Zero Based Budgeting: Latest News and Features About Zero Based Budgeting

In recent years, the ZBB is making a comeback in the context of fiscal constraints. Many governments across the world are experiencing the after effects of the worst economic slowdown now and are following the principles of ZBB in the context of tax revenue short falls. This material has been prepared for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as accounting, tax, or other professional advice. The zero-based budget makes a person aware of how much money flows in and out.

  • The typical budgeting process is translating a long-range strategy into annual operating plans that are pushed down to finance, lines of business, and operations.
  • You can save on your electricity bill by turning off the lights when not in use.
  • The goal is that your income minus your expenditures equals zero by the end of the month.
  • Some examples of this are revenue and expense budgets, R&D costs, marketing expenses, project costs and revenues, and capital expenditures.
  • Some managers may try to manipulate their budget reports to concentrate expenditures under the most important activities, thus ensuring that their budgets will not be reduced.

ZBB is a method that forces each organization’s department or program to explain its budget from scratch, starting from zero, instead of just making small changes to the budget from the previous year. The main goal of ZBB is to make money work better by looking closely at every cost and spending money based on needs and priorities. ZBB doesn’t mandate that cost-cutting occurs to the bone as the cost reduction depends on the top-down target which means it varies from business to business. A myth that is popular is that zero-based budgeting takes ages to come into effect and it is too cumbersome. While it is true that the process is effort-inducing, ZBB can take less than 1 year to come into effect.

How to start a zero-based budget

Managers need to account for all elements of the budget and identify cost-effective, relevant, and cost-saving areas. Under zero-base, there is an attempt to document personnel and expense requirements that are readily accepted as necessary. Modified zero-base can evade this by developing a base that is higher than zero. The term service level budgeting is sometimes better account of this process. The zero-based budgeting method might also pose a problem if you have an irregular or unpredictable income; say, if you’re a freelancer or an hourly worker whose schedule fluctuates. If you don’t always know how much money you’ll have to allocate, consider using the previous month’s income for the current month’s budget.

  • Second, ZBB improves responsibility and openness because departments have to explain in detail why they want to spend money on something.
  • ZBB also pushes groups to be cost-conscious and make the best use of their resources.
  • These variable expenses might include holiday purchases, traveling to a friend’s wedding or replacing a broken phone.
  • There’s no incentive to examine expenses and look for cost savings.
  • To summarize, Zero-Based Budgeting is effectual cost alteration effort that successfully implement resource planning.

Last step is to select, approve the decision package and finalize the budget. Many mature businesses rely on a traditional budget model, in which the company simply adds a percentage increase to the previous year’s actual expenses. That’s efficient from a time standpoint, but also makes it easy for companies to continue to operate at status quo. There’s no incentive to examine expenses and look for cost savings.

Gender Budgeting

ZBB can help shift funds into initiatives that can drive sustainable growth in the future. The zero-based budgeting works on the principle that every year, the projected expenditure for each project or programme must start from zero. It means all budget requests should be considered freshly for every year with a cost-benefit analysis. The zero-based budgeting never uses the previous year’s amounts so as to eliminate past mistakes. Zero-Based planning (ZBB) is a planning method that has become more popular, even in India, in recent years.

Zero-Based Budgeting Advantages

When you sit down to create a budget, you notice you can make some products with natural ingredients so now you need to only buy $15,000 worth of products. Next, you realize that you leave the lights on for far too long than necessary. You can save on your electricity bill by turning off the lights when not in use. You realize disposable items can be used which are cheaper and economical so you save an additional $1000. The practice also favors areas that achieve direct revenues or production, as their contributions are more easily justifiable than in departments such as client service and research and development. Such deficit amount is generally covered through public borrowings or withdrawing resources from the accumulated reserve surplus.

The problem is that, unlike cost-based budgeting, this method takes a lot of effort to implement. ZBB ensures that managers consider how every dollar is spent every time a budget is drafted. It pushes them to think about which parts of the business make money. The budgeting process requires analyzing and comparing actual versus expected financial performance to determine how to allocate expenditures for the organization to achieve the budget targets set. In India, zero-based budgeting was adopted by the Department of Science and Technology in 1983.

In Underdeveloped countries, deficit budget is used for financing planned development & in advanced countries, it is used as stability tool to control business & economic fluctuations. Deficit budget is one where the estimated government expenditure is more than expected revenue. Government’s estimated Revenue is less than Government’s proposed Expenditure.

Zero Based Vs Traditional Budgeting

Development budged have to be dove tailed with regulatory restraints of a deficit economy. Democratic development is what should be writ large on the budgetary theory of a fast transforming society in India. It is generalized and requires less effort and time to create when compared to zero-based budgeting. Implementation of traditional budgeting isn’t as effort-inducing in comparison thereby allowing every type of business to easily try it. Following the zero-based budgeting, you need to implement the tasks you deem to be most important and follow the budget as you created it.

Often, however, after that first budget is drafted, many companies shift to a traditional budgeting process. The spending depends on which activities are performed and how they should be performed so they can be cost-effective. The focus is more on optimizing costs rather than just revenue increase.

Instead, using a modified budget template may prove more beneficial. Second, it may reward short-term perspectives in the company by allocating more resources to operations with the highest revenues. In turn, areas such as research and development, or those that have a long-term horizon, may get overlooked.

In 1960s, ZBB was formally initiated in the Department of Agriculture of the USA. The ZBB as practiced today was developed at Texas Instruments Inc. during 1969 by Peter Pyhrr. In 1970s, Jimmy Carter was elected as American President amid recession. Under ZBB, allocations or funding are based on program efficiency and necessity rather than budget history. However, ZBB is a time-consuming process that takes much longer time than traditional, cost-based budgeting.


Furthermore, the budget components differ from year to year, and budget components vary based on market circumstances and the company’s goals. Because the traditional budget is based on the previous year’s budgeting, the corporation does not have to employ the same budget elements as it did in the previous year’s budget. A zero-based budget is prepared with the assumption that the baseline is zero. On the other side, traditional budgeting utilises the prior year’s budget as a basis to create the current year’s budget. As a result, the primary emphasis is on the prior level of expenditure. It does so by not making any changes to the budget from the last quarter.