Pop quiz: who should be in charge of your team’s budget? Is it the finance department? The CEO? Operations? Sales?
Short Answer: Everybody should be.
Having one department or person administer the budget is fine, but when it comes to the planning process, your whole team is ultimately responsible for making sure it comes together.
To have a more realistic and accurate budget, you need to think like the person entering the data. This will also speed up the budget process –win-win.
The other reason it is important to have whole team budget buy-in is more strategic. A strong budget outlines priorities and strategies for the term ahead. Using this as a guideline can help create better relationships within your team.
Different departments ultimately have the same goals; however, they may have different priorities. Involving them all in the budgeting process ensures they can come to a mutual understanding of strategic goals and plans and make a tech-investment timeline that everyone on the team is happy with, or at least understands.
What about when I start rolling out the budget?
There is huge benefit to spreading it more widely across your organization. When you are rolling out the budget, it should be rolled out to everyone, especially the person or people closest to the action.
That is because each manager or department may have different priorities or ways of looking at things. When differences in language get lost in translation, it can create a lot of headaches and wasted time. Think of inputting data regarding a conference, for example. An accountant might ask “what GL account does this fit into?” and be considering the number of trips/number of client visits. But if the sales team are the ones inputting the data, they might see it as more activity-based –airline ticket, accommodations, meals, etc.
In general, the people who are closest to the customer should be involved in the budget. They can also offer important insight into different areas of the budget that can be easy to overlook. For example, support staff may have a better idea of what clients are willing to spend, where they might invest more dollars, and how to better market a program or service.
The more employees who understand the budget and the company’s priorities (and who are maybe even involved in setting those priorities), the easier it will be to develop budget buy-in.
Who is currently involved in your budget? Do you add contributors when you begin rolling out the budget?