How to Budget for Your Next Corporate Event

Planning a corporate event is very involved and often expensive. Not only will it take a detail-oriented person or team to do the planning, but everything also depends on the type of corporate event you host. If you need to stay within a strict budget, the following information should give you the tools you need to work with.

Corporate Event

Check out these tips to learn more about how to budget for your next corporate event.

1. Create a basic spreadsheet

There are certain costs involved in any kind of function. For example, you might wish to make an entry for such things as:

  • Venues
  • Food and/or beverages
  • Staff (i.e. servers, security, reception, etc.)
  • Equipment rental
  • Entertainment
  • Advertising

And that is just the beginning. As you go along you will find other expenses to add to your spreadsheet, so keep it open. You may want to host it in the Cloud, to be referenced by other people. That might be the CEO, the board or anyone in bookkeeping or HR. You will notice that over time the allotment of money will move around a bit, so be prepared to reallocate funds as needed.

When you’ve finalised your plans, the sum of all columns must be less than or equal to the budget you establish after receiving estimates on everything listed below.

2. Define the purpose of your event

Corporate events come in all shapes and sizes. Some corporate events are in-house meetings or seminars. Others are open to the public or industry peers. Sometimes an event takes place over several days while other times it’s a one-day, one-time affair. In order to start planning an event, you’ll need to consider what your business wants the purpose of the event to be.

3. Try to forecast attendance

The next item on your agenda is to try to forecast how many people will be in attendance. You will need this information for everything from the size and type of venue you choose to anything you may need to host that event, including chairs, food, and accommodation.

When planning a budget, numbers are important. Event planning boils down to the same analytics that keep you growing as a company!

4. It all begins with a venue

In most cases, the largest expense you will need to budget for is the venue you choose. However, when it comes to venues, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all.

Where you might choose to host your corporate Christmas party would be totally different from where you would hold a recruitment seminar or a new product launch exhibition. This is where you might want to work with a resource like Canvas. They work with a huge number of venues specializing in hosting corporate events. In other words, you can’t begin to draft a budget unless you have an idea of where the most money is channeled to.

Big Corporate event

5. Cost comparison research

Since you are creating a budget which will almost always be subject to the approval of someone other than yourself, try and keep costs low. Whether you have a sum to work within or you are building a budget based on the elements of your corporate event, you want the best deal possible. However, never cut corners when it comes to price comparisons.

While you don’t want quality to suffer, you do want to get the best prices. Plan on spending time talking to vendors and re-negotiate as needed. Comparison shopping applies to the corporate world as well.

6. Tally everything up

As you have seen, there are two main ways to budget for a corporate event. The first way would be to allocate funds for the event in the very beginning, with the purpose of staying within those confines. The other approach allows you to create a budget based on needs. This is often the best kind of budget to work with because you can approach the board or those with spending power as needs arise. Even so, you will need a lump sum to start with before proposing your budget.


At the end of the day, knowing how to budget depends on all of the above. Be strict with your budget and don’t allow expenditure to get out of control. If all else fails, it is time to create a team to help you formulate a sensible budget. Two heads are better than one and several are even better than that!

Remember that the more room for adjustment in your budget, the easier it will be to work with the funds allocated by people higher up in the corporate food chain.