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Realize the Benefits of Modernizing Your Budgeting and Planning

August 6, 2019
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As the summer comes to a close and we see on the horizon shorter days and turning leaves, finance teams are growing concerned about the workload facing them through the coming fall and winter.It’s budget season, and for organizations still using older budgeting processes, it’s a time of anxiety, and even, as you begin to plan for the holidays, dread. Will you have everything you need in time for the budget review? Can you get the information needed from collaborators in time? How will you access and process all the data needed for a meaningful and accurate budget?If you are using a modern FP&A tool for your budgeting and planning process, these worries are likely far from your mind. If not, you may be lamenting the fact that you’ll be stuck using spreadsheets and large, manual data imports for at least one more year.It doesn’t have to be that way, however. Thanks to the efficiencies and benefits of modern FP&A tools, there is still time to get up and running, be ready for board review in the fall, and have the most accurate and forward-looking budget you’ve ever had.

Modernizing Your Budgeting and Planning Results in Immediate Business Impact

Highly manual and outdated budgeting processes require months of data gathering, reconciliation, and modeling to get ready for presenting the budget to the board. With modern advances in application delivery, however, it’s possible to still realize a positive business impact, even if you’re starting with a new tool as the end of summer nears.It just needs to be the right tool, and address the most important challenges facing the finance team.

Leveraging SaaS for Access Today

Traditionally, applications required a large rollout plan involving finance, IT, and leadership, to ensure everyone was starting from the same place at the same time. And that was just to deploy the application. Integrating with even a limited number of data sources may require months of planning and resource allocation. So, it’s no wonder that most CFOs believe they are already outside of the window of improvement for upcoming budget planning.However, with applications being delivered as a service, like Planning Maestro from Centage, there is little involvement needed outside of finance for a rollout plan. These Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications can be implemented in days, not months, and can be largely managed by the vendor. Plus, everyone gets access to the same applications at exactly the same time.

Modern Architecture for Rapid Integration

To get up and running quickly, finance teams need to do their research. Some SaaS applications may be software that was written on an old technology stack and then moved to the cloud. Applications built on old technology and merely migrated to the cloud can be slower and don’t have the ability to take advantage of the on-demand processing power that a cloud-native SaaS solution can. A modern application built for the cloud and against current architecture and using APIs offers features that accelerate the Office of Finance’s ability to get the data they need, plus increases stability and features.The result is the ability to quickly connect to various data sources, access the information needed for analysis and budgeting, and bring in crucial information to keep budgets synched with financial statements.

Modern Interfaces Improve User Experience and Collaboration

Using older technology or even spreadsheets for budgeting and planning hampers finance teams in a number of ways. First, it creates a rigid artifact, preventing teams from exploring different avenues for growth or addressing business needs. And second, it limits who can contribute to the budget, and when.For teams still using an unyielding solution for planning, changes and scenarios can add weeks to the budget process. Wanting to understand what a budget looks like with a few assumptions changed can be a time-intensive process, one that may not seem worth the investment but could yield valuable business insights.

With a modern FP&A tool, however, sophisticated financial models can be created in weeks, and what-if scenarios can be run quickly to uncover the best financial plan for a set of business goals.Collaboration can also be a roadblock to getting the planning process streamlined. Reconciliation of multiple spreadsheets into a single budget is time-consuming and potentially rife with errors. The only other option is to pass around a single document and hope that nothing is overwritten while each collaborator waits for the one before them to finish their work.Modern FP&A solutions, like Planning Maestro, provide access to as many collaborators, simultaneously, as are needed. Access to financial information can be controlled through role-based views, preventing resources from having unfettered access to the entire budget and eliminating the need for individual spreadsheets for each department.The features needed for the finance team to get past antiquated and slow processes are exactly the benefits offered in a modern SaaS application built for intelligent financial planning and analysis. It’s not too late to move to a new process and accelerate your business outcomes.

See how you can build a driver-based budget model in days. Test multiple scenarios, generate accurate and automated forecasts, and enforce your chart of accounts.

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