It is time to make projections for future earnings, expenses and the cash flow requirements for your business. In QuickBooks®, you can use the budget and forecasting features to help make predictions, as well as assess "what if" scenarios to help make better business decisions.
To access these tools, select Planning & Budgeting from the Company menu.
In QuickBooks, budgets and forecasts operate the same mechanically. The budget function is typically used to manage the expenditures during the year to ensure that departments spend according to authorized levels. The forecast function is used to make projections and perform "what if" analysis.
A budget or forecast can be created for both the Profit and Loss and the Balance Sheet. The user can increase the detail of the budget by adding figures at either the Customer:Job level or the Class level (or both).
Each budget and forcecast that is created is saved in a unique file and is managed separately. Therefore, if you have multiple departments or locations in your organization, you can forecast and budget using QuickBooks classes. If you track job costs, you can even prepare forecasts and budgets for individual jobs.
You can create budgets and forecasts from scratch or simply manipulate data based on prior year actuals.
As you enter amounts for each month, the Annual Total column is automatically updated. Use the Copy Across and Adjust Row Amounts buttons to help speed up your data input. When you are done, simply click the Save button.
There are different sets of reports for budgets and forecasts (located in the Reports menu under Budgets & Forecasts). Use these reports to review your entries and show comparisons of how the company is comparing to the budget or forecast for income and expenses, classes, jobs or balance sheet account balances.
There are two more advanced options that can be utilized under the Planning & Budgeting menu. One is the Cash Flow Projector and the other is the Business Plan Tool, an elaborate application for developing a complete master plan for the business.
Preparing a budget and/or forecast that plans for the financial future of a business can be critical to survival in a struggling economy. These tools help you compare actual performance against your expectations. The hard part is determining the budget and forecast ... the easy part is entering the information into QuickBooks!
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