Operating budget

An operating budget provides insight into whether you expect to make a profit or loss in the next 3 years. The operating budget is the translation of your company's ambitions into financial numbers. Another word for the operating budget is the performance budget.

Why an operating budget?

In the operating budget, it becomes clear what minimum turnover you need to achieve to cover the costs and make a profit. You draw up this budget for yourself and external financiers. The operating budget is part of the financial plan.

Example – Business space

If you rent commercial space, you incur costs. Such as the monthly rent, service costs, and perhaps additional costs. These costs are all included in the operating budget.

5 steps to an operating budget

1. Determine turnover

Determine how much turnover you expect in the next 3 years. State the turnover per year.

2. Determine purchase value

Determine the purchase value (or purchase costs) and subtract these from the turnover. This is how you determine the gross profit.

3. Provide insight into operating results

Add up all other business expenses, such as personnel, business space, internet/telephone, and insurance. You also list the depreciation of your business assets as costs, under the heading of depreciation. Subtract all costs from the gross profit, this is the operating income. Operating income is also known as net profit from the business before tax.

4. Deduct taxes

Deduct the income tax and the income-related health insurance contribution from the operating result.

5. Calculate net profit

Determine the amount that remains. That is the net profit. Your business income comes from this profit. You can choose to keep part of your profit in your company or use it for repayment or expansion.

Example operating budget


Amount in euros

Minus: purchase value turnover150,000

Gross profit


Promotion and communication costs10,000
Energy costs10,000
Minus: total costs160,000

Net profit


Video: Make a financial plan

Tips for the operating budget

  • Create several realistic scenarios, for example, based on personnel costs or energy costs. Then you can better respond to changes and easily adjust the figures in your budget.
  • If you have already received assignments or orders, include them in the explanation.
  • Keep in mind that personnel costs are approximately 30% higher than the gross salary due to costs for pension and employer insurances.
  • Do you need help drawing up your operating budget? Then engage a bookkeeper or accountant via NOAB (in Dutch) or NBA.

Difference between operating budget and liquidity budget

In an operating budget, you budget costs per year. These amounts are exclusive of VAT. In a liquidity budget, you show your income and expenses per month or per quarter. This ultimately provides an overview on an annual basis as well. You state VAT in a separate column. This provides additional insight into the VAT settlement every quarter and therefore a more specific insight into the (monthly or quarterly) balances of your liquidity budget.