This article will describe how companies with multiple business units process budgets and forecasts.
Scaling organizations face a multitude of challenges. Organizations that coordinate budgets and forecasts from multiple data sources experience even greater logistical obstacles. Reaching out for manually updated spreadsheets not only takes time but also provides too many opportunities for miscommunication. For example, what if your organization is multi-national and needs to process different currencies? Specifically for companies with multiple business units, consolidated data provides consistency, and we’re guessing, a little relief. This article will describe how organizations with this structure tackle these budgeting challenges. From saving time creating reports to reevaluating budget templates, the right structure streamlines budgeting and forecasting.
Gathering the Data
If we’re all using Excel, then all of our data will line up perfectly, right? Maybe in theory, but even with basic templates, individual units that work separately leave too much margin for error. Manually collecting the necessary data to create a budget in the first place too often becomes a burden. For example, if your organization requires consolidating Excel spreadsheets from multiple business units or those business units to manually budgeting on spreadsheets, accurately converting budget scenarios becomes complicated. Allowing for human error, manually assembling a budget risks incorrect distribution of data, causing friction within the organization. Having one single space for budgets, forecasts and data has numerous benefits, one being streamlined communication channels. With a central location for budgets, there is no confusion of where reports and data need to be sent. Overall, organizations with multiple business units need to be able to rely on data provided.
Staying on Track
Different business units have their own schedules, deadlines, and in the case of multi-national organizations, currencies. Aligning all of these varying elements can contribute to a months-long budget process. While automation is not an all-encompassing solution for every kind of budgeting issue, automating certain aspects of the process can significantly ease the burden. For example, automatically distributing reports by user or automating currency conversion according to the organization’s needs, automates two processes prone to human error. Additionally, eliminating the heavy lifting manual processing entails, allows individual business units to stay on track with their respective schedules. Overall, automation can even save time in the steps preceding processing your budget.
Using the Right Tools
As described above, consolidating data and automatically distributing reports to various users can make your processes more efficient. Similarly, the ability to edit reports without a specialized ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) developer would also save time. However, the challenge of attaining that functionality becomes a whole process in and of itself. While investing in budgeting and reporting technology becomes a debate for many companies, for growing companies that currently have a manual process in place for budgeting, it’s practically required. Even for companies working toward growth, having mechanisms like a robust integration between the ERP system and budgeting tool to handle a complex budgeting process saves time, money, and probably a few headaches. The right solution varies, but always starts with evaluating your organization’s current ERP system and types of reports used.
It’s difficult to discuss solutions for scaling companies without mentioning cloud software. Simply put, there’s a reason so many companies are switching from on-premise solutions. For growing companies with several moving parts, cloud software does not require data being stored in one place at one time. Conversely, cloud software enables collaboration from different locations, allowing for seamless communication and updates between business units. Implementing an on-premise solution sparks debate about investment, efficiency, the future of the organization, whereas cloud software only requires a subscription.
Communication serves as a bedrock for companies with multiple business units. Despite everyone’s intentions, good communication is hardly a given. Even setting aside the time and money automated budgeting save, scaling companies succeed by investing in tools that everyone in the organization can trust. Whether that tool includes a data warehouse that consolidates your data, or a built-in ERP integration that readily uploads data, the right tool makes staying on the same page easy. If you are struggling to find a tool that checks all of these boxes, or aren’t sure how to work with the tools you already have, Solver has a team of experienced professionals that can get your organization started in upgrading your reporting process.
Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.