What Does Budget Variance Analysis Involve?

Posted by: Paul Bramall Post Date: 14th May 2018

If you work involves managing business finances, or running your own business, you’re likely to have come across the term “budget variance analysis”. So, what is it, how does it work, and will it improve your accounting skills for business?

What is budget variance analysis?

Budget variance analysis is an important accounting skill to understand, especially if you want to be your own boss.

What Does Budget Variance Analysis Involve?

It is a process you go through at the end of your results cycle, which shows you the gap between the original budget and actual revenues and expenses, enabling you to see how accurate the original budget was.

The main purpose of doing this analysis is to identify where the variances occurred (whether good or bad) and address these so as to try to eliminate any variances in the future.

To work out your budget variance, you take your budgeted amount and your actual amount of revenues and expenses and subtract the smallest from the largest. You can then work on your column of revenues and expenses to work out what had the greatest impact on any variances. It’s best to look at each by both amount and percentage, to give you an accurate idea of what made the most difference.

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How is it used?

Budgets are vital accounting skills for businesses, as they reflect how owners/directors see the business performing over a certain period of time and underpin organisational strategy. The closer the budget is to actual figures, the better the business is at predicting its performance.

Budgets in the manufacturing industry can also help drive sales prices. A company will budget what it expects a product will cost to produce and will reach a selling price from this. If the actual cost fluctuates too much from the predicted budget, it could result in the company losing money on that product.

Conversely, if the budget for a product is too high, this could affect the selling price and could mean that you price potential customers out of the market. This will then have a detrimental effect on your turnover and profit.

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