November 09, 2023
By John Hunter

After the actual event, the budget is one of the most highly scrutinized aspects of any planning process. Not everyone understands what a successful event looks like or how to determine ROI, but they do understand money. Whether your budget is small or large, it's important to know where each dollar is going. If you can’t easily track your budget and use spend information to analyze an event’s effectiveness and improve year over year, you’re making things more difficult than they need to be.

Technology has made budget tracking easier than pen and paper or building out a complicated, formula-heavy Excel sheet. There are tools you can use, from the Expensify App to more complicated budget tracking solutions, that make collecting, tracking, and analyzing event spend much easier. Curious if your go-to florist is increasing their fee by too high a percent year over year? Check what they charged you the year before!

Want to break down costs into categories such as venue, food, promotion, and more? You should be able to, and it shouldn’t take hours of searching in multiple Excel sheets to do it. Read more to find out what budget tracking tools can do for you. 

Simple Entry

Keeps things easy. No matter who is entering costs and information, they’ll do it correctly if the budget technology you use is user-friendly. Don’t let complicated Excel sheets create confusion. One of the major challenges with tracking spend is making sure that every single purchase is accounted for. It can take hours and hours to find the missing $2.37, but you'll spend an afternoon searching for that last item because the budget has to balance. Use a tool that captures each purchase so you don't have to root through your purse, car, and office to find a crumpled receipt.

Summary View

A budget overview shouldn’t take hours to pull together. Many budget tracking tools make it possible to create a quick summary view that will show you, and executives, everything they need to know about current spend vs projected spend.

Track Return On Events (ROE)

Look at ROE for one event, or across many events. Tracking ROE will give you greater insight into a singular event or across multiple events. Track budgeted, negotiated, and actual expenses to show their return on objectives and make your next budget even smarter.

Segment By Vendor

You shouldn’t need to spend hours pulling up a history of payment for that one caterer – check easily with budget tracking tools. This will allow you to understand how much you spent with one caterer vs another, or let you to budget better for future events with the same vendors. Negotiate better deals with vendors and suppliers based on transaction history. Did you spend enough with certain vendors to qualify for volume discounts?

Charts And Graphs

People like visuals! Now, tracking tools have graphs built in so you can look at event spend in a more engaging way. You don't need to spend extra time laboring over a pie chart - it's created for you. Charts and graphs can usually be modified easily to compare the costs you want to look at.

Conclusion

Determining what to spend money on and where to cut isn't easy. It shouldn't be even more complicated because of the systems you're using to track event spend. Embrace the technology out there! There's an easier way, and it will lead to less stress, better analysis, and more time to spend actually planning the event. Read More: Event Budgeting Guide

John Hunter

John Hunter

John is the Senior Manager of Event Cloud Content Marketing at Cvent. He has 11 years of experience writing about the meetings and events industry. John also has extensive copywriting experience across diverse industries, including broadcast television, retail advertising, associations, higher education, and corporate PR.

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