown

Note that the exact figures may not match because they i) cover different periods and ii) are subject to subsequent revisions during auditing.

Reserves policy

We strongly prioritise having at least 6 months of cash reserves, and aim to maintain at least 12 months. We regard 6 months as probably not providing enough margin for error, and will avoid any expansion while reserves are below 6 months.

We also aim to fundraise only once per year, so we have the rest of the year to focus on our programs. This means we need to raise 24 months’ reserves, then spend it down to 12 months over the year.

We chose to stay above 12 months because it is difficult to change our income or expenses in less than 6-12 months. On the income side, it can take between 3-18 months from starting to fundraise and receiving the income. On the expenses side, we typically make multi-year commitments to staff, rent and other expenses, so can’t easily reduce expenses within 12 months.

Overall, 12 months of reserves gives us a reasonable margin for error if a round of fundraising goes worse than expected, and 18 months is better still. The benefits start to diminish after 24 months’ reserves.

In addition, it is conventional in the charity sector to have 3-12 months of cash reserves, and seems to be regarded as good practice to have over 12. For instance, Charity Navigator gives its highest scores to charities who have at least one year of reserves.1

Notes and references

  1. Archived link, retrieved 3-Dec-2016. See the section on “working capital ratio”.