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Debt Schedules: What They Are and How to Simplify Them

Long-term debt obligations are often top of mind when making budgeting decisions and determining the financial status of your organization. Understanding and visualizing your entire portfolio of principal and interest requirements over time and breaking them down by borrowing types, funds payable, and other allocable categories is critical to understanding the financial position of your organization. 

What are Debt Schedules?

A debt schedule is a table of principal and interest payments owed by your organization. The values are calculated based on the principal due and interest rates associated with each principal payment. Ideally, this table keeps a running total of your principal, interest, and total debt service outstanding. This table can be viewed in fiscal year totals, calendar year totals, or payment amounts on the actual payment dates. 

This enables your organization to stay on top of payments, assess current debt levels, determine whether you can take on more debt, and decide whether you should renegotiate or refinance an outstanding obligation.

Benefits of a Debt Schedule

Debt schedules not only keep your debt obligations organized but also enable you to: 

  • Avoid missing payments or being overcharged: Debt schedules help your organization stay on top of payments owed. You can easily see what you owe, when the payment is due, and who you need to pay, ensuring you don’t miss payments.

  • Maintain accurate bookkeeping: Having all your debt information readily accessible helps ensure your debt schedule aligns with your other bookkeeping methods.

  • Prioritize debt: A debt schedule can help you see the benefits of paying off certain debt obligations early and determine which debt to pay off first if applicable.

  • Determine if you can take on additional debt: When all of your debt is organized in a centralized location, it’s much easier to see if your organization can take on more debt. Debt schedules can also help you determine your debt-service coverage ratio (DSCR) —which compares your cash flow to your debt obligations—to verify if taking on new debt will move you under the threshold of an agreed-upon ratio.

  • Satisfy requirements to enter the market: When you want to sell bonds or apply for a loan, an underwriter or lender will ask to see your debt schedule when considering your ability to repay additional debt. 

Tips for an Effective Debt Schedule

When you’re building your debt schedule, list out the details of each obligation, including:

  • Lender name or investor type
  • Original issue amount
  • Current balance
  • Origination/delivery date
  • Interest rate(s)
  • Payment frequency (including the first payment date)
  • Final maturity date
  • Call date, if applicable

It may also be a good idea to include notes about the debt, such as the reason for the debt and other pertinent information you think may be helpful. Make sure to keep this information up to date in the case of any changes to terms or refunding/refinancing transactions. By including up to date, relevant information for each obligation in your debt schedule, you can make more informed and strategic decisions when managing your debt. 

Challenges Faced by Financial Professionals

When managing debt and debt schedules, public finance professionals often face several challenges, including:

  • Accurate record keeping: Obtaining an accurate schedule for disclosure reporting based on various parameters (such as by credit type, by fund the debt is paid out of, etc.) and keeping this information up to date can be a source of headaches.

  • Time-consuming tasks: When financial information is spread out across various sources, time is often wasted tracking down when payments are due and where they’re paid from. This can lead to stress and struggles to keep up with changing finances. Public finance professionals need a simple way to track debt obligations and sort out from when, and to where, to deploy funds.

  • Disparate spreadsheets: Updating several spreadsheets each time a new debt is issued is inefficient. In addition to setting up new calendar notifications, if one small mistake is made, it can impact all documentation and be very difficult to find and remedy. This could result in missing an important deadline or misstating your financial position, which could affect your organization’s credit rating.

A streamlined system is necessary to address these challenges and better maintain financial plans.

How to Streamline Debt Management

Using outdated systems and spreadsheets to manage debt can be time-consuming, and you also run the risk of missed payments and other errors. Managing your debt schedule can seem overwhelming, but DebtBook’s debt management software can help simplify the process while reducing the potential for human error. It's listed as one of GFOA's "best-in-breed" products that specialize in transparency and financial reporting.

DebtBook can address the challenges faced by financial professionals by: 

  • Giving you more control over data along with more automated reporting to meet organizational needs

  • Cutting numerous spreadsheets down into one easy-to-use solution by providing a centralized system

  • Maintaining an easy-to-access historical record

  • Providing the ability to access debt information from anywhere and at any time with a cloud-based solution

Ready to Simplify Your Debt Schedules?

Effective debt management is crucial for public finance organizations, where debt service payments are a significant annual expenditure. With many organizations relying on outdated systems like spreadsheets and on-premises software, the potential for inefficiencies and errors is high. 

Dive into our in-depth guide to discover how to streamline your debt management operations, eliminate common inefficiencies, and empower your finance team to allocate more time to strategic initiatives. 


The Issuer’s Guide to Modernizing Debt Management & Boosting Efficiency 

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