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No Nonsense Budgeting: Next Steps

This is the last of a series of blogs on improving the corporate budgeting process. In the last blog I looked at a cloud-based budgeting solution in action.  In this blog I end with some suggestions on the ‘next steps’ you could take in improving the budget process where you work. Throughout this series of blogs we suggested the following 10 ways in which the budget process can be improved: None of these changes are hard to do, and when used in conjunction with a modern cloud-based budgeting solution, can be accomplished by any accountant in just a few hours and at little cost. So what’s stopping organisations from transforming their budgeting process, which Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, described as the most ineffective practice in management? Part of the reason is to do with technology. Spreadsheet systems and complex, expensive budgeting applications prevent those controlling the process from making changes. Part of the reason is that accountants are often unaware of what can be accomplished, or are sceptical of the claims made by consultants. Whatever the reason, today’s volatile business environment makes it essential that organisations adopt a budget process that makes sense and that is able to adapt to change. Here are some things you should do right-away:
  • Define clearly the role of budgeting within the organisation. What is its purpose? Is it linked to the way the business operates?
  • Note down the issues with the current budget process.  How long does it take? How long do the plans last? Is it worth the effort?
  • Take a look at the areas of improvement described in these blogs.  How many of them apply to your current process? Score each one individually and assess what it would mean for the organisation if those areas were implemented within your organisation.
  • Discuss your findings with colleagues and those responsible for the budget process. Get a consensus that things should change and then set some priorities to enable them to happen.
  • Investigate the use of modern budgeting solutions. Where possible, ask potential vendors to demonstrate their solution to the needs identified in the last point. Get information on the cost of software, as well as the cost and effort of implementation, roll-out to users and ongoing support.
  • Finally, create a business case for change. This should outline the cost of doing nothing, the investment required for change, and the business benefits that would be realised. Also include a plan for implementation – your selected software vendor should be able to help you with this, based on their experience with other organisations.
That’s it. 10 ways in which you can improve the budget process and 6 ‘next steps’. If we can help you with any of these, do get in contact via the Contact Us page. If you would like a copy of all the blogs then request the free booklet ‘No-Nonsense Guide to Corporate Budgeting’ that’s guaranteed to help you get control and make best use of scarce company resources.