Plansmith Blog

The Worst Budgeting Advice We've Ever Heard

Posted by Megan Plis Knapp on 8/1/19 8:08 AM
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For almost 50 years, Plansmith has helped financial institutions become better organizations through improved planning. In that time, we've heard a lot of industry chatter - much of it a load of, dare we say, bologna.

As budgeting season approaches, we thought it would be fun to put together a list of some of the doozies.

Here are the top 5 worst pieces of budgeting advice we've ever heard...

  1. Budgeting should only be done once a year
  2. Budgeting is a one-person activity
  3. Once your budget is approved, never change it
  4. Just budget from history, its only for regulators
  5. Budgeting is a boring thing you have to do

Budgeting should be done once a year

Once a budget is locked, that's it, right? Wrong. Although a budget is approved, its work isn't done. If an organization wants the budget to work for them, they have to go to work for the budget - as cheesy as it sounds. Regularly checking in on initiatives, goals, resources, and realities as the year progresses is vital to staying on track. This is called reforecasting, and modern institutions that strive to stay ahead of the competition embrace it with open arms.

Budgeting is a one-person activity

The word activity is so fitting here, because that's really what the budgeting process is: a collaborative activity. As our CEO, Craig Hartman, writes in another blog, at least 6 unique departments should be involved in the planning process. Communication is key to breaking down silos and maximizing the effectiveness and accuracy of numbers and forecasts.

Once your budget is approved, never change it 

This piece of "advice" has old fashioned written all over it. Change is a constant in the modern world, and with it comes the need for adaptation. Your budget is no different. As things change during the year at the institution, targets and metrics should also adjust to keep pace. This eliminates end-of-year surprises and disappointments, and can also lead to catching mistakes before they happen.

Just budget from history, its only for regulators

If budgeting is solely done for regulators, an organization is likely missing out on financial opportunities. One of the best ways to improve performance is to assess how resources are being allocated, then make adjustments. This is the simple basis of good budgeting practice. Why not kill two birds with one stone by impressing regulators with a solid budget, while setting and knocking financial targets out of the park?

Budgeting is a boring thing you have to do

Budgeting doesn't have to be boring. In fact, it's a huge opportunity for collaboration and team building. When your organization begins to buy into the bigger picture that planning is for the greater good of the business, the stigma associated with it will die down, and the positive benefits - including company culture - will rise up.

If your organization is ready to realize the full potential of budgeting, click here to schedule a discovery call.

Topics: community bank forecasting, community bank budgeting, bank budget, credit union planning, budgeting