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Why do you need an integrated budget management, planning, and reporting solution

Budget management, planning, and reporting are crucial components of any organization's financial strategy. In today's fast-paced and ever-changing business environment, companies need to be able to track their costs, forecast future spending, and communicate their financial results accurately and efficiently.

When looking for software to help, it is important that finance leaders consider what they are trying to achieve and ask themselves what they have done in the past, what they are doing today, and, most importantly, what they should be doing going forward. Typically, most organizations equip themselves with numerous back-end systems of record to understand what they have done in the past – systems such as ERP, talent management, HCM, resource scheduling, and financial management. These systems are perfect for that job - they offer consistent processes and predictable solutions. Organizations need to find a way to bridge the gap between the required structure of the systems of record and the constant change of real-world variabilities, such as changing customer tastes or emerging markets, which is essentially unknown until it happens.

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The pains of Excel spreadsheets

In many organizations, flexible solutions, such as Excel spreadsheets, are familiar. Excel is a great personal productivity tool. It's quick; it’s easy; it’s familiar, and it's flexible. However, there can be significant issues with formula errors and multiple versions of the truth when it comes to dealing with large amounts of data over multiple reporting horizons. Often organizations start off trying to answer one question; however, then they find issues with the data integrity in Excel and get sidetracked or find a completely different answer. And the same questions always come up as the need to forecast more frequently becomes more common. The more Excel is used, the more questions come up – less time is available to deliver valuable insight and decision support as inflexible models require to be re-run. Excel ultimately becomes incredibly resource intensive. As a tool, it lacks accountability as no one really knows who's changing what, where, and when. It is also open to human error, so no one is sure they can trust the data they're working with. Fundamentally, it means the data on which decisions about the future direction of organizations are made can’t be trusted.

Too many people spend too much time auditing spreadsheets and not on adding value. Organizations end up with silos, and by the time data has been collected and analyzed, the critical time has passed.

So what can organizations do?

Here are some reasons why you need to move from siloed or shared spreadsheets to an integrated budget management, planning, and reporting solution and why it is important to choose a solution that is future-proof and can grow with your organization:

Improved decision-making: An integrated budget management solution provides real-time insights into the organization's financial performance, which enables decision-makers to make informed decisions about spending and resource allocation. Historical data also provides a rich knowledge of patterns that can help to predict outcomes.

Increased accuracy and efficiency: With an integrated budget management solution, manual data entry and reconciliation are reduced, minimizing the chances of errors and saving time.

Better collaboration: By integrating budget planning, management, and reporting, all stakeholders have access to the same information and can work together to achieve financial goals.

Increased visibility and accountability: An integrated budget management solution provides a comprehensive view of the organization's financial performance, which helps to increase transparency and accountability across all levels of the organization.

Better forecasting: A budget management solution provides robust forecasting capabilities, enabling organizations to plan for the future and make adjustments as needed to stay on track. Artificial intelligence is starting to bring trend-based plans, and statistical forecasts to the table, but very few organizations are utilizing this. 

Compliance with regulatory requirements: A budget management solution helps organizations to comply with regulatory requirements relevant to their industry.

Unit4 FP&A solutions integrate seamlessly with an ERP system, and this leverages all that rich knowledge that is often locked away in data silos. With a dedicated FP&A solution, you no longer have multiple versions of similar data in different locations. You have one version of the truth, where the FP&A software can pull historical data from ERP easily.

A time-saving alternative: Budgeting, planning, and forecasting cycles take too much time with diminished value when using spreadsheets for analysis. An integrated budget management, planning, and reporting solution can help organizations improve decision-making, increase accuracy and efficiency, enable better collaboration, increase visibility and accountability, ensure better forecasting, and comply with regulatory requirements. By implementing an integrated budget management solution, organizations can ensure they have the financial information they need to make informed decisions and achieve their goals.

How Unit4 can help your organizations with budget management, planning, and reporting

Our integrated FP&A software solutions free your teams to spend more time delivering insights and creating value for the business. We help you understand the numbers more deeply and then turn that insight into action for better business results.

You can harness the power of fully aligned teams and Unit4’s integrated FP&A software to drive success. Our solutions help you by combining automated, AI-infused financial planning and analysis, budget management, and financial forecasting with highly interactive dashboards and powerful, pre-configured models.

Our cloud FP&A software solution gives your people better, faster ways to put the numbers to work — through smarter planning, budgeting, forecasting, reporting, visualization, and analytics. Your organization can take a flexible, integrated approach for all your organization’s financial planning needs, whether planning cash flow, managing operational budgets, or forecasting sales, costs, and revenue.

Organizations can better manage their operations with industry-leading software for Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), and Human Capital Management (HCM).

You can check out Unit4's People Experience suite here.

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