How Do You Track Budgets?

If you’re a Project Manager, then you’re tasked with keeping track of all aspects of a project – Schedules, Resources and some would say, most importantly, Costs. The question is how do you keep track of the costs for the project? Some use excel spreadsheets, others may use their internal financial tracking system (like SAP), some may use a version of Microsoft Project or in my case, I use a combination.

For me, it starts with the signed Statement of Work. After the SOW is signed, I create a project plan that corresponds to the Statement of Work to track the hours that are assigned to specific tasks. The Project schedule is the heart of the work effort. Ideally, the resources are assigned at this time but could change based on the customer’s timeframe.   A project kick off meeting for all parties is scheduled to go over the project plan, timeframe and resource availability. Starting with an accurate schedule is important but it’s also critical to maintain the schedule and track progress against it.

Here is an example of a list of tasks in a project plan that has been created from requirements from a Statement of Work.

First

On a weekly basis, the resources log time in their Project Server timesheets against their assigned tasks and it is my job to keep a watchful eye on the schedule to make sure the tasks are being completed on schedule and within budget.

second

The timesheet above is where resources can log billable or non-billable time for each project they are assigned to. The Planned time comes from the project plan and gives them an idea of how much time they are to allot to that task on any given day.

Every Monday morning, I use the Timesheet Compliance Report to see if everyone has submitted their timesheets for the week prior. This report allows me to follow up with anyone who has forgotten about their weekly timesheet responsibility. Below is an example of the Timesheet Compliance Report:

Third

On a weekly basis, I send a Project Status Report to each customer which shows the budget that was used versus what is remaining to give them an idea of how the project is doing. This report also provides a percentage of completion for the project. See below for example:

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