Flexible Budget Definition Example Advantages Disadvantages

Flexible Budget Definition
> Flexible budget is a budget that is mostly used as a static budgetA static budget is one that anticipates all revenue and expenses which will occur during a particular period, with changes in the level of production/sales or any other major factor having no effect on the budgeted data. It is also known as a fixed budget.read more and basically changes with the changes occurring in the volume or activity held in production, also helpful for increasing the manager’s efficiency and effectiveness because it is set to benchmark for the actual performance of the company.

It is useful for both planning purposes and control purposes and is generally used to estimate factory costsFactory costs are the expenses incurred in the normal course of business to manufacture goods that are intended to be sold to customers, and they include all costs associated with production, such as direct material costs, direct labour costs, and other manufacturing overheads.read more and operating costsOperating expense (OPEX) is the cost incurred in the normal course of business and does not include expenses directly related to product manufacturing or service delivery. Therefore, they are readily available in the income statement and help to determine the net profit.read more. A flexible budget is much more realistic than fixed budgets since it gives emphasis on cost behavior at different levels of activity.

Important Aspects
Example of Flexible Budgets
This example has the following details provided by a factory expected to operate at 70% level of activity (i.e., hrs)-

* Variable Expenses: $2,520
* Semi-Variable Expenses: $2,400
* Fixed Expenses: $3,600

Now, between 85% and 95% of activity level, its semi-variable expenses increase by 10%, and above 95% of activity level, they grow by 20%. Prepare a flexible budget for the three scenarios wherein the activity levels are 80%, 90%, and 100%.


We have noticed that the recovery rate (Budgeted hrs/Total expenses) at the activity level of 70 % is $0.61 per hr. If the factory works hrs in a particular month, the allowances @ $0.61 will come put to be $9,760, which is not correct. As shown in the above table, the accurate allowance is computed to be $8,880.

This is because the fixed expenses don’t change irrespective of the activity level and the semi-variable expenses do change but not in proportion to the activity level. Only the purely variable expenses vary proportionately with the activity level.

Thus, if the actual expenses exceed $8,880 by $X in the month with an 80% activity level, it would mean that the company has not saved any money but has overspent $X more than the budgeted amount.

Situations to use Flexible Budgeting
* In the case of a typical business, if it is newly started, it becomes tough to predict the demand for the products/services accurately. But this can be dealt with by putting a Flexible budget in place.
* In the case where the business totally depends upon Mother Nature, i.e., rain, dry and cold, the flexible budget helps the business to estimate there output considering the good or adverse weather conditions. For example, agricultural activities, wool-based industries, etc.
* In case of a business which carries their entire work with the help of laborers. The laborers’ availability is a critical factor for these types of companies. Therefore it helps the management to accurately know about their productivity and output, for example, jute factories, handloom industries, etc.

* It can help in sales, costs, and profit calculation at different levels of operating capacity.
* It helps to determine the quantity/amount of output to be produced to help the company achieve the desired profit level.
* The most significant advantage of this budget is that it helps the management of the company to determine the production level in different market and business conditions.
* It also helps in the reclassification of various levels of budgeted costs along with sales so that managers can easily identify the profit areas and thus may act accordingly.
* This budget can be re-casted on the basis of the activity levels. It is not rigid.

* This budget requires skilled workers to work on it. The availability of skilled workers becomes a challenge for the industry. Therefore, many Industries and companies can’t use this budget despite its enormous advantages.
* It depends upon the proper accounting disclosures. The result cannot come out to be correct if there are any mistakes in the Books of Accounts provided. A flexible budget depends very much upon a forecast of the past business performance. So the historical information used needs to be accurate.
* It is an expensive affair. Skilled workers are to be appointed, and they should be paid for their services. It’s quite a laborious task too. Thus many companies and industries can’t afford to have this budget.
* It also depends upon the factors of the production, which are not in the hands of the management. Therefore the predictions can be inaccurate due to these conditions.
* Variance Analysis provides useful information as each cost is analyzed according to its nature. Thus it becomes difficult for the experts to prepare Flexible budgets.

A flexible budget can be found suitable when the business conditions are constantly changing. Accurate estimates are expected from if the resources are available with the experts. A big organization should hire experts to prepare a flexible budget and to help their organization make a clear vision about what output should be produced to achieve the targeted profit.

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