Many organizations struggle with technology when it comes to their budgeting and forecasting processes. There is a wide range of technical issues they have to deal with, such as:
- Manually and repetitively extracting and manipulating data,
- Consolidating data from disparate systems,
- Tracking and maintaining numerous spreadsheets,
- Using tools that lack user-friendly design capabilities, and
- Management of the budget process across the organization.
These issues often lead to inaccurate results, consume large amounts of time and resources, and ultimately lead to untimely access to data. Organizations recognize these and other issues, but often struggle with selecting the appropriate technology to address them. Many systems offer the same or similar features, so it’s often difficult to distinguish one as being better than the other. Here are some tips of what key functionality to look for when selecting budgeting and forecasting software that can help eliminate these issues
Make sure it integrates with your ERP software or has a data warehouse option.This is key to eliminating the manual and repetitive efforts, the consolidation of data from disparate systems, and reducing the number of spreadsheets being used. Depending on your requirements, you may only need to save a budget back to the ERP.Or you may need to integrate several systems that are used in the planning process, in which case a data warehouse would be used to store all the data.
Get a good feel for the user-interface used for processing budgets and forecasts.Since many non-technical people will be involved in the process, the software should be user-friendly and have a familiar comfortable feel to it.Several solutions even offer their software built right into Excel, giving users the full capabilities of Excel (e.g., formulas, formatting, etc.) in a familiar and sometimes already well known environment.
Look for workflow capabilities. The solution should have the ability to assign budget and forecast forms to individuals in the organization, allow them to submit those forms for review and approval, have multi-level approvals, notifications, and even discussion areas.Having this level of functionality can dramatically improve management’s ability to monitor the entire planning process and make the budgeting process much more productive for the individuals entering the budgets.
Contact us if you have any questions regarding Business Intelligence (BI) and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) software, and visit Schneider Downs Technology Services webpage to learn about the services we offer