10 4 Flexible Budgets Financial and Managerial Accounting

flexible budget definition

Performance management can be more meaningful as actual results can be easily compared to flexed results – total variances can then be calculated for each revenue and cost. Flexible budgets have a reputation for being more time-consuming than other budgeting models. That’s because flexible budgets require continual upkeep and maintenance — you’re constantly having to keep an eye out for fluctuations and then execute those changes https://www.bookstime.com/tax-rates/illinois as quickly as you can. While this isn’t a reason to avoid flexible budgeting altogether, it’s good to keep in mind as you consider how and when to implement this kind of budgeting strategy. If your company regularly conducts a flux analysis, syncing this process with your flexible budget creation can help save time. It begins with a static framework built from the costs that are not anticipated to change throughout the year.

  • And the reality is that the effort you put into tying certain line items together may not be worth the time.
  • That’s why SaaS companies might make a connection between an AWS budget line item and the assumption for customer growth.
  • The operating budget focuses on the operating expenses, including cost of goods sold (COGS) and the revenue or income.
  • However, some businesses may have a high level of indirect costs, making it difficult to separate fixed and variable costs from total indirect costs.
  • Company executives also have to contend with a myriad of other factors, including projecting capital expenditures, which are large purchases of fixed assets such as machinery or a new factory.
  • You would then take your static, or master, budget and adjust the numbers based on your actual revenue.

The flexible budget is compared to the company’s static budget to identify any variances (or differences) between the forecasted spending and the actual spending. Some industries such as non-profits receive donations and grants resulting in a static budget from which they can’t exceed. Other industries use static budgets as a starting point or a baseline number, similar to the master budget, and make adjustments at the end of the fiscal year if more or less is needed in the budget. When creating a static budget, managers use economic forecasting methods to determine realistic numbers.

Budget with Varying Levels of Production

The actual revenue the widget company is taking in has doubled—but the production costs would also go up. A great deal of time can be spent developing step costs, which is more time than the typical accounting staff has available, especially when in the midst of creating the more traditional static budget. Consequently, the flex budget tends to include only a small number of step costs, as well as variable costs whose fixed cost components are not fully recognized. A flexible budget adjusts based on changes in actual revenue or other activities.

  • The calculation yields the total variable costs involved in production.
  • Suddenly, there is only one company to meet demand for widgets, resulting in actual sales of 200 units per month.
  • Instead, the hope is that patterns will be observed making future cost planning easier and more accurate.
  • A static budget is a budget with numbers based on planned outputs and inputs for each of the firm’s divisions.
  • In short, a flexible budget requires extra time to construct, delays the issuance of financial statements, does not measure revenue variances, and may not be applicable under certain budget models.

Revenue variance is the difference between what revenue should have been for the actual production activity and what the actual revenue you take in is. It may be favorable (higher than it should have been for actual production activity) or unfavorable (lower than it should have been). Flexible budgets are usually prepared at each business analysis period (either monthly or quarterly), rather than in advance. A flexible budget is a budget or financial plan that varies according to the company’s needs. They made it flexible because the specific company’s or department’s needs do not remain static.

Step Cost Development is Time-Consuming

The cost of revenue involves hosting fees, service and cloud fees, and website development. And because flexible budgets expand and contract in real time, they allow businesses to exist as the organic, growing entities that they are. Fixed expenses such as rent, utilities, equipment costs, and salaries usually make up a significant portion of any business budget.

The master budget will include projections for items on the income statement, the balance sheet, and the cash flow statement. These projections can include revenue, expenses, operating costs, sales, and capital expenditures. Big Bad Bikes used the flexible budget concept to develop a budget based on its expectation that production levels will vary by quarter. By the fourth quarter, sales are expected to be strong enough to pay back the financing from earlier in the year.

Variance Analyses: Tale of Two Coffee Shops

But with Mosaic’s business budgeting software, you can streamline processes and break down silos to act as a more collaborative partner to everyone in the business. With Mosaic, you can also import your financial statements from Excel, ensuring seamless integration and facilitating a more holistic view of your financial position. The original budget assumed 17,000 Pickup Trucks would be sold at $15 each. To prepare the flexible budget, the units will change to 17,500 trucks, and the actual sales level and the selling price will remain the same. Given that the variance is unfavorable, management knows the trucks were sold at a price below the $15 budgeted selling price. Let’s assume a company determines that its cost of electricity and supplies will vary by approximately $10 for each machine hour (MH) used.

flexible budget definition

The budget shown in Figure 10.27 illustrates the payment of interest and contains information helpful to management when determining which items should be produced if production capacity is limited. While flexible budgets are often used for manufacturing overhead, they’re also pretty common for SaaS businesses. If a SaaS company is forecasting its cost of benefits, it might tie the budget line item to its headcount forecast.


Below are a few of the most common types of budgets that corporations use to accurately forecast their numbers. No matter which type of budget model you choose, tracking your finances is what matters most. As mentioned before, this model is a much more hands on and time consuming process requiring flexible budget definition constant attention and recalibration. More often than not, our budgets should be just as flexible as we are. If the factory has to use more machine hours one month, its budget should logically increase. Conversely, if it uses them for fewer hours, its budget should reflect that decline.

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