How to manage small business budgets in Google cloud

The Brown Boot Works service was originally developed as a tool for managing a team, tasks and documents in Google cloud-based applications environment. Using the advantages of Google Account, the service allows you to assign and track tasks in a team, manage content on Google Drive, share tasks and content. The service is integrated with GMail, Contacts, Calendar, Maps and other Google applications.

The key processes of business management are to identify tasks, assign them to people, control their performance and monitor financial values. A manager, being constantly mobile and online, needs to have all of this at hand. So, the Brown Boot Works service provides both task and budget management  functions.

The budget management subsystem doesn’t concern simple financial accounting. These are important questions  to be answered in real time, such as income plan for the period, basic expenses, payment approvement, profitability of projects or branches, availability and a forecast for working capital and real profit. Apart from business budgets one can maintain personal budgets.

How does it work? You enter financial operations directly in the task where they were originated. Here are some examples. You complete a task for project purchasing parts, then you enter the amount of expenses. You pay a monthly office rent, after that enter the amount of expenses. After receiving a payment from a customer, you enter the income. After obtaining investments, enter the income again. If you want to have plans, enter the planned operations when creating upcoming tasks.

All entered planned and actual operations can be displayed in the form of a budget plan or a report at any time. You need only to make once a setting of collecting a certain budget from a task. To do this, you need to use labels or folders, or both. If you  specify “office expenses” label in a task, the operations will move from the task into the related item of the budget expenditures.

The setting of a budget is very simple and takes a minute. Budgets support the grouping depth up to three levels, which is usually sufficient for organizing a small company’s income and expenses budget. The budget table shows the current state of the plan and the actual execution at any time. You can collect a budget from the operations which have been entered by several employees. The service enables configuring the employees’ access to the input of financial operations, as well as the visibility of a certain budget for each employee.

Budget data are always in the Google Spreadsheet format. Budget table can be easily copied and modified. All budget tables are stored on your Google Drive, as well as other documents that you create in the service. The completed budgets are transferred into the archive. The archived ones are always available for viewing and analysis.

 

Example

Let’s consider the service use for a small company budgeting. Bert Interiors company supplies interior solutions for private clients. There are four people in the company: the owner (customers contact function and general management), accountant (accounting, infrastructure, finance), logistics specialist (replacement of orders from the manufacturer, delivery to the customer) and furniture assembling specialist. The head of the company accepts customer’s orders and makes a specification. Then a factory in Italy gets the order. When the order is ready, a transport company, delivering the order to the customer, is hired. Then the furniture is assembled.

Income and expenses structure of a company. After the design aprovement with the customer (agreeing upon the project with the client), the company receives 100% advance payment from him/her. From the received funds the manufacturer order is paid. The company waits for all the orders of the month to be completed to deliver them together in order to reduce transportation costs. Then delivery services and customs duties are paid. The company has semi-fixed monthly expenses, such as salaries, the studio rent and infrastructure, costs of Internet promotion and taxes.

In our example the basic operations are entered into the service by company manager in his tasks. Operations having some constant costs are entered by accountant.

Operations entered by Manager – customers’ projects:

 

Operations entered by Manager – delivery, customs and employees’ salaries:

 

Operations connected with infrastructure, marketing and forthcoming taxes are entered by Accountant:

 

The table with the current state of the company’s income and expenses budget:

Screenshot_20170428-095909

 

The budget settings:

 

Used labels:

 

As a result, the company’s manager and accountant have information on the execution status of monthly income and expenses budget at any time. They can see the performed and forthcoming operations, availability of working capital, profitability of each project, a forecast of the company’s profit.

 

How to use it

To start using Budgets in the service, you need to go to the company settings and enable the subsystem. If the Budgets subsystem is disabled, then the service will not show all the related functions – the input of financial operations, the list of budgets and their configuration.

Screenshot_20170428-094539

Furthermore, it is necessary to define the circle of users participating in the budget process. You have to enter the list of users and turn on “Financial operations” feature for the required users. the The dollar icon appears before the user name in the list, and the latter becomes the Financial Operations Editor (FOE). The following functions are available for a FOE user: entering financial operations in his/her tasks, visibility of the entered operations in the tasks one participates in, creating and customizing of his budgets. All this is not accessible for ordinary users. The company’s account owner is always a FOE user.

Screenshot_20170428-094623

Now users can enter financial operations in tasks. The company’s account owner and FOE users can enter any number of operations in any of their tasks. Operations can be planned and actual. The sum of expenditure operations are to be displayed with a minus sign.  The date and time of the operation determine whether it will get into the period of a particular budget.

The Budgets item is located in the main menu of the service. This is the access to the budgets list. The list contains your budgets, as well as the ones created by other users, if they have specified you as a budget reader. You can add, modify, delete your budgets in the list, move them into and out of the archive. Besides, you can copy all budgets visible to you.

A budget form contains the settings required to collect information and build a budget table.

The budget period determines the operations which are to be moved to the budget table by the time of their execution.

Data collection and grouping algorithms. You can use three algorithms: “all operations”, “by labels” and “by folders”. “All operations” algorithm is the simplest one, you get a plain list of all planned and actual operations for the period with the total results without groupings.

“By labels” algorithm. You can specify any set of labels for the top grouping of level 1 and for the lower grouping of level 2. Only operations from tasks containing the specified labels (either one of the 1st level labels, or any set of labels of the 1st and the 2nd Levels) will be selected. In the example above, the delivery operation is common for all projects, so the task with the operation has only the label of the 1st level “projects”. The task with the order of a certain customer has two labels “projects” and for example “Kitchen for Ann”.

“By folders” algorithm. For selection and grouping operations in accordance with the folder structure, you need to create the desired folder structure with a depth up to 3 levels. Then you move all the tasks with operations into the required folders. After that you specify the root folder for your budget in the budget settings.

In case “My financial operations only” is enabled, operations for the budget will be selected only from tasks where you are the “Author”, the ones with any status – “draft”, “in work”, “done”, except for the tasks from trash. It means all the tasks that you can see in Outgoing task lists.

In case “My financial operations only” is disabled, the operations for the budget will be selected from your tasks, as well as from the ones you participate in, with “in work” or “done” statuses. The tasks from trash and other participants’ drafts are not included.The operation selection area contains all the tasks you can see in Outgoing and Incoming task lists.

Readers. You can set a list of readers for your budget. Readers will be able to see your budget in their list, to view the budget settings and the budget table with the data. The readers do not have any other permissions. All the company’s users can be readers, not just FOE users.

The budget table Rebuild. In order to have your table up-to-date, you need to call “Rebuild” function. The system will select the operations and build the budget table at the current moment. The date and time of the budget table formation will be shown in the upper right corner of the budget settings form, as well as in the output table itself.

The budget table viewing. The budget table is accessible by the icon in the budget settings form, as well as in the budgets’ menu in the list. The budget author is the owner of the table with full rights. The company’s account owner has rights of Editor for all budget tables. Budget readers have the right to view the table.

 

Quick operations for budgets

The main mechanism for collecting financial operations in budgets is based on the use of tasks. You plan and perform tasks and at the same time reflect planned or completed financial operations in the task, income or expenses related to the task. In particular, this mechanism allows you together with other participants to enter data for one budget in shared tasks. For example, director, accountant and project manager can co-work on the same budget.

But sometimes it is convenient to enter financial operations without any reference to a specific task, for example:

1- You reflect unplanned expenses in the budget after the fact. Urgent repairs had been required in the office; expenses were incurred. A task was not created. You can just enter the operation so that it is reflected in office expenses section of the budget.

2- You budget family expenses and reflect them when they occurred. Having paid purchases in supermarket, you input expenses info from your smartphone without creating a task.

3- You budget a trip. Having paid for dinner, you input expenses info from your smartphone without creating a task.

Quick operations are available in Budgets section. In the upper right corner of the budget window there is an icon that switches to the Quick Operations window.

Labels from tasks are used to select budget operations entered in the task. In case of Quick operations, labels are specified directly in the operation.

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