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5 Tips to Become a Budget Ninja

Becoming a Budget Ninja may not sound like something to aspire too but believe me, once you learn the ways of the budget Ninja you wont go back!

Your busy getting prepared, you have studied with the grand master of the finance department and know what your challenges are. You've carefully read (and printed out our info-graphic) for 8 Tips For Stress Free Budgets. You have been through last years budgets and actuals. Now you are ready to settle down and knock out your new budget. Hold On grasshopper... we have a few things you may want to contemplate before submitting that final budget

Being a Budget Ninja

Don't worry we are not suggesting you do back somersaults off the nearest building or appear in a large cloud of smoke. We are suggesting however that you must be a little ruthless, show no fear in setting your budget targets and look after your team.

  1. Know which parts of your budget you will sacrifice for the greater good! Lets face it, there are going to be things in your budget that will be cut, know in advance what you are willing to reduce or cut completely and what you will not give up and importantly why you wont give it up.
  2. Agree with your Team what things in each bucket are Mandatory, Strategic and nice to do. Everything in your budget will be challenged so work with your team and identify those 3 categories. This gives you predefined areas that you know you can sacrifice if needed but more importantly it gets your team thinking in terms of those 3 categories and it will carry through from budgets to where they spend their time. 
  3. Make allowances for and fight for those discretionary items that increase moral and team culture. So what do we mean by discretionary items? Think about a time where the team have gone the extra mile and you make that deadline, saying thanks for that is of course the very first thing you do, but what else is there? Ok how about shouting Pizza? At your next Monthly Strategic Session how about a big chocolate cake or maybe you give Maria tickets to the movies? oh, and don't forget your Christmas Party. These things don't costs a lot but the payback to the team & the bottom line is breathtaking, fight for these things with all your might.
  4. Include more than you think you need for recruitment. At least one person on your team is probably going to leave this year, maybe it's two, allow for this. Think about recruitment fees, advertising fees, training costs associated with the new hire, if you need safety equipment to do your job include that as well. Depending on the current unemployment rate in your area you may have to look for a temp worker to cover the gap between the person leaving & your new person arriving & getting up to speed so allow costs here and for them to overlap. If you don't use it throughout the year make deliberate decisions to transfer this money to another bucket, training was always my favourite recipient.
  5. Budget for your Strategic Off Site sessions. These types of sessions are critical to your team and business development. You need to go off site for them, they don't work on site. So think about where you will go, how much will that be, how will you get your team there, what will catering cost, what consumables will you need - flip charts, pens, equipment hire etc. This is a non negotiable item on you budget, fight for it with every weapon at your disposal.

The next time you face the dreaded budget rounds, keep your calm, remember we have prepared you for this assignment. We have shared our 8 tips for stress free budgets and now you can take the next step and use our 5 tips to become a budget ninja. 

Ok, so maybe you wont be a budget ninja but you will have a better budget and a more engaged team and in the end that's what's important.


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