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Observations on another department’s budget categories

Just after having written about one law department’s budget categories (See my post of Sept. 9, 2008: 34 line items.), I came across a second set of accounts. This one has 52 items of which most resemble a category in the previously-reviewed budget.

With so many more categories, however, the second one breaks expenditures more finely. Instead of “travel and lodging” this one has “air/ground travel,” “car rental – short term,” “mileage, tolls, parking,” and “lodging/hotel.” Elaborating on the single category of “training”, the second set has “in-house employee training,” “outside employee training,” and “employee training materials.” A final example: rather than simply “office supplies,” there are narrower categories for “office supplies,” “stationery,” “miscellaneous other supplies,” “equipment < $3,000),” “expensed tools,” and “merchandise consumed.”

As should be expected, the second general ledger system has some categories that do not appear in the first set.

Aircraft fees (perhaps for flights on the corporate jet)
Drinking water
Employee relations
Employee giveaways
Entertainment — Company personnel
Entertainment — Third Parties
Inter-department cross transfers

Even so, the first set, with 18 fewer categories, has a handful not found on the second, fuller set. These include “videoconference,” “patent costs,” four for “professional services,” and “relocation.”