5 Factors You Need to Consider before Buying Budgeting and Planning Software
All modern and adaptive Financial Controllers and Finance Managers understand the importance of investing in a sophisticated tool. A software that can reduce the finance team´s time expenditure and reduce the errors committed during the entire budget process.
These days, there is very little convincing needed for these finance decision makers to invest in a system in stark contrast to what it was like a decade ago when many were more skeptical. Now the question finance managers and financial controllers ask themselves is – Is this the right tool for me?
That shift in thinking is a leap forward for the finance department because after several years of enduring the recurring problems associated with spreadsheets-based budgeting. They have finally come to terms with the fact that they must allow technology to aid them or they run the risk of lagging behind.
However, before making that significant time and monetary investment in a budgeting and planning software, there are a few factors to keep in mind.
- Start small but have room to grow
Implementing a new Budgeting and planning tool is a major strategic initiative. Adopting a new software almost always forces the entire organization to think in a more logically consistent way how they want to operate the business. At the same time, it also forces the organization to correct the flaws that they have long tried to live with.
Having mentioned earlier that this is a major strategic initiative, there are several solutions in the market that can offer so many nice to have features that all sounds too good not to be implemented.
Understandably so, this is because there are so many issues in the budgeting process that need to be addressed and there are so many areas for improvement.
It is therefore very important that the finance department knows exactly what it wants to achieve before the start of the implementation. With so many features ready to be deployed as offered by most solutions, it is easy to lose track of what is the most pressing issue they were really trying to solve in the first place. So start small and introduce the most necessary features to begin with then deploy tactically and incrementally other features down the line.
Make sure that the solution you purchase allows you to expand its capabilities as your process matures and as your business grows.
- System Integration
A company´s data is its most valuable asset next to its people. The major challenge is to extract these data from multiple sources and then transform them into business insights.
Today, many organizations operate with more than just one data source. These data source can either be an ERP system, General ledger, HRIS, data warehouse or OLAP sources.
Therefore, before buying a budgeting and planning software make sure that the solution you have chosen integrates with different types of data sources.
Just as important is the speed and convenience by which you can access these data so make sure your chosen software allows you direct access to data with the ability to query.
- Web availability
In an era of global interconnection, most people are traveling and on the go. One of the critical success factor for a newly deployed budgeting and planning solution is that all its users are able to work regardless of where in the world they are.
Secure access via the web any day and any time is very beneficial especially to those companies that do project based budgeting for projects abroad.
The solution chosen must not tie you down to your desktop. It must be readily accessible to avoid work duplication and unnecessary delays.
- Easy deployment and maintenance
Choosing a budgeting and planning software is the easy part but deploying and maintaining it is the real struggle. This is most often taken for granted by many decision makers thinking as long as they feel all the features are in place, it is good to go.
Unfortunately, this is not the case. First, you need to make sure that the deployment is not rocket science otherwise you will spend thousands of dollars trying to find a specific consultant that can deploy the solution. Second, you need to make sure that the finance team owns the tool so that the maintenance can be handled by them.
In most mid-sized to large organizations, the IT team is overworked and almost always understaffed. Therefore, relying on IT to maintain a finance department´s system is not a good idea. If the implementation requires a lot of time investment from the IT during deployment, this is not a good start. It can mean that if the IT is heavily involved in the setting up and configuration more than the finance team then this will become the IT´s system, not the finance team´s because it has the tendency to be very technical and hard for the finance department to grasp afterwards.
- Local Support
It does not matter if the solution you choose is American, Swiss, Swedish, German, or Chinese. For as long as you feel it is exactly the tool that can address your department´s issues, whoever developed it is not a major concern.
The main point of consideration here is that there should be local support for the software in case you run into problems. This can be through local offices of the company or through local partners that they work with.
While most things can be troubleshooted online, nothing beats the convenience of having someone walk into your office to look into the problem more carefully when things get out of hand.
These are just 5 of the many factors that you need to keep in mind before buying a budgeting and planning software.
Performance Canvas Financials is a complete Corporate Performance Management solution that is ideal for companies. Companies that are heavily reliant on Excel spreadsheets for budgeting, planning, reporting & consolidation and want to improve their entire budgeting process due to version control issues, security issues, inaccuracy, and time expenditure.
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