Building a 12 Month Budget Plan with FUTRLI
Posted on 18th October 2017 in Business
Written by Freya Hughes
Many entrepreneurs are familiar with the concept of DIY. We don’t necessarily mean spending a whole Sunday knocking holes in the walls when all you intended to do was put up a shelf, but DIY in a more general sense. In those startup days there isn’t always a willing assistant available, so you get pretty used to doing everything yourself. To give you a helping hand with your financial planning, here’s our guide to building a 12 month budget plan with FUTRLI.
Your budget is there to keep you on course with your day to day transactions. Best practice is to keep a close eye on your budget as you operate your business, all the while regularly studying your forecast. This is because they work in similar ways but they are different.
You’re working with your actual figures with a budget, which doesn’t allow for external factors having an impact on your figures. That’s where your forecast will show you which direction to take next. It’s important that you set up both, because your business is unique. You may know entrepreneurs that swear by either, and make compelling arguments, but remember that that’s how they prefer to work. Your business is yours so treat it as such.
Follow instructions, not a cheat sheet
Templates aren’t going to include everything you need to include in your own budget, so it’s important you create your own. Similarly, you need to step away from that spreadsheet you’ve got open in the background. We’ve got a huge community who shout from the rooftops about how you need to use the appropriate software for specific tasks such as this.
As Managing Director of Euro Hostels William McClelland told us:
“When I was presenting to the Board, my cash flows were wrong, and all sorts of nonsense came out in the figures. It was an absolute nightmare!”
Read the full case study with Euro Hostels here. Excel is a great piece of kit, but it’s inappropriate to use it for your finances. Spreadsheets are very prone to errors, so setting up your budget in one could mean you’re starting on the back foot with wrong data. A report from Market Watch found that 88% of spreadsheets contain errors. Just let that sink in for a minute, and think about if you can afford to be part of this statistic.
Hit the nail on the head
This may seem like it’s going to be the ‘technical bit’ but, we promise it’s actually very easy.
Add up all of your incoming cash. Do the same for all outgoings. This must include everything, each and every penny that went in or out over the last 12 months, such as bank statements, wages, credit card statements, utility bills, receipts and anything else that will help you figure out how much you earned and spent last year. This will make projections much easier.
Now you have this data, figure out how much you expect to come into your bank account from every source you can think of. The guys at Investopedia have made this handy list to help you to start thinking in the right way:
- Child support
- Disability benefits
- Interest and dividends
- Rents and royalties
- Retirement income
- Social security
Now you’re ready to make your future projections. Get all of this information into your forecast, and you’ll quickly see how granular FUTRLI’s forecasting tool is. Because you’ve covered all bases with your incoming cash, your forecast is going to be accurate.
Make your project yours
Because you know your rent, bills and wages are likely to be the same each month, building your budget plan projections is easy. You can section these off into groups, like utilities, savings, one-off payments, etc.
There are four main methods for creating your budget within FUTRLI: single/repeating entry, set monthly growth rate, on the fly, or formula method/last year’s actuals. Find out more here.
Head into FUTRLI to get your budget going. The scenarios section is your port of call, and when you’re there simply create a new scenario and name it ‘Budget’. Select the length of time you need it to cover and a start date, and from there you can choose either a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly view.
The order that your account’s categories and formulas display within the ‘Workings’ tab of your scenario will be determined by your selected layout. It’s customisable, so you can see things as you wish – just remember categories will be displayed in order of where you’ve put them in your layout. Simply drag and drop to edit this.
Use a graph or table – whichever is easier on your eyes – to see a clear comparison between actual and forecast data.
A key thing to remember is that you must account for income tax in your budget. Also, simple maths dictates that you need to divide annual figures by 12 to obtain a monthly budget.
Track your progress
Our number one piece of advice is to check your budget regularly. It is designed to help you forge a path for your business, and checking it frequently will show you how you’re doing. Using the scenarios section for your budget, and the real-time data of the forecast you have already, you’re going to be able to compare the data of the two. You’re giving yourself a level of transparency incomparable to that of using spreadsheets, or most other platforms on the market. If you’ve overspent, you’ll see where you can cut back or if you need to source some extra cash. If you’ve underspent, you’ll know you have some free cash to play with or reinvest.
You must remember that budgeting and forecasting together is going to help you to take full control of your business. Obtaining this granular view of the coming 12 months, based upon the last year, is the best way to be operating and if you’re just starting out then get into this good habit now