A budget report is an internal report used by management to compare the estimated, budgeted projections with the actual performance number achieved during a period. In other words, a budget report is designed to compare how close the budgeted performance was to the actual performance during an accounting period.
Since budgets are financial goals based on estimates and future projections, they are often inaccurate and can differ largely from the actual financial performance of a company. During an accounting period managers often compare the budgeted numbers that were prepared at the beginning of the period to the actual numbers they are incurring. This serves two main purposes.
First, managers can correct problems occurring in the business to make the performance more inline with the financial goals in the budget. Second, they can evaluate how realistic and accurate their predictions were. If their predictions were way off during the period, they can adjust their next budget accordingly.
The budget report is used to compare both sets of data. An example budget report typically follows the same formatting as an income statement. The sales and revenues are listed first followed by the cost of goods sold, selling expenses, general and administrative expenses, other expenses, and finally a net operating income number.
There are usually two columns listed side by side for the budgeted numbers and the actual performance results for the period. Often there is a third column added to list the variances. Favorable variances occur when the actual numbers are better than the budgeted numbers. These are marked with an F in the margin.
Unfavorable variable are just the opposite. When actual numbers are worse than budgeted number, a U written in the margin identifying the poor results in that area. Depending on the operation, manager, and company these budgets can be reviewed on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis.
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