Even if you tend to see Budgets like Phil, it's possible to change your view and welcome an early spring. When you take a step back from the mechanics of budgeting, you'll see three distinct elements to the process:
1. The Look Back. If you want to plan where you're going, it helps to know where you've been. Assessing what's worked, what hasn't and what might have been are all important. The more honest the evaluation, the more valuable the insights. This is often the most difficult part of the budget process, but it holds the most lessons for the future.
2. Perspective on the Present. A clear picture of the past serves as a lens for the present. It reveals the People, Resources and Information that are needed to overcome past shortcomings and pursue future opportunities. It can be difficult to engage in a thorough review of what brought you to this point. The demands of what needs to be done today are right there in front of you and sometimes reflections into the past are painful, even if they aren't of your own making. But that introspection is what will provide the insights on Why improvements are needed in the first place.
3. The View Ahead. Those two preparatory steps, if carried out diligently, will inspire a refreshed Vision for your future and some valid reasons to vigorously pursue it. The meat of the Budget Process lies in How changes will be made and also How they will affect other aspects of the business and the Budget itself; this aspect requires you to think about new ways to solve old or recurring problems. With a core belief that you can and will make improvements, it's possible to then define just What those changes will look like in a financial context. The Budget then becomes the Financial Fitness Plan for your business in the New Year.
There's a famous, anonymous quote that captures the essence: "Planning without action is futile; action without planning is fatal." The Budget process can and should be your plan for action, one which also provides a means for measuring progress. Will it be an early spring this year and will you be ready? What are your Budget Beliefs?