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Questions you Should Ask During the Planning and Analysis Process

August 1, 2014
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And the Planning and Analysis tools allowing you to ask these questions.

Recently, there was an article published by (a TechTarget publication) and authored by Nicole Laskowski, Senior News Writer.  The title of this article is: “Want Better Analytics? Start asking ‘crunchy’ questions."One of the main points delivered in this article is that by using key performance indicators, aligned with strategic goals and specific questions used to query the data, business intelligence can be developed and customized to each company, regardless of industry.Another point is that visualization of data can help a person to better understand it, which means that decisions made using this visualization will be made with greater confidence and are likely to be more accurate in the long run.A few days ago I was speaking to a financial software analyst about Budget Maestro and Analytics Maestro , relaying my experience with the software and why I thought this solution was so well designed and targeted at the SMB (small & medium business) market.Some of the points I mentioned to him seem to coincide with the points delivered in the above-mentioned article.  Of these, KPI’s, accomplished through use of drivers, become a very powerful and useful function in the planning and budgeting software (Budget Maestro), while visual analysis is performed in Analytics Maestro, where planned and actual data are seamlessly linked to the analytics software and display the data in any format, size, color and other parameters chosen by the user.Questions you need to ask regarding performance in different areas of your organization will help you better understand how to established key performance indicators.  These, combined with drivers you enter in the planning and budgeting software, will allow Budget Maestro to automatically create the logic that is used with your assumptions.Combining this with the basic budget data you enter in your plan will result in system calculated and visually displayed financial results.  These results can be a full set of projected financial statements along with a full set of actual financial statements automatically transferred from your accounting or ERP software into the planning software (Budget Maestro).  Both can be visually displayed in any format and appearance you choose in the analysis module (Analytics Maestro).  Other reports in unlimited formats can also be obtained using this set of applications.Imagine having a visual display of your chosen KPI and financial ratios for the entire budget duration and for all available actual data (as it becomes available immediately after period-end close).Example of questions you can ask:a.    How is my IT spending going to change as I add new employees?b.    How is my headcount going to change in response to projected increase in revenue (which will also affect item a. above, among other things)?c.    How is my utilities expense (e.g., power) going to change in response to change in production demand (derived by projected revenue change)?d.    How are my payroll related expenses going to change in response to item b. above?As you can see, many of the questions you’ll be asking are going to be interrelated; however, with the proper use of drivers you can obtain the answers you are looking for and with very little effort once the drivers are put to use.The real good news is that all of this functionality is available to users of Budget Maestro without ever having to write a single line of code or even place formulas and links anywhere in the software.  Now you are finally able to perform exactly the type of analysis relevant to your business.

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