Financial accounts

Current financial situation

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

Projected 2021 budget

Values in $'000s2021 baseline2021 expansion
Staff and long-term contractors$1,750$1,939
Contractors$117$132
Non-salary staff expenses$186$218
Office rent, supplies, and services$717$717
Office move expenses$0$0
CEA operations support$211$211
Marketing$26$126
Computing, IT, references, and other$87$87
Totals (in millions USD)$3.09M$3.43M
Approximate average core FTE in this scenario15.817.7

2020 spending reviews in Jan 2021 (UK & US combined)

Values in $'000s2020 baseline budget2020 spending (estimated in Nov 2020)
Staff and contractors$1,839$1,667
Non-salary staff expenses$191$98
Office rent, supplies, and services$642$632
Office move and refurbishment$71$280
Contribution to CEA's operations expenses$214$219
Marketing$21$20
Computing, IT, books, subscriptions, and other$75$93
Total$3.05M$3.01M

Costs have basically matched our baseline budget. Our expansion budget would have added an additional $150,000 to cover new hires. We undershot the expansion budget for two reasons:

  • We hired at a slower rate than budgeted, one staff member reduced their hours due to a protracted illness, and another took a sabbatical. Netting out all changes we had 13 full time equivalent staff in 2020, when we would have hit ~14.5 on our expansion trajectory.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic led to a few savings in travel, cuts to spending on office services, and UK tax relief.

While we appear to have overshot on ‘Office move and refurbishment expenses’, that is mostly because we underspent in 2019 and invoices were shifted into 2020. In total we’ve spent $709k on moving to London and setting up our office there, against a budget of $699k. We expect to spend an extra $20k before the project is fully completed.

Historical data

Financial and staff inputs over time

YearSpending ($M)Income ($M)Number of full-time equivalent staff
20120.060.070.6
20130.160.242.8
20140.230.332.6
20150.350.433.7
20160.470.465.0
20170.752.066.8
20181.141.617.9
20192.45.1810.3
2020 (expenditure forecast, income received through Nov 2020)3.014.1214.0
2021 (baseline)3.09-15.8
2021 (expansion)3.43-17.7
2022 (baseline)3.35-16.3
2022 (expansion)4.32-22.8

Notes:

  • Our UK spending and income are converted to US dollars based on the average exchange rates.
  • For more information about where our money comes from, see our donors page.
  • ‘Number of full-time equivalent staff’ includes the staff hours allocated to us by our fiscal sponsor, CEA.

2019 calendar year

Until our 2019–20 UK accounts are filed with the Charity Commission, you can find a discussion of our budget and spending in our 2019 annual review.

2019 financial year (USA) accounts

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

2018–19 financial year (UK)

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

2018 financial year (USA) accounts

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

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.

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 of reserves, then spend it down to 12 months over the course of 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 to receiving the income. On the expenses side, we typically make multi-year commitments to staff, rent, and other expenses, so we 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 of reserves.

In addition, it is conventional in the charity sector to have 3–12 months of cash reserves, and it seems to be regarded as good practice to have over 12 month of cash reserves. 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 ‘Performance Metric Six: Working Capital Ratio’.