7.2 Master Budgets

A master budget consists of a projected income statement (planned operating budget) and a projected balance sheet (financial budget) showing the organization's objectives and proposed ways of attaining them. In diagram below, we depict a flowchart of the financial planning process that you can use as an overview of the elements in a master budget. The remainder of this chapter describes how a company prepares a master budget. We emphasize the master budget because of its prime importance to financial planning and control in a business entity.


The budgeting process starts with management's plans and objectives for the next period. These plans take into consideration various policy decisions concerning selling price, distribution network, advertising expenditures, and environmental influences from which the company forecasts its sales for the period (in units by product or product line). Managers arrive at the sales budget in dollars by multiplying sales units times sales price per unit. They use expected production, sales volume, and inventory policy to project cost of goods sold. Next, managers project operating expenses such as selling and administrative expenses.

This chapter cannot cover all areas of budgeting in detail—entire books have been written on budgeting. However, the following video provides an overview of a budgeting procedure that many successful companies have used.

We begin the budget process by discussing the planned operating budget or projected income statement.

The projected balance sheet, or financial budget, depends on many items in the projected income statement. Thus, the logical starting point in preparing a master budget is the projected income statement, or planned operating budget. However, since the planned operating budget shows the net effect of many interrelated activities, management must prepare several supporting budgets (sales, production, and purchases, to name a few) before preparing the planned operating budget. The process begins with the sales budget.

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