Budgeting reports can help companies to improve financial management and reach business goals.
With clear budgeting reports, companies can track and analyze their financial performance, identify milestones, control spending, and decide on future investments.
Learn more about budgeting reports and how you can improve your budgeting strategies.
What Are Budgeting Reports?
A budgeting report, or budget report, shows the total expenses the company has spent in a particular period. It compares the expenses of the company against the budget set, which can be quarterly or annually.
The details of budget reports show the total units in terms of labor, materials, and other costs required for sales and goods or service productions.
Through budgeting reports, businesses can gain insights into their profit and loss. This is because budget reports take into account spending behavior and estimate the company’s income through sales or other revenue-generating activities.
Company leaders use budgeting reports to strategize ways to increase sales volume in the coming year while considering the current market conditions and trends.
Budgeting vs Forecasting
At a glance, budgeting and forecasting may share similar concepts as both involve future financial projections over a fixed period, usually quarterly or yearly. However, they’re different in terms of their purposes.
Budgeting is simply planning how and where to allocate resources according to the business goals. Budgeting reports serve as a guide for internal departments on how much they can spend for a given period.
On the other hand, forecasting is predicting the revenue that the business will achieve in a specific period. Some types of companies might focus on long-term forecasts, such as startups, that serve as a roadmap to achieve financial growth for the next 3 years.
In planning, budget reports and forecasts come hand in hand. Let’s say, if you forecast that a certain business unit will contribute a significant amount to the monthly recurring revenue (MRR), the budget for the same project may also increase.
Note that forecasts, although reliable, change quite drastically. This is where budget control plays a key role.
Budgeting Reports vs Financial Reports
Budgeting and financial reports are two different sets of data, and both help professionals make accurate predictions about the business’s financial performance for the period ahead.
Here are the financial metrics to compare when looking into budget and finance reports:
- Predictions vs results. Budgets predict how much the company will spend to achieve its quarter or annual objectives, whereas financial reports provide the actual results.
- General vs specific. Budget reports only show the company’s projected spending over a specific period. They also include different budget plans from individual departments, from marketing to sales. Financial reports show the general output of the company’s financial performance.
- Limited vs detailed. Budgets typically present limited data, such as the company’s outgoing and incoming cash flows. Financial reports, on the other hand, are more detailed as they map out the company’s current assets and liabilities.
- Company-level vs. department-level. The finance and accounting department uses the budget report to guide other departments on how they can manage their budget responsibly. On the other hand, finance reports help the finance team understand the company’s worth to map out new business goals.
The Importance of Budget Reporting
Budget reporting is imperative for a couple of reasons:
- Help set realistic goals. By calculating your projected income and expenses, identify the areas to cut or increase costs.
- Identify risks and opportunities. Budget reporting can strengthen the decision-making processes for companies to stay on top of the competition while spending mindfully.
- Evaluate business strategies. Budget reports can be a framework to measure the performance of certain projects, so companies can decide where to stop and continue.
Budget Report Example
Typically, budget reports are identical to income statements. They have the same components, such as the costs of goods sold, revenue, sales, G&A as well as other expenses, and the net operating income.
Below is an example of a budget report template for a small company.
Components of a Budget Report
Before delving into how to prepare budget reports, there are some important elements to learn about:
- Estimated revenue. This section should outline the expected revenue for the fiscal year, broken down by sales forecasts and costs of goods sold or services rendered.
- Fixed costs. This refers to the money that your business should pay on a regular basis, also known as the G&A expenses. Some examples are payroll, mortgage, and utilities.
- Variable costs. Different from fixed costs, variable costs are expenses to manufacture more of the products or distribute more of the services that are increasing in demand.
- One-time spends. As the name says, this category of expense happens rarely. An example is an “urgent” purchase, such as the charges for fixing a broken device.
- Cash flow. This measures the anticipated inflows and outflows that the company usually derives from the year before to forecast the year ahead. It helps identify the high and low seasons in the business and when to increase or decrease purchases and investments.
- Net income. This is the total profit your company earns after subtracting estimated costs from revenue. It can identify whether the company is doing well or not. If you see a stable decline in your recurring net income, consider cutting expenses.
How to Create Budget Reports
Here are the steps to create budget reports.
1. Review the Budgeting Needs in the Previous Period
Of course, you’ll need to have a benchmark for setting a budget. In this case, the data from the period before will provide you sufficient estimates of how much you need to spend in the period after – perhaps with some adjustments that factor in economic circumstances or industry trends.
However, estimating the starting point might be challenging for new businesses. Research competitors or best industry practices to find a good reference point.
If unsure, ask a finance professional in your organization for suggestions. They can provide suggestions on how to allocate your budgets properly and how to take control when the spending exceeds the limit.
2. Align Budgets with Business Goals
The point of a budget is to have the monetary resources you need to reach your goals or KPIs.
However, business professionals tend to overestimate the budget they need to achieve their ambitions. This is why you need to always calculate how much you’re spending vs how much you’re earning, such as by referring to your income and cash flow projections, then try to find balance.
Make sure to also include other income streams aside from your total sales income, such as returns on investments (SOI), interest revenue, stock dividends, or asset sales.
3. Identify Expenses
Calculate the labor, materials, and any other resources or tools you’ll need to support your strategy. Then, categorize them into fixed, variable, and one-time expenses.
It’s important to be tactical when allocating your expenses as some projects vary in terms of budget, scope, and impact. To meet the preserved budget, you might need to trim the budget for initiatives that are lower on your priority list.
4. Use Budgeting Software
It’s easy to find free templates out there to base your budget. However, managing budget reports through spreadsheets is a bad idea.
Spreadsheets are prone to errors and without accurate data, it’ll be difficult to gain insights into the efficiency of your budget usage.
Budgeting is also not a one-man job and involves the participation of the entire team. Spreadsheets were not made to be a collaborative dashboard in mind, and it’s hard to keep everyone in a loop when there are any changes or issues.
Using budgeting software, such as Peakflo, will put budget management in easy mode for your entire team. Set up a budget in a couple of clicks, adjust the period and amount, then invite the team members.
Peakflo will constantly let you and the tagged members know before and when your budget breaches the limit, so you can take proactive actions. You can even put control measures in bill submissions and approval matrixes to make your budgeting efficient.
Budgeting doesn’t have to be stress-free with Peakflo. Try out our end-to-end payable automation and you’ll know why.