Budgeting consumes a massive amount of time and resources. It's a stressful and busy time.

Are there ways to improve the effectiveness of the investment we make in the budget process? Can we make better budgeting decisions that lead to higher performance?

There are options within and beyond traditional budgeting. Each company should consider these options and decide which could improve their budgeting process. Budgeting has many benefits that we can continue to capture and build upon.

This course starts by outlining the benefits and challenges of budgeting. Throughout this course, I'll provide tips and alternative budget systems that can mitigate these challenges and capture more benefits.

Next, you'll learn or revisit some foundational concepts for budgeting. I'll build on these to show the pros and cons of later budgeting tips, ideas, and alternatives.

The master budget is a collection of many sub-budgets. I'll show how these fit together to form an aligned plan to achieve a company's strategic goals. There's a method to the madness of when different types of assumptions and calculations are layered into the budget. However, the process is not entirely sequential. It abounds with iterative loops.

The third section walks step-by-step through the budget formation process. The purpose and role of the budget can best be explained in the context of strategic planning. We'll explore which analyses can be done throughout the year to take pressure off the very busy budgeting season. Some lessons cover the nuts and bolts of budget reporting and budgeting tools.

I'll explore a series of budgeting alternatives in the final section of the course. We'll look at rolling forecasts, zero-based budgeting, activity-based budgeting, and many others. We'll also look at operating without a budget. Each alternative has pros and cons that I'll list.

Each lesson in this section gives an overview of the budget alternative to help you decide whether you want to pursue that alternative further. Even if you don't fully adopt these alternatives, you can find ideas to improve your budgeting process.

The course concludes by revisiting budgeting process challenges and how the tips and alternatives presented in the course can address or mitigate those challenges.

The course author has been the CFO, SVP of Finance, or Director of Operations of companies with just a few employees to companies with $3 billion in assets and hundreds of employees. He's led, facilitated, or participated in the budgeting process many times.

NOTE: This course is also available in Video Based format (3 parts):

Learning Objectives
  • Identify budgeting benefits and challenges.
  • Identify and recall the role of the master budget and sub-budgets.
  • Identify and recall key steps in the budgeting process.
  • Recognize the pros and cons of budgeting alternatives.
Last updated/reviewed: September 21, 2023
9 Reviews (38 ratings)


Member's Profile
Material was put together in a very organized fashion.

Anonymous Author
This course was an easy to follow, high level review of how to plan, adapt, and execute a budget. I would reccomend this course to others like me who's studies previously focused away from budgeting, and more on accounting.

Anonymous Author
Better Budgeting (Text Based Course) Better Budgeting (Text Based Course) Better Budgeting (Text Based Course) Better Budgeting (Text Based Course) Better Budgeting (Text Based Course)

Anonymous Author
This was the best course I have taken on Illumeo. The materials were well suited to the exam and I found I will keep this information for a long time.

Member's Profile
Amazing course that will assist anyone who goes through the budgeting process each year. Great step-by-step ideas for each aspect of an annual budget.

Anonymous Author
many of the questions were confusing and didn't include complete information, for example saying "growth..." instead of "company growth..."

Anonymous Author
This was a great course that introduced different budget strategies and methods. Highly recommend this course.

Anonymous Author
Good overview of lots of different budget approaches and methods for various types of businesses.

Anonymous Author
This course provided an in-depth guide to budgeting that I found very informative and helpful

Course Complexity: Foundational
No advanced preparation or prerequisites are required for this course.
Education Provider Information
Company: Illumeo, Inc., 75 East Santa Clara St., Suite 1215, San Jose, CA 95113
Contact: For more information regarding this course, including complaint and cancellation policies, please contact our offices at (408) 400- 3993 or send an e-mail to .
Instructor for this course
Course Syllabus
  Better Budgeting (Text Based Course)PDF