Forecasting and budgeting tips
Running a business is a bit of a challenge if you don't have the right staff surrounding you and helping you along the way. While you may know everything there is to know about marketing, you probably don't have the educational background that is necessary for forecasting and budgeting. If you don't have a financial controller or bookkeeper, here are some tips on how you can forecast and budget correctly.
Tip # 1 - Know the impact
When you are dealing with forecasting and budgeting, you need to understand what type of impact it really does have on your business. Forecasting allows you to predict future cash flow needs, job costing, profitability, expansion, and other things that will allow you to run a successful organization. The accuracy of your forecasting and budgeting is extremely important for your business as it allows the marketing team to set a goal as to how much money they need to bring in. If you are planning to expand your company, you must have accurate numbers to work with so you know how much money you need to ask for from a lender to finance the expansion.
Tip # 2 - Monthly, Quarterly, and Yearly
Budgeting and forecasting also comes down to your ability to provide accurate numbers monthly, quarterly, and yearly. It is important to review all of the details that go into an accurate budget so you can give your business the best chance to succeed. There are accounting programs you can use that will allow you to generate the monthly, quarterly, and yearly numbers your company needs in order to become successful. Accurate numbers allow you to understand how much money you can spend on raw goods, inventory, and other necessary things your business needs.
Tip # 3 - Implement software
In order to provide accurate numbers, you need a good accounting method. Software is definitely the way to go versus paper as it is usually more accurate, easier to change, and easy to send to auditors. The quality and accuracy of your budget is extremely important to the success of your business and providing accurate numbers. Make a list of the software programs you would like to use along with the cost you can afford. Most software companies will provide you with a trial version of the software so you can see if you like it before you purchase it and are stuck with it. Investigate the different software programs that are available for your business based on your industry.
Tip # 4 - Education
In order to learn how to forecast correctly and budget appropriately, take some time to get an education. Community colleges offer classes that are a little more affordable for your needs and can provide you with the education you need to manage your books correctly. Check with your local community center as well because they usually offer continuing education courses for about $25-$50 a class. While you won't be given a degree, you can still gain the insight and education you need to manage your books and run your business successfully.
Tip # 5 - Review your books often
In order to provide accurate information to your employees, you need to take a look at your books daily. Check them for errors and mistakes and consider changes in the economy and your particular industry when you are dealing with proper forecasting and budgeting. Schedule meetings with the different departments to discuss their budgets and plans for the future so you can see if you actually have room in the budget for their plans. This will improve communication with the departments and it will also improve the accuracy of books and the financial health of your company.