Managers are responsible for handling the day to day operations of their department, and this includes dealing with the budget. No matter the industry, the responsibility of the budget manager is fairly similar: maximize profit and minimize expenses without damaging the quality of the business. Keeping up with your department’s budget can be a challenge, especially when a manager is faced with the decision of how to cut expenses without cutting standards. Here are a few tips for developing a budget negotiation strategy in order to resolve financial problems.
Consider the Company’s Bottom Line
Final budget decisions are made based on how they will affect the company’s bottom line. Therefore, when you enter into a budget negotiation, you need to come prepared with all of the department’s expenses for the coming year. You need to demonstrate a knowledge of existing expenses before you can negotiate additional items. Then, when you ask for things like salary increases, a higher travel budget, or additional hiring, you need to provide solid information to show how these extra expenses will increase the company’s bottom line. If you can back up your requests with numbers that show the true value, you are more likely to get approval for your new budget.
Show Long-Term Benefits
Another way to get your budget approved is by extrapolating costs and benefits over a period of time. For example, if you are asking for an increase of $100,000 to hire more people, show how the productivity of these new hires will benefit the company over the next five years. Compare this increase in profit over the years to the cost of new hires to show the long-term benefits of your proposal.
Be Prepared to Compromise
When you are trying to resolve budget problems, you need to be willing to listen to the concerns of others. This is not the time to play hardball, but rather demonstrate an understanding of the company’s financial concerns. You need to enter into any negotiations prepared to compromise. You can start by asking for more than you need, and then slowly drop that number to show your willingness to compromise.
Remember to Work as a Team
Unfortunately, budget negotiations can sometimes lead to disagreements between departments. However, part of budget negotiation is remembering that you are all working toward a common goal, which is to improve the company’s bottom line. This might mean increasing the budget in some areas and giving up money in others for the benefit of the company. Be willing to work with other managers to develop a budget strategy that will be successful for the company as a whole.