Without a budget, it's hard to identify risks and challenges, as well as determine how quickly you need to address them before your financial resources suffer. Our Budgeting Model spreadsheet collection makes the process easier and helps to monitor finances and make better-informed decisions for your organization as a whole and its individual departments.
Illustrate relationships in your financial and budgeting data with graphs to make it more appealing and digestible. For more graphs, consider using our Charts Collection (Part 2) presentation collection or our Ultimate Charts (Part 2) spreadsheet collection.
Budget consolidation is especially important in cases where interest eats into revenue. When consolidating, keep in mind that consolidation should be growth-sensitive as well as demand-sensitive.
Our Budgeting Model collection contains four budgets for Sales, Marketing, HR and IT departments, with a consolidated budget, headcount data and charts. Use this model to create a quick and powerful budget based on a set of simple assumptions. Below you can find a video with a detailed tutorial on how to use this collection to build a precise Budgeting Model spreadsheet.
Budgeting is tricky as is, but it becomes especially challenging in difficult times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020. In the article, "An Agile Approach to Budgeting for Uncertain Times," Harvard Business Review (HBR) discusses the three things you can do when budgeting during uncertain times:
- Change the purpose of planning and budgeting – planning and budgeting models are designed to help senior management forecast, command and control. First, forecast precisely what the company must do to deliver stable trends in earnings per share (EPS). Then, order each business department and function to execute the plans that will add up to the targeted total. Next, monitor activities within each department to ensure the team members stick to plans and deliver desired results.
- Shift the focus from financial precision to strategic success - a good approach is to turn the targeted outcomes developed in step one into strategic portfolio guidelines that drive the budgeting and adaptation process, which will spark discussions that allocate resources from the strategy down, rather than from individual projects up.
- Plan faster and more frequently - if budgets are inflexible and a crucial forecast can't be adjusted, the person making it excessively stressed over the budget accuracy. If not fixed, even small mistakes can compound over time and affect strategy. Adjusting a long-term forecast every quarter, month or week, on the other hand, allows for continual improvement of accuracy.
Forbes put together 10 tips for stellar budgeting:
- Understand what a budget really is - a budget is not meant to manage every dollar you spend. It's rather a guide to assist you in making better financial decisions, and it can be an effective tool for identifying areas for improvement.
- Know your organization – it's crucial to know the risks of your organization and industry. If you operate in an industry that is significantly seasonal in nature, the experts say, you will likely need to break down an annual budget into quarterly or even monthly.
- Be conservative – factor in some level of the unknown and make sure you consider the need to plan for the years ahead. "Economic downturns are inevitable, so in a strong economic year you should not only create a balanced budget but also start building up a cushion for the anticipated rainy days," the experts say.
- Be detailed – the more explicit your trial balance is, the more effective your budget will be. You don't want to have a separate line item for each check you write, but the more details you include, the better. Start by tracking expenses in accordance with your chart of accounts.
- Share your budget – an organization's budget shouldn't be kept a secret. The practice of sharing the budget leads to greater transparency, increased feedback and beneficial communication within the organization. The experts say: "The more you can empower and engage your employees, the better off your business will be. Know your organization, build the right team and share your budget with the right people. Its potential impact as a tool can be widespread."
For more insights into how to budget effectively, check out our book summary on Hacking Growth: How Today’s Fastest-Growing Companies Drive Breakout Success, our Budget Planner presentation template, or our Family Budget Planner spreadsheet for personal budget management.