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6 Telltale Signs it’s Time to Move Beyond Spreadsheets

May 16, 2018
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It’s easy to understand why companies turn to spreadsheets for budgeting. The interfaces are familiar. The cost of entry is low. The software is accessible to everyone in the company.But as your company grows, using spreadsheets for business budgeting can cause more problems than they solve. As operations become more complex, so does budgeting and forecasting, making spreadsheets time consuming and error-prone.So how do you know when you should move from spreadsheets to business budgeting and forecasting software? Here are six signs you should look for:

You Have Many Departments or Multiple Locations

Even small companies can have multiple departments and locations, and each of those has a special set of needs and budget requirements. If you’re using spreadsheets, rolling those departmental and location budgets up into a corporate budget becomes a difficult and manual process, where small problems can quickly blossom into large issues.

Government Reporting and Auditing

If you are required to report financials or undergo annual audits, spreadsheets are a hindrance to a smooth process. Spreadsheets have no control structure or easy ways to flag unusual data, making an auditor’s job more difficult and audit season more stressful for everyone.

International Operations

Multiple time zones can make collaboration on budgets difficult and more confusing when a change by one user can wreak havoc on another user’s work. But more importantly, if you’re dealing with international business units, currency translations introduce an entirely new level of complexity to the budget process.

Need to See Data in New Ways

There are only a handful of industries that aren’t experiencing some amount of disruption. As companies try and stay ahead of their competition, they need to be able to review and analyze financial data in ways they didn’t last year or even last month. Spreadsheets are not known for their agility or ability to create new reports on the fly.

Large Number of Revenue or Expense Budgets

As companies grow, their budgeting needs to reflect a higher level of sophistication while handling more data. For companies with a large number of revenue or expense accounts, spreadsheets quickly become unwieldy and difficult to track.

Using New Budget Models

Organizations are changing the ways and the frequency at which they look at their budgets. What-if scenarios and recurring analysis are difficult for spreadsheets to handle, and attempting - for example - rolling forecasts with spreadsheets increases the likelihood of errors while increasing the amount of time it takes to reconcile budgets.

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