Coming into October, everyone's talking budgets, budgets, budgets! Julie Adamen illustrates something many of us experience each year - budget frenzy! We also have a great new free download for you - a Community Budget Template. Read on for the whole story:
Is this what happens to you every year at budget time? Somehow we all seem to go into a frenzy each year because we have to get budgets done. Julie Adamen points out that you can avoid budget frenzy by starting early. But here it is almost October and perhaps you didn't start in July? How can you get budgets done on time without going into a frenzy?
First of all, RELAX. Don't forget to breathe! Even at the last minute, you CAN get your budgets done without going crazy or foaming at the mouth, and we are going to give you the tools to do it!
Simple Community Budgeting
For a simple budget, Julie gives us the basic formula to follow:
Annual Expenses ÷ 12 ÷ Number of Units
Following the above formula, you need only determine the amount of your projected annual expenses. These can (and should!) include estimates from proposals provided by your community vendors for ongoing and planned projects, technology purchases, utility expenses, maintenance needs, and reserve fund contributions. Don't worry about when the work is going to be done. For this simple budget, you just need to know the total amount of expenses.
If you've really cut it close, and don't have time to get proposals from all of your vendors, a down and dirty secret is to use last year's numbers for that vendor and simply carry them over to next year's budget, adding a small percentage for inflation. Obviously, the accuracy of your budget suffers with less specific detail, but if you are unable to get a vendor's data in time, it will work to fill the holes.
If your community requires a more comprehensive budget, you can also get that done without too much fuss. Last month, we gave you a step-by-step list you can follow to gather the information you need to get a comprehensive budget. Following those steps you should have a comprehensive foundation for your budget. All you need next is a place to put the numbers. If you use TOPS Professional you already have a great budget tool built-in. If not, then we've built a handy budget template that's free for you to download:
This Free Budgeting Template is designed to give you a framework in which to input your own community financial data to create a comprehensive, well presented, easy to understand monthly budget for the year. We've done all the legwork for you:
- All formulas are pre-set up to calculate budget totals automatically.
- Formatting added to make the pages easy to read and understand.
- Print-friendly layout and shading to work on your printer without wasting time fussing with it.
- Easily add or delete rows to customize the accounts to your community.
- All you need to do is plug in your numbers!
What do you think?
Does budget season make you crazy? What techniques have you employed to get you through it? Let us know in the comments!