Risk #4: Missing your budget

The fourth risk listed in the Six Key Risks a CIO Must Avoid post is

A CIO who can’t operate within the budget he submits is in real danger.

While you may not have budgeting responsibility as a young IT manager, budgeting must become a core competency for a CIO. The executive management team expects (and rightfully so) the IT department to develop a budget and operate within it so the company can achieve its financial numbers.

If the CIO spends more than he budgeted, , , well, the CEO and CFO have to make up that deficiency somewhere else for the company to achieve its financial plan. If they don’t, their jobs can literally be at risk.

What this says is that CIO’s have to be able to budget and budget in a way that is going to be predictable in achieving their plan.

I’ve developed hundreds of IT support budgets and can’t remember when I failed to achieve the plan. Here are a couple of tips that can help you reduce this risk:

  • Understand that surprises happen and when they do they almost always require more cost.
  • Don’t forget the special projects or events that will occur in the new year, , , they will have costs.
  • Include buffer in larger expense accounts, such as:
    • Salary and employee related expenses
    • Travel
    • Maintenance
    • Telecommunications
    • Training and education
  • Be certain to understand other department manager plans for the new year that have IT support implications.
  • Having an IT strategy so you know what you will be working on is critical.
  • Review past year Profit and Loss reports to identify spending trends, , , be sure you can justify material spending trend changes in the new budget.
  • Review past year Profit and Loss reports for spending spikes, , , these are often annual or semi-annual vendor expenses.
  • Confirm you have all employee related expenses like travel and training associated with any new hires planned.

And finally, do a quick risk assessment on each expense category after budgeting to insure you have taken everything into consideration that might affect spending in this area. Consider things like special projects, events, other department manager plans, etc.

If you need a straightforward process and simple tools to help you budget, take a look at, IT Budgeting: operational and capital budgets made easy

One response to “Risk #4: Missing your budget

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