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A transparent, organized and complete budget makes it easier for you to track costs and justify new expenditures. However, the benefits of a well-organized budget don’t just stop there: that spreadsheet that shows your present and future expenses can be a powerful tool to help you prove the value of IT, plan for the future and keep costs under control. Today, we’re diving into how that works, and giving you some tips on how to communicate budget realities to your team.

One quick note before we start: transparency doesn’t have to mean that everyone in the company knows how much you spend on coffee every month. Instead, it means that your budget should be clear and your expenditures laid out in an easily understandable manner so that you can best account for everything. With that in mind, let’s continue.

1. A transparent budget means your priorities are clear as well.

Applying a simple high, medium or low-priority tag to your budget line items helps you, your leadership and your employees get a better sense of where your time and money will be spent this quarter. It also means you’ll have a sense of what needs to get cut if the orders come down that you’ll need to slash your budget— and you can plan for cuts well in advance.

2. You’re better-equipped to deal with unplanned expenses.

Adding in a category for unplanned or emergency expenses can give you the freedom you need to handle an emergency quickly and efficiently. While you shouldn’t go overboard, you should plan to leave enough money in this pot to handle any security emergencies that may arise as well as smaller (but more common) issues you may have with your devices.

3. You can justify your expenditures and gain traction.

At the end of the day, the one person whose approval on your budget really matters is your CEO. Your budget is a powerful tool to show the impact of information technology on your company’s bottom line, prove your value and (hopefully!) end up with a little more dough in your pocket for next quarter.

Your operations should already be aligned with your company strategy. If they are, your budget can show how you’re allocating resources to further the CEO’s vision for the company, and your metrics can prove how that money is turning into business growth. However, if your budget report isn’t well-organized and transparent, you lose the ability to use it as leverage.

4. You can find areas to cut costs.

When you track expenses and report them transparently, you automatically track areas in which you’re needlessly spending too much money. Perhaps you’re finding that your supply budget is too high or the resources allotted for ongoing training aren’t delivering. You can use this information to reallocate money and time where it’s most important, optimizing your processes and making the most out of every dollar.

Money’s important. But it’s not the only thing: your other most valuable resource in the IT department is time. Next week on the blog, we’ll be diving into how you can manage and improve your team’s time management, so your whole department runs more efficiently.

Want to learn more about cutting costs? Find out more about imageOne and how we can help. Download our fact sheet, imageOne by the Numbers, below.

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Photo credit: Jesús Corrius via Flickr Creative Commons

IT Efficiency