Campaign: Department of Defense

Rethinking Budget Execution

I suggest changing the mindset when it comes to execution of organizational budgets. This idea is not easy due to appropriation law, but a solution can be worked out. My main point is that if an organization does not fully execute their budget at the end of the fiscal year, particularly if the funding expires, the impact can be doubly damaging. By this I mean that the organization loses money for the current year, but can also have their budget reduced in future years for under-execution. My idea is to change the mindset to reward an organization for being under budget. It is imporatant to make sure that the organization's mission is not compromised for this savings, but some sort of reward incentive for financial / budget personnel could be used. I suggest conducting a data call towards the end of the 3rd quarter of the fiscal year that allows for organizations to return funding that can be saved. This will not impact their budgets in the coming years and the money that is returned can be used where it is most needed. Additionally, a portion of this returned funding could be put into a pot where organizations can submit ideas for funding projects / programs more efficiently. Because of budget constraints, programs can be spread over several years as that is the only way they can be paid for. This can lead to an inefficient use of funding when paying a larger portion up front can reduce the overall bill in the long run.

The other benefit of not penalizing an organization for under-execution is that an organization will not spend money on things they don't need just to meet execution requirements. I have worked in many organizations that use their end of the year money wisely, but this is not always the case.

Lastly, if the money that is returned can be turned into working capital fund it can be used for a greater period of time and do more good. The finer details of this idea still need to be worked out and I welcome feedback.

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Idea No. 17687