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A Small Business Guide to Flexible Budgets

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what is a flexible budget

The company also knows that the depreciation, supervision, and other fixed costs come to about $35,000 per month. Here’s a quick punch list of the pros and cons of flexible budgets. All of the different budget models have their benefits and drawbacks – even flexible budgets…as amazing as they sound. Flexible budgets are best used for startups that have a number of variables such as manufacturing, and others that have revenue based on seasonality, as costs are directly impacted by demand.

What is another name for fixed budget?

A fixed budget is also known as a static budget.

The most significant advantage of this budget is that it helps the management of the company to determine the production level in different market and business conditions. This flexible budget variance analysis will help you become more accurate year after year with respect to your budget. Flexible budgets are key to ensuring unexpected expenses can be covered. Even households can benefit from using this type of approach to budgeting. For example, a widget company might start out the year with a static planning budget that assumes that the cost to produce 10 widgets is $100, and the company will produce 100 units per month. Each unit will bring in a net profit of $50, so the net profit per month will be 100 X 50, or $5,000. This is where a flexible budget comes into play justifying the cost increase based on the actual earned revenue.

Budget with Varying Levels of Production

Historically financial modeling has been hard, complicated, and inaccurate. The Finmark Blog is here to educate founders on key financial metrics, startup best practices, and everything else to give you the confidence to drive your business forward.

  • The table below shows that Lobster Instant Noodles sold 7000 less units and instead of making a budgeted $42,500 of profit, instead made just $900.
  • In Chapter 9, Using budgets to evaluate performance, we discussed the idea of a flexible budget – the restating of our original budget, but using the sales quantities that were actually recorded.
  • If the financial needs of a factory, for example, change regularly, a flexible budget makes more sense.
  • In business, budgets should always align expectations with various levels of production.
  • By the end of the article, we should be able to distinguish one from the other as well as identify situations in which a particular type of budget is more suitable.
  • However, it is suitable when there is a probability of fluctuations in fixed cost.

James has been writing business and finance related topics for work.chron, bizfluent.com, smallbusiness.chron.com and e-commerce websites since 2007. He graduated from Georgia Tech with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and received an MBA from Columbia University. While there is not specific equation or formula for the flexible budget, it uses the same basic method.

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Flexible budgets are produced in real time to account for changes in revenue based on variations in units sold or sales price. Your flexible budget would then look at revenue, based on both units sold and sales price. Fixed expenses such as rent, utilities, equipment costs, and salaries usually make up a significant portion of any business budget. While it’s possible that these costs will change slightly, most businesses simply budget for them upfront. 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. Revenue and cost needs to be compared monthly and adjustments or notes should be made.

what is a flexible budget

Variable costs can include marketing and sales, and may also include the cost of materials, number of sales, and shipping https://www.bookstime.com/ costs. For example, if your production of widgets is 100 per month, your variable admin costs may be $200 per month.

How do we create a flexible budget?

The business had planned to sell 25,000 units in 2022 at a price of $6.50. There were direct variable costs for materials $0.80, labour $1.00, overhead $0.50 and selling and administration $0.50. There were also fixed costs of $25,000 related to the factory and $25,000 related to selling and administration.

How do you calculate flexible budget variance?

For example, a flexible budget model is designed where the price per unit is expected to be $100. In the most recent month, 800 units are sold and the actual price per unit sold is $102. This means there is a favorable flexible budget variance related to revenue of $1,600 (calculated as 800 units x $2 per unit).

James Woodruff has been a management consultant to more than 1,000 small businesses. As a senior management consultant and owner, what is a flexible budget he used his technical expertise to conduct an analysis of a company’s operational, financial and business management issues.

Categories of Expenses in a Flexible Budget

The flexible budgeting approach helps to narrow the gap between actual results and standards due to activity level changes. Let us consider the following information regarding the costs that are expected to be incurred by a company in the upcoming accounting period. The company wants to prepare a flexible budget based on an expected activity level of 70% of the production capacity.

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For this reason, businesses and non-profit organizations that function in somewhat volatile circumstances are very likely to employ this approach to budgeting. Flexible budgets calculate, for example, different levels of expenditure for variable costs. Subsequently, the budget varies, depending on activity levels that the company experiences. Some companies have so few variable costs of any kind that there is little point in constructing a flexible budget. Instead, they have a massive amount of fixed overhead that does not vary in response to any type of activity. In this situation, there is no point in constructing a flexible budget, since it will not vary from a static budget. At its simplest, the flexible budget alters those expenses that vary directly with revenues.

Fixed costs are those that don’t change along with the increases/decreases in the activity level. However, regardless of the nature of a business, a fixed budget may still be useful as a way to control costs. After all, a fixed budget is still an estimation of future revenue and expenses. Because of its static nature, a fixed budget is best-suited for businesses that operate at the same or predictable level over the year. In a way, a fixed budget is an estimate of predetermined revenue and expenses.

A business generally uses a percentage or range of numbers to show the flex within the budget, which then creates budget scenarios based on other activities. Focus on the variable costs to see which ones are affected by other changes. Spending variance is the difference between what you should have spent at your actual production level and what you did spend. If it is favorable, you spent less than your actual production level should have required.

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