Budgets. Nobody is ever truly happy with them, but everyone must live with them. Whether you’re on a small team with a single focus, or the vice president of a multinational company with lots on the go, all your work and spending have to obey the bottom line.
In the IT world, budgets are critically important and have a higher degree of influence over a project – whether it’s deemed a success or failure. Asking the C-suite for money can be nerve wracking, and budget owners are often judged on how they spend and how they save on behalf of the company.
We’ve put together a few tips for handling IT budgets – helpful for the new IT manager and the resourceful, seasoned vet alike.


Keep it strategic

Year over year, managers tend to ask for an arbitrary amount of budget increase; we’ve typically seen people ask for 10% more. But why 10%? or 8% or 15%? Is there a strategy behind the exact dollar figure? Does it align to your team’s goals for the year? We all know that asking for money can be tricky, so be sure to have your strategy at the ready to defend what you’re asking for.


Talk to your team

When you’re preparing your budget, ensure that you have a chance to talk with your team about their goals for the year. They have, most probably, calculated the cost of a project on the drawing board. Also, they might need new software or hardware to continue doing their job well. You’ll want to capture all of these costs in your budget.


Don’t reinvent the wheel

If you’re relatively new at learning to create or maintain a team’s budget, don’t be reluctant to ask for help. There’s no sense in trying to reinvent the wheel, and the same goes for creating budgets. Schedule some time with other managers or directors in your department to understand how they work with their budget and ensure yours aligns with the way your leaders want it.


Review, review, review

A budget isn’t a one-and-done project. To protect yourself from unwanted surprises at the end of the year, consider setting up standing meetings to review your budget throughout the year. We recommend a monthly cadence – this allows you to keep it top of mind, while not getting bogged down with day-to-day spending.