Flexible Budget: Management Method for Cost Control and Monitoring the Performance of Economic Entities: Business & Management Book Chapter

Flexible Budget

Hence, any error in books of accounts can mislead the budget preparation, and chances of flexible budget variance may increase. It is because the base of the budget starts from the past performance of the company. Flexible budgets can also be used after an accounting period to evaluate the successful areas and unsuccessful areas of the last period performance. Management carefully compares the budgeted numbers with the actual performance statistics to see where the company improved and where the company needs more improvement. Instead, the hope is that patterns will be observed making future cost planning easier and more accurate. In addition, a flexible budget can successfully justify increases in costs when compared to actual income. A flexible budget may not benefit certain companies, especially companies that have a majority of fixed overhead costs.

Flexible Budget

Nature A static budget does not change with the actual volume of the output achieved. A is designed to change appropriately with the level of activity attained. Scope A static budget cannot ascertain costs correctly in case of any change in circumstances. Flexible budget can easily ascertain costs in different levels of activities. Pre-requistes Static budget is prepared without classifying the costs according to their variable nature.

What Does Flexible Budget Mean?

And changes that happen with the level of activity attained, or change in the revenue or other variable factors. A flexible budget often uses a percentage of your projected revenue to account for variable costs rather than assigning a hard numerical value to everything. This allows for budget adjustments to occur in real-time, taking into account external factors. But two months into the fiscal year, a competitor closes its doors.

A flexible budget created each period allows for a comparison of apples to apples because it will calculate budgeted costs based on the actual sales activity. It helps in setting the expected costs, revenues, and profitability of the business. Further, since the flexible budget is not rigid, it can be adjusted according to the actual activity level at the end of the accounting period and used for variance analysis.

What is a Flexible Budget?

The coffee shop’s activity is then reduced to 70% of what was expected. As opposed to 22,750 customers, there are only 15,925, bringing revenue down to $47,775. The key is a disciplined process to justify budget increases. When people know there’s not an iron-clad expectation to stay within a static line item, there’s temptation to constantly ask for more.

A static budget would not adjust to the decline in revenues and would keep labor costs at the original level. Suppose material costs for a product suddenly increase during the year, making this item unprofitable. A flexible budget would spot this variance, and management could take corrective actions. It might be a price increase or an effort to find cost savings in manufacturing expenses. Graphically, X-axis represents the level of activity, and Y-axis represents the estimated cost. The chart reads out the budgeted expenses at different levels of activity and helps in performance management. Initially, a new venture can’t predict demand for its product accurately; hence, a flexible budget can be of great help.

This article can be found in the category:

With static budgets, costs of operations and product profit margins are set at the start of the year, based on historical data. Unfortunately, real life doesn’t let everything stay the same.

What are the two types of variable budgets?

You can break variable expenses into two sub-categories: necessary and discretionary. The necessary portion of variable expenses are things like gas for your car, your electric bill, and your monthly food budget.

Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team. Mary Girsch-Bock is the expert on accounting software and payroll software for The Ascent. We saved more than $1 million on our spend in the first year and just recently identified an opportunity to save about $10,000 every month on recurring expenses with PLANERGY. The factors of production are prone to certain limitations and are not in human control. Making a prediction based on these resources can be difficult. We can use any of these three methods to prepare the budget. But, the method selected must serve the purpose of developing such a budget.

How to create a flexible budget

A flexible budget provides cost estimates at different levels of activity. Also, a vivid classification of the expenses into different categories of fixed cost, semi-variable cost, and variable cost is necessary before preparing a budget. In brief, a flexible budget is a budget that distinguishes the behavior of fixed and variable cost that changes.

Only accounts that are impacted by volume would be changed when converting the static budget to a flexible budget. This would basically just be revenue and variable cost accounts, which ultimately impact gross profit or contribution margin. Fixed costs will remain unchanged between the static and flexible budget. Flexible budgets calculate, for example, different levels of expenditure for variable costs. Subsequently, the budget varies, depending on activity levels that the company experiences.

Flexible budgeting is a relatively simple way to introduce department heads to the complex world of cost management. Managers use a flexible budget system to set financial targets for their department and track progress towards those goals.

Companies develop a budget based on their expectations for their most likely level of sales and expenses. Often, a company can expect that their production and sales volume will vary from budget period to budget period. They can use their various expected levels of production to create a Flexible Budget that includes these different levels of production.

Determine the extent to which all variable costs change as activity measures change. Flexible budgets are usually produced monthly or quarterly, rather than in advance like static budgets. The columns would continue below with fixed and variable expenses, allowing you to see how your net profit changes based on changes in actual production and revenue. Flexible budgets are key to ensuring unexpected expenses can be covered. Even households can benefit from using this type of approach to budgeting.

  • This accounts for any changes in both the company’s revenue and staff that may occur throughout the year.
  • They are useful to encourage your procurement staff to obtain the goods and services you need at the lowest possible price.
  • Using a flexible budget will immediately alert you to any changes that are likely to impact your bottom line, allowing you to make changes proactively instead of reactively.
  • And a flexible budget that accommodates the difference in the various components of the cost to accommodate changing trends is always preferable.
  • A flexible budget may refer to a whole company or a department.

It may be tricky to analyze the variances of cost, as the nature of all the expenses may not be the same. Historically financial modeling has been hard, complicated, and inaccurate.