7.9 Flexible Budgets

Early in the chapter, you learned that a budget should be adjusted for changes in assumptions or variations in the level of operations. Managers use a technique known as flexible budgeting to deal with budgetary adjustments. A flexible operating budget is a special kind of budget that provides detailed information about budgeted expenses (and revenues) at various levels of output.



Leed Company's manufacturing overhead cost budget at 70% capacity is shown below.  Leed can produce 25,000 units in a 3 month period or a quarter, which represents 100% of capacity.

Leed Company 
Manufacturing Overhead Cost 
3-month Budget 
Supplies $1,400
Power  7,000
Insurance 4,200
Maintenance  4,900
Depreciation  18,000
Supervision   57,000
Total Overhead Costs $92,500
Units Produced (70% capacity) 17,500
To keep the example simple, we assume that the first four costs are strictly variable and we will calculate a budget per unit for these costs. On the other hand, the last two costs, depreciation and supervision, are fixed costs and are assumed to be constant over the entire relevant range of activity meaning they do not change based on volume.  The table below shows the calculations for units produced at 70% capacity and calculates the variable cost per unit for all variable costs.

Variable Fixed Calculation
Units produced 17,500 units (25,00 units x 70% capacity)
Supplies $1,400 $0.08 ($1,400 / 17,500 units)
Power            7,000 $0.40 ($7,000 / 17,500 units)
Insurance            4,200 $0.24 ($4,200 / 17,500 units)
Maintenance            4,900 $0.28 ($4,900 / 17,500 units)
Depreciation          18,000 $18,000 No calculation - fixed cost
Supervision          57,000 $57,000 No calculation - fixed cost
Now that we know the variable costs per unit. we can calculate the flexible budget for any level of activity using these figures.  Leed Company prepares a flexible budget for 70%, 80%, 90% and 100% capacity.  Notice how the variable costs change with volume but the fixed costs remain the same.

Leed Company      
Flexible Budget for Mfg Overhead      
      70% capacity 80% capacity 90% capacity 100% capacity

Volume (in units)  (25,000 units x capacity %)          17,500          20,000          22,250          25,000
Variable

  Fixed

Supplies $0.08 $1,400 $1,600 $1,780 $2,000
(17,500 units  x $0.08) (20,000 units x $0.08) (22,250 units x $0.08) (25,000 units x $0.08)
Power $0.40 7,000 8,000 8,900 10,000
(17,500 units  x $0.40) (20,000 units x $0.40) (22,250 units x $0.40) (25,000 units x $0.40)
Insurance $0.24 4,200 4,800 5,340 6,000
(17,500 units  x $0.24) (20,000 units x $0.24) (22,250 units x $0.24) (25,000 units x $0.24)
Maintenance $0.28 4,900 5,600 6,230 7,000
(17,500 units  x $0.24) (20,000 units x $0.24) (22,250 units x $0.24) (25,000 units x $0.24)
Depreciation $18,000 18,000 18,000 18,000 18,000
Supervision $57,000 57,000 57,000 57,000 57,000
Total Mfg Overhead $92,500 $95,000 $97,250 $100,000
A flexible budget can be prepared for any level of activity.  The advantage to a flexible budget is we can create a budget based on the ACTUAL level of production to give us a clearer picture of our results by comparing the flexible budget to actual results.  This analysis would compare the actual level of activity so volume variances are not a factor and management can focus on the cost variances only.  We will discuss this analysis next in the performance report.

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