Have you been using Forecaster for finance budgeting? For a while, it was a useful and popular tool for organizations that had basic needs when it comes to budgeting and forecasting. It simplified workflows for companies that worked with massive amounts of spreadsheets.
But the need for better audit capabilities and more stringent security for financial reporting mean organizations had to move to more advanced FP&A tools that promote improved collaboration and data sharing while increasing organizational transparency.
Microsoft Forecaster is a budgeting and forecasting product application for small and medium-sized businesses, including larger companies and divisions of global organizations. And while free, it is not without its limitations. Microsoft Forecaster support is also being discontinued, and old users are now exploring available budgeting solutions that can easily take Microsoft Forecaster head-on and even help them stay ahead.
In this article, we’ll look into why today’s more advanced business intelligence tools are a more suitable alternative to help your company stay ahead.
The Limitations of Microsoft Forecaster
Microsoft Forecaster, like many people, would agree, is not a widely used product in the Business Intelligence (BI) world. According to some Microsoft Forecaster users, the application has significant integration issues. For example, the Microsoft Excel links only work with Excel 2007, and the Forecaster-Dynamics GP link requires the installation of FRx (Management Reporter’s predecessor).
Even though Forecaster is free, many Forecaster users now believe that its flaws and limitations make the tool itself not worth holding on to. Its original purpose was to be used as the budgeting and planning component of Microsoft Dynamics to assist corporations in transitioning away from spreadsheet-based systems.
It uses a standard user platform that is not compatible with Excel. As a result, a user must learn a wide array of independent coding and formulas with limited features and functionality.
These days, organizations are far better off using a cloud-based FP&A tool that can help them streamline their budgeting and reporting needs. Leading organizations today are also opting for software solutions with integrated features that can handle more advanced problems all at once, rather than having to pay extra for additional tools.
How Performance Canvas Can Step Up
Today, more advanced budgeting and reporting alternatives like Performance Canvas Financials (PCF) are equipped with better capabilities, so companies save on costs and get their financial budgeting and reporting time back to focus on other more critical aspects of their everyday business.
Microsoft Forecaster was designed to help businesses meet objectives and create value by providing budgeting and planning capabilities that enable business professionals to plan more effectively and make changes more efficiently based on their needs.
But with the launch of more advanced new software today, Forecaster lags behind other financial planning, budgeting, and reporting solutions like PCF. PCF understands that how you manage your data and how you’re able to follow financial budgeting practices is part and parcel of improved financial reporting.
PCF is many steps ahead of Forecaster in this area because it does a better job of analyzing errors and inconsistencies. It also helps company leaders gain a better understanding of the reports they’re getting because it blends top-down standards with bottom-up insight.
It analyzes your budgeting and planning workflow and then guides you with a more systematic and seamless approach to budgeting. It recommends ways to improve your workflow by giving users access to ready-made report templates using tried-and-true best financial best practices. PCF comes with an easy-to-use report wizard, and it gives users better driver-based budgeting, live and rolling forecasts, and what-if analysis. It also has version control, advanced allocations, intercompany matching, intercompany eliminations, and more.
PCF primarily focuses on finance process automation, such as the automation of IFRS16, allocations, account reclassification, alternate accounts. Organizations can also use PCF to automate bonus and commission calculations, provide convenient multi-group consolidation and sales budgeting.
Book a free PCF demo today.