If you’ve just received that promotion and suddenly find yourself in charge of one or more department budgets, it can be quite a step up. For those who have little experience of organising and allocating finances to individuals, teams and more, this will be a huge responsibility you’re unfamiliar with. There are a range of effective measures you can take to manage one or more department budgets and make the whole process simple and keep everyone involved happy.
Talk with Department Heads
Communication is key to make sure all your budget allocations are done properly and transparently. Involving your teams and especially those who will be in charge of budgets when they are allocated to them is extremely important to make it clear how the process will work and highlight any issues.
When you’ve already been a staff member in the team this should be easy. If you’re not knowledgeable about every area of the department then having this connection should help. Talk with the department heads and other team members to get a good idea of what they need, understand and where improvements can be made. After all, they’ll be the ones using up the budget.
Use Prepaid Cards
One way to provide individual departments with a lot of autonomy about how they spend their allocated funds is to use prepaid cards. Prepaid Financial Services offer these as a way to easily deliver a set amount of funds each week, month or quarter.
This makes tracking how much is given to each department simple. Once you have divided the funds you can then preload a card for each department, hand it over with instructions about when it will next be topped up and that department can then take charge of their finances. This allows them to choose when and what it is used on, which can be the most effective way of dividing up the budget.
Ask the Experts
Using your existing budget as a guideline is a good place to start but when the further complications of dealing with budgets become apparent it can get tricky. If you’re struggling or unsure about aspects such as depreciating a budget item or structuring expenses, then seek help rather than go in blind.
Ask someone from the finance department or whoever has previously worked with the budgets. Often there will be a budget analyst within the finance department, so using their expertise makes sense. There’s no shame in asking and it will be more effective than wasting time trying to tackle something you are unfamiliar with and potentially causing problems.
Consider Creative Options
A great budget management tip for beginners is to make savings by working creatively with it. There will be times when you need to cut back, whether it’s on department personnel, overheads of anything else. If you need additional staff but it’s stretching the budget, consider offering an internship to local universities to fill positions. Or when it’s software and equipment, think about financing options rather than buying outright.
These methods should help you get to grips with the early stages of managing departmental budgets.
Sources: techrepublic.com / thebalancecareers.com