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About SFOpenBook Spending & Revenue

Table of Contents What is SFOpenBook?
SFOpenBook is the City and County of San Francisco’s transparency website for financial, economic and government performance data. To learn more about the other parts of this website, such as our Economic or Performance Barometers, view the Frequently Asked Questions about SFOpenBook.

What is SFOpenBook Spending & Revenue?
The Spending & Revenue tool is a searchable, user-friendly public site that provides information about the financial activities of the City with downloadable data and charts. Here, you can find historical information about actual spending on salaries, benefits, goods and services, actual revenues from taxes, fees and other sources, and actual staffing levels represented by full-time equivalents (FTEs).

Why was this website created?
This website was created to improve transparency of government spending and to provide residents, journalists and other interested parties an interactive way to understand, monitor and analyze the City’s spending and revenue.

What information can I find here?
As you navigate through Spending & Revenue, you will find actual spending and revenues by Organization, Type, Fund, and Vendor. By clicking on an item, you can drill down to discover more detail. By changing filters, you may choose to view revenue, all spending, just vendor related spending, just non-profit vendor spending, or staffing(FTE) levels. Staffing levels can be shown by Job Family or Job. You can also select what year to vew, or whether to show one year or five years of data at a time. For example, on this site you can browse for a department and see how the department’s spending has changed over five-years. View examples of what you can learn on this site.

How far back does the data go?
Data is available from Fiscal Year 1999 forward, except for vendor information, which is available from Fiscal Year 2007 forward, and staffing (FTE) information, which is available from Fiscal Year 2003 forward.

What is this data and where does it come from?
This data is a summary of 'operating' data from the City and County of San Francisco's accounting system. Similar to a business income statement, this data covers transactions affecting current operations.

Note that this view differs from the one used in the City’s year-end financial statements to meet Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in some ways. For example, SFOpenBook shows spending on capital improvements as it occurs, while the financial statements spread this spending over the life of the capital asset using the technique known as "depreciation." Please refer to the City’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR)s for the City’s year-end financial statements.

What information will I not find here?
Spending and revenue data for related governmental units is available in SFOpenBook but is not visible in the default view. To view data on related governmental units, set the Related Gov’t Units filter to "Include" and click "Go".

The City’s accounting system does not capture the large amount of detail to have maintenance costs identified by geographic location. For example, in SFOpenBook you will not be able to find how much money was spent maintaining a specific park, such as Alamo Square.

This site shows activity in the year it occurs. For this reason, revenues and spending will not always match up because some money received in a particular year is not spent in that same year.

To support a single year view of its finances required by City staff and used for financial statements, the City’s accounting system includes entries each year that show "unappropriated fund balances", or money left over from previous fiscal years that has not been spent. If money collected in one year is not spent until several years later, it would be in the fund balance for multiple years. In a five year comparison it would be counted multiple times. SFOpenBook excludes those entries for that reason, showing money only in the year it is received.

How often is the data updated?
The current fiscal year is updated weekly - usually every Sunday night. However, staffing levels are only updated once every six months. At the end of a fiscal year there is a time when two years will be updated, but fiscal years that have been audited are closed and no longer updated. Please refer to the "Data As Of" note beneath the data table for the date of the last update.

Are amounts from previous years adjusted for inflation?
No. For instance, the figures for spending in Fiscal Year 1998-1999 represent the value of the dollar in 1998 and 1999. In economic terms, these are "nominal" values.