What is a budget?
A budget is a flexible plan that integrates competing demands while working towards a common goal. In Old Dominion University's case, the common goal is spelled out in the University's mission statement and strategic plan. The essence of the common goal is to provide the citizens of the Commonwealth with higher education programs that are distinguished by their excellence, accessibility, and responsiveness to individual, regional, and Commonwealth needs. The integration of competing demands recognizes the fact that there is never enough money available to satisfy all the needs of our customers. The key is to strike a balance between mission requirements and the resources available. The budget is the tool we have available to provide that balance, but it also plays other roles.
The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO), in its publication College and University Budgeting, lists the following roles a budget plays.
- An institutional plan of action
- An institutional contract
- A control mechanism
- A gauge of risk
- A mechanism for setting priorities
- An instrument of communication
- A political device