First off, why is a budget key?
SR: I believe a budget provides a financial roadmap for your departmental spending for the year. Without this, your team doesn’t have specific parameters to work within to monitor their expenditure constraints, as well as challenge themselves to meet their revenue goals. A budget can also provide consistency and equity in regard to departmental funds.
How do you decide on the budget for the year/where funds are going to be allocated? What does that process look like?
SR: The entire planning process takes about six months to complete. Our process for budget planning is a multi-faceted approach:
How do you go about reducing costs in order to maximize your budget?
SR: During our budget planning process, our campus recreation team always conducts discussions around cost saving measures. Some of those measures include the evaluation of staffing responsibilities to make certain we are working efficiently and effectively. We discuss the use of technology and how that can streamline operations, implement cost controls to obtain the best price for a particular product, evaluate energy saving measures, assess marketing strategies, and consider the adoption of new systems and their related impact to our programs, services and operations. Often, we develop multiple budgets that may be more aggressive to overly conservative so we are prepared for changes in our funding. Our overall department annual budget is more of a conservative approach since we rely on student enrollment and credit hours for our revenue, which is something that fluctuates and is unpredictable.
Any other budgeting advice?
SR: There is no exact science to budget creation and implementation, but there are definitely best practices. Don’t be overly stressed when expenditures or revenues are not meeting your projections. Be prepared.