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 2018/19 budgets

 2018 ($)2019 ($)
Staff and contractors salaries, payroll and benefits695,856765,441
Non-salary staff expenses (e.g. travel, confences and food)71,86074,015
Office rent, supplies and utilities132,900183,912
Contribution to CEA's expenses for operations50,00055,000
Legal and immigration37,20038,316
Computer Software & Hardware13,20013,596
Internet/Web/Hosting Fees50,52052,035
Non-employee insurance600618
Uncategorized Expenditure2,4002,472

This is how much we would expect to spend if we don’t hire further staff. These estimates were last updated December 2017.

Historical data

Financial and staff inputs over time

 Spending ($)    Income ($)Number of full-time staff (excl. central CEA)Total staff FTE (inc. interns & volunteers & share of central & freelancers)
2017 (projected)767,3471,989,4626.37.8
2018 (baseline)1,082,97679
2019 (baseline)1,214,70079


  • Our accounts have not been finalised for 2016/17 so these are our (reasonably accurate) best guesses of our spending and income.
  • Our official UK accounts run Jule to June, and US accounts January to December. For simplicity, we have simply divided UK spending evenly between the first and second half or 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 half-year.
  • There are some minor inconsistencies between these numbers and our expected reserves, whihch are mostly generated by exchange rate variations, and revision to the internal allocations of costs withint CEA after our reports are filed with the Charity Commission.
  • 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.

2017 spending and income relative to budget projections (Global)

These accounts will be finalised in 2018. Here are our estimates of our spending and income as of December 2017:

 Global total spending ($)Baseline budget ($)Aggressive budget ($)
Staff and contractors salaries, payroll and benefits453,836436,197684,945
Non-salary staff expenses35,94640,12140,121
Office rent, supplies and utilities63,86972,90272,902
Contribution to CEA's expenses for operations45,00038,49938,499
Legal and immigration14,205
Online services29,33419,38819,388
Workshop expenses and student groups (exc. travel)4,42919,30119,301
Computer Software & Hardware6,491
Internet/Web/Hosting Fees1,923
Non-employee insurance1,211
Uncategorized Expenditure5,54435,60735,607
Foreign currency gains and losses-779
80,000 Hours total spending Jan-Nov 2017685,305
Projected total spending by the end of 2017 (including payment of any outstanding liabilities)767,347688,4571,101,469
80,000 Hours total income Jan-Nov 20171,989,462

2015-16 Financial year (UK)

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

Summary below:

Staff costs93,182
Events and communications3,815
Travel and conferences49,700
Training and equipment3,136
Technical expenses2,119
Research costs827
Legal fees124
Admin and office expenses1,845
Online activities19,847
Charges on donations90
Allocated support costs15,523
Allocated governance costs3,827
Cost of raising funds375
UK Expenses Jul 2015 - Jun 2016211,875
UK Income Jul 2015 - Jun 2016265,228
Initial balance (UK only)61,171
End of year balance (UK only)114,525

The jump in travel and conference spending that year is due to our participation in Y Combinator.

2016 Financial year (USA)

Our US accounts are still being finalised, but represented only a small fraction of our spending and income in that year.

2014-15 Financial year (UK)

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

2013-14 Financial year (UK)

Annual audited accounts
Discussion of cost breakdown

2012-13 Financial year (UK)

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 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”.