“I never forget that I live in a house owned by all the American people and that I have been given their trust.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt
As managers and leaders in state government, we are stewards of the state’s financial resources. Monitoring our budgets and understanding the broader context are important parts of our stewardship role. In most agencies, financial, accounting, contracting, and budgeting functions are performed by professional and administrative subject matter experts, but all managers have responsibilities for fiscal management.
Decide what monitoring cadence makes sense for your team: are expenses fairly consistent over time, or do you have periods when there’s more activity in your programs?
Ask your fiscal services colleagues to regularly share the Manager’s Financial Report (MFR), or download it yourself if you have access in SWIFT. Use your group’s MFR (or MFRs) to review real-time information about how your team’s spending is aligning with projections.
A priority, of course, is to check to make sure that you’re on track to stay within your budget. But use your MFR to look for opportunities as well. For example, if your team hasn’t used professional development budget funds as quickly as planned, check in with staff on their development goals, and emphasize the importance of investing in professional development. If you haven’t been able to fill positions as quickly as you expected, you may have salary savings that could be repurposed to fund a project you’ve had on your list, or to invest in additional development for your team.
Beyond the day-to-day work of monitoring your budget, it’s important for us to understand how state budgeting works, even if we’re not involved in our agency’s detailed budget planning. You know how your own programs are funded, but it can be helpful to see how your program or team fits in to the agency and the state’s budget as a whole. The resources below can get you started.
From Minnesota Management and Budget
From the Legislature