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How Budgeting Works For Companies

what is a flexible budget

This enables a direct comparison between predicted and actual results that can help financial advisors uncover insights about how the company is performing and where improvements can be made. If the flexible budget variance is negative, executives and stakeholders will want to know why.

COGS is the cost of direct labor and direct materials that are tied to production. Of course, determining how much to spend on various expenses and projecting sales is only one part of the process. Company executives also have to contend with a myriad of other factors, including projecting capital expenditures, which are large purchases of fixed assets such as machinery or a new factory. They must also plan for their ongoing cash needs, revenue shortfalls, and the economic backdrop. Regardless of the type of business, the ability to gauge performance using budgets is critical to a company’s overall financial health.

Example Of The Flexible Budget Performance Report

But, this savings is inconsequential when compared to the production efficiency and inventory savings that results from using computerized flexible budgeting tools. As production volumes ramp up and down to meet customer demand, computerized flexible budgets are adjusted on a real-time basis to send signals throughout today’s modern organization. Budgeting gives companies useful information ahead of time that can help them plan better. The flexible budgeting approach can adjust to variances quickly and provide better controls and operations. The biggest advantage of flexible budgeting is the stress on operational efficiency required to achieve the target.

Its production equipment operates, on average, between 3,500 and 6,500 hours per month. Let’s imagine that a manufacturer has determined what its electricity and supplies costs are for the factory. These points make the flexible budget an appealing model for the advanced budget user. However, before deciding to switch to the flexible budget, consider the following countervailing issues. The factory equipment operates on an average of 3,000 to 6000 hours per month.

Techniques Of Financial Analysis For Strategic Management

A flexible budget is a revised master budget that represents expected costs given actual sales. Costs in the flexible budget are compared to actual costs to evaluate performance. If, however, the flexible budget variance was unfavorable, it would be the result of prices or costs. By knowing where the company is falling short or exceeding the mark, managers can evaluate the company’s performance more efficiently and use the findings to make any necessary changes.

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Flexible budgets calculate, for example, different levels of expenditure for variable costs. Subsequently, the budget varies, depending on activity levels that the company experiences. A flexible budget cannot be preloaded into the accounting software for comparison to the financial statements. Only then is it possible to issue financial statements that contain budget versus actual information, which delays the issuance of financial statements. The Flexible budgeting approach is more practical and realistic than static budgeting.

Types Of Flexible Budgets

Getting early buy-in on this contingency list from the management team may also make evolving financial decisions easier when or if they become necessary down the road. A flexible budget adjusts to changes in revenue so you can more effectively determine what’s going right, what’s going wrong, and why the changes are happening. In reality, like everything else about running your own business, it’s more complicated than that. In the example above, materials and supplies are budgeted at $1,700 / month, but for two consecutive months shoot well above that. The budget doesn’t tell me why these things have happened, but it’s an essential starting point for figuring that out. Let’s look at an oversimplified small business budget so we have actual numbers to use as an illustration.

what is a flexible budget

Thus, if the actual expenses exceed $8,880 by $X in the month with an 80% activity level, it would mean that the company has not saved any money but has overspent $X more than the budgeted amount. A flexible budget is much more realistic than fixed budgets since it gives emphasis on cost behavior at different levels of activity. Jake is now working on a flexible budget for his sales department!

Adapt To Changing Conditions With Flexible Budget Variance

It’s important to note that your actual results will always be different from the planned target. Budgeting helps management to determine the factors that caused the variance. Flexible budgets allow the management what is a flexible budget to adjust our plans and accommodate new targets. In the example, the company may have set a 90% target production rate, changed it to 85%, and still possibly achieved only a 75% production level.

What is flexible budget Mention the steps involved in preparing flexible budget?

Steps involved in flexible budgeting

1. Decide a range of activity for which the budget is to be prepared. 2. Determine the cost behavior pattern (Fixed, Variable and Semi-variable) for each element of costs that are included in the flexible budget.

A static budget stays at a single amount regardless of how much activity there is. The Variable cost should be used as per unit or per activity level in the equation. Hence, any error in books of accounts can mislead the budget preparation. It is because the base of the budget starts from the past performance of the company. The preparation of a flexible budget requires skilled workers.

Flexible Budget Performance Report

There will be discrepancies between the budgeted amount and the actual spending amount, especially if you deal with fluctuating costs of raw materials or the cost of goods sold. This past year the authors have been using a new tool to examine and monitor their laboratory’s expenditures.

  • That’s because the numbers are far less theoretical – they’re actual expenses and realities you deal with every day.
  • As a result, Mooster’s Dairy might prepare an advance flexible budget based on many different scenarios.
  • The activity level in the equation may refer to various cost drivers affecting the variable costs such as direct materials, labor hours, or sales commission.
  • Revenues and expenses are constantly adjusted in flexible budgets for current operating conditions.
  • Blue Company has a budget of $10 million in revenue and $4 million in costs of goods sold.
  • A company producing seasonal products can opt for a flexible budget.

Once you’ve made your budget, the next step is to track it prospectively every month. Knowing your priorities will allow you to, essentially, solve for “X” in any given month.


Expenditures may only vary within certain ranges of revenue or other activities; outside of those ranges, a different proportion of expenditures may apply. A sophisticated flexible budget will change the proportions for these expenditures if the measurements they are based on exceed their target ranges. Organizational budgeting is far from a simple process, and this is especially true for those in nonprofit leadership. Speaking of sticking to it, take a few minutes regularly to browse personal or small business advice, especially tips to stick to a budget. I’m talking about 10 minutes here and there while you’re having lunch. Just like with a basic family budget, you want to allow a little time to get yourself started.

So just glancing at June 2021, was it a better or worse month than May? Here’s where we have to decide how we’re going to figure things. That’s 784 lunch boxes sold at a cost to us of only $7.27 each. At the most basic, a favorable variance means you’re left with more money than you’d planned at the end of the month, at least in a given category.

Both facilities have fixed and variable components of water usage. Plant A experiences an increase in production to 28,000 bottles in year 2, and plant B experiences a decline in production to 80,000 tons. Actual water usage is 8,900 gallons for plant A and 19,000 gallons for plant B. Water intensity in plant A decreases from 0.35 in year 1 to 0.32 in year 2.

  • This makes Jake really happy, as the net profit for his department is rising along with the increase in sales!
  • With a flexible budget, budgeted dollar values (i.e., costs or selling prices) are multiplied by actual units to determine what particular number will be given to a level of output or sales.
  • Calculating each category and determining the type of cost it requires can be difficult and take time.
  • In summary, flexible budgeting is a budget that has scenarios for different potential volume levels.
  • As stated earlier, variances can arise between the static budget and the actual results.
  • This is the main difference between the fixed and flexible budgets.

Accurate estimates are expected from if the resources are available with the experts. A big organization should hire experts to prepare a flexible budget and to help their organization make a clear vision about what output should be produced to achieve the targeted profit. 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.

In the case of a typical business, if it is newly started, it becomes tough to predict the demand for the products/services accurately. But this can be dealt with by putting a Flexible budget in place. Our priority at The Blueprint is helping businesses find the best solutions to improve their bottom lines and make owners smarter, happier, and richer. That’s why our editorial opinions and reviews are ours alone and aren’t inspired, endorsed, or sponsored by an advertiser. Editorial content from The Blueprint is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.

what is a flexible budget

Budgeting and variance analysis can help management to price their products at the optimal level while meeting Market competition and covering their production costs. Let’s say Green Company estimates their total production capacity to be 250,000 units. The direct material and labor costs per unit are $4.50 and $2.50 respectively. The company offers sales incentives to their sales force of 5% of sales. Flexible budgets are most appropriate for businesses that operate with an increased variable cost structure, where costs are primarily attached to activity levels. A flexible budget is a great performance evaluation tool when used with a static budget. It is essentially a way to comprehensively account for the static budget’s cost variance.

That means, if efforts scale up to $15 million, then the variable portion of the costs of goods sold moves from $3 million to $4.5 million. Creating a budget, even one that’s not constantly evolving, can be an overwhelming to-do on the never-ending checklist facing leaders of emerging businesses. Cash is the lifeblood of any business — and allocating it effectively is integral to success. The above scenario is the initial budget assuming 100% activity. However, to see these numbers in action, let’s say, hypothetically, a pandemic hits.

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Many organizations opt to use both since static budgets are good for some things and flexible budgets are good for others. They both play a part in good business accounting and are often used in personal finance, too. Flexible budgets are especially beneficial in volatile periods or unpredictable markets.

Author: Ken Berry

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