Beyond Budgeting is about reconsidering how we manage organizationsin a post-industrial world where innovative management models represent theonly sustainable competitive advantage. It is also about releasing people fromthe burdens of stuffy bureaucracy and overpowering control systems, trustingthem with information and giving them time to think, reflect, share, learn andimprove. Above all it is about learning how to change from the many leaders whohave built and managed ‘beyond budgeting’ organizations.Moreover beyond budgeting is a particular idea which regards theelimination of the traditional budget process as that activate for improvingmanagement control within organizations by an important re-examination of howthey might be managed better. The BBRT (beyond budgeting round table) solution is essential andbelieves that the shortcomings of the budgeting process can only be overcome byabandoning budgeting altogether. The BBRT combines the new concept of beyondbudgeting with the status of a community round table.
It shares its knowledgeworldwide through conferences and workshops.The source of all BB ideas is the Beyond Budgeting Round Table(BBRT) an independent industry led research group.The main advantages of BB are;• It is a more adaptive process than traditional budgeting.• It is a decentralized process, unlike traditional budgeting whereleaders plan and control organizations centrally.
When BBRT use the termbudget, they mean the entire performance management process.We see the past planning model ashaving specific significance for learning based organizations which areprogressively a component of a created economy. Different organizations may seeparticular advantages in such a framework, given the quickly changing conditionin which they likewise work. These progressions won’t be presented withoutstruggle and trouble because of the difficulties looked in presenting change.Such difficulties might be past the accomplishment of general society area,because of the articulation in the financial plan of politically-rousedarrangements and goals created inside a complex lawful and budgetary system.What we can state, notwithstanding, is that on the off chance that we are tosee the effective use of the past planning model in both private and opensegments, at that point an extensive authoritative, social and administrativechange must support this. Else it is destined to disappointment.
Planning and control – How do you manage the business if you don’thave annual plans and budgets? Most leaders are obsessed with planning and control. They haveearned the right to be in charge. Launching a new “plan” or “campaign” is howthey learn to drive people forward to the next profit milestone. Though thisannual planning process absorbs large amounts of time and effort, it tellseveryone what they must do for the period ahead. Its self -fulfilling purposeis to eliminate any surprises. But this approach is myopic.
Surprises occur allthe time. If they are seen as opportunities to be grasped rather than problemsto be avoided, then organizational life will be more interesting and rewarding.But only by devolving strategic decision-making to front line people will thespeed of response be sufficient to enable such opportunities to be taken.
Theyneed information and they need clarity of vision and purpose. This is much morethan a destination. As Wheatley suggests, “we should start by recognizing thatin creating a vision, we are creating a power, not a place, an influence, not adestination italics added 13 Such an approach to strategy development willbuild greater capability for responding to events as they Beyond Budgeting 16happen for the following reasons: · Customers are at the centre of strategy.Moving from fixed annual plans to marketresponsive strategies places thecustomer at the centre of strategic management. Knowing their needs andsatisfying them profitably is the new focus of attention unbridled by rigidplans agreed months earlier. · Everyone is potentially involved. Executiveleaders do not have a monopoly of wisdom. Opening up strategy to a wide rangeof people who have different ideas can only enrich the process.
· Strategiccapabilities are extended. Devolving strategy to teams closer to the customerwill enhance the strategic capability of the whole organization. Performance contracts and budgets -What is the difference between a “performance contract” and a “budget”?There are twotypes of performance contract. One is between executive leaders and the market(the “earnings contract”), and the other is between leaders and operatingmanagers (the “budget contract”). The purpose of the budget contract is todelegate the accountability for achieving agreed outcomes to divisional,functional, and departmental managers. The terms of these contracts and theassumptions underlying them, typically include: · Targets.
The assumption isthat the budget negotiation process maximizes profit potential in both theshort- and the long-term. Targets can be set top-down with no participation fromfront line managers, or they can be ‘negotiated’ between superiors andsubordinates. They are normally fixed for a period of twelve months and basedon financial numbers. · Rewards. The assumption is that financial incentivesbuild motivation and commitment and fairly reward performance achievement. Theyare usually fixed to the agreed target and cover a range of outcomes (e.g.
fromjust below the target to just above the target). While rewards usually apply tomanagers, they are sometimes extended to team members. Recognition (e.g.promotion) can also be contingent on the achievement of targets. · Plans. Theassumption is that the annual planning and budgeting process is the best way todirect actions that maximize market opportunities and meet strategic objectives.This process can be top-down (prepared by leaders or central planningdepartments), or more likely bottom-up, with local teams preparing their plansand then negotiating and agreeing them with superiors.
· Resources. Theassumption is that by evaluating the merits of each budget proposal, centralplanners and controllers can sensibly allocate resources to optimize theefficiency of the business. Once plans have been agreed, the ‘master budget’can be prepared and resources allocated to the detailed budgets. Major projectswill be part of the capital budgeting process. · Coordination. The assumptionis that central planners can coordinate budgets across the business and ensurethat one part knows (and can deliver) its commitments to another part.
Forexample, they need to ensure that production and sales are in tune, andmarketing has the resources to support the sales target. · Reporting. Theassumption is that if managers and executive leaders are regularly informed ofprogress they can take corrective action to ensure that performance remains “ontrack” with the agreed plan. Thus managers will need to explain any variancesand provide updated forecasts as a basis of such action. The budget contracttakes, on average, between four and five months to complete. 1 Its terms andconditions can either be explicit (usually a written letter from a superior toa subordinate), or implicit (custom and practice tells the parties what thelikely outcomes will be).
In addition to the six elements identified above, theterms of such a contract are likely to include a time period within whichtargets must be achieved, the limits of authority, and the reporting intervals. This is much more than a simple budget – a term usually taken to mean afinancial view of the future derived from someone’s best opinion of the ‘mostlikely outcome’ given the known information at the time. Such estimates areprepared all the time for managing cash flows. Indeed, such a budget is anintegral part of every management model. The purpose of a budget contract,however, is to commit a subordinate or team to achieving an agreed outcome andthen enable a superior to control the results against that outcome (reservingthe right to interfere and change the terms if necessary). The budget ‘contract’is not of course legally binding. It is more of a promise or a commitment thana legal transaction. And its interpretation can be different across and withinorganizations.
Indeed, budget contracts range from highly authoritative tohighly participative Coordination – How do you coordinate actions without budgets? Mostorganizations declare that their aim is to be “customer focused” or “marketresponsive”. But implementing a market-responsive strategy and then trying tocoordinate plans centrally makes no sense at all. Business units need tocoordinate their plans dynamically, as the market dictates. They need to seethemselves (and other teams) as suppliers of products or services to eitherinternal or external customers, as elements in a coherent value deliverysystem. In other words, instead of being directed to supply a particularproduct or service to another unit, business units are tied together with adhoc agreements that are made according to the prevailing de mand in the(internal and external) market.
Of course some agreements need to cover, say, aquarterly or even an annual period, because central service facilities needtime to increase or decrease their capacity. But the fundamental change is fromcentral planning to dynamic supplier-customer relationships. This means thatteams are accountable for satisfying customer requirements. It is aresponsibility model based on outcomes.
This is very different from thehierarchical world of line management in which people are accountable tobosses. Such an approach has a number of benefits: · The organization is seenas a whole system rather than a number of parts. The emphasis is on providingthe external (paying) customer with an excellent service, not pleasing the nextboss up the line. · There is less waste. Most traditional organizationsde-couple their business processes and manage each part to optimum efficiency.However, this usually means that they produce for Beyond Budgeting 17 stockrather than customers causing less quality and more waste in the system as awhole. · It recognizes the importance of teams.
If organizations are a complexweb of human relationships rather than a machine, then recognizing the mutualresponsibilities of teams is crucially important Successful “budgeting” organizations – There are surely many organizationsthat are successful with traditional budgets. How do you explain this? Governance – One of my roles is to ensure that our control systemsare adequate, thus satisfying the governance obligations placed on us byshareholders. How will your proposals affect this?There has been a lot of talk about governance recently. Thoughgovernance statements usually mention that “budgets and controls” should beadequate, I don’t think they were thinking about the side effects in terms ofdysfunctional behaviour. So instead of budgets reinforcing good governance,they often undermine it. In fact, many blue-chip organizations have been caughtfalsifying accounts and engaging in other shady practices in desperate attemptsto meet their performance contracts. In our view, only by eliminating thesecontracts will these practices change.
So replacing the performance contrac twill benefit governance rather than jeopordize it. This does not mean thatinternal controls are diluted. Far from it. Firms that have implemented beyondbudgeting have kept strong internal audit departments. But they are focused onstrategic issues as well as risk management.
Activity-based management – Activity-based management is anothertool we use. What’s your view on this? How can it support beyond budgeting?Activity-based management (ABM) can be helpful to the beyondbudgeting manager in four ways. First, activity-based budgeting (ABB) can helpmanagers to estimate the need for capacity. By using current forecasts andprevailing trends, managers can quickly work backwards from the level ofcustomer demand to the resources that are required to sustain it. ABB is noteasy to implement but, if done correctly, it can help managers identify excesscapacity and thus reduce costs or, perhaps more realistically in theshort-term, redeploy that capacity elsewhere in the business. Secondly, ABM isuseful for computing the full costs of transactions, especially of thosesubject to significant customization.
Many firms adopt customized solutionswithout having the information systems in place to calculate whether thesesolutions are really profitable. Only when the full costs of serving andsupporting a customized transaction are taken into account can the real profitor loss be revealed. Thirdly, ABM can help managers avoid those costs thatshould not be incurred at all. This applies not only to process improvement butalso to whether the whole process is worth doing. And finally, ABM support ahorizontal process view of the organization and thus supports the concepts ofthe organization as a web of supplier-customer relationships. Rolling forecasts – We are thinking of using rolling forecasts. Isthis another tool that can work well with beyond budgeting? Most certainly.
Rollingforecasts in the traditional company are aimed at helping managers to focus onmeeting the current year’s budget. They have no other strategic purpose. Theyare, more often than not, no more than a recompilation of the budget and leadto managers taking appropriate actions that enable them to meet the ir agreedtargets. In beyond budgeting companies, rolling forecasts have a differentpurpose. They principally help managers to break away from the annual budgetingcycle and take decisions based on a moving picture of information concerningthe likely outcome of existing trends. This supports the devolved managementprocess by placing front line people more in control of their actions thanwould otherwise be the case. The important issue is that forecasts are separatedfrom the line management system.
Borealis achieves this by looking at forecastsfrom the perspective of legal entities within the group rather than from theperspective of business divisions. While the line management runs through thedivision, the legal entity view does not have anyone at its head with lineresponsibility. So local managers use forecasts for local purposes and seniorexecutives use forecasts for cash flow and tax planning. The two purposes aredifferent and do not overlap. There is, however, one major caveat with rollingforecasts. They will be of little or no value if they are seen by seniormanagers as a tool for questioning or reassessing performance targets. Nor mustthey be used to demand changes or improvements. If forecasts are used by seniorexecutives to micro -manage or demand immediate action, then trust andconfidence will rapidly evaporate.
The only time such questions can fairly beasked is if forecasts show a significant change and such a change has not beenexplained beforehand. Managers should be responsible for dealing with problemsand reflecting any corrective actions they have taken in their revisedforecasts.