Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Importance of a Budget

It is very surprising when speaking with business owners how few actually spend the time and effort developing a budget.  Preparing a budget could be a daunting task.  However, one can be convinced that the benefits of using a budget as a tool to steer your company and to monitor your progress far outweigh the” head in the sand” approach.  Having a budget can help you realize controlled growth rather than ad hoc growth and operating expenses.

A budget is essentially a financial plan for your business.  Using past data and current knowledge about your business, growth potential, competition and changes in your expenses, one can estimate how their business should perform in the future using a best estimate approach.    But let’s not kid ourselves.  There are quite a bit of guesses and assumptions brought into a budget.  However, one of the most important aspects of developing a budget is that an owner must think about the future of their business at a very detailed level.  In a sense then, they are mapping out a plan as to where their business should be in the next year or two and what needs to happen in order to make it happen.  This then gets them thinking about what steps are required to meet their budget estimates.  For example if one estimates a growth in sales of 20% next year, they have to ask themselves how do they think they can meet this goal?   A 20% increase in sales will not mean a 20% increase in profits.  Why?  Because more sales can mean more costs.  Will they have the space, the employees, the supplies, etc. to meet the increase in sales?  Are they planning to promote their company and if so, in what way and at what costs?   It is at this point of detail that some business owners start to squirm.  They are not comfortable thinking about so many details.

Often, budgets are only brought to the forefront when financing is needed.  Banks or investors start asking probing questions and also require a budget for a few years down the line.   They want to know your assumptions and a budget helps to give them some assurance of how their investment or loan will generate enough revenue for their payoff.   If you are one of those business owners who just don’t want to go there, the staff at Five Star Accounting can meet with you to ask some of these questions and work with you to develop your budget.  We would be happy to assist you in mapping out a plan for you to follow in taking your business where it potentially could and should be.   We hope you can agree that following a budget and knowing if you’re on track throughout the year is far better than operating with your head in the sand.  A budget really helps to lower anxiety and gives an owner a much better feeling of control.