What Is an Annual Budget?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2019
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    Conjecture Corporation
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An annual budget is a home or business budget that encompasses an successive time frame of 12 months. This period may be based on a calendar year, beginning on 1 January and ending on 31 December, or be based on a fiscal year used by the business or organization as part of its financial operating structure, such as from 1 September of one calendar year to 30 August of the following year. The goal of an annual budget is to create a viable spending plan that takes into consideration all projected sources of income or revenue for the annual period and seeks to allocate those funds in order to fund specific line items within the budget.

Individuals as well as most types of organizations will draft an annual budget. Companies of all sizes, government organizations and even non-profit organizations will attempt to gather relevant data that helps to project income and expenditures for the upcoming annual period, and identify the best way to use that income stream to settle those expenditures in a timely manner. Doing so makes it easier to plan on how to manage monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, and annual expenses so that all expenditures are covered by the projected revenue. Once the annual budget terms are established, the process of creating monthly budgets within the scope of that larger budget is much easier.


Part of the task of creating an effective annual budget is to realistically project the amount of income that will be received during the period under consideration. Companies routinely use historical data from years past as well as anticipation of shifts in consumer demand, the release of new products, and changes to the economy in general when attempting to determine a viable revenue figure. By using reliable data to determine the projected income, the chances of funding the budget are much higher.

Along with projecting income levels, a key component in developing any type of workable annual budget is to identify and account for all types of expenditures. This usually begins by noting all fixed expenses that will be due at specific times throughout the annual period, and accounting for those expenses first. From there, consideration of variable expenses, or those that may increase or decrease from time to time, will also help make it easier to allocate a reasonable amount of funds to each line item in the budget. In terms of actually allocating totals for each month or quarter within the year, due dates on expenditures must be matched with the anticipated receipt of income in order to set limits on spending for each accounting period within the consecutive 12 months.

When designed effectively and responsibly, an annual budget provides a clear plan of operation to manage income to best advantage. The budget will also make it much easier to determine when and if it is possible to take on additional expenses, such as funding the purchase of a new car, planning a vacation, or possibly even paying off a few debts early. Taking the time to draft the annual budget will often provide insights into how money is spent, how it can be allocated to better effect, and what can be done to improve his or her circumstances during the course of that annual period.



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