From family businesses to multinational corporations, all companies have to face budgeting and planning season. Between the last late summer vacations and the December holiday parties, executive teams dedicate days – even weeks – to reviewing the past year and outlining detailed plans for the next.
Unsurprisingly, most business leaders dread these fall hours lost to all-day meetings and excessive Excel analysis. Here are a few ways that conferencing and collaboration tools can give budgeting season a needed rebrand, guaranteeing productivity and expediency for all involved.
1. Bypass the travel blues
Travel is one of the most painful (and pricey) parts of budgeting season. Getting the c-suite, vice presidents and other leaders in the same room at various points during the process (all while fighting against early winter storms and the havoc they wreak) is a colossal feat.
Businesses should consider which meetings (if any) need to happen in person. More likely than not, some of the early brainstorms or planning check-ins could be easily accomplished via audio or video conference calls.
2. Avoid budgeting burnout
All day planning meetings or extended “working lunch” sessions aren’t always the most conducive to participant engagement. Due to the idea of emotional contagion, all it takes is one fidgety attendee to make the whole room antsy for a break, or distracted by their smartphones.
Breaking up these marathon meetings into more consumable, attention-holding virtual conferences is, ironically, a fast way to sustain momentum. Allotting thirty minutes or a couple hours between budget calls gives everyone the time to decompress, check off other work to-dos or satisfy their email fix.
3. Share the responsibility
Building an annual budget is an exercise that impacts, and depends on, all departments within a company. It’s impractical to expect your marketing, finance, IT or operations teams to converge at the same place and time to develop their planning perspective, but that doesn’t mean collaboration should be optional.
Conferencing tools help facilitate breakout meetings between specific department leaders and their staff to build their budgets and plans. Larger calls where each department head can communicate results, goals for the coming year and the resources they’ll need to achieve them can be handled over the web, so presenters can share their files with all the attendees. Especially for large firms where different functions may be spread across office locations, web-based meetings eliminate the travel hassle while encouraging cross-team sharing.
4. Show, don’t tell
Given the data-intensive, analytical nature of budgeting meetings, attentiveness is key. Companies that opt for virtual planning conferences this season should take advantage of the interactive, multimedia capabilities that come with them.