Budgeting and planning have never been more important. Whenever crises arise, it’s important to be able to react swiftly. The coronavirus threat has put us in uncharted territory. The strong headwinds caused by this are trying for business. Many offices are closing, forcing employees to work remotely. Work stoppages, an unsteady supply chain, cash flow concerns, market declines, multiple and massive stimulus/rescue packages, daily and even hourly announcements on closures are all very real issues. The business environment has shifted to a new normal.
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A Smarter way for Non-Profit Organizations to Plan and Budget
Let’s face it -- spreadsheets are not automation. They can help with some calculation, but they can cause more headaches than they solve. To achieve organizational goals, you need financial budgeting and planning that’s effective, collaborative, and strategic, but many organizations don’t have the solution to work that way; instead, they’re trapped by time-consuming, error-prone, unsecured spreadsheets. The general rule is that if you have been using a spreadsheet for more than a year there is a 100% chance that there is an error in it somewhere. So why do so many organizations continue to use them? Maybe it’s time to look at real budgeting and planning tools that are easy-to-use, powerful, and built for smaller businesses and organizations.
Imagine a budgeting world where you have control; where everyone works on the same current version; and where all changes are tracked. Think about the time savings that could be realized with collaboration and secure access to detailed information by all managers and department heads involved in the planning process. Imagine a dashboard that gives you all the critical information you need at a glance.
These systems are available. They’re not that complicated, and they can easily pay for themselves within one budgeting cycle. Say goodbye to outdated and dangerous spreadsheet budgets and plans and move to a smarter way to budget. Freeing ourselves and our managers from the time-consuming tasks associated with spreadsheet budgets to focus on the more important strategic planning and management decisions may be the smartest decision we make.
Look at some of the options available and decide for yourself it they are a smarter way to budget:
Sage Non-Profit Financials/Budgets Click Here
Sage Intacct Budgeting and Planning Click Here
Budgeting is one of the most stressful times for all non-profit organizations and for-profit companies. This is usually annual process where management of each department must set their expenditures for the full year. Many times, the whole process of budgeting can take more than 3 months, waste a significant amount of management time and result in questionable budget amounts at best. Is Continuous budgeting the answer?
Continuous budgeting is the process of continually adding one more month to the end of a multi-period budget as each month goes by. This approach has the advantage of having management constantly reviewing the current month actuals amounts and then budgeting for the same month out one year. This incremental approach allows you to focus on only one month at a time instead of a whole year. The management is always looking forward instead of the rear-view mirror with historical financials. The downside of this approach is that it requires management to think about the future once a month, which may also be a good thing depending on how you look at things. If an organization uses participative budgeting to create its budgets on a continuous basis, then the total employee time used over the course of a year is substantial without the use of budgeting technology.
Continuous budgeting removes some of the rigidity and provides quicker reactions to changing conditions from the typical annual budgets. They may also reduce the amount of year end budget spending frenzy that is common with annual department budgeting (Spend it or loose it mentality). The new budgeting and planning solutions currently available can make the implementation of a continuous budgeting process much easier and reduce the annual stress of preparing the budget for the full year. By focusing on the organizations goals, one month at a time and using real-time current financial information, the accuracy should also greatly improve. Maybe its time for you and your organization to consider available solutions?
Check out our presentation on Thursday, January 15th on Budgeting and Planning. Click Here for more information and to register for this complimentary event.
Spending less than you bring in is often cited as the most important non-profit finance goal. It helps you stay out of debt, save for emergencies and stash money away for future projects. It is the primary control that enables you to achieve some level of financial long-term stability. Many governments seem to forget this very basic fact. They don’t think that financial dead ends like what has happened in Greece can happen to them. Non-profits don’t have the luxury of continuous deficit spending; therefore, budgeting is essential to meet the objective of the organization. Budgets are simply the roadmaps to achieve strategic non-profit goals.
But, how do we make this whole process easier? How do we reduce the 5 major budgeting issues?
- Reducing the decentralized data and department silos of information
- Controlling the preparation process, multiple revisions and related backup information
- Reducing the time to prepare the budgets (complete process can take more than 3 months to complete and approve)
- Improving the accuracy of the information with consistent documentation
- Improving the timeliness of the budget (Produce the budgets frequently enough to help decision making to help focus on strategic goals)
The answer to these questions is through using technology effectively in our organizations. Spreadsheets are not automation. Let’s get real and understand that they are only a tool. There are solutions available that can take the prior history from your accounting system and send it to the appropriate department manager. The information is in a format that they can use to easily create a new budget. This budget has all the related documentation available and linked to details for the budget information. The budget can then be rolled up into other levels, like divisions and organizations. With this setup, changes are easy to make, all being tracked and the approved budget can be quickly linked with your accounting system to provide timely reporting and improved decision making. These budgeting and planning systems can solve all the major budgeting issues and are very inexpensive to implement within organizations. (For more info Click Here)
So, let’s get real and understand that the current budget processes are a pain and result in significant amounts of wasted time and effort. Let’s use the existing technology, accounting and management processes to make our budgeting less stressful.