Have you ever tried to orchestrate the budgeting and forecasting software process for your company through Excel spreadsheets? If so, you’ll know that it’s time-consuming, error-prone and a stressful process. Manual budgeting and forecasting require copying and pasting of data, managing finicky Excel links and email overload.
So what do you do? Many people have found success by using a budgeting and forecasting software. But there are a few things you should know before you buy and implement a budgeting and forecasting software. Otherwise, you may end up with something that takes up even more time and creates more stress. This post will tell you what you need to know to ensure you select an appropriate budgeting and forecasting tool. The best tool will let you successfully streamline your budgeting and forecasting process with little time and investment.
The best method to ensure you end up with something that is easy to use and gets the job done is by looking for these things:
Cubes Are Foundation Of Budgeting and Forecasting Software:
Almost all budgeting and forecasting software use multidimensional data cubes as its foundational data structure. Cubes are not hard to understand. In fact, we have written other blogs about it. It is a worthy investment to learn how cubes work as you will be designing cubes for any software you pick.
Determine Whether You Want A Cloud Or On-Premise Model
Cloud vs On-Prem debate has been all the rage recently. Of course, there is no easy answer. In many organizations, cloud software is simply not allowed by the organization. If this is the case, the answer is easy. In other cases, the cloud is an attractive alternative.
- Cloud allows you to bypass your IT department and work directly with the vendor. The finance department can have complete control of the software.
- Cloud provides real-time software updates so you are always updated with new feature releases. The upgrade cycle in on-prem software is long and arduous.
- If you are using Cloud Accounting Software or Office 365 or Google Docs – many cloud budgeting software automatically integrates with them. New connectors or upload processes need not be built.
Excel Driven or an Excel replacement:
Any good budgeting and forecasting software should let you work within Excel. Many finance users have prior investments and expertise in Excel. Also, the existing templates may have been designed in Excel. Excel replacement software may tout many advantages but it gets simply too hard to manage for finance users.
Also, watch out for software vendors that claim that they have an Excel connector but give most of their presentations in their Excel replacement software. If they are spending too much time talking about the Excel replacement component, they simply have not invested enough into their Excel connectivity.
Luckily, with the advent of Excel apps, building a cloud budgeting and forecasting software on top of Excel has become technically possible. Some software vendors are making use of it and it might be worth it to understand more about these Excel apps.
Now that you know what to look for in a budgeting and forecasting software, you’re ready to start your purchasing journey without worrying that vendors will take you for a ride.