State of Corporate Budget series (part eight)

The Blueprint for Effective Budgeting

By: The Center Team

Previous article in this series: Who’s Responsible for Keeping Your Budget On Track?


In our State of Corporate Budget 2018 survey, we asked the business leaders who gave themselves high marks for managing their budgets what’s working well.


Lack of Visibility

A full 25% of the leaders we surveyed had “no idea” what portion of their budget is allocated towards travel and entertainment, office supplies, and other controllable expenses. And for this group, the lack of a 360-degree view into company spend tops the list of concerns about the budgeting process (35% vs. 26% overall).

Distributed Ownership

This group was nearly twice as likely to distribute budget ownership to department heads (46% vs. 24% overall). Perhaps not surprisingly, 60% go over budget at least sometimes—and 25% give themselves a C, D, or F.

The “A” List

For companies that gave themselves an A or B for budget effectiveness, regular communication topped the list of what’s working well.

When you compare the companies who gave themselves an A to those who gave themselves a B, however, an interesting distinction emerges. “A” companies were more likely to implement ongoing communications (86%) along with good tools and processes (70%). “B” companies were more likely to attribute success to one or the other—either communications (67%) or tools and processes (47%).

In addition, “A” companies were less likely to credit the finance department for keeping them on track compared to “B” ones (33% vs. 45%). The companies that are most successful with their budgets favor a greater sense of transparency and collaboration over reliance on one department.

Center Team Take

Success requires a combination of ongoing communication with good tools and processes. This offers better visibility into spend and decreases the time spent managing a manual process. While the budget can feel like a tedious process that impedes mission-critical work, it should be a strategic part of planning and operations. It’s the way to allocate resources to the highest-priority projects and the method to ensure those resources are used efficiently.

         Heather Singh, CMO

Our survey revealed a wide range of attitudes and processes, but ongoing communication across departments, in combination with good tools, is the winning blueprint for budgeting.  


Other Articles in This Series

What Grade Would You Give Your Budget Process?

Over Budget? You're Not Alone.

Is Your Budget Bar Too Low?

Are Manual Processes Bogging You Down?

The Problem with Set It and Forget It

In the Dark About Discretionary Spend?

Who's Responsible for Keeping Your Budget on Track?


Success requires a combination of ongoing communications with good tools and processes.