5 Tips for Selecting Software for Planning, Budgeting, and Forecasting

Experts agree that planning, budgeting, and forecasting are essential parts of any enterprise’s success. But many decision-makers still fail to plan properly and thoroughly to put them on the right track. Those who do, enjoy a system that runs more smoothly, avoiding costly accounting errors and securing a more desirable position in the marketplace. Making the right software choices can even impact the ability for employees to work well as a team and their overall group efficiency.

Planning ahead and properly will help you to get the most out of the financial software available to your company. These five tips will help you choose the right software and take advantage of those software capabilities, which in turn will lead to dramatically improved forecasting, budgeting and financial planning.

1. Choose the right decision-makers.

When choosing financial software for your organization, executives are faced with a surprisingly vast menu of options. This is the time to delegate. That means selecting the right decision-makers who can investigate the available products and evaluate just how effectively they’ll work for your organization’s needs. The ideal financial software package will be able to align organizational goals across a variety of departments, so everyone will be able to remain engaged and use the same type of system that will create clean data that can easily be used for budgeting and forecasting.

2. Consider forecasting capabilities carefully.

Forecasting allows you to take information about your inventory, standard practices, and existing sales figures to create forecasts for each department. Taking advantage of financial software means using this feature to the fullest—and putting the information you gain to work for planning, marketing, and streamlining your organization’s processes. It’s important to understand exactly what business problems you’d like to solve, and then make sure the features of the software can create a solution to solve those problems. This is important not only for getting enough capabilities, but also for not purchasing more capabilities than you need. An ideal candidate for this part of the process is someone who has a decent understanding of both technology and business.

3. Choose a software solution that can easily execute different models and scenarios.

Part of effective forecasting involves consistently keeping all the variables up-to-date, which means inputting current inventory so you can have as up-to-date historical data as possible. It’s a bit extra work, but knowing that forecasts are as accurate as possible makes budgeting and planning for the future exponentially simpler and more effective.

Additionally, with the global marketplace constantly changing, being able to easily do What-if Scenarios to respond to marketplace changes is another way to stay ahead of the curve—and to make sure your planning is competitive.

4. Opt for customizable report features.

Flexible report generation is not optional. Although reports automatically generated by financial software are effective and thorough, often those reports would more effective if the reports were communicated to relevant workgroups and department managers in a more targeted way. Taking time to streamline reports to keep the most important, actionable information toward the top makes life easier for each team, giving managers a realistic look at the current numbers they have to deal with. Also, there are often situations where you may want to omit some information to some report consumers.

5. Make sure software solution integrates smoothly with other systems.

Collaboration is essential for any organization, and the right software makes it easy for department managers and decision-makers throughout your organization to stay on the same page. In order to take full advantage of those collaborative options, decision-makers must ensure that financial software synchronizes existing internal systems—or that, in replacing them, it doesn’t leave any gaps you’ll have to fill later.
The best business planning and budgeting is based on data-driven insights about real, up-to-date financial information about your business.

Conclusion

Choosing the right financial software and taking advantage of all its features is one of the best ways to compile, analyze, and systematize that data for your organization—without the elaborate manual filing methods of bygone days. Financial Performance Management software facilitates seamless and effortless collaboration between all departments which make effective planning and communication simpler than ever. Business leaders know that taking the time to get these systems right allows them to focus on other tasks—like marketing and responding quickly to market changes—rather than drowning in statistics or waiting weeks or months for various what-if scenarios, and that means a better place in the market and an upward-slanting bottom line.

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