If you are still creating and managing budgets in Excel today, you are not alone. If you are having difficulty making Excel an efficient tool for accomplishing these tasks, you are not alone either.
Budgeting using spreadsheets is often less efficient and difficult to collaborate, and it is also prone to errors. Excel is a powerful personal productivity tool, but it lacks the capabilities to develop the complete and accurate budgets required by executive management, the board, or shareholders.
Here are five signs that your organization may be using too much Excel for budgeting or administrative tasks.
1) The budgeting process takes too long
Budgeting in Excel often requires several manual steps. It usually starts with downloading financial results from the accounting system, then you have to cut and paste the data in the desired format in multiple Excel files, accumulate that data, update formulas and links, build income and expense projections, update forecasts, create budget reports, which should always be checked for errors, and finally send these files by email.
Clearly, the budgeting process in Excel is extremely manual and time-consuming. Last-minute changes to Excel files are difficult to manage and it is easy to forget to update links or formulas. Boards of directors and CFOs depend on getting the numbers right, and mistakes reduce their confidence and can lead to wrong decisions.
2) It is difficult to consolidate the data
Budgeting often requires data consolidation from across the organization. The ability to access your data sources and get up-to-the-minute data is essential. This effort is compounded when data from disparate sources are brought together to create a more complete picture. If your spreadsheets exist in isolation from your data sources, the time required for consolidation is significantly longer.
3) There are too many file versions
Budget templates in Excel are prepared, shared, and collected manually, leading to version control issues. Multiple versions make it difficult to identify the latest changes to a document and put additional pressure on the budget team. Without version control, you will end up with bugs and more troubleshooting and auditing.
4) Information is accidentally shared with others.
Did you just send the Excel file with the salary information? Budgets contain confidential information, such as detailed expenses for different departments, as well as salaries. When using multiple Excel spreadsheets, it can be too easy to accidentally email the wrong file to the wrong people or authorize access to the wrong shared drivers, especially if you are tired of spending all night working with the latest and greatest budget.
5) Reporting is delayed
By the time you’ve downloaded the raw financial results from the accounting system each month, cut and pasted the data in Excel, accumulated the data, and then sent each spreadsheet to the appropriate group, you’ve most likely missed the date limit.
That also means that you made sure to check the entire process for errors and make sure the final reports related to what’s on the source systems. That makes it difficult for decision-makers to analyze expenses, plan ahead, and make proactive decisions for the financial health of the business.
NetSuite can help
Even one of these signs could be reason enough to turn away from Excel for your budgeting process and start considering a budgeting solution. But, the first question that may arise is whether planning and budgeting solutions are expensive and difficult to set up.
NetSuite Planning and Budgeting provides a powerful budgeting solution in a NetSuite implementation, yet easy to use and implement. With preconfigured data synchronization with NetSuite General Ledger, your financial data is automatically pulled from NetSuite to the budgeting tool, manual data entry is eliminated, you always have the latest data at your fingertips, and no need to worry about whom got what data.
Plus, you can easily include everyone in your organization who needs to be involved in the budgeting process. This solution provides the collaboration, control and visibility necessary to better manage the entire budgeting process using an end-to-end solution.
On the other hand, it provides both NetSuite app for iPhone and for Android phones, where the actions can be managed on the phone.
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