Unrestricted organizations empower people to take responsibility for decisions. These organizations can react quickly and were made to adapt on the fly. They make the most of their situation, whether tools, people or policies and find a way to get the job done. These organizations push people to take initiative but left unmanaged can lead to unnecessary risk taking or hedonistic excess.
"We buy the resources and materials for our company dependent on our needs, on the fly. We don’t usually put a lot of thoughts into creating processes - time is money."
When it comes to an organization’s spend culture, unrestricted organizations can quickly and freely make spending decisions to get the goods and services that are needed and then move on. Unrestricted organizations can take advantage of unexpected opportunities and are able to pivot without needing much deliberation, however because visibility into data and information is not a priority it can be difficult to make strategic informed decisions to get the most out of the money being spent.
A common trait of unrestricted leaders is that they don’t believe in rigidity and rules. Adaptive and nimble, they make the best of every situation, and pivot quickly to react to any situation.
Leaders by example, they reject bureaucracy and would rather empower their team members to “fail fast and fall forward”, which means going ahead and taking risks, and learning from them.
Natural daredevils, unrestricted leaders are common in startups, where the culture of innovation and trial by error is considered the norm.
Besides their naturally innovative mindset, unrestricted leaders also value work-life balance, which means team outings, games and fun is also encouraged. Investing into game consoles, company parties and team lunches are a big part of an unrestricted spend culture.
The unrestricted finance team almost sounds like an oxymoron - but it isn’t. Less gatekeepers and more goalkeepers, a finance team under an unrestricted spend culture gives a lot of control and power back to the rest of teams when it comes to company finances.
Departments each have their own purchase tracking systems which they control and adapt to best fit their needs. There is usually no set way to track purchases or expenses, and not all purchases are required to be preapproved. Small purchases could be made on company credit cards and expensed later.
Not a believer in strict budgets, the unrestricted finance team would rather give the ownership of budgeting to each department leaders, trusting that they will make the best financial decisions for the benefit of their individual teams.
Although department leaders are more empowered and independent, unrestricted finance teams struggle with spend visibility and tracking, especially near end of month. Chasing invoices, finding out the ‘why’ behind a certain purchase, and trying to account for untracked purchases are common pains with an unrestricted finance team.
In unrestricted teams, there usually isn’t a designated purchaser or a dedicated purchasing team. One team member might wear many hats, for example, the office manager may also be the main purchaser, and the marketing manager might be the administrator for all software spending.
However, there usually is some level of approval that is nimble and quick moving, such as approving purchases through email or instant messages.
Purchases are usually tracked by department on spreadsheets or by receipts, which could be difficult or organize or track, causing duplicate purchases or untracked, forgotten purchases.