What you call things and where you put them in your budget matters on both a micro and a macro level. Naming the account that pays for coffee hour donuts “meals” could give you a misleading sense that you’re doing a kind of work that you’re actually not. Accounting for Confirmation retreats under the “Confirmation” line and not the “Retreats” line means that those retreats are different in character from the other retreats you’re doing. Are they?

It’s fluid, of course, and rigidity in budgeting and accounting can be just as unhelpful as thoughtlessness. Maybe it’s a good rule of thumb that if you can’t explain it in a couple of sentences (to someone who isn’t on the staff), your budget is too complicated. Maybe it’s also a good rule of thumb that if you’re not eager to explain it, your budget is too loose and ill-defined. A budget is a plan, and plans should be exciting.

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