Last week we dove into the advantages of collaboration when budgeting, and it got us thinking: if you’re going to share the love and spread the budgeting cheer by getting your managers involved in the budgeting process, you want to make it as easy as possible, right? The clearer the directions (and yes, that means both spoken directions and the directions delivered in spreadsheets), the more likely you will be to receive a workable, accurate budget when you ask for it.
This is why accountants shouldn’t be in control of the forms/layouts/designs for the budgeting process.
Accountants think in terms of accounting. And that’s great, when it comes to accounting. However, if you’re sending those spreadsheets out across the organization, chances are pretty good that most of the people viewing them are not accountants.
Think of your sales team for example. If an accountant thinks in terms of accounting, your sales team thinks differently. When inputting data regarding a conference, your accountant may be thinking “what GL account does this fit into?” and the number of trips/number of client visits. However, from the point of view of a salesperson, it is more activity based – airline ticket, accommodations, meals, etc.
If you want the budget to be more realistic and more accurate, stop thinking like an accountant and start thinking like the person inputting the data.
Not only will this increase accuracy, it will also speed up the process. After all, it will take far longer for someone to fill out a budget form if it doesn’t make sense to them. If it is in a format they understand and can easily work with, you will get the numbers quicker.
Yes, we understand that most of the time these forms are spreadsheets. And sometimes those spreadsheets are formatted in a way that makes it easiest for everyone (and therefore no one) to understand. If you are not looking to change the format, what about just changing the information available to each user?
For example, if a sales team member has to wade through line after line of data that doesn’t actually apply to them, why not remove it (or hide it) from the form they are being asked to fill out? That way, you get the information you need from them without having to worry about them taking weeks to navigate confusing accounting information. It also helps boost security as it creates a hierarchy of access.
With True Sky, we streamline the budgeting process. Our Excel-based corporate performance management system uses the familiar interface of Excel and adds in functionality you can depend on. For more info please call 1 855 878 3759 today or visit www.truesky.com.