What Is a Budget Planning Calendar?

A budget planning calendar is a schedule of activities that must be completed to create and develop a budget. Budget planning calendars are necessary for the creation of complex budgets used by large organizations. These organizations must usually harvest a great deal of data from several departments, thus requiring a calendar to coordinate when the final numbers from each department are submitted.

How a Budget Planning Calendar Works

Budget planning calendars can cover a period of several months in some cases. They usually include specific dates when departments must submit their data to the accounting department. These calendars can also take several months to prepare in and of themselves. Budget planning calendars are utilized by private companies as well as universities and local, state, and federal governments.

A budget planning calendar is one of the most powerful tools a company has, as it allows them to allocate potentially available funds to reinvestment in the company, or to negotiate new and future deals.

It is commonplace for small-to-medium sized businesses—who can source what they need rather quickly, including capital—to plan their budget calendars three or six months out. For medium and larger organizations, who may find it harder to acquire capital, manufacturing products, or marketing budgets, tend to plan their budget planning on a longer-term horizon such as six months to a year, or even longer.

Example of a Budget Planning Calendar

As an example, Blair County officials in Pennsylvania agreed to a budget planning schedule in March that they expect to follow later that year when considering the 2019 budget. In addition, the commissioners planned to have a preliminary operating budget ready for presentation on or before Oct. 15, along with a report on the county’s financial standing and a list of goals for the next year.

The reason they did this was that they are city officials, and budgeting is a primary concern for them as they use taxpayer money to fund projects. Without a budget plan set in place by a calendar, the officials may have had to throw together a last-minute budget. This would likely have been full of inaccuracies and could cost the city considerable money. Implementing a budget planning calendar ensured that there were no surprises when they came to consider the next year's budget.

Many municipalities, such as the city of Olathe, Kansas, and many universities post-budget planning calendars on their websites to notify the public. Olathe has a six-month process from the time the budget planning begins to the final adoption of the city's budget.