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Budget (from french bougette) generally refers to a list of all planned expenses and revenues. A budget is an important concept in microeconomics, which uses a budget line to illustrate the trade-offs between two or more goods. In other terms, a budget is an organizational plan stated in monetary terms.
Personal or family budget
- For more details on this topic, see Personal budget.
In a personal or family budget all sources of income (inflows) are identified and expenses (outflows) are planned with the intent of matching outflows to inflows (making ends meet ends.)
The budget of a company is compiled annually. A finished budget usually requires considerable effort and can be seen as a financial plan for the new financial year. While traditionally the Finance department compiles the company's budget, modern software allows hundreds or even thousands of people in the various departments (operations, human resources, IT etc) to contribute their expected revenues and expenses to the final budget.
If the actual numbers delivered through the financial year turn out to be close to the budget, this will demonstrate that the company understands their business and has been successfully driving it in the direction they had planned. On the other hand, if the actuals diverge wildly from the budget, this sends out an 'out of control' signal and the share price could suffer as a result.
Psychological aspects of budgets
In summary, the purpose of budgeting is to:
- Provide a forecast of revenues and expenditures i.e. construct a model of how our business might perform financially speaking if certain strategies, events and plans are carried out.
- Provide a financial framework for the decision making process.
- Enable the actual financial operation of the business to be measured against the forecast.
- Budget theory
- Budget overrun
- Cost containment
- Income (economic)