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Creating a Project Budget Report

Using OnePager Pro with Microsoft Project to identify tasks in a project that are over or under budget

Executives need to understand which elements of a project are on budget, and which ones have the potential to experience cost overruns. Microsoft Project can help you track the budget for your project plan, but does not create cost variance reports that are easy to read or understand.

Project reporting apps like OnePager Pro import your budget and cost variance information from Microsoft Project and create colorful budget charts that are easy for busy executives to understand. If you don't already use OnePager Pro, you can download a free trial and try it out today.

OnePager Pro creates project budget reports like this in a matter of minutes:
Project budget report created in OnePager Pro from Microsoft Project budget information.

Here's how to get started:

  1. Open your Microsoft Project plan. The simple plan below has budgeted costs, actual costs, and the cost variance included for each task:
    Microsoft Project plan showing baseline cost, cost, and cost variance.
  2. Double-click the OnePager Pro icon on your desktop to start building your project budget report. From the Start screen that pops up, choose New.
    OnePager Pro Start screen.
  3. Choose your Microsoft Project plan as the source file for your OnePager Gantt chart.
    OnePager Pro source file selection.
  4. An import wizard will appear. Type in a name for your budget report, and pick today’s date as your snapshot date, as shown below:
    OnePager Pro creates Gantt charts by importing data from Microsoft Project.
  5. Click the Create New Project View button, and OnePager Pro automatically imports your information from Microsoft Project to create an initial project timeline:
    Microsoft Project Timeline created in OnePager Pro, the reporting app for Microsoft Project.
  6. Now, we want to format the report to call out items that are over or under budget. Go to Home > Project-View Properties > Task Bars, and click on the Manage Rules button.
  7. OnePager Pro adds conditional formatting to Microsoft Project, meaning that with a few simple rules, we can color-code each task on the Gantt chart based on whether it is over or under budget. These three rules look at the Cost Variance column from Microsoft Project to assign colors based on budget status:
    Conditional formatting rules applied to a Microsoft Project plan to show whether a project is over budget or under budget.
  8. These rules are pretty simple. Tasks or phases that are over-budget are colored red, items that are under-budget turn green, while anything that is on-budget is gray.
  9. With the conditional formatting rules in place, we can make a few minor edits and end up with a colorful project budget report like this:
    Project budget report created in OnePager Pro using data from a Microsoft Project plan.

This project budget makes it really easy to see which tasks are over-budget and which tasks are under-budget. It also rolls the financial information up to a summary level so that we can understand how each overall phase of the project is doing. For example, even though Phase 2 had two tasks go over budget, it was still under budget overall.

OnePager Pro is the most direct way to create a budget report out of a Microsoft Project plan. Because OnePager Pro is a reporting app, it gives you all of the power of MS Project with the visual capabilities of PowerPoint.

Get started today by downloading a free trial or attending one of our demonstration webinars.

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