Budget Interview

  1. When budget cuts are necessary, where is the first place you look to make the cuts?

Typically, we will try to look at unnecessary or frivolous expenditures. This can range anywhere from what is on the company credit cards to each specific department. This also kind of depends on how over budget we are. There are alot of other places we can look to cut costs if necessary. But typically, we try to pay close attention to remain in budget. 

  1. Does being over budget happen regularly?  Approximately how many months in a year are you typically over budget?

Not typically. If we do go over budget, it is typically minimal. We have very specific goals. Each team and department is offered incentives not to go over budget. We also have people hired very specifically to watch these budgets and economic trends. 

  1. Is there anything in your budget that you have had to make the decision to remove completely in order to stay within budget?

Just recently to stay in budget we had to adjust some things for employees. For example, we offer lunches for our employees every so often. This time rather than getting a barbeque catering company like we usually do, we had to get a less expensive one. 

  1. Do you have meetings to get input from others on how to prioritize budgets? 

Yes. As I said before, we have people watching our spending closely at a higher level than our own local management. Often times, the “big guys” will come in and ask us how things are going, what we would like to see more or less of, how we think the budgets and company is going over all, etc. We do sometimes have meetings, but it is more for people in positions specific for it. 

  1. How many departments do your budget cuts affect? How do you help get everyone on board with it? 

It depends on what the budget cut is for. We have alot of different departments. We have a parts department, we have a sales department and more. If there is a store wide budget cut, people around here generally have a good attitude about trying to stay within budget just because we all work well together as a team. We have never really had any huge budget cuts yet. 

  1. What are ways to help smooth things over after budget cuts are implemented? 

I have never been part of a huge budget cut, but we will usually have a meeting with food that explains why we are implementing budget cuts. Only once did we fire someone for a budget cut, but it was kind of a mutual decision between the employee and company from what I understand. 

  1. Do you use a zero based budget or do you use last years numbers as a basis so you can increase or decrease the numbers from there?

Honestly, I am fairly newer so I am not sure. I know that we have a financial team out of state that kind of watches things closely. I would guess that they watch last years numbers just because that is what they tend to talk about the most. Also, I feel likes our sales in general compare to last year’s mostly overall. 

  1. Do you give budgeted salary increases based on a percentage for everyone? Or do you give performance raises, and do you budget for those raises?

I know at my level at least, that we do performance raises. This I think is fairly strict for floor positions and service positions. I think that once you get into management though, that you get salaries and then increases depending on seniority. 

  1. When you have a variable amount for an item in your budget, how do you handle it? Do you take the mean? Or just the highest possible amount for the item? 

I don’t know how applicable this is specifically to my position. But generally with even small things at least, I try to take the mean. I do not want to go over budget because firstly, I get in trouble and secondly I lose some of my own incentives. Also, if there happens to be something more expensive later on that I have to have, I try to save for this. 

  1. When you have a big expense once a year, do you allocate it across twelve months? Or do you add it to that month’s budget only?

It depends on the item. Typically, we will allocate it across a few months. It may not always be twelve though. It also depends on when, where and how we are using the item. For example, rep cars. 

  1. How do you motivate employees to stay within the set budget?

We like to offer incentives such as Christmas bonuses, a big one is quarterly bonuses. We also do smaller things like lunches and more when we meet goals. 

  1. When expenses exceed income, do you focus more on lowering expenses, or increasing income? How do you decide where to put your focus?

We look at doing both. Since our business is heavily reliant on sales and advertising, we try to see if there is a problem with our current approach. We can offer incentives to buy if the manufacturer agrees. We also look at lowering expenses and why expenses would be greater than income. 

  1. Do you use a specific program or budgeting software to create your budget? What is it?

Like I said, I am fairly new in my position. We have a larger team that is located in Salt Lake and other states even that watch our numbers and budgets closely. If they notice anything out of the ordinary, they are pretty quick to contact us it feels like. 


I decided to interview my sister, she works for a car dealership. 

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