Preparation, Presentation, and Administration of the Budget



Fiscal management is continuous and cyclic. There is in reality no logical place to begin or end. For purposes of this discussion, we shall start with the preparation of the budget. The sequence of events is approximately as follows:

• The institutional comptroller issues the annual call for budget proposals. These are in request format to contain:

(a) Data issued.

(b) Definition of categories

(c) Information expected.

(d) Instructions regarding the presentation of budget proposals.

(e) Limitations of requests

(f) Signatures needed.

(g) Deadline for presentation of proposals.

• The director of physical education forwards budget proposal request forms to all personnel within the staff who have charge of any instructional or coaching unit. All teachers, research workers, and coaches receive these. A deadline is set for their completion and return.

• The completed budget proposal requests are returned to the central HPERD office and compiled according to categories by the person in charge of financial matters. Each category receives an account number designated by the central fiscal office.

Likewise the number 16903 would indicate appropriated funds, the division of HPERD, the recreation department, equipment and supplies 26702 would be athletic non-appropriated funds, division of HPERD, contractual services.

Such numerical systems soon become very familiar to those dealing extensively with budgets, and discussions between administrators and comptrollers are usually identified immediately by account number.

The conversation can then be immediately centred on the item for discussion. These account numbers are also generally used on requisitions, purchase orders, and receiving slips so that payments will be charged to the correct account.

In as much as this discussion is intended for those administering high school, college, university, and other programs, there will be vast differences in the complexity and scope of all financial matters.

In larger institutions, well-prepared business managers, controllers, and accountants will handle all technical aspects of financial management.

In The smallest situations, much of the responsibility will fall on individual department heads. A reasonable understanding of budgetary' and other financial matters will, however, be essential for all who wish to make a success of administration.

• The department or division head will, with the assistance of appropriate staff members, work out the total budget proposal for the organizational unit. One suggested procedure is to use a large workbook of accounting sheets and set up vertical columns with the following headings:

(a) Account.

(b) Previous year's expenditures.

(c) Current budget.

(d) Budget requests.

(e) Proposed budget.

(f) Approved budget.

(g) Notes.

The column for notes is useful to indicate the rationale for denying, reducing, or increasing the request.

When the worksheets are completed and adjusted in accordance with imposed limitations and the rationale for requests, the new proposed budget is prepared according to instructions from the business office, and then duplicated with appropriate copies for staff members concerned.

• The next step is the presentation of the budget. The director will mail the proposed budget to appropriate individuals, usually the president or superintendent, the chief fiscal officer, the dean or principal, the members of the athletic committee, and others who may be involved or entitled to a copy.

After a reasonable length of time, there will customarily be a meeting of the director with the appropriate fiscal officer and usually the dean or principal to discuss the budget proposal. This may also be the official budget presentation.

This is the occasion when the wise administrator will be completely informed and prepared. This may be the meeting in which crucial decisions are made.

• Appropriate authorities then review the proposal and delete or reduce various items. The budget as revised is then approved and returned to the department head.

There are usually opportunities for appeal. The good executive will consider carefully what is to be gained or lost by an appeal. If the cause is worthy and can be supported by sound rationale, the director should make every effort to gain approval for the request. If the supporting rationale is not sound, much can be lost by attempting an appeal.

• The director informs appropriate staff members about the decisions made and issues directives for making expenditures.