Fiscal Admin – Team Project Wrap Up. 2014. Team Project Wrap Up.
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The only way to learn budgeting is to produce a budget – many of our students will help with some type of budget during their career (division, grant, dept.) – agencies now expect all employees to have a working knowledge of the agency budget – understanding budgets can be very helpful to your career
Generating a budget teaches you the key concepts of the course and how to engage in innovative problem solving
The learning objective is for students to learn how to design and generate a budget which would win approval from a funding authority – it’s pointless to teach students to create budgets that would never receive approval in the real world
Grateful for the hard work, dedication, successful application of key course concepts, innovative problem solving
Let’s review the lessons learned so you can carry them forward for the future
Don’t bring your funding authority problems – bring them solutions via your budget!
Linkage – your funders need to see how your budget achieves the goals you have identified for your agency – what outcomes do they buy when they agree to purchase your budget? How will you prove that you attained those specific and measurable outcomes (performance metrics) – what are they buying when they buy your budget and how can they know they got what was promised when they agreed to buy it?
If it a new or major expenditure, a capital project, or new or increased revenue stream, justify it! Provide multiple arguments which convince policymakers to support each solution (e.g. if you are asking for new personnel, then make several arguments to win approval – increasing response times, comparison to peer jurisdictions, manpower study, national recommended staffing ratio, accreditation, citizen survey supporting need for more personnel, etc.).
Every budget is driven by several key factors (e.g. growth, declining revenues, capital project, need to fix the pay plan, etc.) – first identify all those factors in a single section (can be called different things – Analysis of Variables Affecting the Budget, Budgetary Challenges, etc.) and then put a price tag on each (monetize them $) and then identify your specific solutions to deal with each of these influential factors
For revenues and expenditures, always use narrative to explain each category, note if the revenue stream or category of spending is increasing, decreasing, or staying the same and why and whether that’s good news or bad news and how we will deal with it – explain all changes in spending or revenuesoccurring in your budget – changes are sure to attract attention & get increased scrutiny
Never let the numbers talk for themselves – people can miss the message or get the wrong one – always use narrative to explain the numbers
Some items are bound to attract attention and receive more scrutiny so they need solid justification – fleet purchases, pay issues, capital projects, overtime, proposed tax hike, etc.
Community Profile – different communities impacts budgets differently (e.g. lots of young families means schools and recreational facilities, lots of seniors means more health care spending) – first, give the funders a walking tour of the community so they truly understand what you deal with each day – how do people live, work, and play here – then explain how this type of community influences your budget – do not assume that because they live here, they truly know your community – they may know their single district but not the other parts of the county – they may be fairly new to the community – they may also think they know the community but they don’t truly understand everything about it
Always start off with an Overview or Letter from the Agency Head which sets the stage – identifies the major themes of this year’s budget
Sell your successes – they need to buy you to buy your budget – awards, accreditation, employee achievements, examples of community support, positive news stories, etc.
Organizational Overview – your county or city commission or School Board is not comprised of experts on your agency or department – many veteran members will know little about your department – new and recently elected members need to be educated too – give them a full briefing on who you are, what you do, and what you mean to the community – history, leadership, staffing, services, successes, etc. – they have to understand you to understand your budget – they have to support you to support your budget
Appendices – allows you to provide in depth information which supports your request – it’s like getting additional time to argue your case – adds credibility and enhances trust - don’t miss out on this opportunity!
Anytime you can convince your funding authority that you are an investment not a subsidy, that’s a strong argument to make – in other words, we make $ for you we don’t just cost you $ (e.g. new fire station means lower ISO rating so citizens receive lower homeowners’ insurance rates, our parks and recreation department hosts festivals and shows that bring in tourists who pay the bed tax and sales tax when here) – this return on investment/economic impact argument can be made with every agency or department but many fail to make the argument so policymakers see them as a cost center or subsidy instead of as an investment and a profit center
When you select a specific format for your budget (line item, lump sum, performance, program, hybrid), identify the format, articulate your rationale for selecting it (the specific benefits), and then use it!
Don’t leave out important elements such as debt, grants, cash management program, budgetary process and forecasting
For anything you are buying (new personnel, capital project), you need to identify, explain, and defend your financing plan for buying it
Support key statements – “this program saved a lot of money” – how much and why – avoid generic statements on key points - use data and facts and figures to ensure your statements are accepted, understood and believed
Your budget should represent a compelling case for adoption of your budget. Sell need, sell trust, and sell vision throughout your budget.
All 3 are required to justify an increase or to even preserve current resources.
For each, don’t assume it and don’t state it – prove it – document it.
Remember that you are competing against others in a world of limited resources – a decision to boost your budget 5% may very well mean the decision to freeze or cut the budget of another department of agency.
Needis demonstrated a number of ways - by showing service demand exceeds service resources (i.e. the county has experienced 40% growth in the last 10 years, calls for service up 18% over last year) or by the need for compliance with national performance standards, etc..
Trustis reminding the county commission that you have been a responsible steward of the budgets they have provided you in the past (i.e. cost savings, success stories).
Visionis showing the city council what they will secure both short term and long term by purchasing your proposed budget (i.e. goals achieved as documented by performance measures – an agency performing at optimal effectiveness and efficiency - improved quality of life in our community).
Avoid losing the opportunity to make hand gestures because you either lock your hands on to the podium or rest them on the podium the entire time
It’s definitely OK to look to the screen – point out an item on the screen but keep the audience as your focus – the relationship is with your audience - you need to win them over – so avoid looking at the screen more than looking at your audience
Use all tools – eyes, voice (pace, inflection, volume), hand gestures, & facial expressions
Know the rules and follow the format – adhere to time limits – they won’t be changing the rules for you!
Don’t do anything which subtracts or distracts from your presentation – if it adds to the presentation, we do it – if it does not, we do not do it!
Questions can be friend or your enemy – be prepared – you can anticipate 90% of them in advance and have ready to go answers - You may be asked a question or two by the instructor or a student at the end of your presentation - questions are part of the presentation package. Questions offer a good opportunity to provide greater explanation of a key point, reinforce an important lesson learned, solidify your relationship with the audience, & close the sale!
If persuasion is your communications objective then remember that persuasion is a process – repeat and reinforce key points to ensure audience understanding and acceptance
Transition between topics smoothly.
Mistakes are allowed if you handle them right - if you miss a certain word or make some other minor mistake, push forward – don’t draw attention to it – it’s likely your audience won’t catch it or remember it within the context of an overall successful presentation
Be an enthusiastic advocate for your agency and budget!
Practice, practice, and practice! Practice both individually and as a group in advance of the real deal (when presenting with others as a group, practice becomes even more important to integrate/synchronize – become a symphony). Can improve content & delivery. First practice will produce significant improvement – second will refine and strengthen – if it happens during practice, it’s not a mistake – will build confidence and make for a stronger and more crisp and effective delivery.
When you practice, have others honestly and objectively critique you – ID strengths & areas for improvement – make changes before you present
Use the specific comments from your instructors to improve each time – retain strengths and implement specific improvements – use the lessons learned for your next presentation
With practice, everyone can become an effective presenter!!!
If you don’t present them with a financially and politically feasible plan to finance your budget, your odds of approval decrease (really liked your presentation but just don’t know how we are going to pay for this). Show them that you have thought through the difficult issues of crafting a revenue plan which they can adopt and implement. Do the hard thinking for them - offer a solution they can embrace – help them help you.Help them help you!
Conclusion – finish strong – summarize all key points - reinforce major requests – leave your funders inspired and feeling confident in the budget you are asking them to buy!
Approval occurs when a well researched and designed budget is effectively presented!