End of year spending

It's that time of year for us to get our end of year spending priorities in. Each place I've worked has handled the EOY spending issue differently.

At my first job, civil service, we were on the calendar year for our budgeting year. Because of how the funding worked, we typically started spending heavily in October in order to use up excess IT budget. This was known as "Christmas in October". The reward for thrift, not spending as much as you were given, was to have your savings taken away from you so there was no incentive to do so. So, everything got spent.

At WWU, our budget year ended on June 31st which is smack in the middle of summer. Since Summer is Major Project Season for pretty much any US University, our EOY spending coincided with our annual upgrade-all-the-things spree. Thus, it was kinda hidden.

However, things did change while I was there.

For the first two or so years I was there the CIO gave each of his departments an actual budget for spending on technology. There was some spend-down in April under him, but not as much as that first job. Unlike that job, WWU did allow budget carry-over between years. Then we got a new CIO (retirements, don'tcha know) and he did things differently. He liked to give his departments budget for people and routine expenses, and dolled out funds for technology projects on a project by project basis.

Then 2008 happened and we went into negative-budget land. The concept of 'surplus budget' just didn't exist. There was a brief orgy of "spend it now!" before the budget boom came down, but that ended quickly. Then in 2009/2010 there was a pile of 'legacy' funds that we were told to spend on things to keep our infrastructure up and running until the fiscal environment recovered, since major upgrades were going to be off the table for the foreseeable future. I installed over $200K worth of storage stuff thanks to that.

Here at my current employer I don't yet know how things work. Since I am the entire IT department and don't have a budget, it's mostly just providing suggestions and quotes, with a healthy dose of explaining needs. Or, just like the rest of the year but with a longer planning horizon than usual.