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What Motivates Organizations to Abandon Excel Budgeting?

Motivates Organizations - XLerant

Budgeting, planning and forecasting are “mission critical” applications in most organizations today. A poor budgeting process is the number one reason why organizations miss their numbers. Implementing a process that appeals both to the financial organization, officially responsible for the budget, and the department heads, who own the results is hugely difficult. Poor capabilities from ERP systems have caused most organizations to rely heavily on Microsoft Excel for budgeting, planning and forecasting. But Excel is a simplistic two-dimensional spreadsheet versus a product with built in “budget intelligence”, is not a product development environment, is not a database and therefore requires much manual data management and is not flexible enough to deal with the budget preparation needs of the actual users.

So, organizations, and the financial professionals in them, are now seeking solutions to this Excel dilemma. They want a sophisticated application that appeals to the department heads and allows them to spend their time analyzing the numbers, not programming or managing data or checking for errors or manually keying data into shadow spreadsheets.

A survey was recently conducted on these organizations and seven fundamental reasons surfaced as to why organizations made this critical switch to a best-of-breed solution. These issues were:

The solution to this issue is an application specifically focused on the budgeting, forecasting and reporting process. Key criteria in selection of a system are:

Of these capabilities the key recommendation of people in organizations who licensed a new budget process was to focus on the needs of 95% of the users of budgeting…the department heads. A recent WSJ article on business software supported this idea. In it, the author writes:

“At a time when people are accustomed to using well-designed applications from companies such as Google Inc. and Apple Inc. in their personal lives, they have little patience for workplace applications that leave them confused. Functionality is no longer the definition of success. Usability is key.”

And here’s what one client recently said about the usability of XLerant’s BudgetPak solution:

“Creating spreadsheet budgets is not the best use of our finance team’s time, but until we found BudgetPak, it was necessary. Our team was able to master the budget set-up tools in BudgetPak with very little training and with the XLerant product in place, we can now spend time focusing on higher value tasks. What we love about XLerant is it gives our managers the tools to transform their department-specific knowledge into a budget they can understand and own.”

Read more of what clients have to say about BudgetPak

When it comes to technology…Keep It Simple Stupid. This is especially true if you need to get the buy-in from non-financial people in the process.

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