SMB Budgeting Application Requirements A smart SMB owner or CFO understands that it’s important to plan for the future in order to be successful and remain relevant in today’s competitive marketplace. Growth requires a greater frequency of budget revisions and forecasts. The process is no longer about simply monitoring a budget that is set on a yearly basis. It’s about updating the budget to take numerous changing factors, both internal and external, into account. In order to do so, they need a budgeting and planning solution that is more effective and efficient than spreadsheets. The first important requirement of a high quality budgeting and planning solution is that it should be easy-to-use. SMB CFOs and managers have enough on their plate and time is valuable. They should not be spending crucial minutes trying to figure out the platform. The program should be intuitive and easy to implement and maintain. Once the rules and parameters have been set by the finance staff, the software should take the data entered by line managers and do the rest. It should create budgets, forecasts, financial statements, and custom reports quickly and efficiently. The right SMB budgeting and planning solution should utilize a centralized database. It should tie every user’s data into the same database. This closes the gap that has long existed between departments when using spreadsheets. The solution should allow everyone to see the same financial data and provide comprehensive information from every corner of the business that is updated in real time, eliminating confusion and the lengthy manual data collection and consolidation process. It provides easy and comprehensive reporting options that don’t require time consuming programming and are accessible with just a few clicks of a mouse. Many SMB’s have top-to-bottom collaboration between operations and finance. A solution that allows for importing actual results bridges the gap between strategic and operational plans by providing continuous comparisons. Every department sees the same numbers, eliminating the “fight” over who has the correct numbers. The best budgeting and planning solution reveals real numbers, not just averages, which helps managers answer important questions about the business and make crucial business decisions that are proactive rather than reactive. The right numbers will be there when they are needed, enabling the SMB to move more quickly. The best budgeting and planning solution does not require costly IT resources. It should be easily implemented by the finance team so that they can create financial models, make changes, create financial statements, and run management reports as needed. It’s also important that a budgeting and planning solution can adapt. SMBs grow and shrink over time. The solution should keep pace with the company in both size and cost.
About the Author: John Orlando is the Executive Vice President and CFO of Centage Corporation, which provides powerful, yet easy-to use Business Performance Management solutions and cash flow planning, as an alternative to error-prone, inflexible spreadsheets, that enable organizations to dramatically improve their budgeting, forecasting, consolidation and financial reporting capabilities. Budget Maestro and Planning Maestro solutions deliver superior ROI through a combination of best price, easiest implementation and use, and a fiscally sound methodology that enables confident decision-making. For more info, call (508) 948-0088.
Published on May 24, 2011
Published on May 24, 2011
A smart SMB owner or CFO understands that it’s important to plan for the future in order to be successful and remain relevant in today’s com...