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Microsoft Project 2007: The Missing Manual by Bonnie Biafore

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Is the Project Within Budget?

Checking cost status isn't as simple as seeing whether there's money in your wallet. When budgeted dollars run out in one place, accounting procedures sometimes grab money from another place. With the new cost resources and budget resources in Project 2007, you can now follow project money without depending on the finance department. In simpler financial environments, cost variance and other earned value measures may be enough. This section describes different ways to compare cost expenditures to the baseline costs you set.

The Project Summary report shows the cost variance for an entire project; that is, the difference between scheduled and baseline cost. If the variance is positive, then the project is forecast to be over budget. Unless the project is almost over, you may have time to reduce costs. A negative cost variance means the project may come in under budget, although that outcome isn't assured until the project is complete.

Comparing Costs with Views and Filters

Similar to looking for overbudget work, Project tables, filters, and reports help find expanding costs. See the box on Evaluating Costs with Reports for a way to focus on the biggest cost overruns. Here are some of Project's built-in elements that show costs:

  • Cost table. This table includes the scheduled, baseline, actual, and remaining costs. The Variance column is the Cost Variance field, so you can see whether tasks are forecast to be over or under budget. (Positive variances mean over ...

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