Monday, January 14, 2013

CodeMash Financial Planning Sheet

UPDATED

Interested in more detail on how we plan CodeMash? Want to see all the gory (and scary!) financial figures behind the scenes?

We’ve posted up the exact Excel sheet I use to plan everything financial around CodeMash. If you’re a conference organizer, or considering organizing one, then this sheet may be of great use to you. Yes, it’s tailored to CodeMash, but it’s full of information that may be very useful to you. There are a number of things it helps me with every year:

  • Meal planning: I’m able to keep track of the various meals, plus I have some notes around what I need to make sure gets covered. (Think proteins for vegetarians, greens at each meal, etc.)
    • Fixed versus consumable costs: Planning conferences starts off as “We’ll get awesome sessions and have fantastic people!” and inevitably turns to “Crap. How am I going to organize and pay for all this food?” If you’re organizing a conference you absolutely have to keep a careful eye on your food costs. I break out fixed costs (per head things like meals and party food) versus consumable (variable) costs like soda, coffee, and drinks. Those consumable costs terrify me because the impact can be thousands of dollars.
  • AV costs: Tracking Kalahari and external vendor AV costs helps me ensure I’ve got the right count of projectors, microphones, and screens ordered to cover every day.
  • Attendee gifts: I use this as a checklist to help ensure I’ve got shirts/hoodies, USB sticks, etc. ordered up.
  • Psuedo-TODO List: All the items on the various tabs serve to remind me of some of the various things we have to ensure get covered.

The workbook isn’t perfect. I refactor it every year based on things I’ve learned (usually the hard way). Just this year I finally deleted out columns I’d had hidden which contained revenue and estimated expenses for attendee headcounts of 250, 400, 500, and 700. It’s been a few years since we were that small…

Still, it’s invaluable for me in planning. It may be of interest to you, and it follows CodeMash’s policy of being as transparent as possible around our finances.

Grab it here! I hope you find it useful and informative!

UPDATE: I didn’t make clear that this workbook is not finalized for 2013. Consumables (soda, coffee, cocktails and beer) always are a huge variable, and there are always a bunch of last minute charges/changes. That $31K surplus will be nowhere near that by the time things are said and done.

6 comments:

Jeff Strauss said...

Thanks, Jim. Great job this year!

From organizing STLDODN the last 4 years, I know it's never as easy as it's made to look to the attendees. But I'd say that you and your team have a pretty well-oiled machine going.

Maybe we can get you to come to our little event down in St. Louis this Fall. ;-)

Onorio said...

Thanks for sharing this wealth of information.

Anonymous said...

It is wonderful that you added activities for Families/Kids.

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