What Are You Paying For?

Higher Education budgets are inherently complicated - multiple fund sources, hundreds of accounts, and lots of budget managers whose roles change often make the budget picture at most colleges and universities murky at best.

Even when budget managers are engaged and actively trying to both understand their budget and use it efficiently, the process of accounting for every single line item can be daunting.

Shifts in budget management are especially challenging.  A new budget manager may not be familiar with all the expenses for which they’ve been asked to pay, and often reorganizations within the college structure can leave some expenses lost in transition, with budget managers unintentionally renewing software or services that might be obsolete or underused.

So, what are you paying for?

We suggest that budget managers review the following expenses that may go overlooked or be auto-renewed as they plan for the new budget cycle.


Aging software may become obsolete, be available in newer versions, or be charged on a per seat basis (i.e. number of users).

Examine software expenditures for the following:

  • What version are you paying for and is it the most current?

  • Are you paying for a certain number of seats for the software?  If so, do you still need as many?

  • When was the last time you negotiated the pricing of each product?


Look at the terms of your contracts.

  • What is the renewal period?

  • How much notice must you give to cancel a contract?

  • Is there an opportunity to negotiate rates for extended years of service?

Discover what's not working

Are there items on your budget that were great in theory, but have been tough to implement in the way they were intended?

  • Review each expense and its purpose

  • Site the details of its use.  Who uses this product/service and why?  To what end?

  • Determine if the product/service is providing the results for which it was intended and if the price for the product/service is justified

Evaluating budget line items for the value they bring to your institution may not only save money, but free up funds for new projects ahead.