This article focuses on part two of the importance of budget templates series.
In part 1 of the series of The Benefits of Budgeting with Budget Templates, it is mentioned that budgeting is a topic that is not very popular in many companies, and the process may seem like a headache to many employees. Although a pain, it is necessary to communicate the importance of a budget to the entire company so the employees take ownership of it. In this article, we will continue the discussion of the benefits of budget templates.
We’ve talked about assumptions templates, capital expenditures templates and more to help organize your budget. Another template that is typically used across most companies is an expense budget, which allows for input for accounts that have not been budgeted already through other templates like personnel and capital. There are several ways of handling other expenses, and below are a few recommendations to make the input more accurate and efficient:
- Show prior year actual and forecast by account. This allows users to simply compare to the prior year and confidently make sure that they are not under or over budget for each account.
- Allow users to enter detail for each account. For instance, marketing expenses will be beneficial to know what makes up the monthly amount rather than having employees keep this information separately.
- Show the accounts that were budgeted in other templates, but lock these accounts down so that the values cannot be modified..
Keep in mind that revenue and cost of sales is specific to each industry; therefore, these templates will be discussed in the industry section. Revenue and cost of sales can be budgeted in a similar template to the expense template above, but many times companies want to get much more detailed. Other templates that can be used are a balance sheet, a travel template, or a budget by project.
There may be templates that are more specific to the industry or built towards the particular specifications of the organization. Typically these templates will be the revenue and cost of sales templates. There are probably many templates that are being used today, but it is important to try to use only a handful of templates that can be designed and used across the entire company. Also, it is good practice to create templates that will auto-calculate many of the revenue accounts and cost of sales accounts.
A public sector expenditures template is available after the departmental manager has input his/her adjustments and comments. The baseline budget and the departmental adjustments calculate the departmental requested amount. Then the other offices, such as the budget office, the executive team, and the board can add or subtract adjustments to the departmental total to determine the final amount, which is the Board Requested amount. Also, each inputter has the ability to add comments.
The retail revenue sample allows users to input unit count by product, which calculates revenue by multiplying the count by the price per unit. Each month can be expanded to show the individual weeks, which is where the input is allowed, while the other months are minimized in the example.
The final industry template is a commission template which calculates the monthly salary and commission by employee. The template can include employee termination as well.
Tie to Goals
As mentioned in the Strategies and Goals section of part 1 of this series, it is extremely important to tie the budget back to the goals finalized for the strategy. If the goals and the budget are not consistent, then what truly are the goals for the company to achieve? As stated in the prior sections, the goals should also be communicated to the entire organization so that the budget is consistent with the goals and there is no confusion among the staff.
There are a few ways to assist the users in knowing the goals and initiatives while entering their budgets and forecasts. It is one thing to communicate it in meetings and in documentation, but it is much more effective to include the information directly in the template.
Top-down budgeting is a valuable first step in the budgeting or forecasting process because it allows a limited use of resources to quickly create a budget or forecast early in the process and also allows for a comparison to the bottom-up budget, which can take months to complete. There are disadvantages to a top-down approach as well, but these are eliminated by doing both a bottom-up and top-down budget. If only a top-down budget is created, then it can impact employee morale as they are not invested in the success or failure of the budget as employees will not feel the same ownership in the budget process.
There are several ways to create a top-down budget, but our team has come up with a solution that will enable a top-down budget to be created in minutes. It is a called a Breakback template. An entire top-down budget can be created with a single input. In this case, a manager or administrator simply enters the desired net income, and the monthly 12-month budget will be created. The user can make additional assumptions around specific departments, account groups, or individual accounts, such as the desired increase or decrease of that particular department, account group, or account.
For instance, the desired net Income is $3,000,000. Store the template and now the top-down budget has been created and can be used in variance reporting. Note that only revenue and cost of sales is shown due to the size of the template. This template can be used to create the entire budget or for a forecast budget.
If you would like to get a better understanding of the various templates above, you can download the free ebook here.
Take the time to set budgeting goals that align with your organization goals. This will help you with consistency and achieving those goals strategically so no time or energy is wasted. We suggest you ask for help! It is easy to get caught up in complex templates and details in budgeting. Solver has a team of experienced professionals that can assist your organization in building the right template for you and your project for a successful year.
Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.