Budgets Shrink, Expectations Rise: How Can You Succeed?

By: Jason Cesare, Chief Financial Officer

Even for CFOs who are masters of their craft, tackling the annual budget can present some complex challenges and tough judgment calls. Between balancing your facilities management (FM) team’s financial needs and the larger needs of your organization, you may find yourself being pulled in several different directions at once.

Another complicating factor is that despite increasing pressure on businesses to “do more with less,” customers’ expectations continue to rise. These expectations apply to everything from the retail shopping experience to the B2B buyer’s journey—consumers of all stripes continue to expect exceptional service, quality products, and state-of-the-art stores and facilities. Not to mention, internal organizational expectations are rising, too, as senior leaders seek better results at lower costs.

To ensure your facilities reflect your brand and satisfy your customers’ needs without breaking the bank, try incorporating the following techniques and best practices into your budgeting process.

Use Accurate Data to Create Benchmarks
When you harness the power of quality data, you’re able to gain insight into a range of things that were previously out of reach: Reporting gets easier, trends become more readily apparent, and you’re better positioned to establish cost-saving benchmarks. Whether you choose to focus on benchmarking areas such as building maintenance and repairs, or data regarding training, outreach and management oversight, having standards to measure your performance against enables you to understand what type of improvements are necessary, and how to build a budget that will accomplish those goals.

Update Your Financial Plan Throughout the Year
Crafting a budget is not a one-and-done exercise. The numbers used to create operating and capital budgets often become outdated very quickly and may require reassessment throughout the year. Don’t be afraid to tweak your budget based on new data, unforeseen expenditures and seasonal considerations. If you don’t take organizational and/or FM-specific changes into account, you run the risk of basing your budget on obsolete projections, which will lead to problems down the line.

Seek Outside Guidance on Proper Budgeting Practices
At times, even the savviest financial gurus could use a little outside perspective. This is especially true of CFOs who might not have a good view of their organization’s FM spend. While FM accounts for a large portion of any multi-site company’s budget, other business areas tend to take the spotlight.

Partnering with an IFM (Integrated Facilities Management) service solution provider can help you wrap your arms around your facilities spend in a comprehensive way. It’s important when selecting this provider to find one that offers the financial acumen necessary to help you assess your budgetary needs. A reliable FM partner won’t simply grant you access to their platform and walk away—they will work with you to analyze your FM data and determine a budget that fits within your organization’s larger financial goals.

Preparing a well-rounded budget requires input from a number of disparate departments, data sources, and decision-makers if it’s going to sustain your organization through the fiscal year. Take time to plan in advance, and utilize every resource—internal and external—to plot your company’s financial future.

Interested in learning more about Integrated Facilities Management, click here