A recent insightsoftware survey found that 95% of organizations generate either all or mostly static reports to send financial information to leadership. If this is you, it may be comforting to know you’re not alone. But less comforting is the knowledge that planning demands are only going to increase with the market volatility expected in coming years.
If your organization is relatively small, then all of this might be somewhat manageable. But if you work at a larger (or rapidly growing) organization, a purely spreadsheet-based approach to planning and budgeting can quickly be strained beyond the breaking point.
You know that a modern planning tool could automate these processes and offer an opportunity to increase your value to leadership. But budgets are tight at the moment and convincing your decision-makers to invest in a new tool can be a daunting challenge.
Because executive leadership needs greater real-time visibility of what’s happening in the organization, it’s key to think as your leaders do and work back from there to construct a persuasive argument for investment. In order, the three most common concerns for leaders when considering a new tool are:
Using these three concepts to frame your argument will dramatically increase your chances of success. Read on as we arm you with all the ammo you need to get your new planning tool across the line.
Financial forecasting is a highly collaborative process involving data aggregation from across your organization. Manual planning processes are breeding grounds for data downtime. “Data downtime” represents the unproductive time spent simply waiting for data to be corrected or for missing data to be supplied and resubmitted. According to a recent survey by FSN, a whopping 75% of organizations cannot get past a month-end without a material accounting error. Worse, the same survey found that 44% of finance professionals say that they regularly experience downtime of a day or more every month.
But what is the monetary impact of this data downtime?
If one FTE (Full Time Equivalent) employee in the finance function, with an annual salary of $100,000, experiences 12 days of data downtime per year (assuming a 250-day working year), that amounts to almost 5% of their salary or $5,000. For the 44% that experience 2 – 5 days’ data downtime each month, the costs can range from approximately $10,000 to $25,000 per annum for each affected employee. In a mid-sized global organization with more than 100 employees across the finance function, each experiencing a single day’s downtime per month, the annual costs start to look formidable — stacking up to between $1,000,000 and $2,500,000.
The costs may be less daunting if you’re at a smaller organization, but the math still adds up. Calculate the potential time savings of a modern, intuitive planning tool, both for yourself and other stakeholders. Then multiply the hours/days you’d save by an estimated average yearly salary and you’ve got your number.
Using manual spreadsheets for financial planning poses many security risks that should catch the attention of your leadership. One concern is data leakage and unauthorized access, as spreadsheets can be easily shared, making it hard to control access and potentially leading to data breaches. Version control becomes problematic during collaboration, leading to confusion and errors in financial calculations.
Access controls are often lacking, making it challenging to manage who can access sensitive data. Data integrity suffers due to manual data entry errors, affecting financial accuracy. Audit trails are absent, making it difficult to track changes and investigate discrepancies.
Modern financial planning tools significantly enhance data security by providing advanced access controls, encryption, authentication, audit trails, and collaboration features. These tools are designed to address the security vulnerabilities inherent in manual spreadsheet-based processes, mitigating risks such as unauthorized access, data leakage, version control issues, and lack of accountability. Transitioning to a modern financial planning tool can thus bolster an organization’s data security posture and improve the overall integrity of its financial planning processes.
Time to Value
If the money savings alone weren’t enough to convince your leaders to invest in a modern planning solution, it’s likely because they’re concerned about the productivity lag associated with implementing and learning a new tool. They are comfortable in spreadsheets and know that the rest of the organization is, too. But what if you could get the advanced planning functionality you need within an Excel setting?
Purpose-built planning and forecasting tools can offer the simplicity and familiarity of Excel while incorporating the robust collaboration capabilities necessary to collect and process input from stakeholders across the organization. By doing away with a fragmented approach that relies extensively upon manual processes, finance leaders can increase the frequency of planning cycles while reducing the overall time and effort required to perform planning and forecasting activities.
Pave the Way to Long-Term Resilience with Planning Flexibility
If your organization is looking to modernize its approach to financial planning and budgeting, insightsoftware can help. As a global leader in budgeting, planning, and financial reporting solutions, insightsoftware has extensive experience in solving complex challenges for businesses around the globe. Thousands of companies have turned to insightsoftware to help with planning, budgeting, and analytics.
Bizview is insightsoftware’s fast, scalable cloud planning software in a browser-based solution. Bizview not only addresses your organization’s specific needs at this specific moment, but it scales to continue meeting your needs as your business grows. You can easily add more users, additional entities, and new planning areas, all without special technical skills.
Companies that use Bizview can increase planning cadences, facilitate collaboration, and simplify processes to drive smarter decisions from more accurate data. Easy configuration of planning forms, reports and dashboards, and automated workflow tools make it easy to tailor planning to your needs. Bizview’s familiar spreadsheet-like interface offers anytime, anywhere data access on any device, without having to manage multiple spreadsheets and versions. Out-of-the-box content and connectors for all leading ERP systems allow for rapid implementation and ensure quick time to value.
If your growing business is struggling with the chaos that inevitably arises from manual budgeting and forecasting processes, insightsoftware can help you find the flexible planning solution that addresses your needs, today and in the future. To learn more, download our free guide, From Manual to Modern Planning Processes: Making the Business Case.