Making the Most of the End of Year Spend

As we come to the end of another calendar year, it is also the end of the fiscal year for many organizations.  With the end of the fiscal year, often times comes the inevitable fire drill of end of fiscal year spend. Some view this activity as something that is arduous and useless.  The other end of the spectrum views this as some sort of free for all to spend on shiny new toys at the expense of the organization.  If this is planned correctly, an end of year spending drill can help the IT organization immensely.  In this post, I will provide 3 ways to make this drill more productive for your IT department.

The first is be prepared for the drill. Have the List Ready and Prioritized.  A lot of departments get the request for additional spending at the end of the year and that is when they make a list.  A good IT manager or director already has this when asked for it and only needs to dust it off and maybe reprioritize it.  Take the opportunity when things aren’t as hectic to put together a wish list and prioritize it.  Do the research ahead of time to know the costs.  When the drill comes, the list just needs to be reviewed and submitted.  No rushing to get quotes.  No endless internet searches trying to find pricing when the list needs to be sent in for funding.  Just send the list and prepare to defend your expenditures.

This brings us to the second way to be prepared. Form Your Departmental Alliances Early.  This is not a game of Survivor, but can feel that way when battling it out for funding.  It can feel even more that way when fighting for the last few scraps at the end of the year.  How can an IT manager help himself and the organization?  He can start by looking for purchases that are win-win for multiple departments. Maybe as an IT manager for a school system, one of the priorities on the list is new wireless access points (APs) for the library.  If the IT manager can join with the librarian and agree that it is a priority for both parties, then the case gets stronger. Or maybe the VP of Sales wants a new telepresence room to meet virtually with her team.  If a savvy IT manager can align purchasing new equipment to improve bandwidth with the telepresence room purchase, then the case gets stronger for both items and both department’s needs are satisfied.

The last item is simple, but can be the hardest. Negotiate for the Good of the Organization. As the IT director, the most important thing on the end of year spend list may be new laptops to replace the ones that are 3 years old.  There may be another department that needs to replace an aging system.  As the IT director, preparation to negotiate is needed.  Maybe the laptop spend slips into next year in exchange for more bandwidth to help the aging system.  Negotiation will require the setting aside of egos and listening to the other side to make the best possible decision for the organization.  Sometimes a win now will mean disaster later and sometimes a loss now will mean a better path to future funding.  Remember when negotiating, do so honestly and with keeping the goals of the organization in mind not just an individual department.

In closing, I hope this helps as we come to the end of another year in preparing you for the inevitable end of year spending drill.  A little preparation with some alliances and negotiation will go a long way in getting the organization the most out of those last few dollars.  Happy spending!


jeremy-niedzwiecki-1A proven leader, Jeremy Niedzwiecki has over 20 years in the IT industry. As the Director of Customer Support at ABS, Jeremy works to ensure that the ABS Customer Support team continuously provides the highest levels of support possible ABS clients.