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How Do I Develop an IT Budget?

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  • Written By: Daphne Mallory
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2016
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Coming up with an IT budget might take more time and thought than other items within your fiscal plan for the next year. While some costs are fixed, many will have to be estimated. For example, expenses like Internet access are easy to budget for, because you’ll probably have a fixed rate locked in. Repair and maintenance costs often have to be estimated, because you never know what piece of equipment will break down or need an upgrade. Plan to spend extra time on your IT budget, because it can help prevent any unpleasant surprises over the next few quarters.

The easiest items in your IT budget are the fixed costs. These are any items that you know the price of and can come up with an almost exact figure on. Fixed-cost items often include phone, Internet, and fax services. If you have a website, you’ll be able to figure out your domain hosting fees for the coming year. You’ll then want to figure out the most expensive items in your IT budget. Try to determine whether you will need new computers, network servers, or other technology upgrades. Make sure you include any technology upgrades that you’re expecting as well as software upgrades. If you have to hire a specialist to install any of the new upgrades, include adequate funds for the job.

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Maintenance and repair is another important facet in IT budgets. While you can’t predict when a piece of technology will break down, you can rest assured that it will happen at some point in its life cycle. Be sure to err on the side of caution when it comes to maintenance and repair costs in your IT budget. Include cash that will be set aside to pay for parts as well as money to pay a technician’s salary if need be. For every item that you include in your budget, first look at costs from the previous fiscal year in order to help you make better estimates.

Your IT budget should also include salaries for any employees who work on information technology for you. If any employees have expected pay raises, be sure to budget for that. If you have an IT department, you may need to account for overtime hours, because it might not be convenient to have upgrades or other maintenance tasks carried out during normal business hours. Don’t forget to add a cushion for any new government mandates, such as additional fees and costs for health insurance.

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