What is Planning Budgeting & Forecasting?
Planning budgeting and forecasting is one of the most important financial decisions made by companies. Planning for a budgeting cycle ahead of time can help save money while also improving the company’s overall performance.
Fintalent’s planning budgeting & forecasting consultants observe that as organizations grow, it becomes increasingly difficult to plan for expenses that are unpredictable like marketing or security software purchases or subscriptions. Finding out these costs before the budget is created can be essential since budgets must be allocated appropriately in order for them to be effective.
Budgets serve several purposes. First, the budgets allow for setting a fixed price for each item regardless of what the costs actually turn out to be. Secondly, they help to dictate the quantity that each item is purchased at based on expected sales order quantities. Finally, they track how much money is spent on each item within the budgeted period.
The budget plan should be comprised of all items that will be purchased during a certain time period. Items can be grouped together in categories such as hardware and software (hardware), marketing materials and events (marketing), services (security), and so on. The categories allow the company to be more specific in the planning and additional allocation of costs. The largest category should be devoted towards things like security software, professional services and hardware purchases. Another guideline is to break it down into two or three categories of 10% each for quick calculating purposes.
Ideally, a written budget plan should contain items, quantities purchased and where these are accomplished. The actual expense items can be generated from any company management system but the main thing to remember is that the budget must include all of the expenses for every authorized expense account whether it is a purchase order on statement or an invoice.
A budget is a plan that tells your employees and customers how much money you expect to earn during the year. It also tells them what your priorities are in terms of profits, sales, expenses, assets and other financial needs. In developing or reviewing your budget for 2013, you should follow these guidelines:
- Make sure that your budget is based on realistic assumptions. Projections should be based on historical trends and actual results from previous years’ budgets.
- Develop a realistic budget for the upcoming year. Create projections for the month of February, June, September and December 2013. Your estimated income will determine what kinds of sales you can expect during each of these months and how much product needs to be produced in order to meet demand and avoid shortages.
- Include your forecasted expenses in the budget plan. These include all expenses that are directly related to your business including wages, office expenses, rent/mortgage, insurance premiums and loan payments as well as expenses that affect your financial health such as marketing collateral materials, advertising and new equipment purchases.
- Include revenue and their corresponding costs in the budget. Include items such as product sales, ancillary revenues and any other sources of income that you expect to generate this year. Do not include items such as retirement payments, taxes or interest that do not come directly from your business unless they are included in the original agreement between you and your employees.
- Advertising expenses are included in the budget because they are a cost of doing business that is essential for success in this industry.
- Revenues you can expect during the year include all types of income such as product sales, membership dues, licensed products, royalties, grants and government funding programs.
- Create budgets that are relevant and practical for all of your departments, divisions or sections. These include the sales department, marketing department and the production department to name a few.
- Work with each of your managers to ensure that they understand how the budgeting process works as well as why it is so important for them to develop realistic budgets each month.
- Discuss all aspects of the budget in detail with your managers on a regular basis during the year so that they can provide ongoing feedback and make any necessary adjustments as needed in order to remain on track with their budgets throughout the year.
- Consider the cost of living each year.
- Review your budget at least once a month in order to identify any financial variances, changes or discrepancies that may have occurred during the month. This should be done with the head of accounting and senior management for final approval.
- Hold meetings with your managers on a regular basis throughout the year to discuss variances, changes or discrepancies in their budgets. This should be done with the head of accounting and senior management for final approval.
The planning process consists of many steps and activities, each of which contributes to the final plan. From the article: “Planning Process” The Planning Process creates two key advantages: First, it continually keeps the organization on target. Second, it introduces a new management discipline: the use of Planning and Budgeting as an integrated part of decision making throughout the organization.
Beginning with the end in mind. Organizations are generally standardized in their processes, which is a good thing because it provides a level playing field for them to adapt to changes in the external environment or internal business conditions. It also allows them to continually improve their operations by modifying their processes and/or operations as needed. The key is to get off on the right foot–to start with your end in mind and not just your beginning (the why) so that you can develop a plan for reaching that destination (the what).