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The best budget formulas for keeping project finances on point 7 min read
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If you want to keep an accurate budget, whether it’s for a business or a single project, you’ll eventually need to wrangle spreadsheets. For better or worse, these cell-filled tools are ideal for number crunching. When paired with the right functions and formulas, spreadsheets are versatile, powerful, and essential to any kind of finance work.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the most common formulas you’ll need to ensure your budget is on point. While we’re at it, we’ll explain how you can break out of the spreadsheet cell with’s capable yet simple approach to formulas and functions. But first, let’s touch on why budgeting is so crucial to any successful project.

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The benefits of accurate budgeting in project management

Budgeting is an important part of any professional endeavor. Whether you’re running a small business or guiding hundreds of team members, good financial management isn’t only smart, it’s one of three pillars to project success.

Often referred to as the iron triangle, every project manager must balance the competing constraints of time, scope, and cost.

The essence of the iron triangle is that all three points are intrinsically linked. You can’t move the dial on any one of them without affecting the other two. Put another way, project managers need every advantage they can get to track the project plan, team schedules, and budgets.

Because of the interconnected nature of the iron triangle, a smart approach to budgeting provides far more information than a project’s financial health. With the right tools, project managers can:

  • Identify problems early: Accurate budget tracking helps you identify potential problems early on and take corrective action. This could include making changes to the project’s timeline or finding ways to reduce costs.
  • Provide better forecasting: Budget tracking also allows you to accurately forecast future costs and plan accordingly. This helps you make sure that the project is completed on time and within budget.
  • Reduce overall project costs: By tracking the budget, you can also identify areas where costs can be reduced, which can help you maximize the return on investment of the project. This can also help you better manage the risk associated with projects.

Naturally, even a simple spreadsheet provides its fair share of benefits. But when you’re managing your entire team with a powerful Work OS, you have access to much more data — and many more insights. On, it all starts with the formula column.

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Unlock budgeting superpowers with’s formula column

Consider this scenario: You and your team use an intuitive Work OS to collaborate seamlessly, track individual tasks, monitor marketing campaigns and keep tabs on clients. Every team has workflows tailored to their tasks, but business information flows freely between departments since your team’s data is under one digital roof.

Now imagine being able to place a fully functional Excel column anywhere in that data. No scrubbing, no complicated imports or exports — just pure budgeting bliss, in record time. This is’s formula column.

The best part is, like the rest of Work OS, the formula column is incredibly easy to use. Whether you’re using a budgeting template or rolling your own board, you can keep things easy and learn as you go.

Start simple with the SUM formula

Adding up the values of a column is often the starting point for anyone new to spreadsheets. With’s formula browser, you can get the sum total of any number column. Simply browse a prefilled list of your board’s columns, click the one you want to calculate, and then click the SUM formula. Add up budgets across teams, expenses across departments, or an entire quarter’s revenue in seconds.

Create accounting conditionals with the IF function

Taking things up a notch, the formula column’s IF function can turn simple arithmetic functions into highly informative dashboards and reports.

Let’s say you’ve created a SUM column that adds together the various costs of a business venture, but now you want to know how those costs compare to the income you’ve earned so far. You can wrap your SUM formula with an IF function and use operators to compare the values with your income column. Then you can pipe those results to a new column that outputs a specific message based on the results.

Tally up invoices or expenses with the COUNT function

If you’re familiar with Excel, you might be aware of the COUNT function, which often goes unused and underappreciated. It’s a unique function in that it doesn’t do any actual arithmetic. Instead, it counts the number of cells in a selected column or matrix and returns the value.

With a Work OS like, things are a little different. When your entire business’s workflows are on a single platform, there are ample opportunities to put the COUNT function to good use. Need to find out how many invoices you sent last quarter? It’s a click away with the COUNT function. Does a stakeholder need an expense report showing the average cost per expense? Count and divide.

Calculate profit margins with the ROUND function

Calculating profit margins is one of the most frequently used math formulas in the business world. It’s also fairly straightforward. You divide your profit by your revenue and multiply by 100. Drop this formula into a ROUND function, and you have a nice, round percentage to give to the executives. Or you can lead with it during your next performance report presentation.

Beyond profit and expense reports, a Work OS’s true power comes from the vast array of data you can leverage in your daily workflow. Not only does this free you from the headache of moving data around to run simple calculations, but it means more opportunities for accounting insights.

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Account for every cent with

At, we’ve created a uniquely powerful Work OS that takes the concept of flexibility and data and blends it with exceptionally capable and intuitive tools. From project management and marketing to design and development, if there’s work to be done, you can do it on

This interconnected approach is what makes so great for budgeting. Traditional spreadsheets are isolated from the data you need to make accurate decisions about your projects and business. By the time you get the numbers you need into Excel, they’ve likely already changed.

Budgeting aside, will also help you streamline all of your other projects and business processes. Powerful automations baked into every workflow, real-time collaboration, and seamless integrations with all of your existing tools are just a few of the features you’ll love about your new Work OS.

Good budgeting practices: the real bottom line

Whether you use a Work OS, a traditional spreadsheet, or an even more traditional paper ledger, setting and monitoring a budget is essential to any project. And as we mentioned early on, time and cost are on equal footing in project management, so budgeting your time is just as important. But be warned: Excel’s date formatting is notorious, so it’s best to keep this particular budget outside of the spreadsheets.

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