Financial budgeting

This task requires you to examine and analyse a selected budget within your company to draw conclusions and recommendations regarding its effectiveness as a mechanism for monitoring costs and performance within a company. As part of this examination you are required to analyse the cost elements within the budget so as to understand the cost structure of the company and key factors influencing it.

 

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Instructions: 1. Select a budget from your company, and develop an understanding of the budget composition, including key cost (and revenue) elements and the factors that drive those elements. In addition, develop an understanding of the preparation and the monitoring process for this budget. Y

 

2. Prepare a report in which you describe, analyze and critique the budget preparation and monitoring process. In your discussion, identify any pitfalls associated with the budget process, and actions which you recommend could be taken to improve the either the budget process or performance against the budget. Also comment on the cost structure and any recommendations you may have in relation to this.

 

In the discussion and analysis of the chosen budget, ensure that you include a discussion of the following aspects:

 

1. How the budget aligns to broader organizational planning, strategies and goals.

2. The budget development process, including; timing and timeframes, key stakeholders involved, signoffs, tools and systems used, communications.

3. The key cost elements (and revenues) in the budget. In discussing these, describe whether the key costs elements and revenues are regarded as fixed or variable, and what factors ‘drive’ them.

4. Any indirect costs that are allocated into this budget and on what basis the allocation is done.

5. Reflection on the costs and the cost structure reflected in the budget and the implications of this structure in cost management.

6. How information is gathered to support the budget and budget assumptions, including any costing models or costing systems that are used to generate information for the budget.

7. How performance against the budget is measured and monitored.

8. Consideration of how the use of data analytics could impact the budget development or monitoring processes.

 

Assessment Submission Requirements:

1. Your assessment is to be written in a business report format.

2. Include a minimum of 3 suitable journal articles or other references that support your research

3. Your report must not exceed 3,500 words. Note: The executive summary, table of contents, tables and reference list are not included in the word count.

4. Appendices and tables may be used to clarify and support your arguments but should not be used to circumvent the word count limit. If you use appendices, please use these sparingly

 

Students may choose any suitable budget for analysis. This could include, as examples, a sales budget for a business unit, a division, a State or a region. It could be a an expense budget or a profit & loss budget for a business unit, a division/department a State or a region. It could be a Project budget or a BAU (Business as usual) budget. It makes sense to choose a budget for which you have involvement and are able to access information. It may be a budget for which you are accountable or may be a budget that you provide input to or a budget into which your cost is allocated. If you don’t have accountability for a budget, it may make sense to select a budget that you may have involvement with in the future. It is recommended that you clearly identify the chosen budget and its scope and context within the organisation. This would be well placed in the Introduction section of your report. The context of the budget has an important influence on your evaluation of the budget process.

Analysis

Analysis involves drawing meaning from the results and goes beyond providing a description of what the budget process is and what the key costs/revenues are. Thus analysis should compare the workplace budget process against good practice principles and within the context of the organisation so as to identify gaps and areas for improvement. Consider what is working well and what could be improved. Some further tips in relation to analysis: • We do not need to see the actual budget or budget “numbers”. You do NOT need to provide the actual budget figures or to have access to the budget figures. The assessment relates to an evaluation of the budget process as a mechanism for managing financial resources, and also on the costing structure (ie knowing what the main cost elements are within the budget). It is not an evaluation of whether the budget was met or not, or whether the budget was underspent or overspent (although that may be considered within the evaluation). Having access to the actual budget may assist, but is not essential to being able to respond to this assessment. • In your assessment, we would expect you to demonstrate that you have knowledge of what constitutes good practice budgeting (both preparation and monitoring) and are able to apply this in identifying any gaps in your chosen budget process • We expect that have developed an understanding of the key costs (and or revenues) and also the factors that drive (influence) those.

 

Recommendations

 

This is an important section of this assessment and should be considered throughout your research and analysis. The assessment specifically requires a critique and recommendations to follow from the critique. Note that recommendations must be informed judgements, decisions or insights reached by reasoning and supported by evidence. They should emerge from the key arguments and analysis. Every recommendation must be clearly traceable to the supporting arguments and its associated evidence.

 

Presentation, format and style

This assessment is required to be submitted in a Report format. Please ensure you are confident on what a Report entails – and its major sections. Note that a Report format is not just a case of inserting report headings. The content under each heading must provide the content required of that section. As examples, the Executive Summary is NOT an introduction, nor a methodology section. Similarly, the Introduction section should provide an introduction to the report, including purpose, scope and any limitations. The style in a report is objective and neutral. Avoid emotive language and bias and write in third person language. A report is not a learning journal – it is focused on what you have found and explains those results – it does not explain the process you followed or your ‘learning journey’. It must lead to conclusions.

 

Topics to be covered:

Capital Investment Decisions

Financing

Costing Principles

Cost Behaviour

Budgeting

Future themes and critical perspectives

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