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Haven't created your financial budget for 2015? You should! Use this checklist will help you create the most effective budget quickly

by , 23 December 2014
With 2015 just eight days away (including public holidays and weekends) you don't have much time left to plan. But that doesn't mean you can relax.

If you haven't created your financial budget for 2015, you have to do it, and fast.

The danger here is to create a slap-dash budget that does nothing but cover the obvious expenses. This means you'll start 2015 financially unprepared.

The good news is, I have something that can help you avoid this.

If you use this checklist you can create your budget quickly but still make sure it's 100% effective so you don't start the New Year on the back foot...


Five questions you must ask to make sure your financial budget is effective

1. Is your budget flexible enough to take advantage of new opportunities that arise? 
If you think there's no budget for something, stop and think about your business's real goals. For example, if your goal is increased product diversity then you need to alter your budget to take advantage of opportunities to do so.
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Ten budget templates to forecast and manage your company's costs
You can use them individually or while you create your operating budget. You'll draw figures from these budgets so you can keep control of costs and maximise profit. Each budget chapter comes with a free Excel budget template for you to customise and use straight away.

2. Have you spoken, in person, to your staff about issues such as salary cuts, before you put it in the financial budget? 

This is something you should have done before all your employees went on leave. The best time to do it is during your performance review meetings. This way your employees don't get a nasty fright in January. 
Think of your financial budget as the written instruction, after you've communicated any news directly to employees.
3. Have the relevant teams given input on targets and agreed that their strategy's achievable? 
All of your department managers should've given you this information before they took leave. Make sure you find it and use it in your budget so you can make sure everyone can use it. Use your financial budget to coordinate the activities of the different departments.
4. Does your financial budget measure performance at the right level?
Measure the department manager's performance at divisional level. This will keep your staff motivated and working towards end points.
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5. Will all your employees have a clear picture of their deliverables and budget in the New Year?
When the New Year starts, communicate and use your financial budget properly. 
Keep a close eye on how your managers allocate costs each week. At the end of each month, collect receipts and invoices so you can track the real costs of running each department. 
Make managers regularly compare actual costs to budgeted costs. This way your departments will all stay on track in 2015.
Using this simple checklist will help you check if your budget will actually work when business gets going in 2015. 
Check these points as you create your budget so you don't have to do ten drafts of it before New Year's Day. 
You can find templates for ten of the most important business budgets in the Master Budget Series.

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