How to Take the Stress Out of the Budgeting Process
When IT budgeting goes wrong, it can spell disaster for the entire business. To prevent this, IT staff members can use advanced tools that make it easy to explain costs to finance and business leadership to ensure that everyone remains on the same page.
No matter how heavily structured or flexible your budgeting process is, making accurate predictions about future costs can still prove difficult. As we near the end of 2015, companies worldwide are looking to their budgets, and many of them are struggling to reconcile the goals of their IT departments with the costs needed to achieve them.
With the help of ZDNet, we take a look at a few of the best solutions for aligning both the goals and budgets of the business and IT.
Although there are hundreds of different budget templates out there, there are a few budget creation techniques everyone can benefit from, no matter the size or complexity of your company finances.
First, ensure that any budget includes a good number of categories. Budgeting is all about the details, so the more specific you can be, the better. Categorize costs by frequency, priority, and whether they are new or recurring. Also, break down where each cost is going — network hardware, telecom, desktop hardware, printers etc. While this creation process takes a longer time to initialize, it results in less frustrating back-and-forth between you and the people vetting your budget.
The next step in budget creation, chronology and prediction, is often the most stressful. You can help yourself by identifying priorities and by breaking the year down as much as possible into quarters or even months, but the most effective strategy is reviewing your previous budgets and finding patterns that you can build on going forward.
Tracking is key to all budgeting processes. When dealing with predictive figures, it can be easy to forget the actual money behind the budget. ZDNet suggests visualizing money spent as physical cash from a wallet — whether this helps you or not, it’s still a useful tool in realizing the importance of tracking. Much as you would remember spending money in your personal life, remember to keep track of all company spending as you go using a detailed spreadsheet or dedicated system.
Recognize all unplanned spending and mark recurring costs so that the next budget is easier to create. The same goes for all contract end and payment dates: create an additional field to mark how long you have before having to assess each of your vendors so that you know exactly when you have to make each decision.
By rigorously enforcing tracking you will find that you are much more in-the-loop when it comes to predicting future spending. Figures such as the cost of a new hire or new technology will be easier to deduce and your next budget will be less stressful. As time goes by, you will gain more and more data with which you can make more accurate predictions for the coming months.
The Right Tools
Budgeting processes can be ruined or lost if you don’t use the right tools. CIO advocates the use of as much automatic data collection as possible, along with software that can help you to calculate risk and streamline control testing. Tools such as the capacity management software offered by TeamQuest support rolling forecasts and make it easy to show exactly how much infrastructure costs and why, all in a context that’s relatable to those at the executive level.
No matter how complex your IT budgeting may appear, careful template creation and tracking processes will relieve much of the stress that the process usually entails. Contact TeamQuest to find out which of their products and services can help you with your budget data management, and start enhancing your predictive processes today!