The Importance of an Annual Budgeting Plan

PSMJ Resources, Inc.
Posted on: 10/08/19
Written by: PSMJ Resources, Inc.

Many architecture and engineering firms are challenged by the amount of non-billable time that goes into the annual budgeting process. And then, because there are so many variables at play in firms all the time, the best laid plans are useless a month later.

Common frustrations with the annual budgeting process are that it’s not only time consuming, but also that the goals are often unrealistic; there’s too much focus on the numbers; there’s no tie between the numbers and the strategies; and the plan is inevitably overtaken by events. 

So, the question remains: Why bother planning when unforeseen events always undermine the plan?

The answer:

There is no excuse to not do planning! The annual budgeting process is an opportunity to get out in front of your financial performance. Of course, when you do accounting, it’s backward looking: You produce the financial statements for September by October 15, for instance. You can’t change September; it’s gone. Instead, you must invest a significant amount of effort influencing and predicting what’s going to happen at the end of October, November, December.

And whenever the crystal ball starts to get cloudy—generally based on your hard backlog and the size of your projects—you have to look forward at financial management too. The strategic plan, your budget, whatever you call it, is your opportunity to start getting ahead of the game and start saying, “Well, if we keep going on this same path, our year is going to end…” You can fill in the blank: well, badly, way below budget, way above budget, whatever the case may be.

The problem with a lot of business planning is that it’s only about metrics, and there’s not enough behaviors discussed. Or it’s all about behaviors and there’s no tie to the actual metrics. Often, financial managers produce the financial statements with all of the metrics, but they don’t get looked at or talked about. Then, the strategic plan happens in a vacuum.  There has to be some accountability that comes out of a strategic plan or you’ll never know whether you’ve accomplished it or not.


Will 2020 be your firm's most profitable year ever, or a missed opportunity to set and achieve audacious goals?
One thing you can take to the bank: Without a rock-solid business plan, you'll reap more regrets than rewards. Don't risk it. Register now for A/E/C Business Planning for 2020, the only interactive online business-plan design program created specifically for A/E/C firm CEOs, CFOs, principals, directors, business managers and branch office managers. From the convenience and comfort of your office, you get step-by-step, field-tested, and proven instructions for crafting a plan that sets performance targets across all functional areas, tracks key metrics, fine-tunes operations, and delivers maximum returns. Don't just HOPE for the best -- make it happen with a business plan built on guidance from PSMJ's industry-leading management experts.

Learn More Now



December 13, 2019

Latest A/E/C Mergers and Acquisitions Making Headlines

  Here’s a recap of some of the latest A/E/C mergers and acquisitions that have been announced in recent weeks. December 11, 2019 – Engineering, construction management, design,..

Read More
December 13, 2019

Considering Selling in 2020? Read this First!

Getting a firm ready to sell begins well before a potential buyer is introduced into the equation. Even if a sale of your A/E firm couldn’t be any distant or abstract of a..

Read More
December 12, 2019

Strategic Planning For Alliances: The Key to Success

Forming strategic alliances requires the same sort of planning that your architecture, engineering or construction firm would put into your own strategic planning. There are a..

Read More