As you’ve no doubt noticed in business and in life, the activities that cost money almost always seem to outnumber those that bring money in. If you run your own business just as a hobby, maybe you don’t need to plan ahead or use a budget. But most companies want to make money and most nonprofits want to do the most with the funds they have, so budgeting and planning are essential business activities.
Like any kind of plan, a budget is an estimate of what’s going to happen. You’ll never produce exactly the numbers you estimate in your budget. And, if you do, someone’s playing games with your books. But comparing your actual performance to your budget can tell you that it’s time to crack the whip on the sales team, rein in your spending, or both.
Budgeting in QuickBooks is both simple and simplistic. If you gather budget numbers from dozens of divisions and perform statistical analysis on the results to determine your final budget, plan on massaging your budget in some other program. But QuickBooks can handle basic budgets and even provide some very handy shortcuts for entering numbers quickly.
Beyond budgeting, QuickBooks includes a suite of decision tools primarily for beginners. These tools introduce some of the planning and analysis that organizations perform, but don’t expect a thorough education on managing your business. You’ll learn just enough to realize that you need to know more and, for that, you should turn to your accountant or take some ...