10 Reasons to switch to centralized budgeting for accessibility

Centralized budgeting is a key activity for creating an accessibility environment that will mature more quickly

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
  1. Budgeting season begins for the next corporate calendar year
  2. Half price Easter candy sales (online) will provide you the chocolate you need to get through #1 and #2

Centralized Accessibility Benefit #1: More efficiency

When your budget is centralized, employees spend less time analyzing redundant information.

Centralized Accessibility Benefit #2: Reducing Competition

If 20 products are all asking for accessibility funding independently, the independent departments may view each other more as competitors than as making a specific funding request for a common cause. Also, the people being asked may think “accessibility? Didn’t we already fund that?” This creates unnecessary competition and infighting and gives the product teams no reason to cooperate. Budget centralization lessens this competitive attitude.

Centralized Accessibility Benefit #3: Take care of accessibility elements not attributable to a single product

Tools. Training. Testing hardware. When done correctly, one purchase should cover the entire company. But no product team wants to take on more than what is needed for *their* team because there is nothing in it for them except the headaches associated with sourcing and financing the corporate purchases then trying to claw back funds from other departments. This situation is precisely the purpose of centralized accessibility budgeting.

Centralized Accessibility Benefit #4: Budget Owner has greater control

When the accessibility budget process is managed through a centralized owner, that centralized owner has more control to pivot mid-year if spending needs to shift due to something that causes the accessibility mission to either to grow or to shrink. These can include:

  • lawsuits
  • new products / corporate acquisitions
  • products going EOL

Centralized Accessibility Benefit #5: Products are not paying directly for accessibility services

When product teams pay for accessibility from their budget, frequently bad accessibility decisions are made. Product team owners think if they “cheap out” on accessibility, they can shift the “saved” accessibility funds elsewhere within the team. However, these savings may be false. Underspending on accessibility increases lawsuit risk or lost sales opportunities. Both of these possibilities can incur significant charges that will be borne by a department other than that linked to the product.

Centralized Accessibility Benefit #6: More transparency

A centralized accessibility budget can be reviewed by anyone who “needs to know.” This means:

  • there is the possibility to compare the accessibility compliance costs between products
  • one product has a single set of code for both SaaS and on-prem installations, and the other does not;
  • one product is building in accessibility from the beginning and another is retrofitting it at the end;
  • one product is failing to perform automated testing before handing off code to the accessibility team, or;
  • one product is failing to follow design best practices concerning templates or screen creation.

Centralized Accessibility Benefit #7: Ease of extrapolating new project costs

Products and features get added all the time. With centralized budgeting, you can break things down into T-shirt sizes (XS, small, medium, large, XL) and use those average costs for existing projects to estimate the costs of a new feature or an entirely new product

Centralized Accessibility Benefit # 8: Get the accessibility effort “big picture”

When accessibility budgeting is centralized and updated in real-time, you can gain the advantage of having an always-current big picture view of how your accessibility spend is doing.

Centralized Accessibility Benefit # 9: Reduce uncertainty

Expense fluctuations happen.

  • Sometimes hourly contractor rates go up.

Centralized Accessibility Benefit # 10: Demonstrates a commitment to accessibility

Taking the step to centralize an accessibility budget shows a commitment to a singular approach to accessibility across the entire company. This can go a long way to convincing people who aren’t happy with your accessibility exceptions that the company is committed to accessibility and undertaking the organizational and financial steps necessary to improve accessibility across all the products.

  • If you have not yet made the determination where to locate your centralized accessibility effort that will need to be decided.
  • New financial accounts need to be established.
  • A funding mechanism for those new accounts needs to be established
  • The amount being requested needs to be determined and justified.

Blogger, disability advocate, nerd. Bringing the fire on ableism. A11y Architect @ VMware. Wheelchair user w/ a deaf daughter. CS, Law, and Business background

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