Employee creates budget planning template on laptop.

Keep an eye on your financial resources with this budget planning template

A budget planning template, as the name suggests, provides the framework for planning your budget. It helps to achieve business and project goals, as money and resources can be properly allocated. With the help of budget planning, you ensure that project participants clearly define goals and take steps to achieve them.

Read below why budget planning is important and how best to go about it, with or without a template.

This is why budget planning is important for strategic business planning

In budget planning, you create a template that you can use every year. During the business year, you already assess your organisation's performance against the budget plan. How have resources been used so far? Are the goals set still realistic?

A budget plan for the next five years also helps to determine where the long-term goals and focal points for your strategic business decisions lie. After all, these are precisely the areas where your resources should flow.

In staff management, budget planning can serve to increase motivation. Goals can be set realistically and become more tangible. The plan can be used to measure and reward success.

Another popular place of employment is project management:

Why should you use a budget plan in project management?

The budget plan in project management gives you an overview of what is possible in the project. Depending on the resources, you can, for example, hire an external company, a lot has to be created yourself or a high-end solution is expected.

With a budget plan you additionally discover opportunities as well as potential risks and hurdles. In this way, you can identify and eliminate challenges at an early stage.

In budget planning, old also meets new. In project management, you work through the past when it comes to calculations and cost estimates. How well did budget planning work in other projects and what should be adapted this time? Preparing the plan can be time-consuming, but it provides an opportunity to evaluate old projects and make new ones even better.

If stakeholders are involved in a project, they will almost certainly demand transparent and realistic budgeting. In this case, the budget plan is essential and can be used to negotiate financial resources.

When should budget planning take place in project management?

Budget planning should take place before the project starts. It decides whether and how a project is feasible or not. Budget planning shows the goals, opportunities and risks. The budget plan should therefore be started as early as possible.

These are the framework conditions for budget planning

Now let's talk about creating the budget plan. When planning, you should pay attention to the following points:

  1. Budgeting to match the company's success: Money and resources should be used as efficiently as possible (without waste) and effectively (to achieve the goals). They must contribute to the company's success.
  2. Recognise conflicts: Budget can easily be seen by managers as a competition or status symbol with the view "Whoever has more budget is more important". Therefore, make sure to recognise conflicts early on. Is something being glossed over or exaggerated to get a better budget? Decision-makers need to be aware that there may be an internal battle and look critically at budget planning.
  3. Transparency: Ultimately, the distribution should be chosen that leads to the best achievement of the business objectives. Therefore, as an applicant, it should be mandatory to be transparent about what the funds are needed for and why.
  4. Flexible: Budgeting must remain adaptable, as it is partly based on assumptions about the future. These cannot be predicted one hundred percent.

What types of budget planning are there?

What is the best approach to budget planning? There are three procedures that have proven particularly effective:

  1. Top-Down: The scope of the budget is determined by the top management and must then be implemented by the project manager.
  2. Bottom-up: Here, the project participants determine what is needed and pass the plan on to the decision-makers. The decision-makers do the calculations and determine what is approved.
  3. Counterflow procedure: The top management sets goals, but does not go into detail regarding budgeting. Then the project participants determine sub-goals, responsibilities and concretise the budget plan. Finally, the management level must approve the plan.

Let's now take a look at budgeting in practice with an example.

An example of budget planning

Let's take an example from the private sphere. For example, a wedding has to be planned. Even before the musicians are ordered and a hall is paid for, budget planning should take place.

For example, the people who provide the financial resources could determine top-down how much they want to spend. Besides money, there are other resources to consider. Can relatives fill the cake buffet, take photographs or entertain guests? Is there a printer available to print invitations? All resources, whether human, machine or money should be written down.

Goals are set that need to be achieved. Prioritise them to allocate resources later for the perfect end result.

How to create your budget planning - with or without a template

If you start your budget plan without a template, you need a place to record and write down goals and resources. This works, for example, as a mind map on a whiteboard or as an independently created list in a programme of your choice.

On the other hand, you can also create the budget planning with a template under Excel. Here you write down which category receives which resources. Within another column you can track what has already been spent. This is followed by a column for comments or notes.

In the wedding example, there are probably few people involved in the planning. For larger and more complex projects from the corporate environment, the budget planning template under Excel may not be sufficient. Here you have the possibility to manage your budget plan via a digital list solution:

Budget planning with SeaTable

In SeaTable you register for free and create the base "Budget" for your project. You will receive a template with which you can record cost points, maximum budgets and amounts actually paid or used.

Budget Planning Template © SeaTable

Also integrate a list of project participants. Assign responsibilities and create the to-do lists directly. The individual to-dos can be marked as completed within the programme.

You can budget with several departments this way. As the process remains flexible and the budget may need to be adjusted, it is worthwhile to enable an overview in real time with a programme like SeaTable.

Conclusion

Budget planning is about allocating money and resources to the right activities and projects in the company. SeaTable helps you to carry out budget planning in an uncomplicated and efficient way.

Try our free template for cost monitoring and benefit from the intelligent list solution in other areas as well.

Image source Cover image: © MclittleStock/Adobe Stock

Ralf Dyllick-Brenzinger
Ralf Dyllick-Brenzinger is the founder and managing director of SeaTable. He is the strategic mastermind of SeaTable and the master of numbers. He loves his fiancée's cookies and a good bike ride.