Budgets are a projection of how much you expect to earn or spend within a fiscal year. A good time to enter your budget for your next fiscal year is typically before your new fiscal year starts, but you can enter your budgets at any point during the year. Since budgets are a projection of how much you expect to earn or spend, budgets can only be applied to income and expense accounts. There are two methods for entering your budgets. We'll cover both methods in this article:
1. Entering Budgets Account-by-Account.
The first method is to enter budgets on an account-by-account basis. This method is slower, but allows you a few different options for letting Shepherd's Staff make budget projections for you that the second method doesn't offer. To start, click on the "A" on the toolbar to open your accounts grid. Once on your accounts grid, you can filter to look at just your income or your expense accounts by using the Account Type drop list at the bottom left of the grid. Select one of these options, and select the first account you want to apply a budget to. Once the account is highlighted, click the "Budget" button at the bottom of the grid.
This will bring up the budget window for your account. First, select the fiscal year you'd like to apply a budget for in the Fiscal Year field. If you don't see the year you're trying to apply a budget to in the drop list, click the "Add" button at the bottom of the window, and type in the year you want to add a budget for. When finished, click "OK". Then, in the column labeled budget, you'll see each month of your fiscal year, and you can type in what you expect to earn or spend in that month.
However, you can also have Shepherd's Staff make projections on your budgets as well. To do this, after you've selected your fiscal year, click Project/Copy. This presents you with five different projection methods:
- Equal monthly amounts: This option lets you type in a total budget for the account for the entire year. After you click OK, the amount you entered is split up evenly over all 12 months of your fiscal year.
- Base on last year's actuals: This option also lets you fill in a total budget for the year, but then Shepherd's Staff looks back at your actuals from your previous year and allocates the budget through the months of your fiscal year based on your actuals from the previous year. So, months in the previous fiscal year where you had a higher amount pass through the selected account will get a larger amount of the total budget you entered than months that has less money pass through them in your last fiscal year.
- Project from past actuals: This option is similar to base on last year's actuals, but instead of letting you assign a total budget to distribute from, instead, you pick what month and fiscal year you want to start looking back from. Shepherd's Staff then looks at all fiscal years data prior to the month and fiscal year you chose to generate a realistic budget for your current fiscal year. After you select your month and year, click OK and another window will pop up, showing you Shepherd's Staff's projections along with a total budget figure. If you'd like you can adjust that total budget, and the budget will be distributed by the new total budget figure you enter. Click OK to save the projection and make it your budget for that account.
- Copy last year's budget: This option takes your budget from your previous fiscal year and applies it to your current fiscal year.
- Copy last year's actuals: This option takes the actuals from your previous fiscal year and applies them as the budget for your current fiscal year.
2. Importing your Budget
The second option for entering your budget for the new year is to import your budgets from a spreadsheet. This option is faster, as you can import budget figures for all your income and expense accounts at the same time, but it doesn't have all the same projection options the first method provides you.
First, you'll need to get a spreadsheet that's formatted for importing your budget. To do this, in Finance go to Reports and choose Budget Worksheet. Once in this report, make sure you have all your accounts selected, Type set to "Normal" and Level of Detail set to "Account". Once this has been completed, click the button with the blue grid with a blue arrow pointing to it. This will export out the budget worksheet to Excel.
Once you're in your spreadsheet in Excel, you'll need to decide if you want to enter a lump-sum budget, where you enter the budget for the entire year, and have Shepherd's Staff distribute that equally over the 12 months of your fiscal year, or if you want to enter each month's budget, month by month. If you're entering a lump sum budget, in the column labeled "Next Year Budget", fill in the budget figure you want to split evenly over the 12 months. If you do not wish to apply a budget to an account, leave 0 in that cell.
If you decide you'd like to instead enter each month's budget for each account, you'll need to rename the Next Year Budget column to the first month of your fiscal year, and then, add another 11 columns by right clicking inbetween the column headers of the column you just renamed and "Budget this year" and select insert until you've added a column for each month of the year. Then, name each column for each month of the year, and fill out each column with the budget figures. If an account will not be assigned a budget, make sure to fill in 0 for each month.
After filling in your budget figures, save your spreadsheet in the .xls format, and make sure you save it to a location you will be able to easily find. Go back into Shepherd's Staff, and before continuing, make sure to make a backup of your data. Then, open the finance module, and click on Accounts, and choose "Budget Import". Confirm that you have made a backup and click "Yes"
Next, you will see the budget import window. The checkbox at the top "Do not overwrite existing budgets (only update budgets that are $0.00)" if checked, will only update accounts that have not had a budget applied to them for the fiscal year you will later select. If you leave it unchecked, all income and expense accounts will be updated, regardless if they've already had a budget applied to them. After you've selected if you want this option or not, click "Load Spreadsheet". A file explorer window will appear, where you can navigate to where you saved your spreadsheet. Find and select your spreadsheet by double clicking on it.
In the next box, select the layout for your spreadsheet. If you went with the lump-sum method, choose "Lump Sum", and if you entered individual budget amounts for each month, choose "12-Month". Finally, select if you're importing your budget for your current fiscal year or your next fiscal year. Then, click the "Import Budgets" button. This will import your budgets into Shepherd's Staff.