Published August 2017
Want to organise an event for your team but not sure how to convince your finance director or accounts team to pay for the day? If so, then this article is for you! Most organisations have a sign off process for purchase orders that requires managers and HR professionals to justify spending money on events and incentives. To help our clients navigate this process we have set out our top tips for convincing your chief financial officer to invest in your next event:
Be clear about your objectives: Is you event designed as a reward or incentive for good performance during the financial year or are you looking to integrate new team members or provide training. Think clearly about your event goals before approaching your finance director and make sure that whatever event you’re pitching is likely to meet those objectives. If you can align your event goals with your company’s values or strategies then you are much more likely to be successful. For example if you company wants to attract and retain the best staff, then explain how your event will help your business to meet this objective.
Know how much money you need: A critical mistake that many people make is to ask their finance team for money without really knowing how much they need. There is nothing worse than spending the time and effort needed to obtain a budget for an event, only to find out later that it doesn’t cover everything you need. Avoid the embarrassment of needing to go back to ask for more money by researching the cost of your chosen event first. If you have any questions about how much an event should cost or if you would like a tailored quote, get in touch.
Write a list of benefits: Your chief financial officer will want to know why you should be given a budget for your planned incentive so it’s important to create a list of the key benefits you expect to see as a result of hosting your event. Where possible, focus on benefits with a tangible financial cost saving, for example by increasing staff retention rates you reduce your recruitment costs. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out our related articles ‘8 Reasons why Team Building is great for Employee Engagement’ and ‘How Improving Staff Retention can Save You Thousands a Year’.
Create an Elevator Pitch: Finance Directors are busy people. If you get the chance to speak to your head of finance make sure you have a short and succinct summary that highlights the key benefits of your proposal. That way if you happen to bump into him/her in the kitchen you can raise your suggestion informally and then follow up with an email or written proposal at a later date. Much like pitching to a client, you only get one chance to make the best first impression so make sure you get it right first time.
Give examples of past successes: If you have been lucky enough to have been granted an incentives budget in previous years then it’s helpful to use past successes to justify investing again. Did you run a staff survey after the event to find out what employees thought of your team away day? Do you have any metrics to show that staff retention increased after the event or do you have examples of improvements to team dynamics and productivity? If you are unsure whether your company has ever invested in team building events before, speak to your HR team who may be able to give your information about events held by other departments.
Prepare for some resistance: Your accounts department is responsible for balancing the company books. Therefore they’re unlikely to agree to fund an event or project unless they’re convinced that it won’t negatively impact the company’s finances and that it won’t be a waste of money. Think about the resistance you may get and then prepare an answer for any objections they may raise. Here are some examples of the types of questions you may get:
Start small and test your theory: If you would like to organise a company wide event or a number of events for each of the teams within your organisation but are worried about asking for the budget upfront, why not propose a managers away day to see if the senior staff see merit in the event activities and format of the day. It’s much easier for your finance director to pay for a few members of staff to test out an activity provider before committing to spend more. This limits the initial risk and increases the chance of your accounts team saying yes to a bigger event in the future.
If you’re interested in organising a team away day for your organisation or if you would like to find out more about our team building activities and events, please get in touch. We’d be very happy to help you plan your day.