01 March 2023

Business Budget Planning Tips for Finance Professionals

Clearview web images 9

As the countdown to year-end looms, finance managers and directors are tasked with crunching numbers and submitting a business budget to answer essential questions like how much money will be allocated to sales next year? Are we profitable, and what ROI if any are we making on investments?

With all eyes turning towards to the finance team for answers, it’s a critical time that requires not only detailed knowledge of the company budget, but also insight into the current market and any changes in UK business tax laws. For finance professionals, budgeting is essential to ensure company sustainability and profitability. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best practices when it comes to effective budget planning.

Business Planning Tips

Go back to your business objectives and previous forecasts.

You can’t effectively plan a budget without understanding last year’s performance including actual income and costs – and reminding yourself of your company’s financial objectives for the next five years.

Finance teams will need to revisit and pressure-test the scenarios, assumptions, and decisions that were made last year, and determine which of the economic scenarios they projected actually materialised in relation to revenue, pricing, sales volume, and competition. Only then can you have an accurate picture of where you are as a company and where you can expect to be in the future.

Create an Accurate Forecast of Income and Expenses

It’s important to create an accurate forecast of  revenue and expenses so that you can get an clear  picture of how much money is available for your business operations.  It’s also important to factor in any changes that may occur over time due to inflation, market shifts, or other external factors.

Clearview can save your finance department time and money, helping you to create professional and integrated balance sheet, profit and loss  and cashflow forecasts easily and quickly. It can be used to predict how much cash you will need to keep on hand to meet your obligations, and it can also help you identify potential cash crunches before they happen.

Engage the leadership team

The likelihood is your business will need a budget for each department, division, or office, depending on size considering things such as costs, headcount, and expenses. This then requires your leadership team to use the information to set targets. They then need to consult the budget regularly going forward in their spending decisions.

Prioritise Necessary Expenditures

Once you have identified your financial objectives and created an accurate forecast of income and expenses, it’s time to prioritise necessary expenditures. Start by making sure all essential costs (such as payroll and fixed and operating expenses) are accounted for first before allocating any funds towards items such as  marketing campaigns and discretionary expenses. You should also create contingency plans in case unexpected costs arise or if certain objectives cannot be achieved within the allotted timeframe or budget.

​Budgets should not therefore be held solely in the finance team, or by a financial controller. It has to be fully integrated throughout your organisation. This means many people are responsible or involved in managing a budget, feeding into it, updating it, and staying informed throughout the year. Clearview can help your company to have access to the same view throughout the year using the same set of data- saving time, resource and extensive discussions!

Because Clearview uses real time data, it’s easy to then make adjustments where necessary throughout the year.

Calculate sales and revenue and cashflow projections.

Using the data from sales income,  this needs to be aligned to agree revenue projections. Software such as Clearview can greatly speed up this process. Once you have all the inputs you can create a three way forecast in minutes.

Creating a business cashflow forecast is one of the most important methods of conducting a business health check.  By taking into account all income and expenditure, a cashflow forecast can help you to make informed decisions about all aspects of your company.

Using Clearview, simply enter company income and expenditure, and our software will do the rest. You can then choose to display your cashflow forecast in chart form, for use in presentations and business plans, or in table mode, providing even greater detail.

Conclusion: 

Remember, your budget needs to be comprehensive but flexible, because circumstances can change quickly, and often best laid plans may need to pivot to accommodate them. Using real time cloud based software can help with providing forecasts that need to be flexible. So, forecasting software such as Clearview is a critical tool for any finance manager, whether it’s to speed up business planning, create forecasts in real time, or simply to ratify your own calculations

By understanding your financial dashboard accurately, you will be well on your way towards creating an effective budget plan that allows your company to reach its financial goals while staying within its means. Clearview can really help you make better use of your time as a finance manager, director, or finance department.

With deadlines looming, it’s time to start creating plans that will help shape the future. Don’t wait – get your strategy in place today!