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Breaking the Budget Silo

June 18, 2019
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Accurate and useful budgets are the result of hours of work and input from stakeholders across the organization. Under the best of circumstances, creating a budget can be difficult to coordinate in a timely and effective way.When budget season starts, however, the most important voices outside of finance are busy manning the tasks that are important to their departments and the business as a whole. C-level executives are ensuring strategic initiatives are being managed and launched. Line-of-business leaders are working on departmental projects. Marketing is preparing messaging to get in front of executives before their own budget process starts, or before the holidays. And sales teams are focused on their quarterly goals.These budget stakeholders are needed to create a budget that is realistic and acceptable to the board. But getting their attention can be a challenge. How do you break down the silos between finance and these other teams and get their attention on financials for the coming year?

Getting Budget Collaboration

Remind Stakeholders What It Means to Them

While in the midst of their own tasks and strategies, a company's individual divisions can lose sight of the bigger picture - that you are all one team, driving toward the success of the company.This is especially true when in hypergrowth mode. Teams must be closely aligned for work to be moving in the same direction. That also means that budgets need to be closely aligned with organizational and departmental goals.The office of finance can do their best to create a budget that does this, but they don’t understand the intricacies around the budget needs for IT to develop an app to support the company’s newest product release or the go to market strategy for the latest service offering. Input from these departments is needed to ensure all teams have the resources they need to meet company goals.

Don’t Overwhelm

As different departments are focused on the task of moving the company forward, they can become overwhelmed with tasks that are outside their wheelhouse. Budgeting is one of those tasks. Finance teams have a deep appreciation for the breakdowns needed to pull together a clean and well-organized budget, but other teams may be unclear on the importance, or unsure of details.Help stakeholders understand exactly the level of detail needed at each stage of the budget process. That way they know they won’t have to redo work because it wasn’t enough or spend hours pulling together details that aren’t needed.

Reduce Barriers to Access

Collaboration requires access, and in today’s busy business world, stakeholders need access when and where they want it. If the VP of Sales has time, today, to work on his portion of the budget while between sales calls, but can’t because the head of supply chain is currently using it, he may not find another time to do it in the near future.Using spreadsheets for budgets creates an access problem. Either each stakeholder uses their own copy of the spreadsheet, requiring finance to combine the data and risking data errors, or a single spreadsheet must be passed around, creating a bottleneck.Modern SaaS-based budgeting software gives users access where they are, when they have time, and without disrupting others. Plus role-based access control in modern systems means that team members only see exactly what they need to, preserving the security and integrity of the budget across the organization.Catching the attention of leaders and stakeholders to kick off the budget process can be tricky. But it’s an important process that is a cornerstone to growth and profitability. When resources understand their role in the process, what is expected, and are given access when and where they need it, the budget becomes a collaborative exercise that involves the right voices.

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