Current financial planning methods are based on trends and past formulas, but businesses are finding that these methods, that once worked well, are falling to the wayside. The future is uncertain for the economy and businesses alike and it is time to adopt a concrete annual plan that truly emulates the spastic market we are in.
Finance departments today are known for being outdated in how they gather, analyze, and utilize data sets. Regardless of the number of newly available technologies, they consistently find themselves in the stone age. It still takes the majority of companies, endless amounts of time, to compile the plans necessary to run a business. Learn to ensure your competitive advantage by upgrading your budget and forecasting methods for a truly augmented annual process.
CFO.com conducted a study on the average cycle time to complete an annual budget, with the majority of performers admitting it takes them 56 days. The idea of this is laughable considering we may find ourselves in another lockdown, murder hornets could attack, protests, forest fires, hurricanes... it is 2020, who knows! The only thing we do know is that a 56 day cycle time in our current landscape is unacceptable and will render irrelevant, outdated data.
Here are the 5 Things you Need to Know to upgrade your annual plan once and for all.
Reduce Negotiation Times
One of the main time consumers in a budgeting process is the time it takes to negotiate. Numbers displayed on the final annual plan are always numbers that have been negotiated through employees, management, finance, and more. This takes up valuable time, through multiple departments - time that could make or break a company.
As spreadsheets and budgeting data move through departments, mistakes are made, numbers change and room for error is created. Many organizations are often working on multiple copies of the same spreadsheet resulting in additional hours being wasted on the accuracy of the budget data. By reducing negotiation times, an organization can achieve faster, more accurate results with less effort.
Streamline your Budgeting
The main issue with methods to quicken the pace of average budget periods is worries around accuracy. It doesn’t matter if you hasten the process if the result is a budget fraught with inaccuracies. By adopting an automation software you can streamline the budget creation process without needing to give up on quality.
Automating and consolidating various budgets from across the organization quickens the process of negotiation whilst ridding your department of the conundrum human error leaves. This alone saves time on gathering data, time used for communication, the time it takes to compare multiple versions of the budget, and ultimately allows for the creation of accurate, timely budgets.
Adopt Rolling Forecasts
Rolling forecasts are taking the accounting world by storm as they allow for extreme changes needed in 2020 - without needing to redo all previous calculations. A rolling forecast readjusts the upcoming annual forecast based on the actuals received. This allows for continuous planning based on real results by taking into account past conditions for a forward look at your data.
With the current pandemic giving finance departments a run for their money, the ability to adapt to this future-thinking ideology has become a game-changer. Quickly and easily implementing a rolling forecast has been the turning point for a large number of companies. It is the only department that still focuses the majority of time and efforts on summarizing the past. To truly assist management, finance departments need to focus on the future - which leads us to our next ‘need to know.’
Upgrade to a Forward-Thinking Mentality
A forward-thinking finance department is a business’s golden goose, magic wand - the proof is in the pudding and yet many have not adopted this mindset or business process. Why not you ask? A forward-thinking mentality is dependent on real-time, accurate, usable data. Data such as this is acquired through automation which means leaving tedious, manual processes behind - processes that we are accustomed to. It can take an excessive amount of time to convert an entire department to new software but the benefits are unquantifiable. All businesses, that are industry leaders in their category, have already adopted this trend and it is clear why.
Forward-thinking provides the ability to be proactive, to adjust processes, budgets, and business plans to truly emulate current times, and predict future outcomes. It gives businesses the ability to adjust expenses now, to ensure the health of the company in the future. The truth is software types available today understand this, and it is not as difficult as it may seem to automate processes and upgrade to a new financial system. This is especially true if you can keep the majority of your past methods.
Utilize the Right Tools for the Job
Two common approaches to determining the right tools for your department depend on your company’s infrastructure. Here are two companies, one that allows you to completely replace spreadsheets in its entirety and another that works with your existing interface.
One software that frees up time so you can focus on your new future-facing methodology is Frevvo. This popular software making waves in the industry, allows you to throw out excel-spreadsheets in their entirety. The 100% visual workflow software ensures that you can create the business workflow you desire without requiring an IT department to assist. Digitize accounting processes including purchase orders, expense claims, timesheet processing, sales orders, and more all with easy to use templates for easy adoption.
DataRails is another contender that does the opposite. Rather than requiring the adoption of entirely new software, it works with your existing processes such as excel-spreadsheets, ERP’s, CRM’s, GL’s, and more to provide real-time analytics. This reduces the time it takes to implement the software while still providing all the benefits of an analytics platform. Finally, get real-time insights into the health of the organization, quickly and easily without needing to change current workflows.
Regardless of what would work best for you and your financial department, it is time to upgrade your current budgeting & forecasting to elevate your annual plan. Be prepared for the next potential economic disaster, pandemic, or any other unforeseen circumstances this world has left to throw at us. Complete your annual plan in record time, now and in the years to come.