Streamline the Budget Process
Spreadsheets are still the number one tool of choice for collecting budgets and forecasts, as well as for reporting. There’s a good reason for this and it has everything to do with their simplicity, versatility and availability. However, despite these advantages, the spreadsheet does have some major issues when used as a budgeting system. For example:
- To collect submissions requires each department to have their version of the spreadsheet so they can see last year’s result or the latest forecast for comparison. This can be time consuming to prepare and difficult to manage if there are many departments.
- Controlling users – making sure they have actually received the spreadsheet and they are using the right version. Also ensuring that data is entered as required, that no rows or columns have been adding/ deleted, that they send it back to the right address at the right time, and that they don’t change any figures from those that were submitted.
- Consolidating data means collating the results from many sheets onto one master sheet, and performing currency conversions if required.
- Supporting multiple passes. Most budgets require a number of passes, which means sending out more spreadsheets and ensuring those versions are used and not the last one they sent in.
- Reporting results. Assuming the above worked, the chances are that the reports required will be in a different format from what was collected. For example, showing which departments figures have increased the most year-on-year, or against targets that were set.
Financial Driver: Saving time, Improving integrity
Collecting budgets or forecasts using Financial Driver is very easy:
- Simple to set up. In just a few short hours you can define the data you want to collect, and who you want to collect it from. Once set up, the system can be used to manage budgets, forecasts and the reporting of actual data, without any extra maintenance effort.
- Simple to trigger. At any time, you can request a budget (or forecast) submission from users. You simple select the accounts required (which are conveniently organised into schedules) and the departments – the automated workflow capabilities then notify everyone involved and track, control and monitor submissions, reminding users as deadlines approach.
- Easy to access. Financial Driver is a cloud-based system (just like Googlemail) that can be accessed by any Internet enabled device, from anywhere and at any time. After identifying themselves to the security system, Financial Driver provides a personalised screen to each user which shows the data they are required to submit, as well as the latest results for comparison.
- Easy to control. Financial Driver provides capabilities to speed up the data creation process. Once users are satisfied, the data entered can be flagged as being complete and is immediately available for consolidation and review. There is no data to transmit and no data to load.
- Assures Integrity of results. Financial Driver automates the approval process and provides administrators with an intuitive workflow that shows the status of requested submissions. Financial Driver also ensures that submitted data can no longer be changed by users, unless authorised.
- Powerful Version control. At any time, administrators can request new submissions, but will retain older versions for comparison purposes. This enables organisations to run and hold multiple scenarios but without the need to hold multiple models or spreadsheets.
- Flexible reporting. Finally, Financial Driver makes all the data available for users to report in any format and in any layout, irrespective of how it was collected. It then goes on to track actual results and collect rolling forecasts, all of which can then be used to support budget adjustments throughout the year.