Financial accounts

Current financial situation

This page is updated roughly once a year, usually around December. For our most up-to-date financial data, including periodic updates on our reserves, see regular emails in our updates list.

Projected baseline 2020 budget

 2020 ($)% of total
Staff and contractors salaries, payroll and benefits (15.1 FTE inc. contractors)1,778,00058%
Non-salary staff expenses (e.g. travel, conferences and food)176,0006%
Office rent, supplies, utilities and services673,00022%
Office move expenses26,0001%
Contribution to CEA's expenses for operations213,5007%
Legal and immigration34,0001%
Marketing21,0001%
Computer Software & Hardware41,0001%
Internet/Web/Hosting Fees75,0002%
Books/subscriptions/reference11,0000%
Other4,0000%
Uncategorized Expenditure2,5000%
Total3,056,000100%

This is how much we would expect to spend if we don’t hire further staff.

Our expansion plans would add $150,000 to our budget in 2020 and $425,000 in 2021, of which about 75% is salaries to hire new staff.

These estimates were last updated in early November 2019.

Historical data

Financial and staff inputs over time

YearSpending ($)Income ($)Number of full-time staff (includ. share of CEA from 2018)Total staff FTE (inc. interns, volunteers, freelancers & share of CEA)
201257,72170,2851.53.4
2013163,108237,0742.27.5
2014229,133325,6862.14.9
2015347,950425,9823.25
2016470,574458,3134.15.5
2017751,4802,058,0936.37.8
2018 (Partially audited)1,294,1241,664,8437.910.1
2019 (Forecast made in Nov 19)3,135,00010.312.9
2020 (Baseline)3,056,000-12.415.1
2020 (Expansion)3,206,000-13.716.4
2021 (Baseline)3,270,000-12.415.1
2021 (Expansion)3,695,000-14.517.2

Notes:

  • Our accounts have not been finalised for 2018-2019 so these are our (fairly accurate) best guesses of our spending and income.
  • Our official UK accounts run July to June, and US accounts January to December. For simplicity, we have simply divided UK spending evenly between the first and second half of each financial year and present the totals in calendar years.
  • Our UK spending and income are converted to US dollars based on the average exchange rate over the relevant year or half-year.
  • There are some minor inconsistencies between these numbers and our expected reserves, which are mostly generated by exchange rate variations, and revision to the internal allocations of costs within CEA after our reports have been filed with the Charity Commission or IRS.
  • 80,000 Hours supported a lot of interns in 2013, a strategy that we reversed in 2014 and after, in order to focus on training and retaining full time staff. This is why the number of FTE in the rightmost column falls at that point.
  • For more information about where our money comes from, see our donors page.

2019 spending reviewed in Nov 2019 (UK & US combined)

 April 2019 budget for 2019 ($)Total 2019 forecast as of Nov 2019 ($)
Staff and contractors salaries, payroll and benefits (across 12.9 FTE)1,521,0001,554,000
Non-salary staff expenses (e.g. travel, conferences and food)165,000167,000
Office rent, supplies, utilities and services387,000333,000
Office move expenses393,000628,000
Contribution to CEA's expenses for operations210,000225,000
Legal and immigration56,00090,000
Marketing24,0007,000
Computer Software & Hardware42,00040,000
Internet/Web/Hosting Fees73,00061,000
Books/subscriptions/reference10,0002,500
Other2,6002,500
Uncategorized Expenditure2,50025,000
Total2,887,4353,146,000

In most categories our forecasts in April — made after our decision to relocate to the UK — have accurately predicted our spending in 2019.

However, we now expect to spend about 9% more than our original budget. 90% of this is due to higher than expected spending on moving into our new London offices.

This is largely a result of simply inaccurately predicting the cost of, e.g. renovating rooms, purchasing furniture, additional legal costs, and so on. There were some alterations we didn’t notice we would require, such as installation of curtains, and repairs to our front door. Finally, we brought forward some purchases of equipment which will be used by new staff in coming years.

Other notes on budget items:

  • Our office rent has increased significantly. This is because the current office is enough to house over 25 full-time staff, so we don’t anticipate needing to increase its costs or move again for many years.
  • We also decided to cut back on marketing costs as it wasn’t a top priority given our now narrower target audience.
  • Also note that we haven’t included our £217,500 office deposit in the above spending, because we will get this back if we leave the office.

2018 spending review (UK & US combined)

 2018 spending projected in Dec 2017, if we didn’t hire anyone new ($)2018 actual spending (updated Nov 2019) ($)
Staff and contractors salaries, payroll and benefits695,856895,051
Non-salary staff expenses (e.g. travel, conferences and food)71,860110,521
Office rent, supplies and utilities132,900116,714
Contribution to CEA's expenses for operations50,00090,000
Legal and immigration37,2003,862
Marketing27,00014,155
Computer Software & Hardware13,2007,570
Internet/Web/Hosting Fees50,52043,205
Non-employee insurance6000
Books/subscriptions/reference1,4404,643
Other08,404
Uncategorized Expenditure2,4002,010
Total1,082,9761,294,124

Spending was broadly in line with our projections.

In December 2017 we produced a ‘baseline budget’ that had us spending $1,083,000 in 2018 if we didn’t launch any new projects or hire any new staff.

In addition, we raised enough for an expansion budget of $1,425,000 — the increase was to hire 2.5 extra full-time equivalents; raise salaries and spend an additional $25,000 on marketing.

In the end, we spent about $1,300,000 over 2018, a bit under our expansion budget.

We increased salaries and hired two extra full-time staff, in line with our expansion plan. However the staff started in September, and so didn’t increase costs as much as budgeted. We also spent less on marketing since it didn’t seem like a top priority, and saved on legal fees by not applying for US Green Cards. On the other hand, Peter McIntyre returned to the team in the summer, and we made a larger contribution to CEA operations than budgeted. These various corrections roughly cancelled out. Most other line items came in similar to what we projected.

2017-18 Financial year (UK)

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

2017 Financial year (USA) accounts

Annual audited accounts for our fiscal sponsor, the Centre for Effective Altruism USA.

2016-17 Financial year (UK) accounts

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

2016 Financial year (USA) accounts

Annual audited accounts for our fiscal sponsor, the Centre for Effective Altruism USA.

2015-16 Financial year (UK) accounts

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

2014-15 Financial year (UK) accounts

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

2013-14 Financial year (UK) accounts

Annual audited accounts
Discussion of cost breakdown

2012-13 Financial year (UK) accounts

Annual audited accounts
Discussion of cost breakdown

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 programmes. 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”.