What Is a Cash Budget?

A cash budget is an estimation of the cash flows for a business over a specific period of time. This budget is used to assess whether the entity has sufficient cash to operate.

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Cash Budget

How a Cash Budget Works

Companies use sales and production forecasts to create a cash budget, along with assumptions about necessary spending and accounts receivable collections. A cash budget is necessary to assess whether a company will have enough cash to continue operations. If a company does not have enough liquidity to operate, it must raise more capital by issuing stock or taking on more debt.

A cash roll forward computes the cash inflows and outflows for a month, and it uses the ending balance as the beginning balance for the following month. This process allows the company to forecast cash needs throughout the year, and changes to the roll forward adjust the cash balances for all future months.

Cash Budget Example

For example, let's assume ABC Clothing manufactures shoes, and it estimates $300,000 in sales for the months of June, July, and August. At a retail price of $60 per pair, the company estimates sales of 5,000 pairs of shoes each month. ABC forecasts that 80% of the cash from these sales will be collected in the month following the sale and the other 20% will be collected two months after the sale. The beginning cash balance for July is forecast to be $20,000, and the cash budget assumes 80% of the June sales will be collected in July, which equals $240,000 (80% of $300,000). ABC also projects $100,000 in cash inflows from sales made earlier in the year.

On the expense side, ABC also must calculate the production costs required to produce the shoes and meet customer demand. The company expects 1,000 pairs of shoes to be in beginning inventory, which means a minimum of 4,000 pairs must be produced in July. If the production cost is $50 per pair, ABC spends $200,000 ($50 x 4,000) in the month of July on the cost of goods sold, which is the manufacturing cost. The company also expects to pay $60,000 in costs not directly related to production, such as insurance.

ABC computes the cash inflows by adding the receivables collected during July to the beginning balance, which is $360,000 ($20,000 July beginning balance + $240,000 in June sales collected in July + $100,000 in cash inflows from earlier sales). The company then subtracts the cash needed to pay for production and other expenses. That total is $260,000 ($200,000 in cost of goods sold + $60,000 in other costs). ABC’s July ending cash balance is $100,000, or $360,000 in cash inflows minus $260,000 in cash outflows.