In my office, trying to get more money in my training budget is much like negotiating a hostage situation. It all boils down to give and take. My managers are the kings of stretching the bottom line, so I have to scramble to find ways to get the money.

Schools of thought
There are two different schools of thought in my company when it comes to the budget.

  1. Managers’ perspective: You get “X” amount of dollars per year. Then they expect you to not go over budget—plus find ways to cut your budget each year.
  2. My perspective: Say I get $100,000 per year for my budget. The optimal situation would be for me to spend as much of that budget on needed objects without going over the budgeted amount. Spending a large part of the money, if not all of the budget, is key. If I don’t spend the $100,000, management will, in fact, cut my budget next year, which could create a problem for me from an operational point of view. Don’t get me wrong—I try to be as thrifty as possible in certain situations, but when it comes to the overall operation of my IT department, I have to use a little finesse.

Gather your budget ammunition
In addition to having money for computers, software, and hardware, I also have to come up with dollars for my training needs. This includes making room for material, equipment, and even trainers in my budget. To gather the bullets for my budget gun, I keep records all year long on what is being spent and where it is being spent. Here are some areas in which I keep detailed records:

  • Invoices
  • Overtime
  • Materials/equipment costs
  • Repairs to training equipment
  • Outsourcing to training vendors

Keeping good records can make the difference when it’s time to ask for money. My managers become more receptive when I have hard proof of my daily operations. When it comes time for me to meet with my boss and discuss my budget plans, I am prepared to show him exactly why I need the amount I requested.
If you are responsible for a training budget, what are some tips and tricks of the trade you can share with your fellow IT training managers? Either post a comment at the end of this article or send us a message .