Once a project proposal is approved and decided on regarding the major activities that should be undertaken, the next step is to create a comprehensive project plan that should include the cost required to perform the project. A proposal budget is developed to detail the elements of cost, which are necessary to accomplish and benefit the supported endeavor.
Budget Forms show a list of anticipated project costs in a categorical order, which represents the best-estimated amount required to support the project as described in the proposal. It specifies all direct costs, facilities and administrative costs, and cost-sharing commitments proposed.
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Budgeting Basics: Types of Costs
These costs are brought upon during the performance of the project and must be directly attributed by the project. They should easily be identified with the sponsored activity and should be reasonable and allowable.
Examples of direct costs are salaries, benefits, consultant costs, equipment, project specific materials, sub-agreements, and travel, among others, which are always included in Budget Proposal Forms.
These costs represent those expenses that cannot be easily related to any specific project. Also known as Facilities and Administration costs, they refer to items that are for general use and purchased or provided regularly by the sponsors.
Examples of these are purchasing, human resource, facility and business services; as well as the use of general office space, equipment and supplies; fixed phone and internet charges; heat, light, power and janitorial services; and the operation and maintenance of all facilities.
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Major Expenses Included in a Proposal Budget
- Employee Compensation
Salaries and wages of all employees involved in the project – whether they are full, part-time, or temporary employees – should be specified in the proposal. Annual Budget Forms exist to update a company’s compensation package regularly.
- Contract Services
Most of the time, businesses rely on outside help, especially if the task is not available or possible in the company. Outsourced services or workers, such as consultants and bookkeepers, should also be stipulated in the proposal budget.
- Equipment and Supplies
This section covers expenses for equipment repair and maintenance, laboratory or office consumables, postage, telephone, fax, copier, and computer supplies.
- Travel and Related Expenses
During project implementation, travels are inevitable as one needs to meet people and reach out to other businesses. Air travel, out-of-town expenses, conference travel, as well as daily parking and mileage.
- Overhead or Indirect Costs
The proposal budget should also include overhead expenses or indirect costs, which allow a portion of the budget to be allocated for administrative costs of the day-to-day operation.
A proposal budget is one of the essential elements in a project proposal as it is a pivotal tool used by different groups involved in the project. Once approved, it is used by:
- project managers to determine whether the project is on track;
- project personnel as a guideline to achieve certain project milestones;
- the client to establish the success of the effort.
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