This article will focus on the Top Cloud-Based Budgeting Tools for Banks.

departmentalforecast When renting a furnished apartment makes sense – Many of us have had the joy of seeing our loved ones graduate college, get a job, and find an apartment.  We are more than happy to finally unload grandmother’s furniture that has been stored in our attic for the last fifteen years on our children.  It usually takes a long weekend of trips loading all the stuff into the back of a pickup truck or two to move everything out.

Problem is, things have changed over the last few years.  Grandma and grandpa are living longer these days and are still using the furniture.  In many cases, our children are moving clear across the country for that perfect job.  As much as we love our children, we are not willing to drive long distance several times to drop off furniture.

That is when renting a furnished apartment makes sense.  Let’s face it, your children do not need that much furniture for their first apartment.  A couch, bed, a few chairs, and a table will suffice.  You can get all that added to the monthly apartment rent for just a few dollars more each month.  Your children already have enough debts for college loans and do not need to add to the debt load by buying a bunch of new furniture.

The many benefits of Cloud-Based solutions – Setting up a new budgeting solution can be just like moving into a new place.  You have all the associated costs of finding the new solution in terms of time and energy.  You have to review all the costs and benefits of the new way of doing things.  And once you have made your decision, you have to move into the new solution.

The big issue is how do you pay for it?  Getting a new budgeting solution is not as simple as downloading a couple of spreadsheets, entering data, and reporting on the results.  There are many pieces to the total cost of ownership (TCO) such as software, hardware, implementation, training, and support costs that need to be considered.

If your IT department is typical, they are being asked to limit their expense budget while delivering more services every year.  Many of them simply cannot afford to invest in a new budgeting solution so the accounting team is stuck in Excel hell for another year.  Like renting a furnished apartment, renting a top Cloud-Based budgeting tool for banks will make sense.

What are the benefits of going Cloud – In addition to freeing up a lot of upfront costs for a monthly rental fee for Software as a Service (SaaS), (a leader in Cloud-Based solutions) states that there are several other benefits of Cloud.

  • Flexibility – When renting, you can start out with just a module or two such as budgeting for non-interest expenses.  When you are ready to go after other modules, you can quickly scale up your operations without having to buy more servers or software.
  • Disaster recovery – Has your hard drive ever crashed and you lost all that work from the last six months, two years, or even five years?  Very painful!  With Cloud, all of your data is backed up on a regular basis.
  • Automatic software updates – Has this happened to you before?  Your system stopped working.  After several calls, you find out that someone updated the server housing all the data and reports and forgot to update everybody’s PC at the same time.  Now you have to upgrade your machine and hope everything starts working again.  With Cloud, the host provider takes care of all the updates.
  • Capital expenditure free – As we mentioned before, you do not have to tie up a lot of capital up front since you are renting the system.
  • Increased collaboration – With Cloud, you do not have to e-mail spreadsheets back and forth to everybody.  Everything is available to the community at large since all the data is in one place.  As soon as you make a change or two to your forecast, accounting and management have immediate access to the results and can react accordingly.
  • Work from anywhere – No longer do you need to work on your clumsy laptop or PC with VPN access to the company’s network.  With Cloud, all you need is a device with access to the internet.  If you want to enter your budget on your iPad, knock yourself out.
  • Document control – This is the flipside to increased collaboration.  All the documents are in a centralized place.  They are not stuck on “Johnny’s hard drive” and inaccessible because “Johnny decided to go Jamaica with his laptop for a week.”
  • Security – As mentioned above, your bank’s IT budget is being squeezed more and more each day and they cannot afford to spend the vast amount of resources to keep your data safe.  With a Cloud provider, they are spending far more on data security than what any individual bank can possibly spend.  They are able to keep up with the latest threats and keep the protection up to date.
  • Competitiveness – With new solutions and features coming online every day, there is no way a bank can keep current to stay competitive.  By renting solutions, it is up to the solution provider to keep current.  If something better comes along, you can always renew your application with a different vendor.  Just like with software updates, the provider will take care of all the enhancements and upgrades for you.
  • Environmentally friendly – Just like carpooling allows multiple people to use just one vehicle rather than many, going Cloud allows many companies to use one data facility rather than every company propping up a data facility of their own.

So, if Cloud-Based budgeting is the way to go, who can help? – First off, budgeting for banks has a list of requirements that need to be met.  The budget solution will need to be able to budget for the following items:

  • Loans, deposits, interest income, and interest expense
  • Personnel expense and head count
  • Capital expenditures and depreciation
  • Non-interest income and expense
  • Driver-based planning

While articles could be written on each of these items, there are a few solutions that can accommodate these requirements on Cloud.  The key is to find a tool that comes with a data warehouse and a good report writer that allows for easy publishing of the finished budget and collaboration in a web portal on the Cloud.  Below are a few tools that meet that criteria.

The Adaptive Suite by Adaptive Insights – This tool is Cloud-based only.  You can build ad hoc reports, collaborate with other users, create dashboards, drill-down, and make financial reports.  Many banks are looking for tools that can be installed on-premise, however, and migrate to Cloud at a later date.

Host Analytics, along with being Cloud-based only, you can build ad hoc reports, collaborate with other users, create dashboards, drill-down, and make financial reports.  It runs on an OLAP cube which makes it hard for other visualization tools to access.

BI360 by Solver, Inc. –  BI360 is offered both on-premise and Cloud.  If you start with on-premise, you can always migrate to their Cloud version later on.  All the necessary budgeting, forecasting, ad hoc, collaboration, dashboard, drill-down, and financial reporting features are included.  BI360 uses SQL Server for its database engine.  This is a nice feature in that it will allow other visualization tools access.  BI360 also includes a number of bank templates, such as: Loan and Deposit Amortization and Production, Personnel Expense, Capital Expenditures, Non-interest Income and Expense, as well as Expense by Vendor.

Wherever you are on your budgeting journey, BI360 by Solver is enabling world-class decisions for banks.  Solver, Inc. is happy to answer any questions and review BI360’s easy-to-use, Excel- and web-based budgeting and reporting solution for banking users.  Whatever you choose for your next budgeting solution, the good news is that you don’t need to purchase everything up front.  Save on initial capital costs and get a top Cloud-based budgeting tool for banks today.