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On September 19, 2016

Top 10 ways to make your budgeting quicker

The budgeting process takes a company anywhere from 95 days to 4.5 months. That’s not including the multiple iterations or the back and forward with senior stakeholders and line managers. So we’ve taken a look at the top 10 ways you can make your budgeting process quicker.

  1. Reduce the amount of time you spend developing the budget. Moving from an annual budget to a monthly/quarterly one will mean you spend less time on the process. It will make your budget more adaptable too.
  2. Reduce the number of iterations during the development of your budget. The shorter your budget cycle, the fewer iterations you need. Don’t be a perfectionist on a budget based on past performances!
  3. Reduce the level of detail in the budget. The most successful budgets are the ones with fewer items on their list. A flexible budget that focuses on what-if scenarios will serve your organisation better than one that focuses too much on the detail.
  4. Include other non-financial influences. Many businesses just focus on the accounting of their budget. This doesn’t represent how a business is actually run. You need to include a planning structure for your key strategies. As well as this, you should include a reporting structure on how your budget can adapt to changes. Without these, you’ll be wasting time revisiting your budget time and time again.
  5. Combine a top-down and bottom-up approach. If you create a budget that is realistic from line management and also supports the strategic goals of the top-level stakeholders, you’ll have a budget that will need fewer revisions.
  6. Set goals for everyone involved in the budgeting process. Make your budget process easier to understand with clear goalposts. By everyone knowing what they have to do and who they need to report to, you make the process more efficient.
  7. Improve your performance visibility. If you want to understand the real ROI in your budget, increase your performance visibility by using a performance-based framework with SMART metrics.
  8. Divide resources strategically. It’s important to make sure resources are first allocated to support your key strategies. Co-ordinate the reviews of both your operating and capital budgets. This gives your managers an idea of how the changes in one budget can affect the other, and make appropriate decisions about their budget recommendations.
  9. Balance your planning and analysis within the budgeting process. By shortening the planning process, you have more time to focus on analysing your budget.
  10. Use budgeting productivity tools Tools such as a cloud-based solution can adapt, automate and consolidate your budget planning in one platform.
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