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Develop the Budget

The final step in getting off to a good start is to develop your budget.  You should create on even if the company does not ask you to.  The company budget may be several months off depending on when the fiscal year starts.  If it still a ways away I would create one anyway.  

Here are some things to keep in mind...

If you inherit a budget - stick to it as much as you can.  Chances are that you may not be able to change much of it in mid year.  

Make changes if it is expected.  If you have a mandate to make changes, then it is likely that you may deviate from the budget - you need to ask.

Create a Budget starting from zero.  In other words justify everything.  Do not put something on the budget just because it was there last year.  Think long and hard about why things are on the budget and remove or never add the ones you cannot defend.

Think "Return on Investment".  Ask yourself "Would I spend the money on this item if you owned the company?  The longer you have to think about it the greater the possibility that you could avoid the expenditure.  This is the way the CFO and CEO think.  Also think how you could spend the money on something else.

What can you live without?  After you have created the budget - cut it.  Not literally, but be ready to take a few things off the table if asked.  Know what they are and offer them up if needed.

Don't forget the little things.  if you put new hardware on the budget, don't for get to add a little for implementation or training.  You should generally add at least 5-10% contingency dollars to each major hardware purchase.

Be sure to add one wish list item. Place something on the budget that you would love to have if the money were freed up somewhere else.  Maybe you had to budget for software that was needed for one specific project.  If the project does not end up needing it, you already have a budget item to spend it on.