There’s no doubt you’ve likely heard of “The Cloud” by now. In fact, most programs and software, from email accounts to banking, run on it now. Cloud-based budgeting software makes it easy to access information anytime, anywhere with just an internet connection.
Over the years, more and more software has become cloud-based. And budgeting software is no different. For many CFOs and budgeting managers, a cloud-based system means improved reporting, quicker results, and even budget savings over the long run.
So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many businesses are moving off of programs like Excel and on to cloud-based business budgeting software. I want to share with you some of the many benefits to using a cloud-based budgeting system, so you can decide if it’s right for your business.
Anytime Access to Your Budgeting Software
Compared to the large and complex legacy systems of the past, being able to connect to virtually any information via the internet has been a welcome change for many businesses.
It means the budgeting system is no longer tied to a particular desktop in the office that’s only accessible during office hours.
A setup like this can be drag on efficiency as well, especially for small businesses who tend toward lean finance teams. If the CFO is out of the office at a conference, for example, they wouldn’t have access to budget or cash flow information without someone else accessing the system, compiling the data, and sending it over.
Now, things have changed. CFOs, budget managers, and analysts can access financial statements, budgets, and forecasting information, create reports, and run scenarios anytime, no matter where they are in the world.
One of the biggest drivers for businesses moving to cloud-based budgeting software is a reduction in operating costs. In a recent survey by KPMG on how the cloud is driving finance transformation, “84 percent of CFOs surveyed said that half their companies’ transactions will be delivered through SaaS in the next four or more years.”
Most cloud software today is offered on a SaaS (software as a service) basis, which means users pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee. This removes quite a bit of cost uncertainty from the budget right away.
Cloud services, therefore, have a predictable capital outlay each month or year, saving cash on hand. Because cloud-based software is often subscription based, it’s much easier to track the return on investment they provide to your business.
Reduced costs also translate to IT department savings as well. New hardware or upgrades aren’t required with cloud-based budgeting systems and services, thus removing potential unexpected costs from the operating budget.
Reduces IT Department Involvement
Another big benefit of moving to cloud-based budgeting software is it removes the need for dedicated IT infrastructure. Complex and expensive, in-house IT resources such as special servers, networks, or hardware are not needed.
Cloud-based software is completely managed by the host. They provide support for any potential issues with the software, operate a help desk, offer necessary upgrades or patches, and ensure compliance.
Cloud-based budgeting software also removes the pressure during budgeting season for the IT department to be on call for immediate fixes because of a time crunch. In addition, not needing dedicated resources also frees up the IT department to work on other tasks.
For companies looking to evaluate forecasting and accounting software before purchasing, cloud-based solutions make it easy to get live demos and trial periods without IT needing to install a temporary software package on a finance team member’s computer or set up a specialized environment just for the evaluation. An account for a SaaS application is easily created by the vendor, without IT needing to assign a resource to oversee the project.
We discovered how important using technology effectively is to companies in our own survey. We recently found that technology ranked as the number one priority to help the finance team operate more efficiently. As compared to the previous year, 10% more respondents now plan to implement a cloud-based accounting/budgeting solution in the next year.
Agility in Financial Planning
Traditionally, companies had little choice when it came to budgeting models. Preparing an annual budget was time and resource consuming enough. The planning process for annual budgeting could take months, and organizations, especially small to medium-sized businesses, couldn’t afford to commit more time to the process. It was also a time when the speed of business didn’t demand more agility in from a company’s financial planning.
Today’s business world is different. The Office of Finance is now an integral partner in a business’s strategic vision. Time and resources for a modern finance team must be directed away from manually managing balance sheets and excel spreadsheets, and forecasts that don’t change and adapt for 12-months at a time can hold a company back from potentially disruptive moves in their industry.
To answer the need for agility, many companies have moved to forecasting software that allows for the creating of rolling forecasts. Instead of dedicating significant time once a year and living with the approved budget, rolling forecasts allow companies to be nimble as budget managers make small adjustments more frequently. But for that to happen, business leaders need to be able to update their line items frequently. Access is important. That’s where cloud-based budgeting software shines.
The right cloud-based budgeting software offers intuitive interfaces and access from anywhere at any time, so budget managers aren’t required to be sitting at their desks in the office to make changes and updates.
Improved Reporting for Better Decision-Making
Over the years, technology has done quite a bit to allow businesses to be more agile and innovative. The same is true with cloud-based software.
With cloud-based budgeting software, your company can not only speed up the budgeting process but improve forecasts and subsequently improve financial performance. Detailed reports can be run against financial data anytime, and what-if scenarios played out quickly and easily. This leads to better decision-making as stakeholders have updated access to near real-time reports.
Modern budget management software also includes the ability to create clear and concise dashboards, making it easy for leaders to clearly understand a company’s financial position quickly. Cloud-based financial software can use additional computing power as needed, so leaders have instant access to dynamic reports, visual representations of performance against KPIs, and the ability to drill down into information to support data-driven decision-making.
In addition, cloud-based budgeting software can also be used to run year-end regulatory and tax filings, not just budgeting and forecasting projections. Plus, having a system that tracks each user, makes it much easier to perform audits as well, it removes the uncertainty of who was inputting what data.
The cloud has changed the way SMBs do business and given them access to software and resource previously only available to large enterprises. There are a number of reasons why moving to a cloud-based business budgeting software might be right for you, these are just a few of them.
Centage Corporation’s Planning Maestro is a cloud-native planning & analytics platform that delivers year-round financial intelligence. With Planning Maestro, Centage offers the sophisticated features needed by small and mid-market organizations to integrate budgeting, forecasting, and deep data analysis within one easy-to-use, scalable SaaS solution. For more information on how to modernize your office of finance with intelligent planning, view our product demonstration video, or call 800-366-5111.