Spreadsheets like Excel can be valuable to small businesses for tracking costs and organizing their finances. However, growing companies find them to be time-consuming and cumbersome once they pass a certain level of complexity.
The more your FP&A process relies on spreadsheets, the bigger the chance that human error (and formula errors) will throw the information off entirely, wasting the finance team’s time with manual busy work finding and fixing those mistakes.
Implementing ways to stay competitive and relevant is essential for long-term organizational growth. Automating the budget can be a major step in helping companies maintain and grow their business without getting bogged down by needless manual work. Here are 7 benefits of automating the budgeting process, and how to get started.
1. Greater reporting insights
Accurate, real-time information feeds informed decision-making. Spreadsheets eventually get bogged down by the amount of data a thriving company generates. FP&A software that enables automated budgets feature lets you easily wrangle large datasets into absorbable metrics that tell a story.
This type of transparency gives companies a strong foundational base. Data analysis guides decisions like expansion and resource allocation. Business leaders can use this information to build data-driven, actionable initiatives that keep the company in the black.
2. Decreased planning time with automated budgeting
The saying "time is money" has never been more true. Everything moves more rapidly now than it did ten years ago, and if your company isn't faster than before, you'll fall behind.
Automating budgeting cuts out hours of work for the finance team — if not days.
- Integrate several sources of information and make calculations in seconds
- Gain access to up-to-the-minute data instead of stale, outdated intel
- Quickly compare performance against the plan and find holes and ways to improve
Freeing up time spent on manual budgeting processes gives leaders more resources to spend on strategic planning and forecasting. Budgeting automation tools lead to greater operational efficiency.
3. Fewer errors
One of the biggest drawbacks of a manual, spreadsheet-based FP&A process — besides the time cost — is the possibility of human error. Entering the wrong number on the wrong line, or skipping over a cell, can cause big issues with data integrity and throw your spreadsheet out of whack. If the mistake isn't found promptly, the damage can grow worse over time.
Using an automated budgeting solution alleviates these issues and increases reporting accuracy. Setting automated tasks dramatically reduces erroneous input and calculations. The result? More predictive data to help the company make better decisions.
4. Enhanced productivity
Productivity is often the catalyst that makes a company thrive or falter. If you can decrease time spent on a business action while maintaining quality, it tightens up company performance. That goal is the concept behind adopting automated budgeting.
- Less time inputting information
- Less time spent running calculations and disseminating data
- Better information leads to more informed, clear-cut decision-making
- More time to spend on strategic actions that insulate the business from competitors and gain market share
Automated budgeting tools increase leadership's productivity, and also empower employees to more efficiently plan and track the budgets themselves.
5. Easier scalability with automated budgeting
As a company grows, many of its processes must change to keep pace. Automated budgets help with that objective. By implementing a strong foundation of technology that simplifies efficient processes and returns accurate results, a business won’t get bogged down in manual, time-consuming ways of doing things.
Add to that the powerful, real-time insights an automated solution offers, and companies are able to lessen the chances of making a wrong move at a critical time.
Companies that incorporate automation into their budgeting processes can skip the growing pains that accompany scaling. This keeps them on track with their overall strategies without any hiccups.
6. More proactive, agile decision-making
Spreadsheets are, for the most part, static. Automated budgets are dynamic. By using them for continuous budgeting and planning, a company can increase its agility and better take advantage of emerging opportunities.
Automated budgeting tools allow you to:
- Quickly build budget models that serve as the skeleton of your plan
- Test multiple scenarios to pre-determine positive (or negative) outcomes
- Generate accurate business forecasts
- Refine your budget based on market (and other) changes
With the combination of less time spent on manual budgeting tasks and more insight gleaned from company data, leaders are better armed with the ability to identify and jump on lucrative opportunities that grow their businesses.
7. A better employee experience with automated budgeting
The previous benefits have focused on the company’s big picture. Now let’s drill down into how an automated budgeting solution benefits employees.
A big way to keep employees engaged and motivated is to give them the proper tools they need to do their jobs well. Tedious, time-consuming tasks are nobody’s idea of fun. Add to that the pressure of perfection (practically a necessity when you have an intricate arrangement of data and formulas in a spreadsheet), and manual budgeting processes can frustrate even the most loyal and capable employee.
Automated budgeting tools give employees a way to get more done and deliver a higher standard of work. It also frees them up to work on other projects, keeping them active and engaged in their roles. Bear in mind, however, that companies should always properly train employees on new solutions to make the transition seamless.
Be more productive and responsive with formula-free, drag & drop FP&A software
We’ve looked at 7 of the many benefits of an automated budgeting process. As a business grows, finding ways to accomplish more in less time is vital to its continued success. An automated budgeting tool offers just that. By decreasing manual work, you can track, measure, and analyze the insights from your data to drive more informed decisions.
Take your budget process to a new level of speed, efficiency, and flexibility with Centage. Our budgeting software dramatically simplifies the process of building and updating a driver-based budget. Make budgeting an ongoing process to better inform critical business decisions without straining your finance team. Book a demo to see how.