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Budget Season First Steps: Team Buy-In

June 23, 2020
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Budget season is one of the most important and challenging times for an organization. One of the biggest hurdles to budget preparation that a CFO can face during this time is getting the organization in sync and prepared to put in the time and effort that a meaningful budget requires.As difficult as this might seem, getting buy-in from the entire team can not only make budgeting easier, but also produce a plan that speeds the company forward and keeps you on track. So, it’s important to do what you can to get your team committed to the process as early as possible.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Budget season requires a huge amount of communication with executives, as well as project and team leaders. This process makes everything easier while also building trust through transparency – critical elements to getting the organization on board with budget season activities.To begin budget preparation, anyone involved with the budget process should clearly understand the goals of the budget. Is the intent to reduce from the previous year, invest in innovation, grow the company or stay the course? Giving some direction on the overall organizational strategy that the budget needs to meet allows all collaborators to have the same foundational focus to work from.Sharing budget targets, too, provides clarity on what is expected and makes it more likely the team will invest the proper amount of time into fiscal planning. For example, if leaders know when going into the planning process that their budget is expected to remain steady, they can adjust planning accordingly. Nothing is more frustrating than submitting a plan only to be told you’re not within the planning targets that the board needed you to meet.

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Offer Training, Be Available for Questions

New managers may be confused or overwhelmed by the financial planning process, and they might not be the only ones. If the team has never been trained on the right way to create a budget, or given tips and tricks on how to streamline the process, even the most seasoned leader may dread budget season.Counter this by offering training on how the process works, what to expect, and even how to start planning. Also consider a “budget hotline,” where the team can turn to get answers to questions that crop up while completing the daunting task of financial planning for their groups.

Budget Preparation Made Easy with the Right Tools

It’s human nature to put off a difficult or confusing task. So if the tools your company uses for the budget process are complicated and not user friendly, team members involved in financial planning may put off the task as long as they can.Instead, choose streamlined, cloud-based financial planning tools that make the task of building a budget easier. If team members aren’t fighting the software, they can better concentrate on their budgets and making sure that the right purchases, projects, and resource requests make it into the plan.Budget season can be stressful as team members are pulled away from their normal, everyday critical work to plan for the coming year. But a poor budget preparation plan will mean more work and continual problems throughout the year to come. By making the process clearer and more comfortable, your planning team will buy into the process and dedicate the time and energy needed for this important task.

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