Planning and Budgeting: Finance’s Longtime Riddle

Posted by Tom Kelly, Senior Director of Product Marketing

It’s been over two decades since former General Electric boss Jack Welch described companywide budgeting to Fortune magazine as “the bane of corporate America.”

Yet, while planning and budgeting are vital to smart, fact-based business decision-making, many finance teams are still mired in time-consuming, inefficient processes, using basic tools that deliver questionable results. Indeed, it’s not just corporate America still confronting the challenges of planning and budgeting. For midmarket organizations experiencing or aiming for high growth, inadequate planning and budgeting processes can hinder performance in a competitive business environment where volatility is the norm. After all, forecasts and targets set months in advance do not take into account new challenges or fresh opportunities that arise.

At many organizations, planning and budgeting takes too long and devours too many resources. Finance teams spend too much time on administrative tasks relating to these processes—collecting, consolidating and reconciling data, for example—and are left with little time for analysis, strategy development and target setting. In an era when finance teams are increasingly seeking to take a greater strategic role in the business, these administrative tasks can be doubly frustrating.

Meanwhile, for many, accuracy can be patchy and results unreliable. The problem doesn’t necessarily lie in the act of planning and budgeting. The real problem is that traditional approaches to planning and budgeting are no longer suited to the realities of today’s business world.

Hopefully your finance team has not spent years earning accounting, finance and advanced degrees and developing their strategic analytical skills to spend most of their professional lives collecting and consolidating spreadsheets. Hopefully, you want more from your finance team. Hopefully you have the good sense to provide them with tools to lift them out of this drudgery and provide impactful information that the business can leverage to improve performance.

Fortunately, there is more than just hope, but also something tangible that can set your finance department free from the budgetary grind.

NetSuite PBCS is a modern planning and budgeting tool that offers a range of features that replace intuition with credible, accurate forecasts. By implementing NetSuite PBCS, a company can quickly start to experience the benefits of best-practice approaches, which would be all but impossible to replicate using spreadsheets or point solutions. It benefits the Chief Financial Officer, to have a proactive versus reactive impact on business performance. It benefits members of the finance team, who spend less time on monotonous administrative tasks relating to planning and budgeting, and more on understanding and analyzing business trends and drivers of performance. And it benefits the business as a whole, which becomes better able to meet demand, serve its customers and create new, compelling products and services—even in uncertain times—while still preserving hard-won operating efficiencies.

As key stakeholders in enterprise performance management at a company, it is imperative that members of the finance department have access to a planning and budgeting solution that enables them to make a real contribution to strategic discussions. Should the business spend more money on marketing a new product? Should it assign additional employees to a new project? Should it roll out a service in a new geography? And what might be the wider implications of each of these examples?

In short, a finance team that has streamlined its planning and budgeting processes with NetSuite PBCS is a finance team with more time to spend on providing the strategic analysis and insight that the business needs to maintain high growth and achieve new levels of success.

To learn more about the impact of planning and budgeting, download the ebook High Impact Planning and Budgeting for All Types of Growth.

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