Overview of Budget Execution Process
Budget execution is the process of monitoring, adjusting, and reporting on the current year’s budget. For more information please visit reports.
The Office of Budget and Planning (OBP) and finance staff across the District monitor agency spending throughout the year. Agencies develop spending plans at the start of the year, and actual spending is compared to these plans. Agencies submit Financial Review Process (FRP) reports with summaries of spending to date and projections for the remainder of the year. Careful monitoring of the budget, including review of the FRPs, is crucial for early identification of spending pressures – areas of the budget which, if not adjusted, could lead to overspending by the end of the year. Spending pressures can be resolved by changes to spending patterns or by budget adjustments.
The District can adjust its budget in many ways.
- A reprogramming is a movement of budget authority from one agency to another, or within an agency from one program or spending category to another. Reprogrammings allow a shift of budget from a low-need area to a higher-need area, whether because priorities have changed or because workload or other external factors have led to spending patterns that differ from what was assumed when the budget was developed.
- A grant budget modification is an increase or decrease to budget authority for a grant, as a result of a change in a grant award level. Because the District budgets so far in advance of the beginning of the fiscal year, grant budgets must often be estimated before the actual award level for the year is known. The District has authority to adjust its grant budgets during the year to match actual award levels.
- A supplemental budget request is an increase in the District’s overall appropriation level for local (non-grant) funds. After agreement by the Mayor and Council, and certification of funding availability by the Chief Financial Officer, a supplemental budget request must be sent to Congress for review. A rescission is likewise a change to the District’s overall appropriation, but it is a decrease rather than an increase.
- In years in which the District has budgeted for certain reserves or for the Non-Departmental agency, agency budgets can be adjusted through an allocation from central budget reserves. In circumstances defined by law, agencies may also receive allocations from the Emergency Cash Reserve or the Contingency Cash Reserve, which are congressionally mandated reserve funds the District must maintain as part of its fund balance.
OBP reports on current-year budget and spending in a variety of ways.
- The operating Financial Status Report (FSR) shows budget and spending in the operating budget, with District-wide summaries and by agency, throughout the year. It is published monthly, starting with data as of December (the third month of the fiscal year) and ending with data as of August (the eleventh month). No FSR is published for the last month, as the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) is the year-end report.
- The capital FSR shows budget and spending in the capital budget, with District-wide summaries and by agency and capital project. It is published quarterly, with data as of December, March, and June. No capital FSR is published for the fourth quarter, as again the CAFR serves as the year-end report.
- The grants activity report shows budget modifications and actual spending by grant. It is published annually and sent to Congress.