When you’re managing a project budget, there are some key dates you should know! These general accounting dates can be laid over your project schedule so you don’t miss any major financial milestones.
1. Year End
Financial year end could be any time in the calendar year. I’ve worked with businesses that align their financial year end to the tax year, to the end of the calendar year (i.e. December) or to the date of incorporation (in the case of my business, that’s May).
It doesn’t matter when year end falls for you, as long as you know when it is!
Year end is important because it marks the close of one financial period and the start of another. You may have to get involved with accrual calculations and budget carry overs. If you miss the deadlines, you might not get your project budget in the next financial year!
2. Project Phase Dates
Some businesses work by releasing project funds according to the stage of the project. In other words, you don’t get the full amount of the project budget on Day 1. As the project moves through the lifecycle, funding is released in chunks.
Normally the dates align to stage gates or project reviews, where the steering group will approve the project to move to the next phase. That then triggers the release of the funding required to do the next phase of work. Be ready! Especially if you need to change your original forecasted budget request based on what you have learned during the current phase.
Reporting dates relate to so many different areas of your project. They are important for project budgeting because you will need to prepare a short budget summary to go into the report. As you approach the reporting deadline day, make sure your financials are up to date so you can drop the most recent figures into your report template.
4. Tax Dates
Tax rates don’t change often, but I did once work on a project where the rate of VAT changed halfway through the work we were doing. It made budgeting very confusing!
If you know of upcoming changes to tax (typically linked to government announcements and budget cycles), then watch out for whatever impact that might have on your project and make sure you note the date the changes come in!
5. Project Closure
Yes, you surely know the project closure date – the target milestone you are working to for everything to be done!
It’s important for budgeting purposes because you may have to calculate budget at completion, or staff run rates, all of which need you to know when the final expenses on the project will be accounted for.
What other dates should project budget holders know about? Let us know in the comments below!
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