How not to manage a budget

The incoming programme manager attended the weekly management team meeting with the outgoing manager. The accountant was not present as she was not considered part of the management team. The meeting agreed to spend large amounts of money. These were not in the programme's overall budget. The outgoing programme manager took the view that he was responsible for operations, and the accountant was responsible for the money.

The accountant found out about the spending decisions only when the first invoices arrived, when it was too late to point out that the costs exceeded what the donor would pay, and that there was no alternative funding. The incoming programme manager took responsibility for managing the budget, brought the accountant into the management team, put weekly budget-versus-actual accounts on the agenda and required managers to justify future procurement by showing that it was in their budgets.