Financial Terms
operating budget

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Definition of operating budget

Operating Budget Image 1

operating budget

a budget expressed in both units and dollars

Related Terms:

financial budget

a plan that aggregates monetary details
from the operating budgets; includes the cash and capital
budgets of a company as well as the pro forma financial

Activity-based budgeting

A method of budgeting that develops budgets based on expected activities and cost drivers – see also activity-based costing.

activity-based budgeting (ABB)

planning approach applying activity drivers to estimate the levels and costs of activities necessary to provide the budgeted quantity and
quality of production

Annual fund operating expenses

For investment companies, the management fee and "other expenses,"
including the expenses for maintaining shareholder records, providing shareholders with financial statements,
and providing custodial and accounting services. For 12b-1 funds, selling and marketing costs are included.

Balanced-Budget Multiplier

The multiplier associated with a change in government spending financed by an equal change in taxes.


A detailed schedule of financial activity, such as an advertising budget, a sales budget, or a capital budget.


A plan expressed in monetary terms covering a future period of time and based on a defined
level of activity.

Operating Budget Image 2


a financial plan for the future based on a single level
of activity; the quantitative expression of a company’s commitment
to planned activities and resource acquisition and use


A set of interlinked plans that quantitatively describe a company’s projected
future operations.

Budget cycle

The annual period over which budgets are prepared.

Budget deficit

The amount by which government spending exceeds government revenues.

Budget Deficit

The excess of government spending over tax receipts.

budget manual

a detailed set of documents that provides information
and guidelines about the budgetary process

budget slack

an intentional underestimation of revenues
and/or overestimation of expenses in a budgeting process
for the purpose of including deviations that are likely to
occur so that results will occur within budget limits

budget variance

the difference between total actual overhead
and budgeted overhead based on standard hours allowed
for the production achieved during the period; computed
as part of two-variance overhead analysis; also
referred to as the controllable variance

Budgetary control

The process of ensuring that actual financial results are in line with targets – see variance

budgeted cost

a planned expenditure


the process of formalizing plans and committing
them to written, financial terms

Capital budget

A firm's set of planned capital expenditures.

capital budget

management’s plan for investments in longterm
property, plant, and equipment

capital budget

List of planned investment projects.

Capital budgeting

The process of choosing the firm's long-term capital assets.

capital budgeting

Refers generally to analysis procedures for ranking
investments, given a limited amount of total capital that has to be allocated
among the various capital investment opportunities of a business.
The term sometimes is used interchangeably with the analysis techniques
themselves, such as calculating present value, net present value,
and the internal rate of return of investments.

Capital Budgeting

The process of ranking and selecting investment alternatives and
capital expenditures

capital budgeting

a process of evaluating an entity’s proposed
long-range projects or courses of future activity for
the purpose of allocating limited resources to desirable

Capital budgeting

The series of steps one follows when justifying the decision to purchase
an asset, usually including an analysis of costs and related benefits, which
should include a discounted cash flow analysis of the stream of all future cash flows
resulting from the purchase of the asset.

capital budgeting decision

Decision as to which real assets the firm should acquire.

Cash budget

A forecasted summary of a firm's expected cash inflows and cash outflows as well as its
expected cash and loan balances.

cash flow from operating activities, or cash flow from profit

This equals the cash inflow from sales during the period minus the cash
outflow for expenses during the period. Keep in mind that to measure
net income, generally accepted accounting principles require the use of
accrual-basis accounting. Starting with the amount of accrual-basis net
income, adjustments are made for changes in accounts receivable,
inventories, prepaid expenses, and operating liabilities—and depreciation
expense is added back (as well as any other noncash outlay
expense)—to arrive at cash flow from profit, which is formally labeled
cash flow from operating activities in the externally reported statement
of cash flows.

Cash Flow Provided by Operating Activities

With some exceptions, the cash effects of transactions
that enter into the determination of net income, such as cash receipts from sales of goods
and services and cash payments to suppliers and employees for acquisitions of inventory and

Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)

A federal Act
containing the requirements for offering insurance to departed employees.

continuous budgeting

a process in which there is a rolling
twelve-month budget; a new budget month (twelve months
into the future) is added as each current month expires

degree of operating leverage

a factor that indicates how a percentage change in sales, from the existing or current
level, will affect company profits; it is calculated as contribution
margin divided by net income; it is equal to (1 - margin of safety percentage)

degree of operating leverage (DOL)

Percentage change in profits given a 1 percent change in sales.

Flexible budget

A method of budgetary control that flexes, i.e. adjusts the original budget by applying standard
prices and costs per unit to the actual production volume.

flexible budget

a presentation of multiple budgets that
show costs according to their behavior at different levels
of activity

imposed budget

a budget developed by top management
with little or no input from operating personnel; operating personnel are then informed of the budget objectives and constraints

Incremental budget

A budget that takes the previous year as a base and adds (or deducts) a percentage to arrive at
the budget for the current year.

master budget

the comprehensive set of all budgetary schedules
and the pro forma financial statements of an organization

Net operating losses

Losses that a firm can take advantage of to reduce taxes.

Net operating margin

The ratio of net operating income to net sales.

operating activities

Includes all the sales and expense activities of a business.
But the term is very broad and inclusive; it is used to embrace all
types of activities engaged in by profit-motivated entities toward the
objective of earning profit. A bank, for instance, earns net income not
from sales revenue but from loaning money on which it receives interest
income. Making loans is the main revenue operating activity of banks.

Operating cash flow

Earnings before depreciation minus taxes. It measures the cash generated from
operations, not counting capital spending or working capital requirements.

operating cash flow

See cash flow from operating activities.

Operating Cash Flow

Income available after the payment of taxes, plus the value of the
non-cash expenses

Operating cycle

The average time intervening between the acquisition of materials or services and the final
cash realization from those acquisitions.

Operating Earnings

A term frequently used to describe earnings after the removal of the
effects of nonrecurring or nonoperating items.

Operating expense

Any expense associated with the general, sales, and administrative
functions of a business.


The total amount that was spent to run a company this year.

Operating Expenses

The amount of money the company must spend on overhead, distribution, taxes, underwriting the risk and servicing the policy. It is a factor in calculating premium rates.

Operating exposure

Degree to which exchange rate changes, in combination with price changes, will alter a
company's future operating cash flows.

Operating income

The net income of a business, less the impact of any financial activity,
such as interest expense or investment income, as well as taxes and extraordinary

Operating Income

A measure of results produced by the core operations of a firm. It is common
for both recurring and nonrecurring items that are associated with operations to be included
in this measure. operating income is typically found in multistep income statements and is a pretax

Operating lease

Short-term, cancelable lease. A type of lease in which the period of contract is less than the
life of the equipment and the lessor pays all maintenance and servicing costs.

Operating lease

The rental of an asset from a lessor, but not under terms that would
qualify it as a capital lease.

Operating Lease

One where the risks and benefits, as well as ownership, stays with the lessor.

Operating leverage

Fixed operating costs, so-called because they accentuate variations in profits.

operating leverage

A relatively small percent increase or decrease in
sales volume that causes a much larger percent increase or decrease in
profit because fixed expenses do not change with small changes in sales
volume. Sales volume changes have a lever effect on profit. This effect
should be called sales volume leverage, but in practice it is called operating
operating liabilities
The short-term liabilities generated by the operating
(profit-making) activities of a business. Most businesses have three types
of operating liabilities: accounts payable from inventory purchases and
from incurring expenses, accrued expenses payable for unpaid expenses,
and income tax payable. These short-term liabilities of a business are
non-interest-bearing, although if not paid on time a business may be
assessed a late-payment penalty that is in the nature of an interest

operating leverage

the proportionate relationship between
a company’s variable and fixed costs

operating leverage

Degree to which costs are fixed.

Operating Line of Credit

A bank's commitment to make loans to a particular borrower up to a specified maximum for a specified period, usually one year.

Operating Loan

A loan advanced under an operating line of credit.

Operating profit

The profit made by the business for an accounting period, equal to gross profit less selling, finance, administration etc. expenses, but before deducting interest or taxation.

operating profit

See earnings before interest and income tax (EBIT).

Operating profit margin

The ratio of operating margin to net sales.

Operating risk

The inherent or fundamental risk of a firm, without regard to financial risk. The risk that is
created by operating leverage. Also called business risk.

operating risk (business risk)

Risk in firm’s operating income.

participatory budget

a budget that has been developed
through a process of joint decision making by top management
and operating personnel

Planning, programming and budgeting system (PPBS)

A method of budgeting in which budgets are allocated to projects or programmes rather than to responsibility centres.

Priority-based budget

A budget that allocates funds in line with strategies.

program budgeting

an approach to budgeting that relates
resource inputs to service outputs

rolling budget

see continuous budgeting

Rolling budgets

A method of budgeting in which as each month passes, an additional budget month is added such that there is always a 12-month budget.

Short-run operating activities

Events and decisions concerning the short-term finance of a firm, such as
how much inventory to order and whether to offer cash terms or credit terms to customers.

zero-base budgeting

a comprehensive budgeting process
that systematically considers the priorities and alternatives
for current and proposed activities in relation to organization
objectives; it requires the rejustification of ongoing activities

Zero-based budgeting

A method of budgeting that ignores historical budgetary allocations and identifies the costs that are necessary to implement agreed strategies.

margin of safety

the excess of the budgeted or actual sales
of a company over its breakeven point; it can be calculated
in units or dollars or as a percentage; it is equal to
(1 - degree of operating leverage)

Relevant range

The upper and lower levels of activity within which the business expects to be operating within the short-term planning horizon (the budget period).







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