The key expense line in most budgets is staffing, yet many people don’t account for all hiring costs for planned projects which results in underestimating the total expense. Let’s take an example where you have just received funding to run a new program and that funding allows you to hire a new staff. One of the first things you will need to do is recruitment. How are you going to advertise for this position? What other recruitment costs will you incur? Have all of these costs been accounted for in the budget?
Once you have hired your new staff, there are a number of items that they will need in order to do their job. One useful tool is a “new staff checklist” which is a list of all potential items along with the estimated cost for each. This list might include: desk, chair, computer, filing cabinet, telephone, business cards, general office supplies, etc…. Some of these items may not be relevant for your situation and/or you may have others to add to the list. Identification of all recruitment costs and the preparation of a checklist (required items and costs) are important steps of a comprehensive budget process.
Regarding the “new staff checklist”, quite often you will already have some of the items on the list and will not have to request any additional funding. However it’s still useful to have the costs for all necessary items as you can claim these as part of your contribution to the overall project. Organizations are increasingly expected to provide a portion of the total project cost and this is one area that organizations tend to forget as a cost of staffing and running a program. With staffing costs often 70% of more of a total program budget it’s wise to spend the time to ensure you have these costs correct!