What are the Best Types of Budgets for Your Business? By Sarah Murphy September 1, 2021 Creating a budget is a must to stay on track and keep expenses in control. Proper budgeting can help businesses spend less and derive the most value from each expense. A budget also enables you to predict uncertainties and prepare for any potential disruptions in the future. So – what type of budget should you prepare for your business? Businesses use different types of budgets to allocate resources for the year, and how you create your budget has a direct impact on your business performance. So, a strategic budget can cut costs and give you a competitive advantage, while an ill-planned budget can result in waste and take a toll on your bottom line. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, and your circumstances will determine the best way ahead. Let’s explore the common budgeting approaches available for your organization. You will also learn how to pick the right one for your needs. Contents hide Standard Budget Methods What Types of Budgets are Best for Your Business? Specific Types of Budgets Final Thoughts Standard Budget Methods Here are the common budgeting approaches you can adopt to create your budget: Traditional Budget This form of budget uses last year’s figures as the foundation. You then change the numbers to suit the conditions of the current year. Specifically, you look at the costs and revenues of last year and adjust them based on factors like market demand, inflation, change in prices, and so on. The traditional budget takes less time to prepare, and only a few figures need justification. However, it can be a bit rigid and averse to change. Incremental Budget Incremental budgets are quite common and used by many businesses. You base your current budget on last year’s numbers and adjust them to account for your projected growth or decline. Let’s say your organization has projected a decline of 5% for this year. So, you reduce your budget by 5% across your organization to account for the change. Incremental budgeting is fast but not very accurate. You can spend money without deriving value as you aren’t justifying but only adjusting your expenses. Zero-Based Budget Zero-based budgeting takes zero as the starting point without any consideration for last year. Every department will get new resources based on the needs of the current year. You will need to justify each item in your budget, which can be time-consuming. This is, however, the most accurate budget creation method. Activity-Based Budget An activity-based budget ensures your allocation of resources aligns with your business goals. This type of budget focuses on what you want to achieve in the current year. Let’s say you want to increase your sales by 10%. So, you will need to determine the cost drivers you will require to boost sales by 10%. You can then create your budget, taking into account all those cost drivers. What Types of Budgets are Best for Your Business? You have multiple approaches for creating budgets available to your organization. But, how do you know which one will suit your needs best? First, start by weighing the pros and cons of each method of budgeting. Along with that, consider the following: Your business size Areas where you operate Your business objectives Market competition Available data for creating your budget Analyzing each budgeting method based on the above factors will help you choose the right one for your needs. Let’s say you want to cut production costs and waste across your department. You can choose the activity-based budget that aligns your budget with your business objectives. Alternatively, if you are dealing with tough competition, zero-based budgeting can come in handy to justify each cost and explain the need. You can also rely on an activity-based budget to gain a competitive edge in your industry. Specific Types of Budgets Once you have selected a method for preparing your budget, you will want to apply that method to the various budget categories across your company. Operating Budget An operating budget is a forecast of revenues and expenses a business will make in a fixed time. You can prepare an operating budget for the coming year to spend within plans. Operating budgets are also helpful to forecast your income and expenses for the future.