In our State of Corporate Budget 2018 survey, we asked the business leaders who gave themselves high marks for managing their budgets what’s working well.
Lack of Visibility
A full 25% of the leaders we surveyed had “no idea” what portion of their budget is allocated towards travel and entertainment, office supplies, and other controllable expenses. And for this group, the lack of a 360-degree view into company spend tops the list of concerns about the budgeting process (35% vs. 26% overall).
This group was nearly twice as likely to distribute budget ownership to department heads (46% vs. 24% overall). Perhaps not surprisingly, 60% go over budget at least sometimes—and 25% give themselves a C, D, or F.
The “A” List
For companies that gave themselves an A or B for budget effectiveness, regular communication topped the list of what’s working well.
When you compare the companies who gave themselves an A to those who gave themselves a B, however, an interesting distinction emerges. “A” companies were more likely to implement ongoing communications (86%) along with good tools and processes (70%). “B” companies were more likely to attribute success to one or the other—either communications (67%) or tools and processes (47%).
In addition, “A” companies were less likely to credit the finance department for keeping them on track compared to “B” ones (33% vs. 45%). The companies that are most successful with their budgets favor a greater sense of transparency and collaboration over reliance on one department.
Center Team Take
Success requires a combination of ongoing communication with good tools and processes. This offers better visibility into spend and decreases the time spent managing a manual process. While the budget can feel like a tedious process that impedes mission-critical work, it should be a strategic part of planning and operations. It’s the way to allocate resources to the highest-priority projects and the method to ensure those resources are used efficiently. | Heather Singh, CMO