protects the business from non-compliance with tax or creditor debt etc. which can lead to a damaged reputation and in some extreme cases bankruptcy.
In saying that, businesses tend to have their own dedicated finance department which takes responsibility of organising financials and accounting affairs. This will include any preparation and delivery of management reporting that enables senior managers to effectively manage their activities such as expenditures for projects. Through careful planning and expectation management, each business unit and department is set with a fixed allowance each year for projects, resources and other expenses.
No matter the size of the expense, whether it is to accommodate for a client’s travel and stay or recruiting a specialist contractor for a long period time, everything has to be documented and approved by the correct level of authority.
A failure to plan and manage financials effectively can be detrimental. Although setbacks are inevitable, they can be devastating if not monitored and managed in good time.
No company, big or small, aim to break even or have negative equity but often businesses are impacted negatively due to a lack of or poor financial management.
The negative impact can be easily mitigated but if not done in good time, a variety of outcomes can occur. For example, if you estimate that a product you are planning to buy is going to cost an x amount of money but when you go to make the purchase with an approved spending limit, it in fact costs more, it can cause a setback on a project timeline as you will need to apply for a larger limit and receive approval before you can continue.
This would not only effect the time you procure the product but will also push back the next stages of the project potentially causing a ripple effect on future milestones resulting in more money being spent. If the setback is so immense that it causes a product release to be delayed, it not only has internal implication but also external. Stakeholders who have a personal investment in the project may become unsatisfied and unwilling to work with the company on future projects. This kind of damaged reputation will become an advantage to the competitors within the same market as clients and customers will be hesitant to invest or purchase our services and will turn to someone who is more efficient.
Within my role my exposure to financial data is quite minimal. In saying that, through following our governance standards, I ensure that when evaluating changes that have been raised on behalf of a project, have a valid order book number (OBN). This means that the cost of the change is covered as well as ensuring that it is signed off by the correct level of authorisation. As shown below in appendix 8, a meeting is hosted by myself or one of my other team members where our change raisers receive verbal communication of what else is expected of them within their change record.
Appendix 8 – Order Book Number Requirement
Once the OBN number is provided we use our ‘Lean Control Tool’ site to verify that the number is compliant and associated with the correct project.
Aside from ensuring that each project is accounted for in our internal records, I also arrange for my own travel expenses. Whether it to attend lessons, do citizenship work or interact with colleagues who work at different locations, I ensure to put in a request which specifies where I’m going, when, for how long, how much it will approximately cost and provides a robust justification as shown in Appendix 9.
Once approval is received I proceed with the purchases that are within the agreed expenditure amount and then claim the expenses accordingly through a system called ‘SAP Expenses’.
The SAP system require you to input the cost-centre from which you are claiming money (this is allocated to each employee depending on which department or project they current work for). Then precise logs of expenditures need to be provided with proof of receipts in order to then be sent off for evaluation as shown below in Appendix 10.
The department I currently work in our goal is to maintain service stability by ensuring that changes go through the correct level of documentation, review and approval before they are implemented on Barclays IT infrastructure and applications. In saying this, it is crucial that we are work with our stakeholders to receive and give information that benefits both of our needs. Our stakeholder consists of teams such as Release Management (RM), Live System Support (LSS), Command Centre (C&C), tech partners and more, but one of our most important stakeholders is Service Management.
Service management provide support towards oversight and governance of services in one or more areas. They ensure measures such as quality, cost, risk and controls etc. are put in place which includes engaging with business owners to understand business requirements and working with internal service providers to drive quality and efficiency. Service manager’s (SMs) also make sure compliance with regulatory requirements for the services are procured whether it is external regulatory requirements or Barclays’ internal group policies and standards. Overall their job is to ensure that the services are running smoothly without interruptions.
As our stakeholders they provide us with the information we need regarding changes that we may come across in the near future or even a few months down the line. These change will of course involve services that are used within Barclays and Barclaycard but also specifically to our department such as Bankworks, Axway, Triumph and so on. This is key as it is essential for us – in Change Management – to be aware and up to date on upcoming releases or any change freezes and heightened awareness periods so we can take the necessary steps to mitigate outages or failures during peak spending periods. In saying this, we provide email notification that are distributed to
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