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Brilliant Budgets and Forecasts
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Table of Contents

Introduction

Part 1: BUDGETING AND FORECASTING ESSENTIALS

1. Understanding budgets and forecasts
Definitions of budgets and budget forecasts
Profit and loss forecasts
Cash flow forecasts
Spreadsheet-based budgets and forecasts for day-to-day management
Forecasts not the sole province of accountants
Planning cycles
Fixed, rolling and perpetual forecasts
Can a forecast ever be right? Does it need to be?
Summary

2. Using budgets and forecasts
Budget management
Planning and 'what if'
Cost control
Raising finance
Cash flow control
Summary

Part 2: SPREADSHEET ESSENTIALS

3. Understanding computer spreadsheets
How to use the example files
What are spreadsheets?
Examples of principal facilities and functions
Handy tips and shortcuts
Summary
4. Spreadsheet techniques for budgeting and forecasting
So many ways and means
Essential practices and conventions
Example forecasts
Examples of non-essential but useful techniques
Summary

Part 3: BUILDING THE ILLUSTRATION FRAMEWORK

5. Preparations for the illustration budget
Are everyone's objectives the same?
Budgeting methods
Review of a budgeting process
The example business 'Widget Makers Ltd'
Deciding the requirements of the example budget
A single or departmental budget?
Cost categories
Cost headings
Categorising the cost headings
Revenue headings
The forecast's duration and periods
Summary
6. Creating the illustration framework
Making the sales forecast
The budget forecast
The cash flow forecast
Summary

Part 4: USING THE ILLUSTRATION FRAMEWORK

7. Assembling the budget
Making the sales forecast
Making the budget forecast
Cash flow forecast adjustments
Charts and key indicators
Key ratios
Summary
8. Causes and effects
Adjustment and refinement
The reiteration process
Examining causes and effects
Simple cause and effect
Address the cause or the effect?
Gross profitability of each product
Summary
9. Allocation, monitoring and reviewing
Visibility, clarity and relevance
Budget allocation
Performance monitoring principles
Setting up monitoring for the Widget Makers Ltd forecast
Recording actual figures
Reviewing the forecast
Summary
10. Further analysis
The impact of change on cash flow
The effect of rapid growth on cash flow
'What if' analysis
Summary

Part 5: HANDLING VAT

11. VAT in the forecast
What is VAT?
Calculating and paying VAT
Cash flow forecast VAT calculations
Summary

Part 6: MEASURING AND CONTROLLING COSTS

12. Measuring and controlling costs
First things first
Absolute figures and percentages
Measuring production costs
Measuring manpower costs
Activity based costing (ABC)
Summary

Part 7: A PRACTICAL FORECASTING FRAMEWORK

13. A practical forecasting framework
Features and uses of the practical template
Structure of the practical template
Sales and direct costs
Profit and loss / budget
Cash forecast
Asset register
A typical month end routine
Summary

About the Author

Malcolm Secrett began his professional career with BT, initially as an Electronics and Telecommunications Engineer and then in a variety of management roles. After leaving BT he established a consultancy providing financial planning and forecasting, cost and productivity analysis and improvement, analysis of work flow procedures, productivity improvements, quality systems, and the implementation of IT systems for financial planning and control.

Building on an innate ability to de-mystify and explain, Malcolm has developed a uniquely pragmatic approach to aspects of management all too often regarded as the sole domain of specialists including financial forecasting and control, conventional and activity based costing, and the day-to-day application of spreadsheets.

His articles and books have been published throughout the world in English, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Chinese, Russian, Ukrainian and several other languages.

Malcolm is the managing director of iBase Media Services Ltd, (www.ibase.com) a software development company specialising in digital asset management and digital multi-media library systems. He also offers business consultancy with special emphasis on increasing profitability through cost management, and the avoidance of insolvency.

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