A Small Business Guide to Flexible Budgets

Flexible Budget

By the fourth quarter, sales are expected to be strong enough to pay back the financing from earlier in the year. The budget shown inFigure 10.27illustrates the payment of interest and contains information helpful to management when determining which items should be produced if production capacity is limited. It consists of two parts – the first is the fixed cost and the fixed cost portion of the semi-variable cost. And the second is the variable cost and variable cost portion of the semi-variable cost. A flexible budget provides cost estimates at different levels of activity.

Flexible Budget

If the budget is built on a certain production level, and production volume changes significantly, resources can’t easily be reallocated to account for the change. Static budgets are great for keeping your production costs in line. They are useful to encourage your procurement staff to obtain the goods and services you need at the lowest possible price.

Usage in Variable Cost Environment

Actual expenses are lower because the income before income taxes was lower. Do executives have the stomach to say no, even when there is funding to undertake an unbudgeted project? If not, flexible budgeting may not be right for your company. Flexible Budget Variance is the disparity between the actual and budgeted output, costs and standards. The reason is that budgets are the forecasts for future activities. And the actual output may be more or less than the budgeted ones. A flexible budget can be found suitable when the business conditions are constantly changing.

There is no way to highlight whether actual revenues are above or below expectations. A flexible budget cannot be preloaded into the accounting software for comparison to the financial statements.

The Advantages of a Flexible Budget

It sets the standard to measure the variances of the budget estimates and the actual performance of the company for control purposes. Further, it can be prepared either for the whole company or a specific department or unit.

  • A static budget helps to monitor expenses, sales, and revenue, which helps organizations achieve optimal financial performance.
  • The management can determine the performance of various departments based on variances determined.
  • The company wants to prepare a flexible budget based on an expected activity level of 70% of the production capacity.
  • Flexible budgets are especially beneficial in volatile periods or unpredictable markets.
  • Generally, the term variance refers to any kind of difference existing between two components.
  • Many things may happen during this intervening period and they may make the figures go widely out of line with the actual figures.
  • The key is a disciplined process to justify budget increases.

James Woodruff has been a management consultant to more than 1,000 small businesses. As a senior management consultant and owner, he used his technical expertise to conduct an analysis of a company’s operational, financial and business management issues. James has been writing business and finance related topics for work.chron, bizfluent.com, smallbusiness.chron.com and e-commerce websites since 2007. He graduated from Georgia Tech with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and received an MBA from Columbia University. Suppose the budget was set up with the expectation that sales would be $200,000 per month and labor cost was budgeted at $50,000 per month, or 25 percent of sales.

Variance Analyses: Tale of Two Coffee Shops

Rent, lease payments, insurance, interest payments, website fees, certain salaries. Variable Costs that change based on the number of goods or services a company produces. Some expenses will have both fixed and variable characteristics. These are occasionally referred to as “semi-variable” or “semi-fixed.” An example is a salesperson’s remuneration. Traditionally, companies spend weeks or months creating an annual budget that’s more chiseled in stone than fluid and flexible.

Flexible Budget

Many things may happen during this intervening period and they may make the figures go widely out of line with the actual figures. Such budgets are preferred only where sales can be forecast with the greatest of accuracy which means, in turn, that the cost and expenses in relation to sales can be quite accurately ascertained. Once you have created your flexible budget, at the end of the accounting period you will want to compare the flexible budget totals against actuals. This comparison allows you to make any future adjustments based on the flexible budget variance indicated in the comparison. Flexible budgets act as a benchmark by setting expenditures at various levels of activity.

Flexible budget definition

Creating a flexible budget begins with assigning all static costs a fixed monthly value, and then determining the percentage of revenue to assign to your variable costs. A flexible budget often uses a percentage of your projected revenue to account for variable costs rather than assigning a hard numerical value to everything.

Flexible Budget

We have noticed that the recovery rate (Budgeted hrs/Total expenses) at the activity level of 70 % is $0.61 per hr. If the factory works hrs in a particular month, the allowances @ $0.61 will come put to be $9,760, which is not correct. As shown in the above table, the accurate allowance is computed to be $8,880.

Revenue Comparison

Full cooperation is key to a flexible budgeting system’s success. Department managers must be involved in every step of the process–from educating and training staff members to determining cost variables. If, however, the cost was identified as a fixed cost, no changes are made in the budgeted amount when the flexible budget is prepared. Differences may occur in fixed expenses, but they are not related to changes in activity within the relevant range. Using the cost data from the budgeted income statement, the expected total cost to produce one truck was $11.25. The flexible budget cost of goods sold of $196,875 is $11.25 per pick up truck times the 17,500 trucks sold. The lack of a variance indicates that costs in total were the same as planned.

But, the method selected must serve the purpose of developing such a budget. It helps in recognition of operational inefficiencies and errors.

Also, a vivid classification of the expenses into different categories of fixed cost, semi-variable cost, and variable cost is necessary before preparing a budget. A flexible budget is a budget or financial plan of estimated cost and revenue for different output levels. The variation happens due to the change in the volume or level of activity. Variable expenses in flexible budgets are defined as percentages of sales. For example, if sales were to increase dramatically, flexible budgets would get adjusted to increase spending on marketing to take even more advantage of unexpected increases in revenues. A flexible budget is a budget that changes based on your actual production or revenue.

Total net income changes as the amount for each line on the income statement changes. The net variance in this example is mainly due to lower revenues. For sake of illustration, let’s use a very simple, three-month budget for a coffee shop as an example. Over this time period, the shop expects an average of 250 customers per day , each buying one cup of coffee that costs $3. It allows the identification of its generating factors so that managers can act on the controllable elements that influence the achievement of this priority objective (Aslău, 2001). Selmer says that in order to be efficient and effective, the budgetary mechanism must be in line with the company’s economic management.

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Practically, managers widely use this type of budget as it is the most realistic one. Fixed cost is constant in all activity levels, therefore it must appear in all columns. Besides a major demerit of this method is that multiple budgets are prepared for a single activity. The result cannot come out to be correct if there are any mistakes in the Books of Accounts provided. A flexible budget depends very much upon a forecast of the past business performance.

The https://www.bookstime.com/ will show different possibilities for variable expenses and revenue. Variable costs can include marketing and sales, and may also include the cost of materials, number of sales, and shipping costs. A flexible budget will include lines for different amounts. For example, if your production of widgets is 100 per month, your variable admin costs may be $200 per month. However, if your production of widgets is 200 per month, your variable admin costs would increase to $400. But two months into the fiscal year, a competitor closes its doors.

At its simplest, the Flexible Budget alters those expenses that vary directly with revenues. There is typically a percentage built into the model that is multiplied by actual revenues to arrive at what expenses should be at a stated revenue level. In the case of the cost of goods sold, a cost per unit may be used, rather than a percentage of sales. Create the budget model, where fixed costs are “hard coded” into the model, and variable costs are stated as a percentage of the relevant activity measures or as a cost per unit of activity measure. Company B has budgeted for $5 million in revenue and $1 million in cost of goods sold. The company has determined that $400,000 of the $1 million of the cost of goods sold is fixed and $600,000 of the cost of goods sold will vary based on its revenue. This means that the variable, or flexible, the amount of cost of goods sold is 12% of the company’s revenue.

What type of business or company that would benefit from using a flexible budget?

For example, a seasonal business might create a flexible budget that anticipates changing staff levels as customers come and go over the course of the year. Or a company that conducts product development might allow for greater research investment in case of strong sales.

It also depends upon the factors of the production, which are not in the hands of the management. Therefore the predictions can be inaccurate due to these conditions. In the case of a typical business, if it is newly started, it becomes tough to predict the demand for the products/services accurately.

How to create a flexible budget

Meanwhile, flexible budget variance analysis offers the ability to derive meaningful insights throughout the year, allowing for improved planning and budgeting for the future. The power and potential of flexible budgets are further fueled by technology platforms such as those offered byWorkdaythat provide drill-down capabilities so you can quickly identify and analyze variances. If such predictive planning is not possible, there will be a disparity between the static budget and actual results. In contrast, a flexible budget might base its marketing expenses on a percentage of overall sales for the period. That would mean the budget would fluctuate along with the company’s performance and real costs. Unlike a static budget, a flexible budget changes or fluctuates with changes in sales, production volumes, or business activity. A flexible budget might be used, for example, if additional raw materials are needed as production volumes increase due to seasonality in sales.

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