Draper & Associates' budget planning and development services follows a classical approach consisting of the following steps:
Budget Planning & Identification
As with all client engagements, Draper & Associates familiarizes themselves with all aspects of the client/entities organization through a series of executive staff meetings and key personnel interview sessions. The outcome of these discussions leads to the discovery of significant historical data that allows Draper to carefully craft and analyze the information received.
It is important to know how the budgeted dollars flow through an organization; from whom the dollars are received; what services are rendered and how the client establishes the rates by which the sold services are delivered. Through evaluation and recorded findings, initial budget model reengineering can begin. By utilizing a best practice approach to the development of the new budget model, certain recommendations can then be administered and documented to management for review and approval. After initial review and comment a project team comprised of Draper personnel, client staff and outside industry experts (engagement driven) is formalized and given authority to administer the initial budget requirements and implement change by committee.
Initial Budget Development
The project team, led by Draper & Associates, organizes and disseminates all pertinent cost related detail into understandable, interlinked spreadsheets for the initial modeling of the budget. Certain stakeholders are then consulted and budget model forecasts begin taking shape. A cost allocation matrix is developed to ascertain the overall costs associated with each department within the client organization under review. For each new detail uncovered, detailed logs are kept to document all methods and business rules that further form the final model.
The stakeholder information is used to prioritize major upcoming business initiatives such as software purchases, new business lines, project directives or staff adjustments. These items are budgeted and scheduled according to capital readiness and fiscal importance. This list becomes an integral portion of the budget model. The cost allocations are developed from the top down by spreading executive office costs, support services and overhead accordingly throughout the organization. Further interviews might be required in order to accurately assess the time spent overseeing departments within the client's organization and therefore producing a cost allocation matrix that can be accepted by management.
The business rules, cost allocations and capital expenditures are then incorporated into the spreadsheet model to further cement the real dollars necessary to manage the organization. From this data, real pricing structures are documented and used to develop cost/service centers from which fund flow can be tightly managed. It is this kind of structure that allows the client to monitor the performance of its departments to ensure accurate staffing and service levels throughout the organization. This structure also allows for more automated, timely and accurate budget development.
Final Budget Model Development
One of Draper & Associates key budget planning responsibilities is to integrate all findings, business rules, cost allocations and spreadsheet data into a user-friendly interface for timely and accurate budget development with flexibility for change should priorities need to be adjusted. In order to do this, Draper first ensures that all final budget model initiatives are approved by the project team and communicated to the management and other key stakeholders. After approval for budget model development, all spreadsheet information is used to develop a customized Access database. The database can then be used by the designated client personnel to run preliminary and final versions of the organization budgets and have the flexibility to incorporate newly prioritized business level initiatives.
Master Scheduling & Reporting
Another key program planning responsibility performed by Draper involves developing time-phased schedules for the activities necessary to prepare for and accomplish the work defined by the budget project team. These schedules form the basis for the development and implementation of the Master Schedule System (MSS). The MSS, in conjunction with the financial budget systems and processes, form the foundation of a project and performance planning management process intended to monitor project status and progress against key milestones. This process is implemented through a system of regular reporting which flows from the program planning level to the executive level of the organization. Reporting includes the status of planning, near-term activities, budget status and related issues.
The budget process and documents developed as a result of this initiative are effective only as long as they remain current. To assure currency and provide a legacy, Draper & Associates provides the necessary templates and electronic files to the client. Additionally, client personnel will be trained by Draper consultants to ensure the developed database can be maintained/updated once the consulting engagement is completed. A detailed report of all business rules, findings and recommendations is also delivered as a part of the project close-out.