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Keeping it Simple with Summarized Budgeting

Budgeting is a fundamental financial practice that helps individuals and businesses manage their money effectively. While there are various approaches to budgeting, one key decision is whether to budget at a summarized level or at a detailed account level. Both methods have their merits, but let’s explore why it often makes more sense to budget at a summarized level. 

Budgeting for Simplicity and Clarity 

Budgeting at a summarized level simplifies the process. When you create a detailed account-level budget, you're tracking every financial transaction, which can be overwhelming and time-consuming.  

Summarized budgets, on the other hand, provide a high-level overview of your revenue and expenses, making it easier to understand and manage the business. 


Creating a detailed account-level budget can be incredibly time-consuming. You have to take a view on every single account and that can be a daunting task, especially for those employees with “day jobs” or limited finance/budgeting knowledge.  

Summarized budgets, with their focus on key categories, require less time and effort to maintain. 

Better Focus on Budgeting and Financial Goals Summarized budget image woman working on financial budgeting with coworker

Summarized budgets allow you to focus on your department’s financial performance more effectively. When you're bogged down with minute details, it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. With a summarized budget, you can pivot more effectively and reallocate spending to reach your primary objectives if needed. 

Financial Flexibility 

Summarized budgets offer greater flexibility. Business is unpredictable, and detailed account-level budgets can become rigid and challenging to adapt to changing circumstances. A summarized budget allows you to adjust your timing and priorities more easily, making space for any unexpected expenses or revenue fluctuations. 

Reduced Stress  

The complexity of a detailed account-level budget can often lead to stress and anxiety for the non-finance professional. Constantly monitoring every account can make you hyper-aware of every financial decision, potentially leading to decision fatigue.  

Summarized budgets provide a more relaxed approach to the planning process, reducing stress and making it a sustainable option. 

Avoiding Overcomplication in Budgeting 

Detailed budgets can sometimes lead to overcomplication. You may find yourself creating intricate accounts for expenses that don't warrant such granularity. This overcomplication can make budgeting feel like a chore and deter your operational budget owners from maintaining it consistently. Summarized budgets keep things straightforward and maintainable. 

woman working on a summarized budget with coworker

Summarized Budgets to Alleviate the Stress 

While detailed account-level budgets can be suitable for specific financial scenarios or budget owners with a keen interest in being as accurate as possible, for most companies, summarized budgets make more sense. They offer simplicity, time efficiency, and the freedom to focus on achieving the company’s financial goals without getting lost in the details.  

Ultimately, the goal of budgeting is not just to track every penny but to make informed financial decisions that align with the company’s priorities and aspirations.   

Looking for a more straightforward and stress-free approach to budgeting? Consider embracing summarized budgeting, and CFO Solutions can help. 

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