5 New Year budgeting tips from Accountants First

Advisory Accountants budgeting tips from Imran Kamal
2014 is here!
At Advisory Accountants we know budgeting can seem like a chore to you but it is essential.
Here are some Advisory Accountants tips that may help in preparing your next budget.

Advisory Accountants tip 1: Use Xero
Xero contains a budget template which enables you to keep track of your budget when compared with actual revenue and expenses. At Advisory Accountants we refer to this as variances. Xero keeps track of everything so that you don’t have to update spreadsheets and the reports are “real time”.
Go to Reports > Budget Manager. You’ll be able to enter revenue and expenditure for the year ahead and then track variances. Xero have a helpful video available here. If you don’t feel confident using Xero, Advisory Accountants is able to organise training for you.

Advisory Accountants tip 2. Understate revenue, overstate expenditure
Something that often catches people out is being overly optimistic when forecasting revenue. At Advisory Accountants the Managing Director sometimes sees clients who apply an arbitrary percentage onto their sales for the year ahead. They are then very disappointed when the forecast sales don’t eventuate. Remember, even if you are winning new business, you may be losing existing clients. This is called churn and you should plan for it.

Expenditure has been pretty consistent for many businesses over the past few years with the economy in recession. As the New Zealand economy is forecast to grow quite strongly over the next few years, we think you should be planning for some increase in expenditure. It may be that some of your suppliers will be looking to get some revenue growth by putting up prices and those wage and salary increases may not be able to be put off much longer.
Whatever your situation, be realistic when setting your budget for the year ahead. It will help you to focus resources and energy.

Advisory Accountants tip 3. Review Suppliers
It’s important to review suppliers annually. Increased costs are not automatically bad so long as they are aligned with increased value. Have a look at your top 10 expenses that can be controlled to some degree. See whether there are is an opportunity to ask an existing supplier to review their pricing. This is far preferable to sourcing new suppliers as there is no down time involved.

Advisory Accountants tip 4. Understand Variances
If you were involved in a large business, you would have to produce monthly reports. This would require you to review the budget for your department and report to your manager or the Board. For many in smaller businesses, you are your Board so the concept of writing a report to yourself is a little meaningless. Nevertheless, you should at least review the budget at the conclusion of each month to determine:

  • Did you meet your revenue goals?
  • How is revenue tracking against budget for the year?
  • Are expenses in line with your forecast?
  • What are the variances and what action can you take now?

A little time spent reviewing the budget at least monthly will ensure that you don’t have any nasty surprises down the track. Whatever you do, don’t put that budget in a virtual bottom draw.

Advisory Accountants tip 5. Know your Break Even Point
One of the most essential figures that you should know is your break even point. This is the point where you start making a profit, or put another way, the goal you need to reach to stop making a loss. This is really easy to work out if you have a budget. It’s the point where revenue = expenses. There is no profit or loss and you have “broken even”. At Advisory Accountants we emphasise the importance of knowing this number. Some businesses break this down to weekly or even daily amounts and it helps keep them focused. If there is one financial metric you should follow in business, this is it.

Have a prosperous 2014! From the team at Advisory Accountants. Please contact us if you have any further queries.

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