Getting Started with Financial Management

Written by Andy Rivers

My wife is an amazing runner. To keep up with her, I’ve recently started running more regularly – even joining her for a race on occasion. No matter how often I run, though, I spend the first mile, without fail, thinking, “WHAT AM I DOING OUT HERE? It’s 2016. I have no natural predators. I own a car – in fact two cars. There is no logical reason for me to run! Why am I doing this to myself?”

Here’s the kicker, though: If I don’t run that first mile, I’ll never see the part that I do love, which is the finish line at the end of a race. If you don’t start, you can’t finish. I know that’s an earth shattering concept and I probably should have warned you to sit down before reading it, but its simplicity doesn’t make it any less true.

I realize the thought of getting started with financial management has a unique way of bringing out the creativity in us. No doubt you’ll find yourself feeling inspired to do all manner of other interesting things instead:

Today’s the day I clean out the garage!

I really should finish that novel I started last Spring!

Maybe it’s time I finally start digging into the socioeconomic climate leading up to the Spanish-American War.

Point is, there are, and will always be, no fewer than one million things you could do before diving into financial management. While the endeavor can seem intimidating at the outset (or maybe because it seems intimidating), the best way to get rolling is to take a cue from Nike slogans past and Just Do It.

In doing this, however, it’s important to remember Financial Management is not your annual budget cycle; It’s the ongoing process of accounting, budgeting, and/or charging. It’s not a point-in-time activity such as budget planning – though that’s definitely a component of it and may even be your starting point – but its not your ‘finish line’.

As I mentioned in a previous article, one of your discussion options around Financial Management is to identify the hardware, software, and unknown costs within your budget. This is less than desirable, but it’s a starting point at the very least. After that basic allocation is collected, you can overlay your services onto it.

Depending on where you are in your IT service management journey, the overlaying of services will have varying challenges. If you don’t have a service catalog defined, then step one may be defining your services, or at a minimum your lines of services. That will at least provide you with the general areas to start allocating your costs.

There are two challenges most people will face as they overlay services: How to handle shared services and how to account for staff time. Both of these challenges are articles unto themselves, and we’ll get there. Your main takeaway from this article is to Just Do It; Get started on Financial Management. Whether it’s as simple as Hardware and Software – or if you’re able to overlay services. You’ll run into challenges but that’s ok, Financial Management is definitely one of those processes that you’ll mature over time – and immature beats nonexistent any day.

Originally published May 05 2016, updated December 12 2019