We studied the average trends of unrestricted surplus (before depreciation), operating surplus (before depreciation), and operating surplus (after depreciation) for organizations by sector, budget size, and geographic market from 2016 - 2019.
Generally speaking, bottom lines improved since 2016. The average organization‘s bottom line shifted from an operating deficit equivalent to -8% of budget to -5% in 2019, accounting for depreciation. When depreciation is left out of the calculation, bottom lines increased significantly from 2016 to 2017 before dipping down in 2018 and 2019.
Operating revenue growth outpaced inflation by 8% (not shown in the table), and its growth was greater than that of expenses. Operating deficits have shrunk over time but still remain.
Operating surplus (after depreciation) showed improvement in 2017. Since the only difference between the two operating surplus indices is depreciation, we can conclude that reported depreciation expenses were lower in the 3 years following 2016.
Trends 2016-2019, by Sector
Trends 2016-2019, by Size
Small organizations' operating surpluses have remained generally level over time. Small organizations reduced their expenses and increased their unrestricted revenue, with particularly robust growth in operating revenue. In both operating surplus indices, small organizations are not far below the operating bottom line level of Large organizations. Within 4 years, the span has increased to a bottom line at least 5% higher than their large counterparts.
Trends 2016-2019, by Geography