Budget proposals and Q4 go hand-in-hand. For upper management, budget proposals are top of mind as businesses wrap things up for the quarter and begin to look ahead to the coming year. It’s a crucial component to the business plan, and as such there’s a lot that goes into budget proposals on the back end before the pitch is made to executives. Team leads will review the previous year’s goals, and what they were able to accomplish given the resources available, in order to set realistic expectations for the new year. After ample analysis and considering market trends and predictions, they will need to package it all up in a compelling presentation that clearly outlines their financial needs.
From beginning to end, budget proposals are no small feat. In this blog we help break it down for you to help you nail your pitch and get the resources your team needs to succeed.
Here are 10 steps to help you prepare for 2024 budget proposals.
Review past budgets
The nice thing about budgets is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Many teams will use the previous year’s budget as their northstar to help navigate a new budget request. It’s important to take a look at previous years’ budgets to understand the trends, spending patterns, and areas that need improvement. This will help inform how much your department needs in order to be successful, and how you plan to allocate said budget, with tangible insights.
Define goals and objectives
In your review, you will probably reflect on goals you set out to achieve in the previous year. Did you have enough budget and resources to support those goals? Would they have been more attainable with additional resources? Answering these questions will help you build a case if you’re requesting an increase in budget. Consider the previous year, and then outline your organization's goals and objectives for the upcoming year. This allows you to align your budget proposals with the overall strategic direction of the company.
Gather data and information
Many executives will be data-driven, so it’s crucial you do your homework. Collect relevant and up-to-date financial data— such as revenue, expenses, and projections— to include in your proposal. You might also add some insights on industry trends, market conditions, and any regulatory changes that may impact your budget and how you use it.
Consider the team
Collaborate with key stakeholders, such as department heads and senior management, to understand their needs and priorities for the upcoming year. How much of their goals are dependent on budget approvals? What tools or resources do they need as a minimum to do their jobs well? Keep the entire team in mind when planning your budget.
Conduct cost analysis
Unfortunately, money doesn’t grow on trees. In the current economic environment, you may need to prioritize projects or initiatives that are most important to your team. Evaluate the cost and performance of existing programs, projects, and initiatives to help identify areas where costs can be cut or optimized to maximize return on investment.
Set realistic targets
The executives and decision makers are going to want to know what you plan to do with the budget and how it will impact the business. Based on your goals and available resources, set realistic targets for revenue generation, expense reduction, and other financial metrics that you can share with leadership to back your pitch. It’s important that both your budget and targets are realistic, yet ambitious.
Determine which projects or initiatives are critical to achieving your strategic objectives, and prioritize them at the top of your list. Including the potential impact and expected returns from each investment can help justify them by showing the power they will have on the overarching business goals.
Plan for contingencies
Always plan for change. When you sit down to craft your 2024 budget proposal, build contingencies into your budget to account for unforeseen events or changes in the economy. This will provide flexibility and mitigate risks associated with unexpected circumstances, like layoffs or seasonality dips.
Prepare a presentation
Now it’s time to package it all up. Creating a well-structured and comprehensive deck that clearly outlines your budget proposal is key to staying organized. Each slide should focus on one main point, and the deck should include things like supporting data, analysis, and a compelling narrative that aligns with your organization's vision.
Still not sure where to start? Beautiful.ai’s budget proposal presentation template is carefully curated with everything you need to include in your own proposal deck. All of our templates are fully customizable, so you can tailor the slides to fit your content and budget needs.
Present your proposal
Once your presentation is buttoned up and ready to go, you will likely present your budget proposals to relevant stakeholders, such as the finance or executive team. Make sure to articulate the rationale behind your proposals and be prepared to address questions or concerns at the end. As a follow-up, you can send your budget proposal presentation to everyone in the meeting so they can revisit slides as they sit down to crunch numbers and make their decisions.