Many organizations are starting to think about the 2021 budget cycle. Before you get too far in the planning consider these three elements to produce a quality budget.
Create the budget using the current, well-thought-out business plan, and strategy of the company to reflect the company's market direction.
The strategic elements include the anticipated pricing, staffing needs, marketing cost, production cost, and other similar variables that reflect not just the company's current operations but also the company's goals and strategic view.
The budget should also reflect or have consideration for the strategic risk that could occur during the year and any big "known unknowns" that could shift or alter critical variables. Even if the resulting budgeted income statement does not include the risk adjustment, the discussion documents the potential miss and helps evaluate strategy and performance during the budget period.
The budget needs to include feedback and participation from throughout the organization. Creating buy-in among managers is far more efficient when the leaders participate in creating the budget goal.
Three: Create a Triple Statement Budget
A 3-way financial model should be used to create the budget and develop the budgeted income statement as well as the balance sheet and cash flow. In this way, managers can strategically consider the cash needs, capital plan, and investment timing relative to sales and other market goals.
By budgeting the balance sheet and cash flow along with the income statement, managers must consider key operational policies such as AR and collections processes, AP timing and vendor strategies, as well as the use of employees or contract labor.
The budget process can be very complex and sometimes an overwhelming task for an organization. Starting with these three elements in mind, a team can quickly produce a successful budget that reflects the company's strategic intent.