Interview with Sol Benady: Project Budgeting

Sol Benady, a management consultant, Fintech entrepreneur and program manager, works in the banking sector.
He began his career in London as an auditor. After completing his training with E&Y, he became an accountant and then transitioned into consulting for retail and investment banking, serving a wide variety of clients and projects. He moved into banking in 2015 and worked on the bank’s Brexit plans.
I spoke to him in the Project Management Club Clubhouse about project financial management, budget handling, and other topics.
Sol Benady
From Accounting to Program Administration
Five Tips to Manage a Project Budget1. Define the scope of your project
2. Use a budget template
3. Establish a baseline
4. Set aside a budget for risk
5. Create a dashboard
Explaining ‘Run Rate’
In an agile environment, budgeting is possible

Tips for talking about budget overruns
Asking for more money

From Accounting to Program Administration
Financial skills and business acumen are essential for a variety of tasks and can help you show how your project will benefit the company. Sol believes that project accounting is a key part of project management. It measures not only what you can do but also your success.
Sol believes that people with accounting backgrounds are more successful, especially in building client trust. However, there are still opportunities to learn accounting knowledge even if you don’t specialize in it. “E&Y” encourages everyone in the firm to get an accountancy certification. Accountancy certification is a broad business qualification that covers a wide range of backgrounds. Clients will trust you more if your financial acumen is evident.
While this doesn’t necessarily mean that every program or project manager must be an accountant, it is essential to have a good grasp of financial matters. Sol says that you need to “try to keep within your numbers to deliver successful projects.”
5 Tips to Manage a Project Budget
When it comes to managing projects, we know that budget control is crucial. We asked Sol for his top budgeting tips.
1. Define the scope of the project
The first step in creating a budget for a project is to define the project scope. Talk to all stakeholders and clients to understand the scope of the project so that you can create a detailed budget.
2. Use a budget template
It is important to have a strong, detailed project budget before you get into the numbers. Sol has a variety of templates for project budgets that he has drawn from past projects. He believes that your team will have people who have worked on similar projects such as a regulatory project or target operating model. Their documents will be able to fit your project’s needs. You can then modify the template to suit the scope of your project.
3. Establish a baseline
It is important to establish a baseline. Two things are important when creating a budget: the top down and the bottom up details you will be working towards. Sol states that he does not get a blank check for any project. A budget is usually set at the top. For example, a project sponsor might say that they expect the project will be completed within a budget of PS2m. You must create a bottom-up plan that includes the details to determine if this is enough.
In reality, the PS2m you have been given is not sufficient to deliver the scope. You need to fill that gap. There are many levels and cycles of planning and discussion that can be used to bridge this gap.
It’s important to have current rate cards and timesheets when planning resources. Things change year to year so it’s a good idea to keep them up-to-date. You should ensure that your assumptions are sound and that you don’t get caught up in the middle of a project.
4. Set aside a budget for risk
A risk budget is an important thing to have. There will be scope cree