A budget is an estimation of revenue and expenses over a specified future period of time and is usually compiled and re-evaluated on a periodic basis. Budgets can be made for a person, a group of people, a business, a government, or just about anything else that makes and spends money.
To manage your monthly expenses, prepare for life’s unpredictable events, and be able to afford big-ticket items without going into debt, budgeting is important. Keeping track of how much you earn and spend doesn’t have to be drudgery, doesn’t require you to be good at math, and doesn’t mean you can’t buy the things you want. It just means that you’ll know where your money goes, you’ll have greater control over your finances.
How To Build A Budget
A budget is a microeconomic concept that shows the trade-off made when one good is exchanged for another. In terms of the bottom line—or the end result of this trade-off—a surplus budget means profits are anticipated, a balanced budget means revenues are expected to equal expenses, and a deficit budget means expenses will exceed revenues.
- A budget is an estimation of revenue and expenses over a specified future period of time and is utilized by governments, businesses, and individuals.
- A budget is basically a financial plan for a defined period, normally a year that is known to greatly enhance the success of any financial undertaking.
- Corporate budgets are essential for operating at peak efficiency.
- Aside from earmarking resources, a budget can also aid in setting goals, measuring outcomes, and planning for contingencies.
- Personal budgets are extremely useful in managing an individual’s or family’s finances over both the short and long term horizon.
Budgets are an integral part of running any business efficiently and effectively.
Budget Development Process
The process begins by establishing assumptions for the upcoming budget period. These assumptions are related to projected sales trends, cost trends, and the overall economic outlook of the market, industry,or sector. Specific factors affecting potential expenses are addressed and monitored.
The budget is published in a packet that outlines the standards and procedures used to develop it, including the assumptions about the markets, key relationships with vendors that provide discounts, and explanations of how certain calculations were made.
The sales budget is often the first to be developed, as subsequent expense budgets cannot be established without knowing future cash flows. Budgets are developed for all the different subsidiaries, divisions, and departments within an organization. For a manufacturer, a separate budget is often developed for direct materials, labor, and overhead.
All budgets get rolled up into the master budget, which also includes budgeted financial statements, forecasts of cash inflows and outflows, and an overall financing plan. At a corporation, the top management reviews the budget and submits it for approval to the board of directors.
Static Vs. Flexible Budgets
There are two major types of budgets: static budgets and flexible budgets. A static budget remains unchanged over the life of the budget. Regardless of changes that occur during the budgeting period, all accounts and figures originally calculated remain the same.
A flexible budget has a relational value to certain variables. The dollar amounts listed on a flexible budget change based on sales levels, production levels, or other external economic factors.
Both types of budgets are useful for management. A static budget evaluates the effectiveness of the original budgeting process, while a flexible budget provides deeper insight into business operations.
Individuals and families can have budgets, too. Creating and using a budget is not just for those who need to closely monitor their cash flows from month to month because “money is tight.” Almost everyone—even people with large paychecks and plenty of money in the bank—can benefit from budgeting.