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Transformation can be a lot of fun — but let's face it — budgeting season is not.

When starting to plan for your Branch Transformation or Headquarters projects, one of the hardest tasks you'll take on is determining how much you need to reasonably budget for your project and what your final cost will be to ensure nothing is forgotten.

Sure, we like surprises as much as the next guy, but we'd prefer if they didn't come in the form of exceeding budget (or having to go back and ask for more money). Projects of this size and importance require you to get your budget right the first time — but first, what all goes into transformation that you need to consider?

what goes into transformation

Yeah. It's a lot to take on. Typically, these seven key considerations that encompass the Design, Equipment, Construction, Tech and owner-provided items of your project will drive your all-in budget cost, which allows you to ask for the right amount — but how you create that budget specifically for your financial institution varies by situation.

We all know getting to that budget is important, but there's a few paths to get there. You may have a defined budget already, which means you can simply explain what's included and what's not — or, you can quickly get to a recommended budget based on like projects with these four simple steps!


step 1 scope

It all starts with the scope and understanding of your project. Simply determine if your project is a new build, remodel, or a Headquarters/Operations Center.


step 2 size

Size matters — and makes a direct impact on costs, as bigger spaces typically require bigger budgets. Instead of relying on industry standards to determine what the square footage of your project should include, derive the answer from your transformation strategy, desired client experience, and outcomes you expect for both clients and staff.


step 3 net new relocate

As you factor in your location, determine if you'll be starting fresh or relocating (a less expensive option if you're able to utilize your equipment and technology!)


step 4 finish

Finally, the level of finish is key — and it has a bigger impact to the budget than one might believe.

Though technology and equipment should be considered as well, these key choices should drive down overall cost and size necessity. What can come overall from these four steps is a solid budget and defined path to move you forward.

However, what if you want a budget based specifically on all of your needs? Previously, this was an arduous process to take on — so we created a SMART Budget tool to help our clients determine an accurate all-in cost by aligning their budget to deliver the strategic intent of their transformation project.

smart budget

This tool takes into account all branch types — everything from new builds, remodels, varying sizes, geography, all technology and equipment, costs of materials, and even the items you need to deliver and include like PCs and servers. Nothing is forgotten!

With these approaches, we can create an accurate budget that's aligned to your strategy. Even better, you'll be able to answer the skeptical question of why you're asking for the amount you are — you know it will come from someone!

Want more insights on perfecting your budget (and securing approval from your board with ease)? Click here to get instant access to our webinar hosted by John W. Smith (CEO, DBSI).