Most of us look forward to fall as the weather finally begins to cool down, and we feel the holidays on the horizon. As the new season kicks off, we often take stock of our surroundings and make plans to finish the year successfully.
For those in the accounting world, September is the month of budget development. With a mixture of excitement and nervousness, financial professionals across the nation turn their gaze toward the future.
With budget season upon us, let’s take a moment to review how you can get a jumpstart on budget development. Check out these surefire ways of staying on task and ahead of the game.
The Art of Budgeting
At their core, budgets are plans. They help us accomplish our objectives and move closer to long-term goals. For non-profit organizations, budgets also serve compliance and monitoring tools. This can add an extra layer of stress for accounting professionals working at nonprofits especially if you’re using software that doesn’t suit your organization.
Start things off on the right foot by selecting an accounting software built especially for nonprofits. Abila’s MIP Fund Accounting™ software was designed with organizations like yours in mind. You’ll enjoy the following capabilities:
- Unlimited budget versions
- What if scenario development
- Multiple budget reports
- Overspending protection
How to Create Your Timeline
The ideal complement to your accounting software is a budget development timeline. While the steps will vary based on your organization’s needs, the following guidelines are helpful for staying on track:
By now you’ve accomplished your summer planning and preparation. Take a moment to review the roles of each member of your budget team so that everyone is on the same page.
Next, put deadlines into place, allowing yourself a cushion. As you study the schedule, keep the goals and mission of your organization at the forefront. To help you draft the first budget, focus on the big three: expenses, projected income and cashflow.
It’s time to review! How does your initial budget look? Get recommendations from key players and your budget team. As you take in their feedback, make a new draft. In some cases, you may have to do this several times to get the budget up to speed.
All set? Let’s get to work on your proposal. Make sure it’s well thought out and clear for board members. This phase may extend into December if necessary.
Now that your budget has been approved, it’s time to put it to work. Monitor and review your budget as the calendar year begins. Let others know of the plans and goals as you track the results.
It takes a lot of work to create and monitor a budget but it’s all worth it when you see your organization moving closer to its goals!
Looking for more tips on budgeting for nonprofit professionals? Contact us today to learn more about Abila software!