9 Tips for Better Budgeting & Forecasting

Posted on:  August 13, 2022

Budgeting & Forecasting Budgeting is a strategic exercise. It is the process of projecting the revenues a business wants to achieve for a future period. Though budgets are usually created for a year, some businesses operating in fast-paced environments may want to adjust their budgets throughout the year as business conditions change. Budgeting analyzes the variance between forecasts and actual performance. Financial forecasting involves analyzing historical trends in order to predict a business’s future financial performance. Financial forecasting helps management determine how they should allocate budgets for a future period. It provides important information required by management to take key business decisions. Forecasts are updated regularly-usually whenever an operation change occurs or top management tweaks the business plan.

Budgeting vs Forecasting: Key Differences 

A budget is created to meet a business goal such as a quarterly or yearly growth goal. The purpose of financial forecasting is to determine if the budget targets will be met. A budget is created for a specific period using historical data. A financial forecast analyzes a company’s current financial situation. Financial forecasting may be done as frequently as every month whereas budgeting may not be done more than once every three months. Budgeting and financial forecasting help businesses formulate strategies and plan for the future. They are powerful tools that organizations can use to establish a business roadmap. When done correctly, budgeting and forecasting can set a business up for success. Here are some tips to improve your budgeting and forecasting.

Keep it Flexible 

Rigid budgets and forecasts will get you nowhere. Make sure your budgets and forecasts are flexible and can adapt to changes in the business environment. If you continue to use old, dated data for decision making, you may end up making faulty and poor business decisions. Building flexibility into your budgeting and forecasting is a great way to ensure your managers have access to accurate and up-to-date information that paves the way for better decisions.

Get Every Person on Your Team Involved  

Make budgeting and forecasting a team effort. Involve all departments and units to ensure that all teams get an opportunity to communicate their needs. When you make budgeting and forecasting a team exercise, you gain different perspectives. People from different teams can provide the data that you need to make accurate forecasts and set realistic budgets.

Communicate Effectively 

Because budgeting and forecasting affect all aspects of your business, you will want to keep an open line of communication with all business departments. This helps minimize issues and ensure that your operational strategy is aligned with your business strategy.

Implement Rolling Forecasts and Budgets 

We should update rolling forecasts and budgets based on present results, instead of historic data. With this process, forecasts are created for every quarter and not the entire year. Basing forecasts and budgets on present data improves budgeting and forecasting accuracy. Rolling forecasts help ensure that your budget better aligns with your plan. Rolling forecasts allow you to stay on top of any changes that can affect your business. With rolling forecasts, you will have ample time to review and rethink your plan based on any new data.

Budget to Your Plan 

Create a plan and set your budget according to it. When making spending decisions, consider your actual and current revenue, instead of the opportunities these decisions can lead to. When you plan your budget, you are able to deal with the potential impact any spending will have on your business.

Use the Right Tools 

You cannot rely excessively on Excel or other spreadsheet software for budgeting and forecasting due to its limitations when it comes to creating a workflow. It was not meant to be a collaboration tool and hence, fails to ensure cross-team collaboration. There is a single password for an Excel document that should be shared with all users which can lead to privacy and security issues. Excel users are prone to costly mistakes when using complex or unfamiliar spreadsheets or exporting data. Also, reviewing and correcting problems in Excel can be a time-consuming exercise. If you still use Excel to format and organize data now is the time to switch to budgeting and forecasting software. Synoptix Advanced Budgeting and Forecasting comes loaded with features that help reduce planning complexity and ensure more precise and detailed planning. Other benefits include less errors, cost savings, and improved security.

Set Profit and Cash flow Goals  

Set profit and cash flow targets. Every business needs to track these important metrics to ensure their budgets are accurate and useful. Profit and cash flow targets should be realistic or you may fail to achieve your financial goals.

Be Clear About Your Goals 

The purpose of forecasting is to predict your company’s future financial performance. When done correctly, forecasting helps you understand the impact of business decisions. If you aren’t clear about your company’s goals, you may struggle to accurately forecast its financial future. Make sure you and your forecasting managers have a clear understanding of what drives effective forecasting or your forecasts will be just random guesses.

Track Everything 

When budgeting and forecasting for a fiscal year, make sure everything is accounted for. Don’t skip over any detail no matter how minor it may seem. Attention to details matter. Remember even seemingly minor details can have significant impacts on your business’s finances. Stay on top of market trends, and closely observe consumer behavior and your competition’s every move as you finalize your forecast. Need powerful manufacturing budget software? Synoptix Software has got you covered. Our software solutions generate actionable business insights for better decision making. To learn more, call 801-254-4503.

Better Together:
Connect to Any ERP, Multiple Datapoints & Unlimited Users

Financial Software for ERPS clients using synoptix financial reporting software

Experience The Synoptix Platform For Yourself

See how Synoptix’s Financial Planning & Analysis can transform the way you view, budget & run your organization:

  • Empower your team with real-time visibility into all of your data for the best decisions.
  • Connect your people, plans & data across all business functions - including finance, sales, production & more.
  • Increase revenues & gain a competitive edge.
Free Demo

The Financial Risk of Using Spreadsheets for Reporting
It's costing your organization more than you think.

Download Spreadsheets-The Corporate Secret Killer & What to Do About It to better understand its inherent errors, how to manage quality control & overconfidence, with detailed solutions on improving spreadsheets in financial reporting.

Download The New Report