Tell us if this sounds familiar: you set a goal of finalizing your budget within eight weeks. But seven of those eight weeks are spent collecting data and inputting numbers into a spreadsheet, tracking changes from other staff, merging documents, catching small errors, and generally giving you one large, administrative headache.
By the time it is all said and done, you only have one week left to actually analyze your budget. Not exactly ideal.
Budget analysis is a crucial part of the process that many businesses want to do, but find they run out of time due to tedious administrative tasks. Common items you may want to analyze are:
- Expense trends. Are you spending money in the right places?
- The income statements. Comparing the numbers from last month, quarter, year, etc. to the current timeframe.
- The why behind the numbers. For example, if shipping costs have suddenly jumped up, what is the reason? Is it something internal that could be tightened up, or is it an external force (like your shipping company changing rates) that you could find another solution for?
- Comparing actuals to budgets.
- Reviewing your dashboards. What are the most significant numbers and trends? What patterns do you see?
- Making industry comparisons. If you have figures from the competition or an industry trade association, how does your data compare with theirs?
All of this analysis, plus any more that your business needs, takes time. And depending on your software, it can also take administrative resources. Analyzing trends can be difficult to do when you are looking at a whole spreadsheet worth of raw, unfiltered data.
That is why the software you use for budgeting is key. There are many solutions today that automate part of the process for you and ease the administrative burden. We can only speak to our own, True Sky. True Sky makes it easy for everyone to collaborate on a budget and workflow, and features dashboards that allow you to view the most important, in-demand data at a glance. It is cash flow forecasting made easy.
Whatever solution you choose, know that if you are spending more time administering the budget rather than analyzing it, there is a better way.
How much time does your organization spend gathering on the budget?