As a financial professional you probably think you’ve got your budget under control. You know numbers and watch your spending to ensure that you are managing your money well. But unless you’re applying crucial budgeting strategies, you’re not using this valuable tool to its full advantage.
Here are 5 tips that will help:
1. Ensure your budget aligns with your business strategy. This may seem obvious, but in the day-to-day tasks required in business management, strategy may be forgotten. There are fires to put out, emergency expenses to pay, and last-minute purchases to make. So unless you’re vigilantly monitoring your outflow, your strategy may be nickel and dimed into extinction.
If you don’t yet have a strategy, now is the time to develop one. Does your business require more aggressive marketing techniques? Are you attempting to grow your firm by hiring a support staff? Or do you want to focus on retaining current clients? Whatever your strategy, you should devise a budget that supports and sustains it.
2. Assess your Chart of Accounts. As a financial professional, you are likely familiar with the Chart of Accounts. The Chart of Accounts enables you to set up categories that align with your management strategies. It also enables you to establish a healthy balance between control and responsibility regarding business spending.
3. Establish accountability. Anyone responsible for spending within your business needs to be accountable for their choices. You may currently be the only person responsible. However, it’s important that you acknowledge and assess your spending and then make any necessary changes. You may determine that your budgetary items are best distributed among control areas like marketing, skills development, client retention, management, etc. This may provide you with more control over outflow.
4. Regularly review your budget. Establishing a budget and then ensuring that it aligns with your business strategy is only part of this valuable process. The true benefit of budgeting comes when you regularly review your budget with key players in your business. In your review you can compare budgeted expenses with actual expenses and discuss discrepancies. You can also talk with those responsible for various expenses and see how they might revise some of their spending choices. This is also a good time to implement necessary changes and assess any changes implemented since your last budgetary review.
5. Revise as necessary. A budget is not set in stone. As mentioned in the previous tip, as you assess and review your progress it’s important that you make necessary changes. In fact, that’s the beauty of budgeting. As you monitor your income and outflow, you can make changes that will influence the future profitability of your business.
As a tax preprarer you may assume that you’ve been using this tool to its full advantage. But if you haven’t been applying the above tips, you may be missing out of some of the best benefits of budgeting.
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