This is probably very common, but...
<rant>Though I am a proud, but lowly peon, I work with a bunch of upper level managers, all with 20+ years in management, all of whom go through the annual budget
fantasycycle. These folks proposed a fairly large initiative that would require a rather extensive upfront investment in infrastructure. Naturally, all of the infrastructure groups have their requirements for server hardware, redundancy, failover, etc. By the time you multiply all the costs by all the components, licenses, etc, it was a few $MM. Arguably cheap for what they wanted (especially with all the redundancy), but waaay more than they were expecting.
I expected the usual hedging, hemming and hawing, and requests to find a way to do it cheaper. One particular forward-thinking leader (not my boss) decided that if we could stretch the 2 month initiative to 11 months, then we could dump most of the expenditures into the 2008 budget. By the time I got back to my bosses office to tell him I thought it was a bad idea, he was already on the phone - two other managers were trying to figure out how to dump off purchases until 2008. I simply asked: and how big do you think the 2008 budget is going to be when you add all of this onto the usual expenses? They did some math, and the 2008 budget would need to be 225% of what one would expect it to be. They decided to propose it to their boss that way anyway.</rant>
Methinks I'll be movin' on out in '07...
As stupid as it is, here's some possible business logic:
1. We can't afford this right now.
2. We have to get the equipment.
3. Once we have the equipment, they can't refuse to buy it.
4. By using the depreciation of the equipment against its purchase price, we can further reduce the expenses after a year.
(Actually, you should ask your boss about #4. You might be a hero.)
5. So we can buy the equipment now, put off the payment, then once it's here and used every day, there's no way someone can refuse to buy it.
given other factors it could be a way to regulate the accounting books.
This is probably very common
Yup, most managers in big business do this. A manager will rarely stay with the same project for more than two years, so they just arrange things so that all the expenses are dumped into their successor's term (getting them a gold star for doing so well in their term). Any budget problems that do occur in their term can be blamed on their predecessor, who is now working in another division/company and is therefore not held responsible. It's an method of exploiting the way that accounting and performance reviews are done in most large businesses.