Flexible Budget

Updated on May 6, 2024
Article byMilan Jha
Edited byAshish Kumar Srivastav
Reviewed byDheeraj Vaidya, CFA, FRM

What Is A Flexible Budget?

Flexible budget is a budget that is mostly used as a static budgetA Static BudgetA static budget is one that anticipates all revenue and expenses which will occur during a particular period, with changes in the level of production/sales or any other major factor having no effect on the budgeted data. It is also known as a fixed budget.read more and basically changes with the changes occurring in the volume or activity held in production, also helpful for increasing the manager’s efficiency and effectiveness because it is set to benchmark for the actual performance of the company.

What Is A Flexible Budget

You are free to use this image on your website, templates, etc, Please provide us with an attribution linkHow to Provide Attribution?Article Link to be Hyperlinked
For eg:
Source: Flexible Budget (wallstreetmojo.com)

It is useful for both planning purposes and control purposes and is generally used to estimate factory costsFactory CostsFactory costs are the expenses incurred in the normal course of business to manufacture goods that are intended to be sold to customers, and they include all costs associated with production, such as direct material costs, direct labour costs, and other manufacturing overheads.read more and operating costsOperating CostsOperating expense (OPEX) is the cost incurred in the normal course of business and does not include expenses directly related to product manufacturing or service delivery. Therefore, they are readily available in the income statement and help to determine the net profit.read more. A flexible budget is much more realistic than fixed budget since it gives emphasis on cost behavior at different levels of activity.

Flexible Budget Explained

A flexible budget can be found suitable when business conditions are constantly changing. Accurate estimates are expected if the resources are available with the experts.  A big organization should hire experts to prepare a flexible budget and to help their organization make a clear vision about what output should be produced to achieve the targeted profit.

When preparing a flexible budget, managers are forced to consider the different scenarios and their responses to them. Thus, for a number of different situations, managers will have calculated their costs and revenues. If an unexpected event does occur, changing the level of activity, the management will be better prepared.

Budgetary controlBudgetary ControlBudgetary control refers to a cost controlling system in which the management plans and regulates the various corporate costs by identifying the variation of actual expenses from the budgeted expenditure.read more is the comparison of the actual results against the budget. Where the actual level of activity is different from that expected, comparisons of actual results against a fixed budget can give misleading results.

Expense Categories

You are free to use this image on your website, templates, etc, Please provide us with an attribution linkHow to Provide Attribution?Article Link to be Hyperlinked
For eg:
Source: Flexible Budget (wallstreetmojo.com)

These budgets are different in different levels of activities, which facilitate the ascertainment of fixation of cost, selling prices, and tendering of quotations.

Financial Modeling & Valuation Courses Bundle (25+ Hours Video Series)

–>> If you want to learn Financial Modeling & Valuation professionally , then do check this ​Financial Modeling & Valuation Course Bundle​ (25+ hours of video tutorials with step by step McDonald’s Financial Model). Unlock the art of financial modeling and valuation with a comprehensive course covering McDonald’s forecast methodologies, advanced valuation techniques, and financial statements.


The types decide the flexible budget format applicable in different scenarios. While the basic flexible budget is prepared, indicating how the expenses are completely in sync with the revenues generated, the intermediate type reflects the expenses beyond what is generated as revenue.

Flexible Budget Types

You are free to use this image on your website, templates, etc, Please provide us with an attribution linkHow to Provide Attribution?Article Link to be Hyperlinked
For eg:
Source: Flexible Budget (wallstreetmojo.com)

The advanced budget, on the contrary, takes into consideration the expected variations and ranges of differences in expenses to be incurred. This type of budget is open to changes based on the variations in the actual cost of the different categories of expenses.


The formula derived following the flexible budget definition is:

Fixed cost + (actual unit of activity x variable cost per unit of activity)


Here is one of the flexible budget examples that provides the following details of a factory expected to operate at 70% level of activity (i.e., 14000 hrs)-

  • Variable Expenses: $2,520
  • Semi-Variable Expenses: $2,400
  • Fixed Expenses: $3,600

Now, between 85% and 95% of the activity level, its semi-variable expenses increase by 10%, and above 95% of the activity level, they grow by 20%. Prepare a flexible budget for the three scenarios wherein the activity levels are 80%, 90%, and 100%.


flexible budget example 1.1

We have noticed that the recovery rate (Budgeted hrs/Total expenses) at the activity level of 70 % is $0.61 per hr. If the factory works 16000 hrs in a particular month, the allowances @ $0.61 will come put to be $9,760, which is not correct. As shown in the above table, the accurate allowance is computed to be $8,880.

This is because the fixed expenses don’t change irrespective of the activity level and the semi-variable expenses do change but not in proportion to the activity level. Only the purely variable expenses vary proportionately with the activity level.

Thus, if the actual expenses exceed $8,880 by $X in the month with an 80% activity level, it would mean that the company has not saved any money but has overspent $X more than the budgeted amount.


In the case of a typical business, if it is newly started, it becomes tough to predict the demand for the products/services accurately. But this can be dealt with by putting a Flexible budget in place.

Flexible Budget Situations

You are free to use this image on your website, templates, etc, Please provide us with an attribution linkHow to Provide Attribution?Article Link to be Hyperlinked
For eg:
Source: Flexible Budget (wallstreetmojo.com)

In the case where the business totally depends upon Mother Nature, i.e., rain, dry and cold, the flexible budget helps the business to estimate their output considering the good or adverse weather conditions. For example, agricultural activities, wool-based industries, etc.

In the case of a business that carries its entire work with the help of laborers. The laborers’ availability is a critical factor for these types of companies. Therefore it helps the management to accurately know about their productivity and output, for example, jute factories, handloom industries, etc.


  • It can help in sales, costs, and profit calculation at different levels of operating capacity.
  • It helps to determine the quantity/amount of output to be produced to help the company achieve the desired profit level.
  • The most significant advantage of this budget is that it helps the management of the company to determine the production level in different markets and business conditions.
  • It also helps in the reclassification of various levels of budgeted costs along with sales so that managers can easily identify the profit areas and thus may act accordingly.
  • This budget can be re-casted on the basis of the activity levels. It is not rigid.


  • This budget requires skilled workers to work on it. The availability of skilled workers becomes a challenge for the industry. Therefore, many Industries and companies can’t use this budget despite its enormous advantages.
  • It depends upon the proper accounting disclosures. The result cannot come out to be correct if there are any mistakes in the Books of Accounts provided. A flexible budget depends very much upon a forecast of past business performance. So the historical information used needs to be accurate.
  • It is an expensive affair. Skilled workers are to be appointed, and they should be paid for their services. It’s quite a laborious task too. Thus many companies and industries can’t afford to have this budget.
  • It also depends upon the factors of the production, which are not in the hands of the management. Therefore the predictions can be inaccurate due to these conditions.
  • Variance Analysis provides useful information as each cost is analyzed according to its nature. Thus it becomes difficult for the experts to prepare Flexible budgets.

Recommended Articles

This has been a guide to what is a Flexible Budget. Here we explain it with a formula and an example along with the advantages, disadvantages, types, and uses. You can learn more about budgeting from the following article –