Despite careful planning and forecasting, we know that using spreadsheets can inevitably cause budgeting and planning problems for larger organisations. As your business continues to grow, so will the extent of your spreadsheet errors. Here we reveal the 3 steps to reduce the time spent checking for spreadsheet errors in your budgeting, planning and forecasting.
Step 1: Collaborate with Other Business Teams
The fewer spreadsheets there are to juggle, the less chance of incorrect data duplication and confusion in the budgeting and forecasting process. Our customers find that increased collaboration begins to result in fewer exchanges of spreadsheets and more aligned inter-unit financial projections. This makes collation and consolidation of your data from your different business units much easier and faster.
From that foundation, you will produce more accurate plans and forecasts for your business that better align the goals you are all trying to achieve.
Step 2: Automate Your Financial Processes
While human error is inevitable, automating your planning and forecasting processes will allow you to streamline them and thus save that most precious of resources – time. An automated process, compared to the time spent checking for errors in distributed spreadsheets, will mean you have more time and resources to do what you as a Finance professional are best at – analysing what the business is telling you and asking (and then answering) those crucial “what-if?” questions.
With everyone on the same page at the same time, you’ll be able to be avoid common spreadsheet errors.
Step 3: Work from One FP&A Platform
In order to avoid cross-referencing on more than one spreadsheet, our customers work from one centralised platform. While spreadsheets have served you well for budgeting and planning in the past, eventually your business will outpace this approach. It may already have done so. In order to reduce the time spent checking and correcting spreadsheet errors, use a more robust, agile and flexible FP&A platform. This will reduce the number of financial errors you encounter.
These initial steps will get you started on the path to improving your budgeting, planning and forecasting processes. Of course, the best way to remove risk from your BP&F is to implement a solution that can initiate these steps as well as improve your forecasting certainty.