One of the most important actions you can take involves understanding finance, both your personal finances and those of the organization where you are employed. If this is an area of weakness for you, improve your understanding through coursework or by researching information electronically or by meeting with professionals. The importance of understanding how money is put to work for both individuals and organizations will prove important to you personally and throughout your career. Take the time to learn the terminology and practical applications so you can confidently participate in conversations and decision-making about budgets within your organization as well as take responsibility for your financial security.
Gather Information from Multiple Sources
As a new manager you may benefit from reviewing a few years of budget files. Doing so may help you understand any trends or how the organization has responded to market conditions. Both internal and external sources of information can prove informative as you develop your understanding of the organization’s historical performance and current financial state. Conversations with your supervisor, peers and other managers may also contribute to your understanding. If the position you have accepted is in an industry that is new or less familiar to you, take the time to invest in becoming well versed in the norms for your industry. This may involve researching the financial history and current conditions of other similar organizations.
Know the Factors that Enable or Impede Progress
Each operational unit encounters various challenges that impact their budgets. Once you understand costs and the processes, you may be able to recommend changes designed to decrease costs, increase revenue or both. A fresh perspective or approach may be what the organization needs to make impactful changes.
Understand Who Controls the Money
Every organization has a group of individuals who control the budget process and access to funding. Learn about who controls the money so you can better understand the policies and processes you need to adhere to as a budget manager. Depending upon the organization, you may discover that you need to modify your approach to budgeting to be consistent with the organization’s practices.
- You need to understand the budgeting process, costs and how allocations or funding flows throughout the organization.
- Within your first week, meet with your supervisor to discuss your budgetary responsibility.
- Review the information provided and participate in follow-up meetings with your supervisor or members of the financial department.
- Review your budgets frequently and ensure any transfers, corrections or other edits are made in a timely manner.