Business Budget Planning: 5 Signs You’ve Outgrown your Spreadsheets

When it comes to business budget planning, most organizations have a system in place. Often this system exists because it has worked in the past, and the old adage “if it ain’t broke” seems to carry a great deal of weight. However, if you are maintaining the status quo only because things seem to be working okay, thinking about how you can make it better might be more conducive.

Here are some of the most common signs that you’ve outgrown your current business budget planning system:

  1. Lack of automation. This is arguably the biggest indicator that your process needs reworking. When you have one or two spreadsheets, automation may not make sense, but when you have hundreds of versions being updated on a weekly/monthly basis, automation becomes crucial. Automation as far as merging data means fewer manual-input errors and real-time financial information based on the most up-to-date numbers.
  2. No security. This is another big problem. Think of the data being processed in those spreadsheets; is any of it sensitive company material? Probably. And who has access to it? All employees? IT personnel? Does your organization currently have a system in place to ensure that only those who need to see the numbers can do so? Creating an access hierarchy can quickly solve this problem – but your system needs to be able to support it.
  3. No back ups. This is just common sense: if you’re operating without a back up system in place, you’re really just asking for trouble. There are too many what ifs in this scenario, what ifs that can cause havoc.
  4. Cannot combine or consolidate. The ability to integrate with unlimited electronic data sources for access to up-to-the minute data is essential. If your spreadsheets exist in isolation from one another, the time necessary for consolidation is significantly higher, as are the resources required to do that consolidation.
  5. No version control. When you have no version control, you end up with errors and more trouble shooting than is necessary. One of the best ways to increase efficiency is by having more control over your system. This means using templates that are user-friendly but controlled (meaning no user-alteration), a system that merges using formulas rather than cutting and pasting (meaning fewer mistakes), and simplified templates created to keep things connected.

If any of these signs sound like a problem you currently have, it is time to consider moving up in the world.

So, how can you regain control and correct the problem? A quick Google search will show that anywhere from 60% to 80% of all organizations use Microsoft Excel as their main planning, budgeting and forecasting tool. So, it isn’t about ditching Excel at all – Excel is a great tool and popular for a very good reason – it is about optimizing Excel in the business budget planning process.

At True Sky, we make business budget planning easier and safer. Our corporate performance management software optimizes Excel, giving you the confidence to create and maintain company budgets without the risk and headaches. Find out more by contacting us today.

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