The city's activities and finances are guided by a three-year financial plan. The first year of the financial plan is the budget year. By the end of the year, the council approves the next year's budget, which must be followed in the city's activities and finances.
The city's operating and financial objectives and financial objectives of the local authority corporation are approved in the budget and financial plan. The city of Oulu's subsidiaries have been set operating objectives measured in the ownership policies.
The budget and financial plan must be drawn up in such a way that they put the municipality's strategy into effect and the preconditions for performing the municipality's functions are secured. The budget includes the appropriations and income estimates required to fulfil the duties and meet the operating objectives, and an indication of how financial requirements will be covered. The financial plan must be in balance or in surplus.
The city board and decision-making bodies in their respective areas of responsibility are responsible for preparing the budget. The board of directors is responsible for the budget preparation of public utilities.
According to the Local Government Act, the municipality's residents and service users have the right to participate in and influence the municipality's activities. Residents have the opportunity to participate in the economic planning of the city of Oulu through participatory budgeting.