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Difference between budget and forecast in QuickBooks Desktop

The planning and budgeting features in QuickBooks Premier and QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions editions include options to set up both budgets and forecasts.

Both tools provide information to help you plan and make decisions about your business. Understanding the difference between the two can help you choose the right tool for your situation.

Detailed Information


budget budget is a quantified, planned course of financial action over a defined time period. A budget attempts to estimate inputs and the costs of inputs, along with associated outputs and revenues from the output period.

Creating a budget:

  • Helps a company to carefully consider the expected demand for its products and services and the resources required to meet that demand.
  • Translates the company's higher priorities into the appropriate resources required to achieve those priorities.
  • Highlights potential problems in sufficient time to take corrective actions.
  • Creates a baseline against which actual results can be compared.



forecast allows you to make predictions about future revenue and cash flow, as well as assess "what if" scenarios to help you make better decisions for your business.

A forecast can be created from scratch or from actual data from the previous fiscal year. In QuickBooks, a forecast is uniquely identified by its fiscal year and can be further identified by Customer:Job or Class.

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