New Year’s is the perfect time to reflect on 2015 and think about what you’d like to see happen in 2016. What activities and processes at your company take up the most time? Are they in line with the value you’re getting from them? If not, it’s time to take a look and see how you can maximize your ROI.
We’ll always have the ‘next thing’ in the hopper. Year-end close. Readying the annual report and footnotes for your board and investors. There’s the 1099’s and W-2’s to prepare. Are you going to have trouble with TIN matching? The needs of the auditors usually follow that.
Despite what’s in front of me, I like to slow myself down a bit and get pen and paper out to reflect. Where did I invest my time last year? How fruitful was it? I take some time to evaluate what worked and what didn’t. You’ll likely benefit from doing the same.
Where are your bottlenecks? Are your meetings productive? Are your email filters doing their job of highlighting your priorities? Do your reconciliations take weeks instead of days to complete? Some certainly warrant it, others may not. Are you closing your months as quickly as you’d like? Maybe not if you don’t have enough time to take corrective action when expenses shift out of line.
I go deep next. I isolate a particular process and dig. Let’s say it’s your business budgeting process. Explore all the nooks and crannies of it. The resources involved. The time, the people, the departments most affected. What’s the end result you want?
If you’re using Excel for your business budgeting, do a high level analysis of the scope of the work. Is data entry taking a significant portion of time? Is parsing out the spreadsheets and getting them back from your department heads a chore that you’d love to do without? How complicated is the process of integrating the various spreadsheets back together?
While these are the mechanics, they can make you stumble and lose efficiency. How about the actual job of working out the numbers. Is information flowing between your departments smoothly? If Sales projects an increase in the spring following the Consumer Electronics Show, is it being reflected in the inventory volume and production hours needed? Do you have to validate that manually? How many iterations are required if the scenario changes?
This detailed evaluation is a necessary evil but now it’s time to dream a little. Forget about the industry standard and being up to par with it. What’s the best outcome you could shoot for? You want to remove redundancies in the work. Eliminate version control issues. You’d love dynamic income statements, balance sheets and cash-flow statements that update as the drivers are adjusted.
These are your criteria to use to find a solution. Visit comparison sites, get the assistance of a business software specialist, but most importantly, talk with companies that have products that meet your needs. Try them out.
Resolutions don’t need to be something that are forgotten about in a week or two, or regretted at the end of the year when you realize that you didn’t implement the changes you’d hoped for.
Take the time now to open your calendar and schedule a few short blocks of time over the next few months to take the actions needed to make your business budgeting resolutions a reality.
Businesses of every description rely on the Budget Maestro™ family of software solutions by Centage Corporation to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their business budgeting and planning, financial forecasting, financial consolidation and reporting processes. For more information, take a tour of Budget Maestro, contact Centage, or call 800-366-5111 now.