The key to managing a client’s budget successfully:
Managing a budget and client costs is like project management in itself. Ensuring client budgets are well handled are one of the key factors in completing projects successfully. In this context, what we really mean by ‘success’ is that the client isn’t left with a surprise bill at the end when it gets around to invoicing time.
By agreeing accurate estimates on both cost and time ahead of project go-live dates, it gives both parties a window in which to manage time and money effectively, ensuring everyone is getting the best out of their money.
Realistic timescales help to stop projects over-running and more importantly overspending.
In line with managing budgets is managing client expectations. Any delays, setbacks or changes to budget need to be passed onto the client at the earliest opportunity to maintain client relations. This works both ways with the client as well. Changes in the budget in a negative sense might mean tighter deadlines and less time to be spent on the project, possibly impacting quality and service. Changes in the budget where more spend has become available can be excellent news, meaning more time is available and extra hours can be put into the project in areas which may have been scaled back originally.
To help manage the client’s budget and time, timesheets are a really helpfully tool. Providing these are completed correctly and efficiently, it ensures the client is invoiced accurately for the time spent on their work. When the allocated time has been used, the supplier and client need to have a discussion to find out if there is any movement available in the budget for more time to become available. The supplier doesn’t want to end up in a situation where work is being done and not getting paid for.
In order to complete accurate timesheets, admin needs to be correct and up to date. Poor admin skills can cause issues in many areas within the project, impacting the quality of work provided to the client, along with impacting client-supplier relationships. Excellent admin skills on the other hand are a valuable asset and will minimise mistakes in projects and general day-to-day office life.
In summary, following these processes can ensure projects are completed on or ahead of budget without the client receiving unwanted news about overspend at the final hurdle. It also means correct invoices are raised once the project has come to an end. The client is happy with the work completed, and will approve immediately, without any queries and without causing any delays in payment. Finally, and maybe most importantly, client-supplier relations will be maintained if not improved with the completed work.