Your guide to budgeting software: what it is, when you need it, and how to use it
Did you know? 79% of professionals are unhappy with their current budgeting tool.
Budgeting is an important exercise for any organization, no matter the size. Your budget gives you a roadmap to guide financial planning, execution, and monitoring.
To optimize your budget, however, you need budgeting software to automate your processes, provide real-time financial data, and enable collaboration. But what exactly does budgeting software do, and how can you use it to your advantage?
Budgeting software is a financial management tool that can help you create, track, and manage your budget. Most budgeting and planning software is equipped to automate processes, provide real-time data on revenue and expenses, and enable collaboration.
Budgeting software can go by many names, including FP&A software, Corporate Performance Management software, and Financial Performance Management software. This software can also be web-based, cloud native, or on-premise.
Often, budgeting software has additional capabilities to support the Office of the CFO, including:
How do I know if I need budgeting software?
There are a couple questions you can ask yourself to determine if your organization would benefit from budgeting and planning software, including:
- Do we have bottlenecks in our budgeting and/or planning processes?
- Do we struggle to identify when budgeting outputs have been compromised because of incomplete or inaccurate data?
- Do we spend a lot of time manipulating spreadsheets to find the data insights we need?
- Are we unsure of the validity of our forecasts and scenario plans?
If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, it’s time to consider adopting budget software – so you can eliminate bottlenecks, reduce errors, streamline processes, and increase your confidence in your data.
What software tools can I use to budget?
Most budgeting software tools are equipped with a variety of functionality to streamline, expedite, and improve the accuracy of your budgets. In Financial Performance Management software, you can expect to use:
You can use workflows for any process that involves collecting, reviewing, and approving financial or detailed planning data.
Workflows can aid in gathering budget estimates from all departments or divisions for the coming year to expedite the submission/approval cycle.
You can automate repetitive and tedious tasks (e.g., data entry and basic calculations) so you can devote time to more important initiatives.
Conduct high-quality analysis by instantly moving from summary to detail.
Ad hoc analysis enables you to pivot to see things from a different angle – whether you want to drill up for a holistic view of your business or drill down to see the details behind your data, enabling you to analyze your budget on your terms.
Audit logs capture all data additions/changes in a central location. Audit logs show which users make changes and when and tracks how the data was updated.
One of the key advantages of budgeting software is its ability to act as an effective central database for all your financial information, especially in comparison to using spreadsheets. By storing all your crucial data in one location, you can save time and effort that can now be devoted to executing your strategic plans.
But that's not all - budgeting software takes efficiency to the next level with automatic data imports and exports. No more manual data entry or reconciling numbers from various sources. The software does the heavy lifting for you - allowing you to make informed decisions quickly and accurately. And with the ability to manage multiple versions of your budget, you can adapt to changing circumstances without missing a beat.
Collaboration is another area where budgeting software shines. By providing real-time access to your data, it promotes cross-functional collaboration within your organization. Teams can work together seamlessly, aligning their efforts towards company goals. This fosters a culture of transparency and accountability, driving improved outcomes for your business.
Create efficiencies with budget software
In summary, budgeting software is a powerful financial management tool that not only streamlines your budgeting process but also enhances collaboration within your organization. It acts as a central database for all your financial data, offering you real-time insights and helping you make informed decisions. It also alleviates the burden of manual data entry and reconciling numbers from different sources, giving you more time to focus on strategic planning.
If you're experiencing bottlenecks in your budgeting process, struggling with data accuracy, or spending too much time manipulating spreadsheets, it's time to consider adopting budget software. With features like workflows, automation, ad hoc analysis, audit logs, and reporting, it's designed to eliminate inefficiencies, reduce errors, and increase your confidence in your data.
Still unsure about budgeting software? Check out our blog on spreadsheets vs. budgeting software (or financial performance management software) to about how relying on Excel is holding you back.