Measuring Success: The Variance Analysis Cycle ______.

the variance analysis cycle ______.The Variance Analysis Cycle ______.

The variance analysis cycle is a continuous process that allows organizations to monitor and control their financial performance. By analyzing the causes of variances, businesses can identify trends, patterns, and areas of improvement. In this article, I will discuss the different stages of the variance analysis cycle, including planning, data collection, analysis, and reporting. By understanding each step of this cycle, organizations can enhance their financial management practices and drive sustainable growth.

The Variance Analysis Cycle

Definition of Variance Analysis

Variance analysis is an essential tool in financial analysis that allows organizations to evaluate and understand the differences between planned and actual results. It involves comparing the budgeted or expected figures with the actual performance of a business. By analyzing these variances, organizations can identify areas of improvement and make informed decisions to enhance their financial performance.

Purpose of Variance Analysis

The primary purpose of variance analysis is to provide insights into the organization’s financial performance and to support decision-making processes. By examining the variances, I can gain a deeper understanding of why the actual results differ from the planned figures. This analysis helps me identify areas of strength or weakness in the organization and implement appropriate strategies for improvement.

Identifying positive variances, or areas where the actual results exceed the budgeted figures, allows me to recognize successful operations and processes. These positive variances indicate that the organization is performing better than expected, which can be a result of factors such as increased sales, higher productivity, or cost savings.

Steps in the Variance Analysis Cycle

Identifying Variances

In the variance analysis cycle, the first step is to identify variances between planned and actual results. I’ll analyze the financial data and compare it to the budgeted figures. By comparing the actual performance with the expected performance, I can pinpoint areas where there are differences.

During this process, I look for both positive variances and negative variances. Positive variances occur when actual results exceed the budgeted amounts, indicating successful operations. On the other hand, negative variances highlight areas where the actual results fall short of the budgeted amounts, signaling potential issues that need to be addressed.

Analyzing Variances

Once the variances have been identified, the next step in the variance analysis cycle is to analyze the variances. This involves diving deeper into the data to understand the underlying causes of the discrepancies. I examine various factors that may have contributed to the variances, such as changes in prices, volumes, or costs.

During the analysis, I consider both favorable variances and unfavorable variances. Favorable variances are positive deviations from the budget that have a positive impact on the organization’s performance. Unfavorable variances, on the other hand, are negative deviations from the budget that need to be addressed to improve performance.

Taking Corrective Actions

The final step in the variance analysis cycle is to take corrective actions based on the findings of the analysis and investigation. This involves developing and implementing strategies to address the issues identified and bring the actual results in line with the budgeted figures.

Taking corrective actions may involve making changes to operational processes, revising budgeting or forecasting methods, or implementing cost-saving measures. It is essential to set clear objectives and develop an action plan to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to rectify the variances.

Benefits of The Variance Analysis Cycle

Performance Evaluation

One of the primary benefits of the variance analysis cycle is its ability to evaluate performance. By comparing planned and actual results, organizations can gain valuable insights into their financial performance. This allows them to assess the effectiveness of their operations and identify areas of success as well as those in need of improvement.

The variance analysis cycle enables organizations to track positive variances, which indicate that actual results are exceeding expectations. This serves as an affirmation of successful operations and allows organizations to replicate and build upon these successes.

Cost Control

Cost control is another significant advantage of the variance analysis cycle. By analyzing variances, organizations can gain a comprehensive understanding of their expenditure patterns and identify areas of cost overruns or savings. This information allows organizations to take proactive measures in controlling costs and optimizing their financial resources.

Variance analysis identifies cost variances by comparing planned and actual costs. Positive cost variances may indicate areas where cost-saving measures have been implemented successfully. This enables organizations to identify cost-effective practices and replicate them across different departments or projects.

Decision Making

The variance analysis cycle helps organizations understand the impact of decisions made throughout the budgeting and forecasting processes. By analyzing the variances, organizations can evaluate whether the assumptions and estimates used in the planning stages were accurate. This allows for better decision making in future budgeting and forecasting cycles.

The insights gained from variance analysis also help organizations make data-driven decisions regarding resource allocation. By understanding the areas that contribute positively to the variance, organizations can allocate resources more effectively, optimizing productivity and overall financial performance..


Throughout this article, I have discussed the variance analysis cycle and its importance in financial analysis. By comparing planned and actual results, organizations can gain valuable insights into their financial performance and make informed decisions. The variance analysis cycle is a crucial tool in financial analysis. By leveraging this process, organizations can optimize their financial performance, control costs, and make informed decisions to drive success.

Chris Appleford is a Nomadic Traveler. He goes to different parts of the country and tries to share his experiences with others. Also, he assists people in selecting hotels to stay in, things to do in selected areas, and expressing arts and culture.