Budgetary Control

What is Budgetary Control?

Budgetary control is the process of preparation of budgets for various activities and comparing the budgeted figures for arriving at deviations if any, which are to be eliminated in future. Thus budget is a means and budgetary control is the end result. Budgetary control is a continuous process which helps in planning and coordination. It also provides a method of control.

The comparison of budgeted and actual figures will enable the management to find out discrepancies and take remedial measures at a proper time. A budget is a means and budgetary control is the end-result.

Budgetary control is a system of coordinating costs which includes the preparation of budgets, coordinating the work of departments and establishing responsibilities, comparing the actual performance with the budgeted and acting upon results to achieve maximum profitability.

Budgetary control is a system of procedures used to ensure that an organization’s actual revenues and expenditures adhere closely to its financial plan. The system typically involves setting personal goals for managers that are based on the budget, along with a set of rewards that are triggered when the goals are attained. In addition, budget versus actual reports are routinely issued to anyone having responsibility for a line item in the financial statements; they are then expected to take action to correct any unfavorable variances. Further, the results of the business are closely monitored by a budget committee, which provides feedback to managers whenever actual results threaten to fall below expectations.

Objectives of Budgetary Control

The main objectives of budgetary control are given below:

  1. Defining the objectives of the enterprise.
  2. Providing plans for achieving the objectives so defined.
  3. Coordinating the activities of various departments.
  4. Operating various departments and cost centres economically and efficiently.
  5. Increasing the profitability by eliminating waste.
  6. Centralizing the control system.
  7. Correcting variances from sit standards.
  8. Fixing the responsibility of various individuals in the enterprise.

Essentials of Budgetary Control

There are certain steps which are necessary for the successful implementation budgetary control system.

These are as follows:

  1. Organisation for Budgetary Control
  2. Budget Centres
  3. Budget Manual
  4. Budget Officer
  5. Budget Committee
  6. Budget Period
  7. Determination of Key Factor.

1. Organization for Budgetary Control

The proper organization is essential for the successful preparation, maintenance and administration of budgets. A Budgetary Committee is formed, which comprises the departmental heads of various departments. All the functional heads are entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring proper implementation of their respective departmental budgets.

The Chief Executive is the overall in-charge of budgetary system. He constitutes a budget committee for preparing realistic budgets A budget officer is the convener of the budget committee who co-ordinates the budgets of different departments. The managers of different departments are made responsible for their departmental budgets.

2. Budget Centres

A budget centre is that part of the organization for which the budget is prepared. A budget centre may be a department, section of a department or any other part of the department. The establishment of budget centres is essential for covering all parts of the organization. The budget centres are also necessary for cost control purposes. The appraisal performance of different parts of the organization becomes easy when different centres are established.

3. Budget Manual

A budget manual is a document which spells out the duties and also the responsibilities of various executives concerned with the budgets. It specifies the relations amongst various functionaries.

4. Budget Officer

The Chief Executive, who is at the top of the organization, appoints some person as Budget Officer. The budget officer is empowered to scrutinize the budgets prepared by different functional heads and to make changes in them, if the situations so demand. The actual performance of different departments is communicated to the Budget Officer. He determines the deviations in the budgets and the actual performance and takes necessary steps to rectify the deficiencies, if any.

He works as a coordinator among different departments and monitors the relevant information. He also informs the top management about the performance of different departments. The budget officer will be able to carry out his work fully well only if he is conversant with the working of all the departments.

5. Budget Committee

In small-scale concerns the accountant is made responsible for preparation and implementation of budgets. In large-scale concerns a committee known as Budget Committee is formed. The heads of all the important departments are made members of this committee. The Committee is responsible for preparation and execution of budgets. The members of this committee put up the case of their respective departments and help the committee to take collective decisions if necessary. The Budget Officer acts as convener of this committee.

6. Budget Period

A budget period is the length of time for which a budget is prepared and employed. The budget period depends upon a number of factors. It may be different for different industries or even it may be different in the same industry or business.

The budget period depends upon the following considerations:

  • (a) The type of budget i.e., sales budget, production budget, raw materials purchase budget, capital expenditure budget. A capital expenditure budget may be for a longer period i.e. 3 to 5 years purchase, sale budgets may be for one year.
  • (b) The nature of demand for the products.
  • (c) The timings for the availability of the finances.
  • (d) The economic situation of the country.
  • (e) The length of trade cycles.

All the above-mentioned factors are taken into account while fixing period of budgets

7. Determination of Key Factor

The budgets are prepared for all functional areas. These budgets are inter­dependent and inter-related. A proper co-ordination among different budgets is necessary for making the budgetary control a success. The constraints on some budgets may have an effect on other budgets too. A factor which influences all other budgets is known as Key Factor or Principal Factor.

There may be a limitation on the quantity of goods a concern may sell. In this case, sales will be a key factor and all other budgets will be prepared by keeping in view the amount of goods the concern will be able to sell. The raw material supply may be limited, so production, sales and cash budgets will be decided according to raw materials budget. Similarly, plant capacity may be a key factor if the supply of other factors is easily available.

The key factor may not necessarily remain the same. The raw materials supply may be limited at one time but it may be easily available at another time. The sales may be increased by adding more sales staff, etc. Similarly, other factors may also improve at different times. The key factor also highlights the limitations of the enterprise. This will enable the management to improve the working of those departments where scope for improvement exists.

Advantages of Budgetary Control

Budgetary control has become an important tool of an organization to control costs and to maximize profits. Some of the advantages of budgetary control are:

  1. It defines the goals, plans and policies of the enterprise. If there is no definite aim then the efforts will be wasted in achieving some other aims.
  2. Budgetary control fixes targets. Each and every department is forced to work efficiently to reach the target. Thus, it is an effective method of controlling the activities of various departments of a business unit.
  3. It secures better co-ordination among various departments.
  4. In case the performance is below expectation, budgetary control helps the management in finding up the responsibility.
  5. It helps in reducing the cost of production by eliminating the wasteful expenditure.
  6. By promoting cost consciousness among the employees, budgetary control brings in efficiency and economy.
  7. Budgetary control facilitates centralized control with decentralized activity.
  8. As everything is planned and provided in advance, it helps in smooth running of business enterprise.
  9. It tells the management as to where action is required for solving problems without delay.

Disadvantages or Limitations of Budgetary Control

The following are the limitations of budgetary control:

  1. It is really difficult to prepare the budgets accurately under inflationary conditions.
  2. Budget involves a heavy expenditure which small business concerns cannot afford.
  3. Budgets are prepared for the future period which is always uncertain. In future, conditions may change which will upset the budgets. Thus, future uncertainties minimize the utility of budgetary control system.
  4. Budgetary control is only a management tool. It cannot replace management in decision-making because it is not a substitute for management.
  5. The success of budgetary control depends upon the support of the top management. If there is lack of support from top management, then this will fail.