Forecasting, budgeting, business planning; what is the big deal? It is an important topic and at our User Conference, we had sessions and speakers talking about this. In the past, some mid-sized and most small companies have managed to grow and be profitable without formal planning and strategic visions. For some executives, budgeting and planning seems like a lot of wasted effort to creating fictional numbers that are a guess today and completely irrelevant in six months!
Budgets are one of the 3 pillars that hold-up a project and they ensure that there is enough of “it” to support the other 2, viz. scope and time. All three are just as important but for a successful project implementation a smart budget is at its core.
The PMBOK talks about several methods we can use for budgeting but the one that is my favorite and is most accurate is “bottom-up estimating”. When using this method we break down each task into a smaller component and such a component can be assigned anywhere from 8-16 hours to complete. We then work our way up into estimates of higher-level deliverables.
Do you report actual to budget variance and always have a difficult time getting your budget into GP? Below are some suggestions on how to best use excel based budgeting within GP. There are options for users who have budget workbooks outside of GP and just need to load the data as well as users that are just starting the budgeting process and how to build templates and get historical data out of GP for budgeting.