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What Should a Project Budget Include

What Should a Project Budget Include

Managing a project budget is critical for any business. Whether you’re just starting out or have been working on projects for some time, knowing how to manage a project budget is essential. But managing a project budget can be difficult if you don’t have the right tools and instructions. That’s where this guide comes in. It will teach you how to use Project Management software to create and track a project budget, as well as how to communicate with your team about your budget and results.

What Should a Project Budget Include

Components of a budget

If you are starting a new business, the first budget you create might be a challenge, but it is a good learning experience and a good way to understand what works best for your business. The best place to start is getting to know your budget components. Initially you may need to make several assumptions to get your budget started.

1. Estimated revenue

This is the money you expect your business to make from the sale of goods and services.  There are two main components of estimated revenue: sales forecast and estimated cost of goods sold or services rendered. If your business is more than a year old, then your experience will guide you in estimating these components. If your business is new, you can check the revenue of similar local businesses and use those figures to conservatively create some estimated revenue numbers. But whether your business is new or old, it is important to stay realistic to avoid over-estimating.

2. Fixed cost

When your business pays the same amount regularly for a particular expense, that is classified as a fixed cost. Some examples of fixed costs include building rent, mortgage/utility payments, employee salaries, internet service, accounting services, and insurance premiums. Factoring these expenses into the budget is important so that you can set aside the exact amount of money required to cover these expenses. They can also be a good reference point to check for problems if your business finances aren’t going as planned.

3. Variable costs

This category includes the cost of goods or services that can fluctuate based on your business success. For example, let us assume you have a product in the market that is gaining popularity. The next thing you would like to do is manufacture more of that product. The costs of the raw materials required for production, the distribution channels used for supplying the product, and the production labor will all change when you increase production, so they will all be considered variable expenses.

4. One-time expenses

These are one-off, unexpected costs that your business might incur in any given year. Some examples of these costs include replacing broken furniture or purchasing a laptop.

Since it is difficult to predict these expenses, there is no certain way to estimate for them. But it’s wise to set aside some cash for this category to stay prepared.

5. Cash flow

This is the money that travels in and out of the business. You can get an idea of it from your previous financial records and use that information to forecast your earnings for the year you’re budgeting for. You’ll want to pay attention not only to how much money is coming in, but also when. If your business has a peak season and a dry season, knowing when your cash flow is highest will help you plan when to make large purchases or investments.

6. Profit

The final budget component is profit, which is a number you arrive at by subtracting your estimated cost from revenue. An increase in profit means your business is growing, which is a good sign. Once you have projected how much profit you are likely to make in a year, you’ll be able to decide how much to invest in each functional area of your organization. For example, will you use your profit to invest in advertising or marketing to drive more sales?

Project Budget Management: What is it?

Project budget management is the process of administering and overseeing the finances related to business projects. It’s not only about coming up with a single overall number—say, $20,000 for a particular project to be completed—but about understanding the individual cost elements and the logistics of budget tracking. It includes thinking about things like:

  • How is the overall number derived?
  • How will the costs be spread out across project milestones?
  • How will you track project costs?
  • How will you report cost data periodically—will you use project budget tracking software or some other tool?
  • How will you handle scenarios in which projects are running over or under budget?
  • What’s your process for learning from past projects so you can make future project budgets more accurate?
  • How will you handle portfolio budget management? It’s rare that an organization has only one project going on at a time—what’s your framework for managing multiple budgets at once and in context with one another?

The project budgeting process is ongoing, and something you should be consistently working on—not just a one-time cost estimation. Costs fluctuate, circumstances change, and project elements get derailed. Accounting for these aspects throughout the life of a project is all part and parcel of effective budget management.

The Project Budget is a tool used by project managers to estimate the total cost of a project. A project budget template includes a detailed estimate of all costs that are likely to be incurred before the project is completed.

Large commercial projects can have project budgets that are several pages long. Such projects often have a large number of costs associated with them, such as labor costs, material procurement costs, and operating costs. The Project Budget itself is a dynamic document. It is continuously updated over the course of the project.

The Importance Of Budget In Project Management

Establishing Guidelines

  1. Having a budget allows you to establish the main objectives of a project. Some projects can be too all-encompassing and try to accomplish too much. Having a budget in place, however, limits the number of options available to a company or its project manager from the outset. Without these budgetary restrictions in place, a project may not be completed on time or at all if the available funding runs out. Instead, the budget allows the project manager to know how much he can spend on any given aspect of the project.

Cost Estimating

  1. Once a budget is in place, the project manager and cost estimator can then determine how much money can be spent on each component of the project. A budget allows those in charge of purchasing to determine what percentage of the available funds can be allocated to the constituent elements of the project itself. This provides the opportunity to determine whether or not the project can be completed with the available budget.

Prioritizing

  1. Another advantage to having a project budget is that it will allow you to prioritize the different parts of the project. While it may be desirable to complete the entire project at once, if the available funds indicate that enough money may not be available to complete all aspects of the project as desired, a budget will allow you to prioritize which parts of the project can be completed initially while other parts are put on hold.

Future Planning

  1. In the event that the budget shows funding to be inadequate to cover the necessary costs to complete the entire project, having a budget in place will make easier to plan for future costs. For instance, if the budget shows that only four of the five main objectives can be accomplished with the available funding, you should know how much additional money you will need to raise to complete the entire project because you know how much money should be allocated to each part.

Consequences of Improper Budgeting

All project procedures are tightly interwoven around project budgets. The amount of available or required cash, in most cases, dictates the duration and type of the used resources, operations and activities within the realm of a project. In the case of project budgets, a miscalculation, poor judgment or a lack of proper oversight might result in the collapse of the whole endeavor.

When it comes to poor estimation of project budgets the potential scenarios that might occur are many and all of them have negative consequences. First and foremost are the effects on meeting the client’s expectations. Not being able to deliver the agreed upon deliverables and quality standards of the project’s products might have a significant effect on your own credibility and future development as a professional. In addition, this might influence your organization’s reputation and have a negative impact on all the members of your team.  

In the sphere of the project the negative consequences might arise from the very beginning, but in most of the cases, these problems usually appear unforeseen and suddenly, hence the considerable impact on the project’s development. When they come to light, it can often be too late to have a fast and effective reaction and save the day by making the necessary alterations and amendments on the project’s initial budget.

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Causes of Improper Estimation

These erroneous calculations may come as a result of lack of experience or inefficiency in dealing with numbers in general and might result in insufficient resources. Another side effect might be the reduction in team members, or external contractors as the money simply won’t be there to pay them. In such situations it is very difficult to avoid the final outcomes being affected negatively.

On the other hand, during the evolution of a project, it is almost impossible to proceed without any amendments to the initial budget. The importance of budgeting in project management, lies in the ability to prevent unnecessary costs and to allocate the correct amount of the budget to each corresponding need. One of the most common problems a project manager is confronted with is poor calculation and a plethora of subsequent alterations and amendments of the project budgets, which are time and energy consuming. As the mantra goes, “Time is Money”, and nothing is more harmful to the successful development of a project than a badly configured budget.

Save energy and protect yourself from anxiety, uncertainty and negative consequences, by investing the time to plan an effective cost estimation, from the very beginning of the project. By doing so you will be going a long way to ensuring project success.

Project Cost Management Techniques

  1. When managing a project for a small business, the ability to contain costs is of the upmost importance. This can be a challenging task for even the most experienced project manager, particularly when there are a variety of expenses that are genuinely required for the venture to be executed without a hitch. There are, however, a few techniques that can be applied that will ensure that a project is complete under budget without compromising the integrity of the company and those associated with the project’s implementation.

Budgeting

  1. It is impossible to effectively manage the budget of a project without first estimating the potential costs included. These may include wages paid for manpower and supply costs. The estimate must also account for small incidental expenditures of which the manager may not initially think. Who, for example, will pay for the project team’s meals when they must work overtime to complete the project?In addition to determining a numeric value for each of these expenditures, the estimate should also include a variance in case of unexpected expenses. For example, if the project budget estimates two employees completing the assignment in 40 hours, it is best to budget for additional time in case the workers run into problems and are unable to complete the project in the allotted time.

Time Management

  1. Perhaps one of the primary causes of monetary waste on a project is poor time management. In order to successfully contain costs, a project manager must ensure that everyone on his team is working as efficiently as possible. In order to accomplish this, he must effectively delegate responsibilities to each employee. Although each person should only be given a realistic amount of work, there should not, ideally, be any overlap of their respective tasks. In addition, the project manager should actively monitor the work of his team to ensure that all work is on track for timely completion.

Utilize All Tools

  1. In addition to human resources, there are quite often various electronic resources aimed at supporting the successful and timely completion of a project. For example, Microsoft Outlook is designed to facilitate effective communication between members of a project team, allowing them to schedule meetings, set to-do lists and quickly send messages to one another. Likewise, devices such as a Blackberry afford team members the flexibility to complete aspects of their work remotely. By effectively utilizing each of these tools, a project manager can better ensure that the project is completed on-time and under budget.

Conclusion

In order to be successful in project management, it’s important to have a clear idea of what you want your project to achieve. You also need to set goals and objectives, keep track of results, and use a project management system. By following these tips, you can create a successful budgeting process that will result in quality products and increased sales.

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