As an organization matures, it inevitably needs access to more sophisticated financial tools that will scale business plans, maintain stability in the face of evolving challenges and hit growth objectives. Businesses that use QuickBooks have already embraced the importance of financial management as part of operations.
Moving the business forward, for many companies, means a better understanding of where it would like to go and where it’s able to go – something a general ledger and budget alone can’t provide. For that information, organizations turn to forecasting.
If your organization already uses QuickBooks, you’ll want to find the right partner software that makes forecasting simple, while not disrupting your existing financial planning processes. Here are 4 things to consider when looking for QuickBooks forecasting software.
Consider How Data is Exchanged
As a QuickBooks user, one of the most important things to consider when choosing financial forecasting software is how the data will get from point A to point B. Solutions may include manually entering the data in both places, or extracting data from one and importing it to the other.
This is especially important when forecasting, as you’ll need timely and accurate data – which means the data from QuickBooks must be updated in the forecasting software frequently and correctly. Manual entry is often fraught with errors and manually importing data can slow down the process and add operational overhead.
Ideally, your forecasting solution should provide automated data exchange with QuickBooks. With an automated process, data will be current and accurately reflect the organization’s current financial position.
This is your financial data, so security should be high on the list of questions to ask a potential financial software vendor.
If you are importing data from QuickBooks into your forecasting software with an Excel extract, security could be a concern. Anyone that gets access to that spreadsheet will have access to your data.
If data is being transferred via an integration, secure data transfer should be a given, but it’s best to ask. Keep in mind though, security isn’t just about data transfer, it’s also about who has access to the data once it’s reached its destination.
When investigating forecasting software, ensure that data is protected through account and role-based access permissions. Can anyone with access see everything? Or can you grant and remove information to expand the number of users who can participate in planning while still maintaining data security?
Facilitating Budget-to-Actual Comparisons
Financial forecasting software is made to help analyze data like budget-to-actuals. Much like your forecasting needs accurate and up-to-date data to be useful, so does your budget-to-actual analysis.
When comparing forecasting software, it’s important to understand how the data for this analysis is shared, and the method. Control over when and how you review budget data-to-actuals should be yours, not driven by the software.
It seems every modern company is dedicating time and resources to digital transformation efforts. Sharing and integrating data across your organization can be a crucial step in maintaining your place in a competitive market.
These digital transformation initiatives, however, are a double-edged sword when considering forecasting software that will integrate with QuickBooks. The goal of most digital transformation projects is to integrate information and applications across the organization, and integrated financial applications obviously align with that intent. But your IT department may already be overburdened with these initiatives.
As you evaluate forecasting software, consider closely the overhead for both the financial team and IT to get it up and running. The less involved IT is, the faster the finance and leadership teams can begin leveraging financial forecasts for company growth.
If you are in the process of considering a financial solution for integration into your QuickBooks software, Centage offers a seamless and secure option. Learn more about our Budget Maestro and QuickBooks integration.
Small to mid-market organizations rely on Centage Corporation’s Maestro Suite, which includes Budget Maestro™ to help them keep track of and manage their cash flow. Budget Maestro improves the efficiency and effectiveness of business budgeting and planning, financial forecasting, financial consolidation and reporting processes. For more information, take a tour of Budget Maestro, contact Centage, or call 800-366-5111 now.