We can say that a budget is a plan expressed in financial terms and with an accounting basis, which reflects the set of operations and resources that remain or will be mobilized to carry out an activity, plan or project. Every activity involves an economic flow. The activities that nurses carry out are not exempt from this, which is why nurse managers must know the keys to preparing, reading and interpreting budgets.
Thus, a budget begins by describing what it will be about. In addition, it must describe which areas, departments or units are affected or which will be included in its implementation.
In the elaboration of a budget, all the parties involved must be included and represented, so that the joint elaboration produces harmony and unity of action when it is carried out.
Budgets are expressed in monetary units, in the same way that all operations are represented, both in terms of income and expenditure to be carried out, as well as the potential benefits to be achieved.
Likewise, all the resources that must be mobilized to carry out the plan expressed through the budget must be considered and expressed.
The master budget
This is the main budget that we can find in any organization including health care. It is formed from other budgets, that is, it is made up of the sum of the rest of the organization’s budgets. In this way we obtain a photograph of the organization in which the accounting vision of a fiscal year or a precise period of time is offered, and it is composed in a basic way of the operation budget and the financial budget.
The operating budget refers to the set of concrete actions that are going to take place in the different nursing units, if we refer to our specific case.
The financial budget reflects the financial situation and how the flow of economic goods detailed in the budget is carried out.
The cash budget or cash flow
It expresses in a short period of time how the different income and expenses will be produced. Thus, a short-term analysis of income and expenses is achieved.
It is part of the treasury budget more precisely, since all the transactions that are carried out are described.
It is one that expresses all the costs that are necessary to estimate the expenses that are going to be developed in all the process of production or generation of the service as it is the case of the infirmary where the production is a service of health goods.
Through this budget we can observe the future forecast measured in economic data of the company’s activity. It projects the proposed actions into the future. Showing the income and expenses generated in the period and those that are expected.
All controllable and non-controllable expenses are planned. The needs of nursing staff (in our case), salaries, material needs, indirect expenses such as light, water, electricity, etc. are estimated.
It is possible, we would even say that it is advisable to make an estimate of the value in economic units of the work of the nurse in which visible and invisible care is included.