# What Is Budget Variance — And How To Calculate It

Budget variance is an important concept in the world of finance and accounting. It is a measure of the difference between actual results and expected results, expressed in monetary terms. The concept of budget variance is critical for businesses and individuals alike because it helps to identify where they may have gone wrong or right in managing their finances. In this article, we will explain what budget variance is, why it matters, and how to calculate it.

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## What is Budget Variance?

Budget variance is a measure of the difference between the actual amount of money spent or earned and the budgeted or expected amount. It is calculated by subtracting the budgeted numbers from the actual amount and expressing the result as a percentage or a dollar amount.

Budget variance can be calculated for any financial metric, including revenue, expenses, and profits. For example, if a business is expected to earn $100,000 in revenue in a given period but only earned $90,000, the budget variance would be $10,000, or 10% (calculated as 100*(90,000-100,000)/100,000).

Budget variance can be either favorable or unfavorable. A favorable budget variance occurs when the actual amount is greater than the budgeted amount, while an unfavorable budget variance occurs when the actual amount is less than the budgeted amount.

## Why Does Budget Variance Matter?

Budget variance is important for e-commerce businesses and individuals because it helps to identify areas where they may be overspending or underspending. By analyzing budget variance, businesses can identify areas where they need to cut costs or increase revenue to meet their financial goals.

Budget variance can also help businesses and individuals to identify trends and patterns in their spending or earning habits. For example, if a business consistently has an unfavorable budget variance for a particular expense category, it may indicate that they need to re-evaluate its budget or look for ways to reduce costs in that area.

Finally, budget variance can be used as a performance measure for individuals and teams within a business. By tracking budget variance for specific projects or departments, businesses can identify areas where individuals or teams are performing well or where they may need additional support or training.

## How to Calculate Budget Variance

Budget variance can be calculated in two ways: as a dollar amount or as a percentage. To calculate budget variance as a dollar amount, simply subtract the budgeted amount from the actual amount. For example, if a business budgeted $10,000 for a particular expense but spent $12,000, the budget variance would be $2,000 (calculated as 12,000-10,000).

To calculate budget variance as a percentage, divide the difference between the actual amount and the budgeted amount by the budgeted amount and multiply by 100. For example, if a business budgeted $10,000 for a particular expense but spent $12,000, the budget variance would be 20% (calculated as 100*(12,000-10,000)/10,000).

It is important to note that budget variance should be calculated regularly to provide timely insights into financial performance. For example, a business may calculate budget variance on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis, depending on its financial goals and reporting requirements.

## Interpreting Budget Variance

Once budget variance has been calculated, it is important to interpret the results to gain insights into financial performance. As mentioned earlier, budget variance can be either favorable or unfavorable. A favorable budget variance indicates that actual results were better than expected, while an unfavorable budget variance indicates that actual results were worse than expected.

However, it is important to look beyond the positive or negative sign of budget variance and consider the magnitude of the variance. For example, a business may have a favorable budget variance of $100 for a particular expense category, but that may not be significant if the budgeted amount was only $500. On the other hand, a business may have an unfavorable budget variance of $10,000 for a different expense category, which may be a cause for concern if the budgeted amount was only $20,000.

In addition to considering the magnitude of budget variance, businesses should also look for trends and patterns in budget variance over time. For example, if a business consistently has a favorable budget variance for a particular expense category, it may want to consider adjusting its budget for that category to reflect the actual spending patterns.

On the other hand, if a business consistently has an unfavorable budget variance for a particular expense category, it may want to identify the root cause of the overspending and take corrective action. This could involve renegotiating contracts with vendors, implementing cost-saving measures, or reducing the overall budget for that category.

In summary, budget variance is a measure of the difference between actual results and expected results, expressed in monetary terms. Budget variance is important for businesses and individuals because it helps to identify areas where they may be overspending or underspending, identify trends and patterns in their spending or earning habits, and can be used as a performance measure for individuals and teams. Budget variance can be calculated as a dollar amount or a percentage, and should be calculated regularly to provide timely insights into financial performance. When interpreting budget variance, it is important to consider both the magnitude of the variance and any trends or patterns over time.