Establishing a Budget
How much money do you have to spend on the move? You may have to influence the answer to that question. There will be a "bag of money" that you'll have to share, and every department will be competing with you to make sure that their needs are met. (Management has to distinguish between needs and wants.) Budgeting always involves negotiating; you'll need to persuade key personnel why an investment in technology that costs more now will be worth the expense over the next several years.
Consider my cabling example. The CAT5 cable in our old building was working fine for 100MB, but with us signing a ten-year lease, we'll probably want to go to 1000MBcalled Gigabit (GB)within that ten years. CAT6 cable is a premium now, but that better grade of cable will be the standard in the future. When I delivered my cabling proposal listing these benefits, my management agreed right away.
It's hard to do a budget without a spreadsheet application. I use Excel and developed a great annual technology budget that I use each year. I modified it last year when planning for our move. When I listed all of the categorieshardware, software, consulting, training, etc.I separated each category into two more subcategories: planned expenditure and move expenditure. I'll give you an example. We expected to buy two new servers this year; those were planned expenditures. Installing a new cable plant was only necessary as a result of the move; that was a move expenditure. Total these categories separately, and then combine at the bottom for a grand total. The extra subcategories made planning straightforward, and I was able to provide management with a way to track the move expenditures separately, which they sincerely appreciated.
Budgeting in an accounting firm is quite a challenge. Everyone reviewing the budget looks at it carefully with a trained accountant's eye. There's no room for padding the budget without getting caught. Hopefully, your budget process will be easier than mine.