Many accountants find themselves having to maintain an annual planning process even though they would rather be doing quarterly rolling planning. This checklist is designed to help make the antiquated process quicker and at the same time plant the seed for quarterly rolling planning. This checklist assumes you have a robust planning tool.

 

Key tasks Is it covered?

Run a workshop to analyze the annual planning pitfalls and sell the concept of quarterly funding

Notify those who should attend o Yes   o No
CEO to send e-mail stating permission is to be sought from CEO if not attending workshop o Yes   o No
Organize outside facilitator and presenter to give the annual planning better practice stories o Yes   o No
Lock in decision that:
·      Annual plan is not to be broken down into 12 monthly targets o Yes   o No
·      Annual plan does not appropriate funding to budget holders for 12 months, this is to be done on a quarter-by-quarter basis o Yes   o No
·      There is to be a ten-working day time scale and there is a ban on travel or holidays during these two weeks o Yes   o No
·      Each budget holder has one chance to discuss their annual plan with the Budget committee and the decision from the meeting is final o Yes   o No
·      There is no need to have a budget for every account code in the general ledger (G/L) o Yes   o No
·      Each budget holder is only to have up to 12-15 category headings (each category is a group of account codes) o Yes   o No
·      Each budget holder is only required to forecast a category heading that represents over 15% of total revenue or total costs, whichever is relevant o Yes   o No

Perform pre-work on the annual planning model

Automate as many expense categories as you can (e.g., where trend analysis is as good or better than a budget holder’s estimate) o Yes   o No
Establish a calculator for travel and accommodation so budget holders can quickly work out their travel costs (using standard costs) o Yes   o No
Download all payroll details so budget holders can quickly and accurately calculate their salaries and wages o Yes   o No
Issue annual planning timetable on the intranet o Yes   o No
Obtain up-to-date demand forecasts from key customers where possible o Yes   o No
Set key assumptions and materiality levels o Yes   o No
Prepare presentation for budget holders (slides and handouts) o Yes   o No
CEO to send invitation to attend annual planning presentation o Yes   o No
CEO to send e-mail stating permission is to be sought from CEO if not attending presentation o Yes   o No
Deliver presentation 1—explanation to all budget holders of how it is going to be done o Yes   o No
Organize additional support to help with one-to-one support (using local accounting firms—their staff would have to attend the presentation) o Yes   o No
Provide briefing to new support staff from the local accounting firms o Yes   o No
Establish schedule of who is to provide who with one-to-one support during the data input four days o Yes   o No
Update revenue and expenditure trend graphs, where necessary o Yes   o No
Establish a Budget committee (CEO, two general managers, and CFO) and explain their responsibilities o Yes   o No

Support budget holders during budget preparation

Provide one to-one support o Yes   o No
Provide a daily progress report to CEO of budget holders who are running late—the “shame and name” report o Yes   o No
Provide incentives for prompt budget returns (e.g., movie vouchers) o Yes   o No
Ensure budget holders have provided insightful commentary o Yes   o No
Provide budget holders with comparison graphs so they can see how reasonable their forecast looks against the past trends o Yes   o No

Complete quality assurance (QA) procedures

Ensure all budget returns are in o Yes   o No
Check all forecast key ratios for reasonableness of forecasts o Yes   o No
Review all revenue and expenditure graphs to ensure the trends look reasonable o Yes   o No
Ensure all key papers have been filed on the annual planning master file o Yes   o No
Rework budgets where forecasts have known and agreed errors—with budget holders’ permission o Yes   o No
Check correct treatment of costs on major projects (particularly consulting fees) o Yes   o No
Look for missed major expenditure items o Yes   o No

Budget committee

Advise budget holders of times for them to turn up and present their annual plan to the Budget committee o Yes   o No
Budget committee confirmed their attendance o Yes   o No
Budget committee interviewed all relevant budget holders o Yes   o No
Adjust annual plans based on feedback from the Budget committee o Yes   o No
Budget committee confirm consolidated annual plan o Yes   o No

Presentation of annual plan to budget holders

Delivery of presentation the final annual plan numbers to budget holders o Yes   o No

Review process: Lessons learned

Set up intranet based feedback survey on annual plan process
Plan next quarterly rolling planning forecast run ( this will replace the need for next year’s annual planning cycle o Yes   o No
40. Check for any timing differences when the last year-end numbers are finalized (budget holders have forecast prior to year-end so they did not know the final numbers) o Yes   o No

 

To buy the toolkit  “An Annual Plan in Two Weeks or Less Toolkit (Whitepaper + e-templates)