Plan Your Capital Expense Like a Squirrel

Published on Tuesday, 27 August 2013 13:49:08    Written by Marc
Did you ever notice how squirrels seem to get active in the fall? Of course, you rarely see a squirrel sitting around doing nothing as they constantly move around getting things done. But in the fall season you can clearly see that they ramp up activity. My apple tree on the side of the house starts to loose apples around the end of august. That’s when the squirrels seem to start to prepare their winter reserves. You can see them with apples as large as an adult’s fist in their mouth climbing the side of the house stopping on the roof for a snack and then off to the small strip of forest in the back of the house to bury the bulk of the produce. So they eat a little and they keep the rest for a rainy or should I say a snowy day. RealexPlan4Alright I admit the link with capital expenditures planning and tracking is a little farfetched, but when preparing for a capital expenditure that requires a complete business case in order to get approval, it’s good to take the squirrels approach (not literally of course). Gathering as much relevant information as possible on the required capex to be purchased is essential. As Murphy’s Law will have it, after the capex request is submitted for approval, management will come back and ask questions that don’t seem to be related to the capex or ask questions that people are simply not prepared for. Interestingly enough, often the information needed is already somewhere in the pile of information that you the squirrel, I mean, capex seeker, gathered during the process. It will show management that you did your homework by having the information readily available and will accelerate the process of capital expenditure approval with less down time. Not having the information available means that you need to go back to the source, contact people, and do more research/testing/survey/whatever to get the missing info. Also, as we all know, nothing is fresher in our minds than current information. So it might take you a few weeks to finalize the capital expense request and to get it approved. If for some reason you get a request for more information when it is the time for the CEO to approve it, it could have been a number of weeks since you initially assembled the information. Going back to the source to find the missing information can sometimes be a hassle, not counting the inefficiency time wasted. So, whenever you are preparing your business case for that capex, keep your notes, comments and other information that you might not think to be useful. Keep them in a folder/file/other somewhere handy. Because you never know when you will need to dig back to retrieve some missing info. Squirrels seem to already have this concept down to an art.