Once budget figures are compared with those actually achieved, and a variance analysis carried out, management can then take steps to correct any problems identified. An organisation may put a procedure in place which stipulates that corrective action will only be initiated where a particular result falls outside a predetermined variation amount.
An example would be the situation where revenue does not meet budgeted figures. If an organisation's processes state that a variation of 5% on budgeted revenue is acceptable, and the variation is calculated to be -3%, then an organisation would not be required to review the revenue streams. Of course, should the deficit fall outside these predetermined limits then an organisation would be compelled to take corrective action.
By predetermining ranges of variation where action will or won't be necessary, management will be freed to engage in more productive activities rather than worrying about every 1% variance from budgeted figures.
The predetermined ranges would have to be tailored to the specific needs of the organisation however, as a 5% variance in revenue may be totally acceptable to one organisation, while to another it could result in insolvency.
It is particular important that in project budgeting tolerances of variations be established and properly costed, as any increase in expenditure associated with the project not only has an impact on the viability of the project itself (when assessing return), but given expenditure usually comes from other areas of the business the increase cost will have an impact on those areas as well.