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There are no awards for doing budgets

They Don't Give Out Awards for BudgetsHave you ever heard of anybody winning awards for great budgets? Me neither, at least, not in the industries that I came from.

So why do we continue to work long hours on something people really don’t care about? I mean, they care but they don’t really care. There has to be a way to produce budgets without the extreme hours.

I used to work for a company where we did annual budgets over the summer, spending practically 7 days a week, 12, 14, or 16 hours in a windowless building to produce a budget. We probably did it during the months of June, July and August. I don’t know how I did it but I had a skin rash by the end of that time and other folks had other kinds of ailments. It was brutal and no one won awards for that effort.

Instead, the next year, we faced a reorganization which meant possible job cuts.

Right now we are doing budgets for an ailing company and my boss is doing extreme hours. I’m trying to help as best as I can but I cannot work on 3 hours of sleep and I need downtime so I can come back and solve problems. But it’s not fair to my boss who is pulling these ridiculous hours.

And yet, I kind of see why. This company is in such dire straits that there probably has been a high attrition rate. So there are new people who are unfamiliar with budgeting process and there are others who are burned out by the situation. The end result is a set of budgets that are worse than bad. Even I, who has not been in the industry for long, can see the illogical thinking. Because we have to approve the budgets, we cannot approve them as they stand. So we are forced into basically building the budget for them. And unfortunately, that takes time. There are too many budgets to build in the compressed time that we have.

I can quicken some processes such as using macros to plug in actual numbers rather than us hand keying them in. But I need to get better at building macros on the fly, especially finding and opening appropriate files. I also want to build something that can do an analysis of where the inconsistencies are in the budget so we can say, “Go back and fix this.” We probably also need something to determine what are the material factors in the budget so we focus on those first. After these budgets are done, my boss and I are going to get together to think about how we can do this better in the future, in case we have to do this again.

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