The stress of budgeting and forecasting cycles is always felt greatly by finance professionals, whose workload seems far greater than their time allowance. This is largely thanks to outdated methods that centre on manual input and mundane repetitions, as well as encompass a great deal of unimportant tasks.
Harvard Business Review recently published a report regarding knowledge workers. This report indicated that knowledge workers spend an average of 41 percent of their usable time on optional activities that could be delegated or creatively outsourced.
Factors Eroding Knowledge Workers’ Time:
- Data Collection and Spreadsheet Creation
Template creation and spreadsheet consolidation mean that finance professionals spend more time dealing with data collection and less time concerned with analysis. With analysis yielding important insights regarding performance improvement, this should be a central point of focus instead of an afterthought.
- Managing Multiple Scenarios through Manual Spreadsheets
Staging multiple scenarios is the key to effective planning. However, each plan must have multiple versions which stem from multiple cost centres – the management of which can become overwhelming and inaccurate when carried out via manual methods.
- Development of Plan Outlines for Presentation
When developing budgeting and forecasting cycles to present to management, the finance team needs to be able to define items pertaining to intended spend on the budget line. Broad terminology creates interpretation anomalies which can hamper the efficiency of the process.
- Analysis of Actual Spend versus the Projected Plan
In order to create and manage effective plans, finance teams should ideally measure general ledger actual spend against the forecast plan and check for discrepancies. However, with time rarely allowing for this essential process, there is often a disconnect between actual performance and business expectations.
- Zero Transparency on Updates
Intra-office emails, voicemails, and messages create broken chains of communication which can leave people central to projects out of important decisions. Attempting to piece together scattered communication chains not only saps time, it can prove impossible.
How Finance Professionals can Streamline Budgeting and Forecasting Cycles
The wastage of time and the threat of human errors can be eliminated through the implementation of automated processes that compile and consolidate data, manage scenarios, create detailed decision documentation, report on variances, and provide transparent project communication that lends itself to synergy.
Along with our wealth of expertise and industry experience, Cortell’s consultants deploy a specialist suite of software designed to increase business performance through the automation of the aforementioned processes. Through our business performance solutions our clients’ finance teams are able to minimise time wastage through streamlined management processes with the capability for sustained forecasting.