Finance looks to business budgeting software for better BP&F

Many companies are finding that their financial processes can be streamlined through the use of business budgeting software. Here's a look at why, and how the cloud factors in.

Business budgeting software is a red-hot issue for finance departments.

Indeed, more and more companies are dropping Microsoft Excel and moving to budgeting, planning and forecasting (BP&F) software. In particular, many in finance are finding that the best way to plan and forecast is through cloud-based versions of BP&F software, a trend that started several years ago with smaller companies. Today, a greater number of large organizations are moving their budgeting software to the cloud on the promise of greater agility. Through a switch from on premises to cloud, companies can gain speed, ease of use and the ability to access massive amounts of data for analysis and modeling. Of the different types of financials a company could consider, planning, budgeting and analysis is often one of the first to move to the cloud, typically on the basis of quicker time to value, the array of products to choose from and their user friendliness.

As for moving core financials to the cloud -- many company executives are more reluctant to do that, which underscores that a move to the cloud is not without its issues. Big companies may have gaps in data, broken forecasting processes and other issues that require addressing before the benefits of the cloud can be fully unlocked. 

The hot-button factor is not just about cloud vs. on premises, however. Perhaps even more important than what type of budgeting software is the consideration of it in the first place. Ask a roomful of finance department employees "Is it time to dump Excel?" and you'll likely get some heated responses. Yet, knowing when it's time to stop passing around Excel spreadsheets and switch to budgeting, planning and forecasting software is key for any company looking to streamline business processes. How do you know if that time has come? An overt list of signs includes juggling too many budgets for different entities and having to manage a number of budgets that are growing too large and too complex for Excel.

Before making the jump to automation, get in touch with the basics of budgeting.

One note of caution: Before making the jump to automation, get in touch with the basics of budgeting. Don't rush into to buying budgeting automation software before taking a look at your company's product lines, growth plans, project budgets and the like, and be sure to create targets and plans for each. The process of budgeting, planning and forecasting is important to get right, but with step-by-step consideration of all the issues, the likelihood of doing so increases exponentially.

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