Thinking about enterprise budgeting processes …. and Facebook

There was a time when I was happy with enterprise budgeting processes and their underlying technology support. That time was thirty years ago, before I ever worked for an enterprise. [And that’s probably why I have so much time for Sig and Thingamy. Disclosure: I have no stock in Thingamy. Or any other company for that matter, save the ones I have worked for or am working for.]

So many places have nothing that approximates to project accounting yet they try and account for projects. So many places have nothing that approximates to multi-year planning, yet they try and account for multiple years and across year boundaries. So many places operate in multiple timezones and jurisdictions with multiple accounting standards and conventions, even if they claim to be using the same one. So many places have a habit of nesting cost centre charges, creating this monstrous concept called allocation cycles. So many places have people arguing till the cows come home about the allocation process, allocation keys, the amount allocated….. while all the time being completely unable to isolate the costs being allocated.

Sometimes I think that many people avoid getting into any form of management in order to avoid becoming spreadsheet jockeys; spreadsheet jockeys riding blindfolded through treacle while mounted on imaginary horses. I can’t blame them.

I’m no accountant, I want to keep things simple. Tell me how much money I can spend, as if it’s a credit limit on a card. Let me spend it on the people, things and processes I need, in order that I can keep the promises I make. At the end of each month, send me a statement of expenditure for that “card”. If I run more than one cost centre, then give me more than one “card”. If I run a P/L, then let me receive money into that “card” account as well. If I have the right to an overdraft, then let me know how much, and by when I need to pay it off. What’s frontloaded, what’s not. What the early termination penalties are.

And don’t let me charge one card account with another. No smoke. No mirrors. No nesting of allocations.

And all cash. No mumbo jumbo. No enterprise kiting.

That’s what I’ve always wanted. That’s what I’ve never had.

So, when I saw justgiving as an application on Facebook, it made me think. Shouldn’t that be how budgets work in an enterprise? Let the P/L holder “justgive” money to the “causes” he or she wants to support. Constrained by their available balance. Let the “causeholder” run the cause, equivalent to a project at a time. When multiple P/Ls want to support a particular enterprise “cause”, they can.

Sure we have to solve for other problems, like how to deal with overheads. In fact we need to go further, we need to understand far more about how we fund shared infrastructure, shared within an enterprise and shared beyond the enterprise as well.

But we need to start somewhere, and one place that needs attention is the way projects get funded and accounted for.

3 thoughts on “Thinking about enterprise budgeting processes …. and Facebook”

  1. We are spending a great deal of time talking about Facebook applications. Techcrunch had their top ten list of favorites, then Robert Scoble add his, on favor of the more mature audience.

    I have a question over Facebook to you (I mean people about our age): Do we really use Facebook?

    It seems we are not. The behavior of the use of the applications reveal how infantile is the audience. For example,

    1. The 3 most used application on business category are games.
    2. The most used application is Top Friend, used to choose 32 of your best friends, with 12,000,000 of users.
    3. The second most used applications are around 6,000,0000 users iLike, Fortune Cookie, Slide Show, Video Show, etc.
    4. Do you know that Zoho has 2,000 users? I wonder how many really use it.

    Having said all of this: Do you have a Facebook account? Do WE have a Facebook account? What do we do when we are logged?

    Why don’t create a community of people over 30 , at “C” level (or soon to be) at Facebook?

    Guy, do not doubt to contact me at Facebook to do this.

    Mario Ruiz

  2. Mario, I will definitely contact you via facebook :-)

    I am not surprised that people push back against facebook .

    After all, they still push back against all Web 2.0, especially enterprise 2.0

  3. Mario, you are not easy to trace via facebook. Too many mario Ruiz, no Ruiz jaramillo…. So please contact me via there if you want to.

Let me know what you think

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.