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
32 Reviews (111 ratings)

Reviews

5
Anonymous Author
Very detailed and informative guide to budgeting. I found this very helpful and plan to use some of the tips in my own budget process this year.

5
Anonymous Author
Great course on all the budgeting options - some of which I had not encountered before. Clear and easy to follow.

5
Member's Profile
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5
Anonymous Author
Good overview of budgeting process, different approaches, and how and why a company might choose the best budgeting method for their business. Rob Stephens is one of the best instructors I've found on this site, he covers what is important without wasting your time

5
Anonymous Author
This course was very informative and well thought out. It explains the multiple ways a company can budget and the pros and cons of each. It also provides examples of what type of budgeting would be well suited for which type of companies.

5
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.

5
Anonymous Author
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4
Member's Profile
always good to do a budget refresh; many things in here were known already though; this is more for a non cpa probably or a quick refresh for someone who does budgets annually

5
Member's Profile
This was a well written and organized course that met all of the learning objectives. I will refer back to these materials each year during the budget process.

5
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.

5
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.

4
Member's Profile
Great course on budgeting and the different methods. My company employs the bottom-up approach so it was especially helpful to read up on that.

3
Anonymous Author
many of the questions were confusing and didn't include complete information, for example saying "growth..." instead of "company growth..."

4
Member's Profile
Good course to brush up on budgeting methods and assumptions. It was well balanced and effective in it's delivery if you enjoy reading.

5
Anonymous Author
Overall good content regarding budgeting. Dives into multiple aspects of budgeting that are applicable in the real world.

5
Anonymous Author
Loved the course! I've been doing FP&A for 25 years. This is an excellent overview and though provoking. Well done!

5
Anonymous Author
Good course. Included a few budget types I was not familiar with so it was good to refresh old topics and learn new.

5
Anonymous Author
This is a really good course detailing all the various budgeting processes and identifying pros and cons of each.

5
Anonymous Author
This was a great course that introduced different budget strategies and methods. Highly recommend this course.

5
Anonymous Author
It was helpful to learn about the different types of budgeting and what works best for various company types.

5
Anonymous Author
Good overview of lots of different budget approaches and methods for various types of businesses.

5
Member's Profile
Very informative course on considerations when working on your preparing your companies budget.

4
Anonymous Author
overall good information and easy to follow. Budgeting is a good practice to use for entities.

5
Anonymous Author
This course provided an in-depth guide to budgeting that I found very informative and helpful

5
Anonymous Author
Loved his examples. And the text had funny quips, kept the reading entertaining

5
Member's Profile
Great detailed budgeting tips and descriptions of various budgeting methods.

5
Anonymous Author
Great course, clear and concise, would recommend others to take this course

5
Member's Profile
Great information, informative for forecast and practical guide.

5
Anonymous Author
Excellent content and very logical flow that is easy to follow.

5
Member's Profile
I like the fact that the reading was easy to follow through.

4
Member's Profile
Very informative course on budgeting and FP&A in general.

5
Member's Profile
Material was put together in a very organized fashion.

Prerequisites
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
COURSE MATERIAL
  Better Budgeting (Text Based Course)PDF
REVIEW AND TEST
  REVIEW QUESTIONSquiz
 FINAL EXAMexam