Friday, January 25, 2008

Cost Center NIghtmare

I currently have/had a project which was 3 years in the making. I came up with it as early as 2005 and only got the approval to proceed last year.

The reason why it took so long was the cost. The service provider gave me a quote of $10K to do the project (this was down from $20K). My boss pushed me to come up with the figures and present it to the head of the business for approval. I made my presentation and got his nod to proceed.

I was so overjoyed when it was approved. No more late nights for my people and the controls embedded in the program will eliminate, if not, decrease errors.

I submitted the signed approval to the provider and it was returned to me late last year as I have to get the approval of the head of the whole business as well as the business finance manager. Ok, fine. But since they were on leave, I was only able to accomplish this last Monday.

However, I was not able to indicate who's cost center it will be charged to. I asked my boss and she said it should be under the business head's cost. I went to the business head and he said, it should be under our cost. I went back to my manager who disagreed and said that it should be under the business head's cost center. Again, the business head disagreed. So I went back to my old boss and she then said that since we've transferred divisions, my new boss should approve it. Of course, my new boss was not in the loop before and was surprised that he was suddenly being charged $10K. With payback not in the same year and with a tight budget, he refused and I am now forced to cancel my project (which fortunately is only in the preliminary stages of data gathering).

For my readers who are not familiar with the corporate setting, you might have difficulty understanding what happened. But basically, I am so frustrated and discouraged. Sobrang sumama ang loob ko at naiyak ako sa sobrang inis. Because of that I left the office early. I told one of the team leaders to stay until the final upload to watch over the team and do some last minute sign-offs.

I'm ok with what I do right now. I like managing and leading a team. Somehow, it's times like these that really make me think twice on why I put up with it.


Norrie Blackeby said...

Very familiar scenario indeed! Before I even agree to do anything I ask for a cost centre (nominal codes we call them here) as budgets are very tight. This could be a vauable lesson for you as well. I hope you have all your documentation in place incl emails and action points. Too bad your boss wasn't in the loop, hence no buy in. Don't you hold your own budget? How's your line management skills? Appraisals, one to ones, 360 degree feedback, reports to write, budget to balance, decisions to make--don't you just love it? Good luck and try not to take it to heart.

Joelle Horca said...

Sometimes, --- raises bureaucracy to a whole new level. =(

Can't you raise it as an attack on madness project?

Nonie David Carluen said...

one lesson i learnt from working in the banking industry for 13 years was if it will only mean making life easier for the workers then surely it is asking too much to expect the project to be given priority. there are too many chiefs in these publicly owned companies and perfectly good proposals get massacred this way.