06/03/2009 | 2 hours

Check Your Data

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Four simple checks to confirm that you haven't missed any numbers during your cost allocation process.

Once you have decided on the time period and programmatic scope of your analysis, you can begin gathering the relevant data accordingly.

Spend a few minutes double-checking the numbers to make sure that you haven’t missed any of the costs during the allocation, and that everything makes intuitive sense. Conduct these four simple checks:

1. Check to see that all costs have been allocated:

To do this, sum up the allocated costs for all program areas and make sure that the sum is the same as the total original costs (direct plus indirect costs).


Check Your Data
3. Check job descriptions/rosters against your cost allocation:

Ensure that you have accounted for all staff members’ time (including part-time staff and contractors/consultants).

4. Verify the logic of your results:

For each program, do the biggest cost allocations make sense to you? Across programs, do the relative proportions of each cost category make sense? For a more detailed example, see:

Sense Check Sample Spreadsheet (Excel)

Next In: Nonprofit Cost Analysis Toolkit

1. Determine Purpose and Scope of Analysis

2. Gather Financial Data

3. Allocate Direct Costs

4. Allocate Indirect Costs

5. Check Your Data

6. Apply This Knowledge

7. Links and Resources

8. Frequently Asked Questions

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