Budget Management 101

As the manager of the rehabilitation department, it is your responsibility to make sure the budget balances each year. To do this, you’ll need to track revenue, labor costs and expenses, and adjust accordingly during the course of the year. Important budgetary tools, reports and best practices help keep everything in the black. Here’s how.

Important budgetary reports

To best manage your department’s budget; you’ll need to monitor numbers on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis. A budget is usually based on the trends and growth from the previous year. Since you may have months or quarters that don’t go as planned, plan on making adjustments during the year so that your budget balances at the end of the year. To keep on top of all this, expect to review the following reports each period, including:

  • Labor cost reports. Staffing is the number one expense in most rehabilitation department budgets. Track how much your rehabilitation employees earn, and factor in cost of living increases and annual raise typically expected. If you expect to hire more staff or let staff go, factor this into your report. If you have to generate this information yourself, use a template such as this Manpower Budget Excel Template from the Business Tool Store.
  • Revenue reports. How much revenue does your rehabilitation department bring into the facility? Over the course of the year, what revenue growth do you expect for your department? You can determine this by comparing your actual revenue reports to the revenue projections and trends of the previous year.
  • Expense reports. Your expenses include all the equipment and materials the rehabilitation department will need to purchase over the course of the year. Adjusting expenses is the easiest way to make changes to your budget.

Best practices for managing your budget

Once you have your reports squared away, you can take a few key steps to help your budget stay on track. These include:

  • Monitor your reports meticulously. To ensure funds are being allocated appropriately to your department, monitor your expense reports on a regular basis. If you catch mistakes, bring these immediately to the attention of your accounting department so that future reports will be more accurate.
  • Plan for fluctuations in staffing. Yearly staffing estimates begin with forecasting the volume of patient care that will be required during the year. Unfortunately, these forecasts are affected by various factors outside your facility’s control. Census may suddenly drop, or increase as the year goes on. Designate some of your budget for supplemental staff to provide coverage in the case of these sudden changes, enabling you to stay on budget even with big changes in census.
  • Utilize the funds your department has been allocated. If you come in far under budget at the end of the year, you may find that the next year, your department receives reduced funding. Plan carefully for how you will use the funds allocated to your department, but attempt to use them up.
  • Stay in touch with your superiors. Avoid last-minute surprises. The faster you can alert your superiors to budgetary errors, the easier it will be to manage your budget. Also, if there’s a month or quarter your budget won’t stay within plan, alert your superiors and discuss your strategy for getting numbers back on track.
  • Keep your equipment in top shape with maintenance contracts. You can extend the life of expensive equipment within your department through regular maintenance. You can do this through contracts with the maintenance company for regular upkeep and repair.
  • Save your equipment spending until the end of the year. If you can help it, wait until the end of the budget year before purchasing new equipment. This will help you keep extra funds on hand in case of equipment failure or unexpected replacements.
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If you’re in need of flexible therapy staffing options, contact PT Solutions
If you’ve lost staff over the course of your budget year, or are just looking for more talent in your department, you can rely on the experience of PT Solutions. We place supplemental physical and occupational therapists and speech language pathologists in job opportunities across the country and offer therapist owned recruitment services. To learn more, contact PT Solutions today.

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